France has several tourist attractions, like the towering Eiffel Tower in Paris and the deep blue waters of the French Riviera. The country’s rich culture and history draw people from all over the world, many of whom prefer to rent a car or motorhome and cruise down the French roads for the whole experience. France, like most countries, has toll roads, which can make organizing a budget car trip throughout France more challenging. But don’t worry; it’s a straightforward procedure! This blog contains simple step-by-step instructions for avoiding French highway tolls.

Peage Marking

The autoroutes of France are a set of motorways that comprise a number of toll roads – generally marked by a blue and white sign representing a two-lane road and a bridge along with the phrase ‘Peage’.

These roadblocks, sometimes known as tollways or turnpikes, are a significant element of driving through France and other European countries.

Simply put, these are restricted-access roads where you must pay to gain access to the rest of the road.

These highways are identified by the letter ‘A’ and the number after it, while some have their own names.

This book provides you with the knowledge you’ll need before your next trip to France.

Toll Roads In France

Once you’ve decided whether to use the boat or the Channel Tunnel to get to France, you can begin your French trip.

There are very few ‘free’ motorways in the country, while there are a number of dual carriageways and other routes that can carry you from the north to the south without paying a single toll – albeit this will take a little longer.

There are over 90 tolls on France’s major roadways in total, and these are only a few examples.

France Motorways 1

How Do Tolls Work?

There are numerous ways to pay tolls when driving on a toll road in France. Tolls can be paid for by credit card, debit card, or cash by any driver (for manned toll roads). Most tolls in the United States are now automated and unmanned; however, some manned booths remain on bigger, busier highways.

A manned toll booth/road can be identified by a sign depicting a person in a cap over the lane. Keep in mind that all payments must be paid in Euros. Each Autoroute is operated by its own firm, with its own payment terms and conditions, so it is worth planning your route and visiting their websites ahead of time. Drivers can pay in advance as well via ‘Telepeage,’ which is a payment option used by the majority of autoroute businesses. However, unless you visit the country several times a year, this is not really practical for tourists.

A transponder with the letter ‘t’ on it is fitted to the car, and payment is made through a subscription once you pass through a toll. A growing number of subscription-based suppliers are popping up across the country, and it’s worth conducting some study as they become more widespread in the coming years. These are also known as ‘toll tags’ and can be obtained from a variety of independent companies. They can also be utilized if you plan to visit several European nations.

However, if you must make a standard payment, this is what you must do. Fortunately, many of the machine-based tolls are available in English. Some tolls require you to purchase a ticket at the beginning and pay at the conclusion. Others need payment as you pass through. Insert the ticket or choose payment – make the payment – get your receipt. After then, the barrier should open, and you should be able to continue your quest. If an emergency call system is required, it is usually available on the machine.

Step 1: Classify Your Vehicle 

Toll prices vary depending on your car’s classification. Therefore it’s critical to know which category your vehicle belongs to. This is particularly critical when using a French toll calculator. If you hire a motorhome, your vehicle is most likely in one of the following classes:

Category 2: (intermediate vehicle) 

  • Overall height of 2 to 3 meters
  • The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) must be less than 3.5 tonnes, as stated on French vehicle registration papers.

Category 3: (Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) or bus with two axles)*

  • A total height of three meters or more
  • The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) exceeds 3.5 tonnes.

However, keep in mind that on the A14, category three vehicles are categorized as category four vehicles.

If you believe your RV does not fit into either category or if you want to learn more about automobile categorization, click on the Autoroutes website.

Step 2: Knowing How To Identify A French Autoroute

As you approach a highway, you’ll notice a large blue sign. The letter ‘A’ is followed by a number at the top of the sign (such as A 43). * The letter ‘A’ denotes that you are on a motorway. It is followed by the letter ‘E’ and a number (such as E 70). This is because of the fact that European route numbers are displayed where applicable. The word ‘Péage’ (pronounced pay-are) is inscribed at the bottom of the sign, signaling the entry to a toll road.

Normally, you pick up a ticket from a booth when you enter an autoroute (simply by pressing a button). You then pay when you exit the highway or when the toll section ends. When you exit, you hand in your ticket at another booth and are charged based on the distance traveled.

However, not all toll roads in France necessitate the purchase of a ticket. Some autoroutes have a set fee that you must pay when you exit the road.

France Motorways 2

Step 3: Knowing Which Toll Road Lane To Pass Through When You Pay

Toll booths on French highways are located along multiple lanes. Each lane has a sign above it that informs cars about the payment methods accepted by each toll. The indicators are straightforward:

Red cross: This lane is closed 

Blue coins: Here, cash is taken, but no change is returned 

Green arrow: This lane is open 

Blue man: This lane is staffed, and change is given 

Orange T: the drivers with a toll charging sensor

OR credit cards in a blue rectangle with CB printed on them: credit card only.

Step 4: Plan 

It’s usually a good idea to plan ahead of time. It would know how much you will spend on toll roads in France in this situation. It is estimated that you spend €1 for every 10 miles (£0.90 for every 16km) driven. This, of course, varies depending on the category in which your vehicle is classified. For more accurate results, you can always use a French toll calculator. Simply enter the location of your arrival and departure on the French motorway company’s website, and all the information you need will be delivered. The website offers visitors a French toll road map, projected travel time, and the cost of tolls and gas. You can also change the type of your car for a more precise toll computation.

Cost Of Toll Roads In France

The amount you pay varies depending on the kind and weight of your car; there are five categories in total.

Category 1 – Vehicles and trailers having a height of fewer than two meters and a weight of fewer than 5.5 tonnes. They are also known as passenger vehicles or light vehicles.

Category 2 – The same as above, but with a height of two to three meters.

Category 3 – Vehicles with a gross weight of greater than 3.5 tonnes and a height of more than three meters (including trailers).

Category 4 – HGVs, trucks, and heavier vehicles having more than two axles, a weight greater than 3.5 tonnes, and a height greater than four meters.

Category 5 – Motorbikes (accompanied by a sidecar).

If you are driving a standard family car, you may anticipate paying between €10 and €50 for every toll, depending on the Autoroute. These are frequently updated, so it is worth planning your trip ahead of time to know how much you will spend.

French Toll Road Signs

These are the toll signs you should look out for on French highways.

French Phrases You Need To Know

So you’ve packed your bags and are ready to embark on your next French adventure! You know your route and the tools you’ll encounter, but what if you require assistance at the toll booth?

Here are some frequent terms you might require.

  1. What is the cost of this toll? – Combien coûte ce péage?
  2. How much longer until the next toll? – Jusqu’où jusqu’au prochain péage?
  3. Is there going to be any traffic? – Y a-t-il du trafic devant vous?
  4. What is the finest neighbouring tourist attraction? – Quelle est la meilleure attraction touristique à proximité?
  5. Could you please give me a receipt? – Puis-je avoir un reçu s’il vous plaît?
  6. Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day! – Merci. Passe une bonne journée!

What other phrases should visitors know before approaching a toll booth attendant? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

France Motorways 3

Can You Travel Through France Without Going Through The Tolls?

In a nutshell, yes, it is doable! However, it is not recommended.

Although there are many toll roads throughout France (and continental Europe), avoiding them would require taking much longer on lesser roads. This means you’ll have to spend more time and money to get to your destination.

Some roads may be more scenic. Therefore it may be worth it. However, if you are traveling to a certain location, tolls are an unavoidable component of the journey.

Are you planning to drive in France this summer? What path are you taking, and what advice would you provide to other drivers? Please leave a remark below.

Tips 

  • Avoid traveling between July 14th and August 15th (both of which are national holidays). Roads might get highly congested, making travel more difficult.
  • The French are famous for their driving vacations, and they tend to hit the roads while they’re on vacation around the beginning and end of August, so be prepared to drive on busier roads!
  • By choosing national routes, you can avoid paying tolls on French highways. While you get a more scenic trip and get to see more of the country, there are some drawbacks. The travel to your destination would be longer, so any savings on toll payments would be wasted on gas. These highways are also more difficult to navigate because they cross through rural and residential areas.
  • Before you begin your journey, make sure to consult the French toll road map! It includes both free and toll highways, making it easier to remain within your budget and see more of the nation.

Final Words

Now that you know how to avoid French tolls, you’re ready to embark on your once-in-a-lifetime road trip throughout France! So fill up on gas and get your car set to explore the country and sample delectable French food!