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Route to avoid french tolls

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Ayr, United Kingdom
posts: 6
reviews: 14
Route to avoid french tolls

Hi, i was wondering if anyone had any good routes of avoiding the many tolls in France? I will be using the Eurotunnel so I'll be departing Calais and heading to Lucca in Italy. A friend of mine has said that going through Belgium would avoid the tolls but he was very vague. I wouldn't mind paying the tolls so much if they were a reasonable price but I've done a route on ViaMichelin and there are some really expensive ones Courcey @ €21.70 then Viry @ an astonishing €50.10!!! then the Tunnel Du Mont Blanc @ another €40.90 then when you come into Italy yet another toll called Aosta/Monte Bianco @ yet another €46.90! Surely if I've paid the toll for the Mont Blanc tunnel on the french side why do I have to pay another €46.90 on the Italian side? I thought there was only 1 tunnel so is this a mistake and I only need to pay the Italian toll on the way back home?

Bearing in mind this is only in one direction, I'll have to pay this again on the way back. This isn't including the Swiss Vignette either so if anyone has any other routes that aren't quite so expensive I'd be very grateful. I know I can't avoid them all but if anyone has any experiences of traveling through Belgium to avoid some of these tolls like my friend said it would be great to hear them. I'd really like to know about the extra time and mileage compared to the savings of avoiding the tolls.

Thanks in advance.

14 replies to this topic
Washington DC...
Destination Expert
for Dordogne
posts: 8,811
reviews: 4
1. Re: Route to avoid french tolls

Just go back to the viamichelin site and click Avoid Tolls.

Ayr, United Kingdom
posts: 6
reviews: 14
2. Re: Route to avoid french tolls

Yeah i tried that but it only gives you the option to avoid all tolls and doing that makes the journey about 21 hours so I was looking for a route that just avoids some of the more expensive tolls but won't add another 10 hours onto my journey.

posts: 2,345
reviews: 21
3. Re: Route to avoid french tolls

[ was looking for a route that just avoids some of the more expensive tolls but won't add another 10 hours onto my journey.]

Sorry, Ron, there isn't one. I advice against travelling via Belgium, Germany, Switzerland etc. The Belgian motorways are toll-free, as your friend says, but they tend to be very congested and slow. We've driven on them on many occasions and except early on a Sundary morning that's how they are.

We've also travelled much of your route 5 years ago, when we went to Northern Italy (Como). We went via Dijon (where we stayed overnight) and then onwards past Geneva etc. We had planned to travel via the Mont Blanc tunnel but it was such a beautiful sunny day we couldn't face the tunnel and decided instead to drive over the St Bernard's Pass and then onto Aosta (where we stayed overnight again). It was a great driving route, although a bit hair-raising in parts at the top of the Pass, especially on the Italian side with lots of 'lavori'.

So, as regards French motorway fees my advice is to just pay up and look cheerful ;)

You don't mention staying overnight en route, but I do hope you do, ideally twice, because it is a very long journey. Enjoy your holiday!

posts: 20,999
reviews: 71
4. Re: Route to avoid french tolls

If you want to use Autoroutes in Switzerland, you will need to buy a Motorway Vignette at the border, it is around €40.00.....

To be found travelling on said roads without one, would net you a very high on-the-spot fine.....

posts: 10,192
5. Re: Route to avoid french tolls

Celestina has summed up our experiences as well. We've tried driving through Belgium and it's been busy and stressful, particularly around Brussels. It all adds to driver fatigue, which is another factor ....

Another point that comes into the balance is driving time on toll roads (where you can generally press on a bit) as compared with normal roads (where you may have to follow slow agricultural obstructions not to mention watching for speed limits through towns). Whenever we've calculated, the saving in tolls is more than taken out against the additional night's accommodation on the road.

Incidentally, I think the Swiss vignette only applies if you are driving on motorways?

Edit: Even if trying to avoid autoroutes in general, we generally consider using them to by-pass towns, and also if we're wanting to eat at un-French times, as the services are open for longer periods.

Edited: 5:45 am, June 01, 2013
posts: 20,999
reviews: 71
6. Re: Route to avoid french tolls

I think-so, Diz, but according to this, it is difficult to drive there without using them....


I have not yet tried driving there, so don't know for sure....

Paris, France
posts: 1,120
reviews: 30
7. Re: Route to avoid french tolls

You don't have much of an option. The only possible alternative I'd consider is to pay the French toll to Valenciennes then go onto the Belgium motorways down to Luxembourg (this stretch isn't too bad for traffic) and then into Germany and then Austria. It's a bit of a detour, but if you're hell-bent on avoiding motorway tolls, that's the only other way I can see. And even here you'd have to check with viamichelin.com to ensure the money saved in tolls isn't being spent on the extra fuel.

posts: 1
8. Re: Route to avoid french tolls


I don't know if you've already done your trip but I'm an expat now living in Italy.

The start of this month my partner and I drove to Edinburgh. yes your right French tolls are rediculous.

Anyway, total for our return trip with a van was about 340 euros which was for a van.

going though the tunnel you should only pay once on which ever side you enter the tunnel. getting a return ticket offers the best value for money. There is another tunnel further to the south but i can't advise you on that.

You can indeed drive from calais through Belgium. Going from Calais follow the signs for Brussels then go through Luxenbourg and Switzerland. In Switzerland you have to pay about only 40 euros which is their toll and is valid for a year.

If you chose to drive through France than I'm sure there are other alternatives to the motorways. However , it would be easy to get lost and just about every other person in France would be using these roads.

The French tolls are discouraging a lot of motorists using the motorways so as a result they are almost deserted.

Perhaps the best advice is talk to a long distance lorry driver. They usually have years of expirience and knowlage which you couldn't find anywhere else. there seem to be very few good websites dedicated to this mater so best of luck.


Limerick, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Limerick, Killarney, Berny Riviere
posts: 19,170
reviews: 37
9. Re: Route to avoid french tolls

"The French tolls are discouraging a lot of motorists using the motorways so as a result they are almost deserted."

We returned to Ireland last Monday (15th July) having spent 21 days driving in France and I have to say the above statement by Adele is TOTALLY at variance with our experiences.

We drove from Cherbourg to Chalons sur Saone (with an unexpected detour via La Defence...nearly a D I V O R C E!!) - to Frejus. We drove from Frejus to Ventimiglia (Italy) and back then to Lons le Saunier. We drove from there to Geneva and back and then up to Compiegne. From Compiegne we drove to Fontainebleau and back and then drove to Calais. In each location in France we did quite a bit of "local" driving as well.

We found the motorways busier than in previous years. Most of the time the driving was not comfortable. The only times we found them quiet/less busy were during the hours of 12 and 13.30 and after about 8pm.

I don't know how much we spent on tolls but it was a lot. But when we did drive on the non-tolled roads it took a lot longer.

I can't remember how much we drove but it was certainly in excess of 6,000 kms.

Edited: 6:13 am, July 19, 2013
Ayr, United Kingdom
posts: 6
reviews: 14
10. Re: Route to avoid french tolls

Thanks for your replies guys. Yeah I won't be driving non stop all the way. I'm spending the day in London and then leaving in the morning to travel from from London to the italian alps to spend the night there and then head to Lucca in the morning so we're not wasting a day in Lucca sleeping. I just done a search on Via Michelin and now going from Calais to the Italian alps is only costing £28 in tolls for some reason so if that's right then I'm quite happy with that then from the alps to Lucca it's only £22 so I think We've just been lucky with where our stopovers are. Still unsure about the way back. I'd quite like to stop off halfway if anyone has any good ideas, preferably avoiding massive tolls too lol :)

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