For someone who isn’t used to toll booths, French toll roads can be both confusing and frustrating—especially if you’re already going through a bit of culture shock.
How Much Do French Toll Roads Cost?
You should expect to pay between 15-40 € when entering a toll road in France. You can pay the toll with euro coins and a selection of cards. It’s recommended to bring cash as not all foreign credit cards are accepted at the toll booths.
Here’s everything you need to know before entering the toll roads in France.
Smaller countries and people who are used to small backroads, might not be used to tolls, so let’s get rid of some of that confusion.
What are some of the common costs for tolls?
Toll fees vary, depending on your vehicle, and route.
However, as a jumping-off point, here are a few of the more common vacation or tourist route fees taken in a car (a hatchback in particular):
- Bordeau to Toulouse – 19.30 EUR
- Paris to Strasbourg – 39.00 EUR
- Le Havre to Paris – 20.90 EUR
- Reims to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc – 38.50 EUR (with road tas of 36.50 EUR)
- The Bridge from La Rochelle to Ile de Re – 16.00 EUR
For example, if you were to go to Lyons, France and drive to Paris, you would have to pay 17.60 EUR:
What are the French toll charges for motorhomes?
Motorhomes cover a number of different types of motor vehicles, so let’s break it down. If you are driving a vehicle with a height of two to three meters and it is towing something which does not exceed three and a half tons, it is considered an intermediate vehicle and is considered a category 2.
If you are driving a vehicle which has an overall height of three or more meters and is or is towing more than three and a half tons, it is considered to be an HGV (or possibly a bus with two axles) and is a category 3.
A vehicle with more than two axles and has a height of three or more meters and is a weight of more than three and a half tons, it is considered an HGV (or a bus with three or more axles) and is a category 4.
The gross vehicle weight of your vehicles is now specifically mentioned on all French vehicle registration papers.
What are the motorcycle tolls in France?
France is a beautiful place with fast lanes and great scenery. That is why it is so appealing to drive your motorcycle in France. Motorcycles do still have to pay toll costs, though they are not as expensive as driving a car on the autoroutes. Also, if you decide to ride your motorcycle on a holiday weekend, it may be more expensive. For your specific trips, I suggest using one of the two websites listed above, to check the prices.
Why are there so many toll booths in France?
In France, highways (or expressways, or motorways) are known as autoroutes. They connect major regions and big cities in France. This makes it significantly easier and faster to get from one city to another.
Unfortunately, because there are so many cars and so much traffic, the roads take quite a beating.
In addition to that, many autoroutes are owned (and operated) by companies, not the state. One example is Vinci Autoroutes (who also operates a number of parking garages in France under the name of Vincipark).
The rules and prices for the toll booths on these roads are set by the companies that own and operate them.
How do you pay for tolls on French roads?
In France, you’ll often find that you receive a ticket when you enter the autoroute, then pay the toll once you exit.
You can pay these fees using EURO coins, notes, bills, some debit cards, certain credit cards, or be an electronic transponder called a “telepeage”.
The toll booths operators prefer that drivers use electronic transponders because it is easier. However, it isn’t always practical if you don’t visit France often or if you are only in France for a holiday.
However, foreign visitors often just use euro cash because it is easier for them. Just make sure you are in the lane with a downward pointing, green arrow and not the orange lowercase “t”. The “t” marks lanes which only accept the telepeage electronic transponders.
If you are paying in cash, merge into the lane marked with the green arrow and drive up to the toll machine. There will be buttons on the side, which are marked by various flags. Depending on what you choose, the instructions will be read to you in that language. The most common languages are French, Spanish, and English.
Generally, you insert your ticket into the appropriate slot. Your total amount will appear in the digital readout.
You can pay toll machines using appropriate French credit cards, EURO coins (in the coin slot which is marked “Pieces”), and/or EURO bills (in the section marked “Billets”). If you need change, it will drop into the slot marked “Monnaie”.
If you need help, there is generally an assistance button to press or a handset you can use to call a toll operator.
How do you calculate tolls in France?
Luckily, the toll booths in France can calculate everything for you. All you have to do is insert the ticket you received when you entered the autoroutes.
However, if you need to know the toll cost beforehand (maybe you only carry cash or perhaps you want to split the cost between passengers in your vehicle), there are a few websites you can turn to in order to gauge your total toll fees.
If you need help calculating tolls in France, there are a few tools to help you. One of them can be found on viaMichelin.com [https://www.viamichelin.com/].
Just insert your starting point, the destination point, and it will plan out your possible routes.
You don’t have to enter the vehicle details if you don’t want to. It will calculate the most generic numbers for you in lieu of specifics.
As an example, let’s say you wanted to go from Le Havre, France to Paris, France. When inserted into the appropriate boxes on the left-hand side of the page, it details two possible routes for you.
One route is via a13 and one via A13 and D14. Just below the route number and names, is the approximate time for each trip, the distance you will travel, and the cost in Euros (€). Under those numbers, you have the option of clicking on a button which will give you the cost details for the highlighted trip (including tolls).
In that pop-up window, the tolls are broken down by toll booth and cost. For this particular example the pop-up window looks like this:
Tolls Total: 20.90 EUR
Pont de Tancarville – 2.60 EUR
Bourneville – 3.10 EUR
Heudebouville – 3.80 EUR
Buchelay – 2.70 EUR
Montession – 8.70 EUR
Another way to help estimate your road costs is by using the ASFA website [link: https://www.autoroutes.fr/index.htm?lang=en]. Not only do they give you toll estimates, but they can tell you where there are road hazards and traffic as well.
The process is basically the same with the previous website. Enter the departure and arrival addresses in the appropriate boxes. It will take you to a webpage which will calculate the distance, time it will take to get there, traffic impact, and the cost (broken down by the total toll cost as well as the estimated fuel consumption
Do disabled pay tolls in France?
The toll is not waved for people who are disabled and want to drive the autoroutes in France. Of course, paying the toll means you need to reach out of your vehicle and push buttons, insert cards and/or coins, and receive receipts.
This isn’t always convenient or feasible if you are disabled.
Instead, the ability to use a telepeage transponder has made toll-paying easier. The toll booth detects the transponder and opens the barrier for you. It then deducts the appropriate amount of money from the bank account you have associated with the telepeage.
Is the A75 in France a toll road?
There are many autoroutes in France which are toll roads. The motorway leading to the A75 is a toll road (with the last five miles of that section having a toll of 1.20 EUR).
However, after the D2009 turns into the A75 at Clermont, there is no toll for the next 300km.
Avoiding toll roads in France might seem like the most financially frugal way to travel. However, the time and fuel costs it will take to take the backroads might not be worth the cost. Instead of avoiding all toll roads in France, consider a middle ground: pay a few euros to take the autoroute for a portion of your trip in order to save money, time, and stress. Route your journey using one of the two websites listed above. They both offer various routes to get to your destination, which vary in cost.
When it comes to traveling in France, you might be able to drive around without having to pay any toll fees, but the real question is:
“Is it worth the time, hassle, and stress to avoid the toll booths on French autoroutes?”
The time you save on your journey is more time you can spend enjoying your trip. France is a beautiful country and you don’t want to miss too much of it by trying to save money on toll costs.
Sure, these toll costs can add up. You can split the difference by using either www.viamichelin.com or https://www.autoroutes.fr/index.htm?lang=en and using the cheapest toll booth routes. Luckily, you can cater your journey using different criteria when you map your trip.
Don’t forget, you’re on a vacation and you should enjoy the time you have there. Experience the sights, smells, tastes, and see what France has to offer, instead of sitting in your vehicle, trying to save a little cash.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.