As French school holidays begin, traffic on routes leaving major cities will be heavy over the weekend, authorities warned on Friday.
Those attempting to escape the Paris region for the south of France should expect particularly long delays, however, with the French government’s traffic website placing Ile-de-France on red alert, which basically means expect gridlock.
“The start of school holidays in France on Friday July 5th will entail long journeys on the country’s major routes,” said a statement on the Bison Futé website.
“Traffic will be dense on most major routes heading to the south of the country, or to other coastal regions,” the statement added.
Traffic coming out of all major cities has been placed on orange alert for Friday and Saturday, with conditions set to return to normal on Sunday.
On Friday, travellers are being warned to avoid in particular the bypass to the east of the French capital, as well as the A6, A10 and N118 motorways in the direction of the south of the country.
On Saturday, delays are expected on all major routes leading from the north to both the Mediterranean coast in the south-east, and to the south west and Spain, according to the official government website.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said he had laid on 13,000 traffic police to ensure the safety of holiday-makers on French roads this weekend, and appealed for motorists to demonstrate caution.
“[I ask you to] show the greatest possible prudence and constantly adjust your behaviour to traffic conditions,” he was quoted as saying by French daily Le Parisien.
Travellers and holiday-makers looking for real-time updates to traffic conditions throughout the country both this weekend, and throughout the summer season, should consult the Bison Futé website.