Skiers heading to the Alps face travel chaos

Parisians heading off to the ski slopes at the start of the school holidays could face an ordeal to get to the mountains with traffic chaos forecast for all roads leading to the French Alps. And remember what happened last time...

Skiers heading to the Alps face travel chaos
Snow and heavy traffic could make it hard for people heading to the slopes on Saturday. Photo: AFP Photo/Jean-Pierre Clatot

France's traffic info service Bison Futé is forecasting a tough day on the roads for those heading to the Alps this weekend.

The service has put a red level alert in place for Saturday, the start of the winter holidays in certain regions including Paris.

But the Rhône-Alpes region, which includes Lyon and Grenoble and all the roads leading to the ski resorts in the French Alps has been placed on black level alert. That basically means potential chaos on the roads. 

Bison Futé advises that the A6, A31 and A40 motorways are best avoiding if possible. The fact that snow is forecast could make matters worse.

The warnings will bring back memories of the post-Christmas chaos when skiers struggled to get anywhere near the slopes due to the combination of traffic jams and a snow storm. Several British holiday makers ended up stranded in a sports hall.

France is split into several zones (A, B and C) which dictate when the certain school holidays are.

Friday marks the start of holidays in Zone C, which includes the Bordeaux, Créteil, Paris and Versailles, but traffic should remain fairly free-flowing.

Bison Fûté therefore recommends those leaving Paris to do so as early as possible, to prevent being caught up in jams nearer the Alps.

The zoning system can often make traffic worse as those from zone C heading on holiday will run into those from zone A who may be heading home after the first week of their vacation.

Road safety experts recommend snow tyres and chains for anyone going taking snow-covered roads as well as planning trips in advance.

Sunday should be better on the roads with the service placing a green level alert across the country.

by Priscillia Charles

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