Holiday exodus: Drivers to face ‘black Saturday’ in eastern France

The weekend of August 10 to 12 is expected to be extremely busy on French motorways, especially on Saturday.

Holiday exodus: Drivers to face 'black Saturday' in eastern France
Photo: AFP/Bison Futé

Motorways will be packed this coming weekend as millions of holidaymakers across l’Héxagone set off on their summer breaks, while many others return home. 

According to France’s national road information centre Bison Futé the traffic forecast is looking particularly grim for Saturday, with most of the territory being given a red ranking, meaning traffic will be very difficult, for departures and orange (difficult traffic) for returns. 

Hold ups will be exceptionally bad for the southern region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and all along the country’s Mediterranean coastline, awarded a black classification, the worst possible ranking.

Circulation on France’s roads is expected to be more fluid on Friday, with most of the country’s network being given an orange classification.

However it’s Sunday that’s forecast to be the best day to drive on France’s autoroutes this weekend, as all regions except Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (given a orange classification for moderately difficult traffic) are marked as green.

If you’re planning to set off from Paris or anywhere else in the Ile-de-France region, Bison Futé recommends hitting the road before 6am.

Returns to the capital and surrounding area will experience less traffic before 2pm on any of the three days.

This is particularly advisable if you’re driving on major motorways such as the A7 motorway in the Rhone Valley, the A9 to and from Spain, the A61 between Toulouse and the Mediterranean and the A10 around Bordeaux.

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about driving on France's motorways

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Traffic warnings issued in France for Pentecost holiday weekend

Traffic authorities have warned of busy roads as people in France head off for the long Pentecost weekend.

Traffic warnings issued in France for Pentecost holiday weekend
Many French people will be heading off for a long weekend until Monday, which marks the Christian celebration of Pentecost (Pentecôte). Photo: Ludovic MARIN / AFP

Roads will be busy across most of the country on Friday as many people in France take advantage of the public holiday on Monday 24th, which marks the Christian celebration of Pentecost (Pentecôte).

READ ALSO: Pentecost: The French public holiday where people work for free

Bison Futé, the government-run website that monitors traffic levels in France, has put most of the country on orange alert (third highest) on Friday for departures, except for the greater Paris Île-de-France region and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, which were on red alert (second highest).

READ ALSO: What changes in France on Wednesday as phase 2 of reopening begins?

Photo: Bison Futé

On Saturday the whole country will also be on orange alert for departures except for the Île-de-France region, which will be on red alert. And the same will be the case on Monday for returns.

Photo: Bison Futé

Rail disruption for trains to Marseille and from Paris to Toulouse

With SCNF carrying out works at the Saint-Charles station in Marseille, there is expected to be significant disruption in trains arriving in the southern French city from Saturday 22nd and Monday 24th of May.

This includes the TER trains between Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, Avignon via Arles, Narbonne and Lyon; the Intercités between Marseille and Bordeaux (a bus service will be available on Sunday 23rd of May) and the TGV Inoui and Ouigo trains.

The Intercité line from Paris to Toulouse will also be severely disrupted due to building works. There will be no trains running on Sunday, and will restart progressively from Monday.

From Wednesday May 19th, the curfew has been pushed back from 7pm to 9pm. So if you are travelling between 9pm and 6am, you need to fill the latest version of the attestation, which can be found on the TousAntiCovid app.