File photo: AFP
Schools broke up for the festive period on Friday and many people have wasted no time in travelling to their Christmas destinations.
French road traffic authority, Bison Futé has drawn up a chart of the days and times when it might be best to avoid the roads.
On Friday and Saturday traffic has been rated orange, the second highest alert, which means the situation on the roads will be “difficult”.
There was particularly bad news for anyone planning to travel in the greater Paris Ile-de-France region which was marked red — the second highest alert — by the traffic authority for both Friday and Saturday, meaning traffic will be “very difficult”.
As a result Bison Futé has advised motorists to leave or travel within the region before midday.
Map: Bison Futé
It also recommended that motorists avoid driving in the vicinity of any big cities in France between 3pm and 6 pm on Friday and Saturday and said that traffic would be dense at the Mont Blanc Tunnel between 9 am and 3 pm as people travel into Italy.
Slowdowns are expected on the A6, A6a and A6b, A10, A86, A13 and N118 motorways out of Paris, in the Lyon area, as well as on the roads leading to the ski resorts.
Traffic is expected to remain fairly dense on the roads leading out of France's major cities during the period leading up to Christmas Day as well as Wednesday December 26th, with significant slowdowns on the roads towards Orleans in north-central France, Tours and the Normandy region.
However, according to the traffic authority, it would be much easier to make your journey out of the country's major cities after Saturday, with traffic on the roads expected to be much lighter on Sunday and Monday.
Map: Bison Futé
On December 31st, New Year's Eve, the traffic authority has said there will be some temporary difficulties during the early evening in the direction of anywhere holding parties or celebrations.
However fortunately the authority said that there should be no particular congestion problems.
On the other hand it would be wise to drive particularly carefully due to the fact that more accidents generally occur on New Year's Eve, with people often driving back from parties late and tired, as well as the fact that there are sometimes unfavourable conditions for driving such as freezing rain, snow and ice.
On Wednesday January 2nd traffic is expected to be dense once again, particularly around Paris, as people start returning to the country's major cities.
End of school holidays
On Saturday January 5th, Bison Futé has advised drivers to leave the ski resorts before 9 am or after 4 pm and to avoid the A43 motorway between 7 am and 6 pm as families who have stayed away for the two-week school holiday start returning.
The traffic will be dense between the French Alps and the north of the country, particularly the greater Paris region of Île-de-France, Bison Futé has said.