With August approaching its end and schools set to reopen on September 1st, France's main holiday season is also drawing to a close.
Many French holidaymakers will be making their way back home this weekend, causing traffic jams across the entire French mainland.
Bison Futé, the government-run site that monitors traffic levels in France, has placed the whole country on “red alert” on Saturday.
Red is the second highest level after black and signals 'very heavy' traffic.
Photo: Bison Futé
The return direction will however be “green”, so anyone driving away on holiday on Saturday can rejoice in normal driving conditions.
Roads are predicted to be a little less crowded on Sunday, with the entire country on “yellow” level, the third highest.
?? Les routes seront encore chargées durant ce dernier week-end d’août, dans le sens des retours. Si vous prévoyez de prendre la route à ce moment-là, redoublez de vigilance ! #BisonFuté https://t.co/70MQTR3S62 pic.twitter.com/3KGEQh4snP
— Sécurité routière (@RoutePlusSure) August 27, 2020
Traditionally a much-used means of transport for French holidaymakers, coronavirus made the car even more popular this year, with people perceiving it as a lower-risk option than trains or planes.
The French government issued a warning for people hitting the road on Saturday, reminding them to prepare their journey in advance, rest up, and ensure that the vehicle is in good condition before taking off.
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They also recommend taking breaks every two hours and adapt the speed to the conditions on the road.
? #BisonFuté : samedi 29 août sera la journée la plus difficile, classée rouge dans le sens des retours.
Bonne route et prudence ⚠
— Ministère de l’Écologie (@Ecologie_Gouv) August 28, 2020
The map below shows what roads to look out for on Saturday (yellow signals “difficult” traffic, red “very difficult”).
For decades, August has been France's main summer holiday month, rivalled only by July. More recently, a new type of holidaymakers known as septembristes (September-makers) have appeared – probably to avoid the juilletistes and aoûtiens (those leaving in July or August).