First travel warning of the summer as French head off on holiday

First travel warning of the summer as French head off on holiday
Summer holidays in France mean summer traffic... Photo: Jeff Pachoud | AFP
If you’re out on the roads in France this weekend, expect to see more traffic than normal, as the first wave of summer holidaymakers set off on their annual vacations.

National traffic forecaster Bison Futé has issued an orange travel alert – its third-most severe – for Friday, July 2nd and Saturday, July 3rd, rising to a red in the greater Paris Île-de-France region.

The travel watchdog urged anyone planning trips on Friday to avoid travelling  in the greater Paris area after 12 noon, and try to avoid hitting the outskirts of large towns and cities between 2pm and 7pm.

Image: Bison Futé screengrab

It said traffic would be heavy around the toll points of the A10 and A6 autoroutes, where, it said, queues could start building from the end of the morning as the first Parisians head off to the sun. The Boulevard Périphérique, the A86 and A6b motorways are also likely to be affected by higher-than-usual traffic levels.

In the middle of the afternoon, the combination of commuters heading home and weekend departures, which are numerous during this period, could cause problems on the roads until late in the evening.

It also warned motorists to expect additional travel issues in the east of the country, notably where the Tour de France is passing for its seventh, eighth and ninth stages.

On Saturday, traffic is expected to be at least as heavy as Friday afternoon.

Bison Futé recommends avoiding travel across the Île-de-France before 8am, and around major cities before 9am. It particularly noted that the the A7 between Lyon and Orange, and the A43 motorway between Lyon and Chambéry, will be very busy between 10am and 4pm – while traffic will be heavy on the east-west A9 between Orange and Narbonne from 9am to 2pm.

Image: Bison Futé screengrab

Schools have not yet broken up for the grandes vacances, so traffic levels are not as high as they could be – but Bison Futé warned this weekend’s travel warning is a taste of things to come.

Next weekend will be busier still, it noted – with orange warning on Friday, July 9th and the country painted entirely red for Saturday, July 10th after schools break up on July 6th.

The Tour de France is in southwest France, between Nîmes and Andorra over the weekend, while the first set of school holiday departures are expected to make travel difficult in many of the usual areas. 

Image: Bison Futé screengrab

The A6 and A10, the Périphérique, A86 and A6B around Paris are expected to be very busy; the A13 heading towards Normandy and Brittany will see heavy traffic, as will motorways in the south of the country, notably along the Meditteranean coast.

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For the rest of the summer, Bison Futé’s forecasts look like this – watch out for the traditional ‘black travel days’ predicted for the end of July and mid-August:

Image: Bison Futé

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