Drivers in France warned of 'red alert' on roads as summer holidays start

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Drivers in France warned of 'red alert' on roads as summer holidays start
(Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP)

France's roads watchdog raises travel alert levels for the first weekend of the summer holidays.


Schools in France break up for the grandes vacances on Thursday afternoon - and holidaymakers are wasting little time setting off for a well-earned break, with Friday and Saturday set to be especially busy on the country’s roads as the great summer getaway begins.

France’s roads watchdog Bison Futé predicted consecutive days of traffic trouble this weekend, classifying travel on Friday in the direction of popular holiday resorts on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts as ‘difficult’ across most of the country, and ‘very difficult’ in the Île-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regions.

Return journeys are classed as ‘difficult’ in the south east of the country as those able to take their holidays before the rush start heading home.

Friday's "traffic light" travel alert. Image: Bison Futé

On Saturday, traffic will be heavier still, Bison Futé warned, raising its travel classification to ‘very difficult’ across most of the country and to ‘extremely difficult’ in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.


Travel on Saturday reaches black 'extremely difficult' levels in the south east. Image: Bison Futé

For those planning journeys to holiday destinations on Friday, Bison Fute advises:

  • Leaving or cross Île-de-France before 12noon;
  • Avoiding the A1, between Paris and Senlis, from 5pm to 8pm;
  • Avoiding the A10, between Orléans and Tours, from 3pm to 7pm;
  • Avoiding the A7, between Lyon and Orange, from 4pm to 9pm and between Salon-de-Provence and Marseille, from 3pm to 8pm;
  • Avoiding the A62, between Bordeaux and Toulouse, from 4pm to 8pm.


It warned those heading in the other direction to:

  • Leave or cross major cities before 3pm or after 8pm,
  • Avoid the A13 between Rouen and Paris, from 5pm to 8pm;
  • Avoid the A84 between Rennes and Caen, from 5pm to 7pm;
  • Avoid the A7 between Marseille and Salon-de-Provence, from 3pm to 8pm;
  • Avoid the A8 between Italy and Nice, from 4pm to 8pm and between Nice and Aix-en-Provence, from 11am to 6pm;
  • Avoid the A62 between Toulouse and Agen, from 3pm to 8pm.


And for Saturday, Bison Fute said travellers heading on holiday should avoid:

  • travel in Île-de-France after 4pm;
  • the A10, near the Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines toll gate between 7am and 12pm, and between Orléans and Tours from 12pm to 3pm;
  • the A11 between Paris and Le Mans from 11am to 3pm and between Le Mans and Angers from 11am to 1pm;
  • the A84 between Caen and Rennes from 12pm to 4pm;
  • the A63 between Bordeaux and Bayonne from 11am to 1pm;
  • Pass the Fleury toll barrier on the A6 after 1pm;
  • the A7 between Lyon and Orange from 7am to 9pm, and between Salon-de-Provence and Marseille, from 10am to 9pm;
  • the A62 between Agen and Toulouse from 11am to 2pm;
  • the A61 motorway, between Toulouse and Narbonne from 10am to 2pm;
  • The Mont-Blanc tunnel (N205) heading towards Italy from 3pm to 6pm.

Those heading the other way on Saturday are advised to:

  • avoid the A10 between Bordeaux and Saintes from 11am to 1pm;
  • avoid the A7 between Marseille and Salon-de-Provence from 10am to 3pm, and between Orange and Lyon from 10am to 6pm;
  • avoid the A8 between Nice and Aix-en-Provence from 10am to 3pm;
  • avoid the A62 between Toulouse and Agen from 10am to 2pm.



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