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Traffic alerts for final weekend of summer holiday in France

With French schools restarting next week, this weekend marks 'the return', with roads across the country expected to be extremely congested.

Traffic alerts for final weekend of summer holiday in France
(Photo: Thierry Zoccolan / AFP)

The summer holidays in France are almost over – but there’s still time for one last busy weekend on the country’s roads before la rentrée sends children scurrying to back school and a full complement of tanned, post-holiday workers brave the rush-hour commute again.

French roads monitor Bison Futé has issued nationwide red alerts on Friday and Saturday, indicating that traffic levels will make travel “very difficult” for those heading home after a well-earned summer break.

It has also indicated that travel will be difficult on routes to holiday destinations in the southeast of the country on Friday and Saturday.

Road conditions are set to ease on Sunday, according to the watchdog’s forecast, but will still be difficult nationally for those heading homewards, rising to very difficult around the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

On Friday, Bison Futé advises the following on Friday for outward journeys:

Map: Bison Futé
  • avoid the A7 between Valence and Orange from 2pm to 7pm, and between Orange and Marseille from 11am to 8pm;
  • avoid the A8 between Aix-en-Provence and Fréjus from 11am to 7pm, and between Nice and the Italian border, from 4pm to 7pm;
  • avoid the A62 between Montauban and Toulouse from 3pm to 7pm;
  • avoid the A61 between Carcassonne and Narbonne from 5pm to 7pm;
  • avoid the Mont-Blanc tunnel heading to Italy, from 7am to 10am.

Return journeys:

  • avoid the A13 between Caen and Rouen from 5pm to 7pm;
  • avoid the A10, at the Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines tollgate from 11am to 8pm, and between Bordeaux and Saintes from 11am to 10pm;
  • avoid the A63 between the Spanish border and Bayonne from 11am to 9pm;
  • avoid the A7 between Marseille and Orange from 11am to 8pm, and between Orange and Lyon from 9am to 10pm;
  • avoid the A8 between Italy and Fréjus from 10am to 8pm, and between Fréjus and Aix-en-Provence from 9am to 8pm;
  • avoid the A9 between Narbonne and Montpellier from 5pm to 7pm;
  • avoid the A62 between Toulouse and Montauban from 11am to 8pm;
  • avoid the A61 between Narbonne and Carcassonne from 5pm to 7pm;
  • avoid the Mont-Blanc tunnel heading to France, from 1pm to 8pm.

For travel on Saturday, Bison Futé advises travellers on outward journeys:

Map: Bison Futé
  • avoid the A7 between Lyon and Orange from 9am to 5pm, and between Orange and Marseille, from 11am to 5pm;
  • avoid the A9 between Montpellier and Narbonne from 10am to 3pm;
  • avoid the Mont-Blanc tunnel heading to Italy, from 9am to 6pm.

And, for return journeys:

  • return to or cross the Ile-de-France before 2pm;
  • avoid the A13 between Caen and Rouen from 10am to 4pm;
  • avoid the A10 between Bordeaux and Poitiers from 8am to 4pm;
  • avoid the A63 between Bayonne and Bordeaux from 10am to 4pm;
  • avoid the A7 between Orange and Lyon from 8am to 5pm, and between Marseille and Orange from 9am to 2pm;
  • avoid the A9 between Narbonne and Montpellier from 10am to 1pm;
  • avoid the A75 between Lodève and Millau from 10am to 4pm;
  • avoid the A62 between Toulouse and Bordeaux from 10am to 1pm;
  • avoid the A61 between Narbonne and Carcassonne from 10am to 12pm;
  • avoid the Mont-Blanc tunnel heading to France from 10am to 5pm (waiting time higher than 30 min).

Travel on Sunday eases for those heading towards coastal areas, but for motorists heading home, Bison Futé advises:

Map: Bison Futé
  • Return to or cross the Île-de-France before 12noon;
  • avoid the A1 between Senlis and Paris, from 6pm to 8pm;
  • avoid the A11 between Le Mans and Paris, from 2pm to 8pm;
  • avoid the A13 between Caen and Rouen, from 11am to 8pm;
  • avoid the A10 at the Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines tollgate from 3pm to 8pm, and between Bordeaux and Poitiers, from 10am to 8pm;
  • avoid the A7 between Marseille and Orange from 10am to 7pm, and between Orange and Lyon from 8am to 8pm;
  • avoid the A8 between Italy and Fréjus from 10am to 12pm, and between Fréjus and Aix-en-Provence from 10am to 8pm;
  • avoid the A71 between Bourges and Orléans, from 11am to 6pm;
  • avoid the A62 between Toulouse and Bordeaux from 11am to 7pm;
  • avoid the A61 between Narbonne and Toulouse from 11am to 8pm;
  • avoid the Mont-Blanc tunnel heading to France from 4pm to 8pm.

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STRIKES

UPDATE: French air traffic controllers cancel strike action in September

The main union representing French air traffic controllers has cancelled calls for a strike from September 28th to 30th, after "reaching an agreement with their supervisory ministry."

UPDATE: French air traffic controllers cancel strike action in September

SNCTA, the main union for air traffic controllers said this week that they had lifted their calls for a three-day strike at the end of September after coming to an agreement with France Ministry of Transport. 

In a statement on its website, the SNCTA said “In view of the concrete progress made on the demands, the SNCTA is lifting its [strike] notice for September 28th, 29th and 30th. The strong mobilisation of September 16th was necessary and instrumental for reaching this conciliation in a very constrained calendar. Thank you to all of you!” 

The French ministry of transport has not yet commented on the above agreement or lifting of the strike.

The International Air Transport Association tweeted their support for the SNCTA’s decision to cancel further industrial action, calling Friday’s strike “unnecessary.”

The association also urged the European Union to implement a “Single European Sky.” This reform, which was put forward almost 20 years ago, has not yet reached fruition. It intends to shift the current system of air traffic organisation away from national borders and toward a “coherent zone” in order to reduce emissions and save both time and money.

The strike on September 16th left over 1,000 flights in France grounded, as well as widespread delays and over 2,400 flight cancellations across Europe. 

The SNCTA mobilised for wage increases due to the rising cost of living, in addition to an acceleration of recruitment in order to anticipate a wave of retirements. After Friday’s action, the union had called for further strikes from September 28th to 30th before reaching an agreement with their supervisory ministry. 

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