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Drivers in France warned of long traffic jams over 'worst weekend of summer'

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James Harrington - [email protected]
Drivers in France warned of long traffic jams over 'worst weekend of summer'
Vehicles at a toll station on the A7 between Lyon and Vienne. (Photo by PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP)

France’s roads watchdog has issued travel warnings for this weekend, with heavy traffic expected on main routes across the country especially on Saturday.

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If you have travel plans in France that you can postpone, it’s probably a good idea to do so. France’s roads watchdog Bison Futé has forecast that the worst travel day of the year on French roads will be on Saturday, August 5th - as the last of the July holidaymakers head back home, and the August getawayers set off en masse for the beaches.

Traffic will be much busier than normal from Friday, with some hoping to avoid the worst of the expected traffic jams by setting off early. And problems will persist into Monday.

While travel is classed as difficult or very difficult - orange and red on Bison Futé’s four-level colour-coded alert system - on Friday, Sunday and Monday, Saturday is classed as “extremely difficult” - or black on its colour system, its highest alert level.

Last Saturday, when a red travel alert had been issued for conditions on France's main arterial routes, more than 1,000km of traffic jams were recorded by mid-day. 

This weekend, problems will begin on Friday morning, a day classified red for travel out of cities to tourist areas across France. “In Île-de-France, traffic will be very heavy towards the A10 and A6 motorways. The A7, A31 and A63 will be very busy," Bison Futé said.

 

Image: Bison Futé
 

For journeys out of cities on Friday, August 4th, Bison Futé advises avoiding:

  • travel in the Paris region and major cities after 12noon;
  • the A31 between Nancy and Luxembourg from 12noon to 7pm;
  • the A63 between Bordeaux and Bayonne, from 11am to 4pm;
  • the A10 between Orleans and Tours, from 12noon to 9pm;
  • the A7 between Lyon and Orange, from 11am to 9pm;
  • the Mont-Blanc tunnel into Italy between 12noon and 5pm.

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For return journeys that day, avoid:

  • the A7 between Marseille and Salon de Provence from 12noon to 2pm, and between Orange and Lyon from 5pm to 7pm;
  • the A8 between Nice and Aix-en-Provence from 6pm to 8pm;
  • the A9 between Narbonne and Montpellier from 8pm to 10pm;
  • the Mont-Blanc tunnel into France between 4pm and 6pm.

For Saturday - the busiest day of the year on French roads, the traffic watchdog has warned of “extremely difficult” travel.

“From very early in the morning, the A7, A9, A10, A61, A71 and A75 motorways will be heavily used by motorists,” it said. The A43 motorway will also experience difficulties between Lyon and Chambéry from late morning into the afternoon - and it said it would be best to avoid A9, between Montpellier and Narbonne from 8am to 5pm.

For outward journeys on Saturday, August 5th, avoid:

Image: Bison Futé
  • Travel in the the Île-de-France region between 6am and 1pm;
  • the A10 between Orléans and Bordeaux between 7am and 7pm;
  • the A7 between Lyon and Orange between 5am and 6pm;
  • the A9 between Montpellier and Narbonne from 8am to 5pm;
  • the A71 near Clermont-Ferrand from 8am to 10am;
  • the A75 between Clermont-Ferrand and Montpellier from 8am to 3pm;
  • the A61 between Toulouse and Narbonne from 10am to 1pm;
  • the A43 between Lyon and Chambéry from 11am to 1pm;
  • the A63 between Bordeaux and Bayonne from 7am to 7pm;
  • the A20 between Limoges and Brive-la-Gaillarde from 11am to 5pm;
  • the N165 between Nantes and Quimper from 11am to 8pm;
  • the Mont-Blanc tunnel into Italy between 11am and 4pm.

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For return journeys that day, avoid:

  • Travel in the Île-de-France region after 2pm;
  • the A7 between Marseille and Lyon from 9am to 6pm;
  • the A9 between Narbonne and Orange from 9am to 5pm;
  • the A75 between Montpellier and Clermont-Ferrand from 5am to 9am;
  • the Mont-Blanc tunnel into France between 12noon and 10pm.

For outward journeys on Sunday, August 6th, avoid:

Image: Bison Futé
  • Travel in Île-de-France and major cities after 8am;
  • the A10 between Orleans and Tours from 7am to 12noon, and near Bordeaux from 5pm to 8pm;
  • the A7 between Lyon and Orange from 1pm to 7pm;
  • the A71 near Clermont-Ferrand from 11am to 5pm;
  • the A61 between Toulouse and Narbonne from 8am to 2pm;
  • the Mont-Blanc tunnel into Italy between 10am and 5pm.

No particular traffic problems are expected for return journeys on Sunday.

For outward journeys on Monday, August 7th, avoid:

Image: Bison Futé
  • the A10 in the Paris region from 10am to 2pm, and near Bordeaux from 3pm to 7pm;
  • the A7 between Lyon and Orange from 10am to 6pm;
  • the A9 between Montpellier and Spain from 11am to 3pm;
  • the A63 between Bordeaux and Bayonne from 12noon to 4pm;
  • the Mont-Blanc tunnel into Italy between 12noon to 4pm.

As with Sunday, no particular traffic problems are expected for return journeys on Monday.

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