A Guide to French Motorway Tolls

June 11, 2023 in Destinations, Tips for Travellers, France & Toll roads & vignettes

France is home to many tourist hotspots, ranging from the grand Eiffel Tower in Paris to the deep blue waters of the French Riviera. The rich culture and history of the country attract visitors from all around the globe, many of whom prefer to rent a car or motorhome and cruise down the French roads for the ultimate experience.

Like a lot of countries in Europe, France has motorway tolls. Driving a motorhome on French toll roads can make planning your budget road trip across France a little more difficult. But worry not, with a few tips and tricks you'll be an expert on the French péage in no time. In this guide, you’ll find easy step-by-step guidelines for driving on French toll roads, or even working around tolls completely. 

Goboony Motorhome Campervan H2 Tollroad

What category is a motorhome on French toll roads? 

Toll fees in France vary according to the classification of your vehicle, so it is important to know what category your vehicle falls under. This is especially important to remember when using a French toll calculator. There are 5 categories in total, which you can find below. If you’re driving a motorhome, then your vehicle is likely to fall under class 2 or 3. 

Category 1: Cars, also referred to as passenger vehicles or light vehicles. 

-Vehicle height less than 2 meters 
-The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is less than 5,5 tonnes

Category 2: Intermediate vehicle

-Vehicle height between 2 to 3 metres 
-The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is less than 5,5 tonnes 

Category 3: Heavy vehicles or buses with 2 axles*

-Vehicle height of 3 metres or more 
-The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is greater than 3.5 tonnes

Category 4: Heavy Goods Vehicles, trucks or larger vehicles with more than 2 axles

-Vehicle height of 4 meters or more 
-The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is greater than 3,5 tonnes 

Category 5: Motorbikes (can be with sidecar) 

*Please note: on the A14 autoroute category 3 vehicles are classified as category 4 vehicles

If you're unsure as to which category your motorhome classifies, consult the Autoroutes classification page.  

Goboony Toll Road Highway Motorhome H2 Van

How to identify a French toll road or autoroute 

The first thing you'll notice when you're about to drive onto a Fench toll road is a big blue sign that says 'Péage'. The top part of the sign is marked with the letter ‘A’ followed by a number (such as A 43). *The ‘A’ indicates that you are on an autoroute. Next to it, you’ll find the letter ‘E’ next to a number (such as E 70). This is because European route numbers are displayed where suitable. At the bottom of the sign, the word ‘Péage’ (pronounced pay-arje) is written, indicating the entrance to a toll road. 

Normally, as you enter an autoroute, you pick up a ticket from a booth (simply by pressing a button). You then pay either when you leave the autoroute or when the toll section ends. The ticket is handed in at another booth upon your exit, and you are charged according to the distance travelled.  

However, not all toll roads in France require you to have a ticket. Some autoroutes have a fixed tariff you pay as you exit the road. 

Through which lane should you pass on a French toll road? 

French motorway toll booths are split along several lanes. Each lane has a sign above it, to let drivers know which method of payment each booth accepts. The signs are simple to understand: 

Red cross: lane is closed 

Green arrow: lane is open 

Blue coins: cash is taken, but no change is returned 

Blue man: lane is staffed, and change is given 

Blue rectangle with CB written on it OR credit cards: debit and credit card only

Orange T: drivers with an automatic toll charging sensor

Goboony France Mountain Highway H2 Toll

Plan your trip on French toll roads in advance 

It's definitely worth planning your trip in advance and checking how much you’ll spend on toll roads in France before you set off, so you know what to expect. On average, it’s estimated that you spend €1 for every 10 miles (£0.90 for every 16km). This of course may vary according to the category your car is placed in. You can always use a French toll calculator for more accurate results. On the French motorway company website, simply enter the location of your departure and arrival and all the information you need is provided. The website provides visitors with a French toll road map, an estimated driving time and the cost of toll charges. You can also edit your vehicle category for a more accurate toll calculation.

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How much do French toll roads cost? 

As for French toll charges, it is hard to state the exact amount you will have to pay, as it depends on where your road trip will start and end. We recommend you use the calculator for this. However, some prices for popular autoroutes are listed below. There is a difference between the ‘Classe’ of the vehicle, which is the category it falls under. 

  • Aix-en-Provence to Nice: 17,60 euros for Classe A & 26,80 euros for Classe B

  • Bordeaux to Paris: 55,60 euros for Classe A & 85,60 euros for Classe B

  • Calais to Paris: 22,10 euros for Classe A & 33,90 euros for Classe B

  • Lyon to Paris: 34,80 euros for Classe A & 54,40 euros for Classe B

  • Marseille to Paris: 59,50 euros for Classe A & 93,70 euros for Classe B

Need to hire a motorhome in France?

Best tips for driving on French toll roads

  • Avoid travelling around the weeks of July 14th and August 15th (both of which are national holidays). Roads can become quite busy, making travelling a bit more of a hassle. 
  • The French are renowned for driving holidays and thus tend to hit the roads when they’re on holiday from the beginning to the end of August, so be prepared to drive on busier roads during this period. 
  • Be sure to check out this French toll road map before starting your journey! It features both free routes and toll roads, making it easier for you to stay within budget and explore more of the country. 
  • Last but not least, have you ever considered avoiding driving on toll roads altogether? There are many compelling reasons to avoid motorways on your next road trip, especially when driving a motorhome or campervan. So make sure to check them out before setting off on a trip across France. 

Goboony Motorhome Campervan H2 Nature
Now that you're up to date on everything there is to know about driving on French toll roads, you're ready to start a road trip of a lifetime across this beloved country. Simply dart across the channel on a ferry or through the Eurotunnel, or simply hire a motorhome in France. Don't forget to check out these best motorhome campsites in France

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