Tolls in France are an almost unavoidable fact of life if you are looking to drive any great distances but this shouldn't put you off going for a driving holiday through France or a fly drive trip.
When travelling on the “Autoroutes” (motorways) toll charges are often a necessary evil as the country is so huge in comparison to England, Ireland Scotland or Wales. If you are planning to drive 400-500 km then avoiding the Autoroutes would just take forever. The Autoroutes are marked "A", for example “A71”. ("N" roads are trunk roads, and “D” everything else).
I’m loathe to put prices in this FAQ post as they are always subject to change and I don’t want it to become out of date. Therefore for you to calculate exactly how much it will cost in toll charges I have put a couple of links at the bottom of this article so you can visit a website that offers a “toll road calculator” and a "toll road map".
The reason there are so many toll roads in France is simply because unlike the UK the main roads are not owned by the government they are operated by different companies. The number and variety of the toll operators does mean that there is little consistency over pricing.
Some of the toll roads are terrific value and can save you a couple of hours on your journey time and it’s worthwhile remembering that in Brittany the government do own the roads so there are no tolls there.
Unfortunately though some toll charges are very expensive so we suggest you read this also.
When you approach the toll booths the difficulty is that they are designed for left hand drive cars so if you don’t have a passenger with you it will be slightly more difficult to navigate them but honestly I've always managed without too much trouble.
It’s worth remembering that the autoroutes with tolls on are sign posted “péage” (toll) and a blue sign, the normal free carriageways have a green road signs.
You should also note that you get a ticket when you start on the toll road and pay at the end.
Cash or card is fine but you might want to consider having an electronic Telepeage badge. This means that when you approach the tolls the barrier will automatically lift for you and you just pay on the card at the end of your trip(s).
A company called Sanef are probably the leading UK operator for these though I have to confess I’ve never used them. If you have I’d be interested in your feedback, so please contact me via email on the website or via one of my social media channels.
It will cost more if you are towing a caravan etc. so make extra allowances for the expenses on your chosen route.
I would stress that drive-france.com has no connection with these websites and does not get any financial inducements to refer you to them. We take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided. Though I personally have used them in the past and found them a very useful guide.
Also if you read this page you will see a real life case study of the cost's involved if you are considering getting an Automatic Payment Tag so you don't have to queue up to pay at the peage.
We recommend that you watch this video all about the Sanef Liber-t automatic payment tag and read the article all about it here.