Driving on the Motorway (Autoroute)
The autoroutes in France are a network of toll-paying motorways that span the length and breadth of the country. There are a number of different companies that manage these motorways as you pass from one region to the next, a full list of which can be found here, along with links to their individual websites and details of the areas they manage,.
Motorists pay tolls for the sections of the road that they use, usually collecting a ticket from an automatic dispenser when they enter a section and settling up at one of the many toll booths or “péages” at the other end. The amount you pay depends on the type of vehicle you are driving and how far you’ve travelled within the toll zone but you will see the prices clearly marked as you approach the booths.
Tolls can be paid either in cash or by credit card or you can subscribe to an automatic payment system which allows you to pass through the “télépéage” lane (indicated by an orange letter T). The télépéage works with a small bar-coded gadget fixed to the inside of your windscreen which is then automatically scanned as you approach the toll barrier. The toll amounts are then debited from your credit card on a monthly basis for which you’ll receive a regular bill. If you’re planning on spending some time in France, then these “péage badges” are well worth investing in (especially if you’re in a right-hand drive car!). All you need to do is apply for an “abonnement Liber-t” through SANEF (website only in French) and register your details (including a credit card) on the site. The badge itself costs around €30 which is refundable when you return it and you also pay €2 per month for the convenience of not having to wait in the lengthy cash and credit card queues!
As a rough guideline, when driving from Calais to Moutiers (near the 3 Valleys) you can expect to pay around €60 in tolls each way. See here for the current French motorway toll rates