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France’s July and August holiday crossover: heavy traffic this weekend

Saturday will be the most congested day of the weekend. We look at the roads which will see the heaviest traffic

Heavy traffic is expected across France this weekend Pic: Sander van der Werf / Shutterstock

People driving on French motorways this weekend should expect heavy traffic, as the country’s juilletistes come back from holiday, and its aoûtiens set off. 

Read more: Explainer: who are France’s ‘juilletistes’ and ‘aoûtiens’?

Last year, this Saturday saw 1,000km of traffic jams across France.

Today (July 29), state forecasting service Bison Futé states that conditions are “very difficult” in the sense of departures from big cities. In terms of return journeys, the traffic will be “difficult” across the whole of France apart from Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, where it will be “very difficult”. 

The situation will worsen on Saturday (July 30), with departures being “extremely difficult” and return journeys “very difficult” across the whole country. 

On Sunday, the roads will begin to quieten, with conditions being “difficult” in terms of departures – and “very difficult” in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes – and normal for return journeys apart from in southeastern areas, where it will be “difficult”. 

Friday 

In terms of departures, people travelling today should try to get out of Ile-de-France by 12:00 and avoid the: 

  • A1 between Paris and Senlis from 17:00 to 19:00 

  • A10 between Orléans and Poitiers from 08:00 to 20:00 and between Poitiers and Bordeaux from 11:00 to 17:00 

  • A63 between Bayonne and Spain from 09:00 to 20:00 

  • A6 between Beaune and Mâcon from 11:00 to 19:00

  • A7 between Lyon and Orange from 11:00 to 21:00 and between Orange and Marseille from 13:00 to 20:00 

  • A8 between Aix-en-Provence and Fréjus from 14:00 until 20:00 and between Cannes and Italy from 08:00 to 18:00 

  • A20 between Limoges and Brive-la-Gaillarde from 14:00 to 18:00 

  • A62 between Bordeaux and Toulouse from 14:00 to 19:00 

  • A61 between Toulouse and Carcassonne from 16:00 to 18:00 

  • A42 between Lyon and Pont-d’Ain from 09:00 to 13:00 

  • A43 between Lyon and Chambéry from 16:09 to 19:00 

Access to Italy through the Mont Blanc tunnel will be difficult until 19:00, with delays of up to an hour. 

For return journeys, drivers should try to get back to Ile-de-France before 14:00 and avoid the: 

  • A63 between Spain and Bayonne from 17:00 until 19:00 

  • A6 between Lyon and Beaune from 13:00 to 18:00 

  • A7 between Marseille and Orange from 08:00 until 20:00 and between Orange and Lyon from 09:00 until 20:00 

  • A8 between Italy and Fréjus from 10:00 until 20:00 and between Fréjus and Aix-en-Provence from 08:00 until 20:00 

  • A9 between Narbonne and Orange from 16:00 to 19:00 

  • A62 between Toulouse and Agen from 14:00 to 20:00 

Returning to France from Italy through the Mont Blanc tunnel will be tricky between 16:00 and 18:00, with delays lasting up to an hour. 

Saturday

People setting off on trips on Saturday should also aim to get out of Ile-de-France by 12:00, and avoid the: 

  • A13 between Rouen and Caen from 09:00 until 16:00 

  • A11 between Paris and Angers from 10:00 until 12:00 

  • A10 around Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines from 06:00 until 13:00, between Orléans and Poitiers from 08:00 until 17:00 and between Poitiers and Bordeaux from 09:00 until 12:00 

  • A63 between Bordeaux and Spain from 10:00 until 19:00 

  • A7 between Lyon and Orange from 07:00 until 18:00 and between Orange and Marseille from 08:00 until 20:00 

  • A8 between Aix-en-Provence and Fréjus from 08:00 until 20:00 and between Cannes and Italy from 10:00 until 12:00 

  • A9 between Montpellier and Narbonne from 09:00 until 12:00 

  • A20 between Limoges and Brive-la-Gaillarde from 08:00 until 19:00 

  • A71 between Orléans and Bourges from 09:00 until 11:00 and between Bourges and Clermont-Ferrand from 09:00 until 13:00 

  • A75 between Clermont-Ferrand and Lodève from 10:00 until 16:00 

  • A750 between Lodève and Montpellier from 11:00 until 13:00 

  • A62 between Agen and Toulouse from 09:00 until 17:00 

  • A61 between Toulouse and Narbonne from 10:00 until 15:00 

Access to Italy through the Mont Blanc tunnel will be difficult between 10:00 and 19:00, with waiting times above one hour. 

For return journeys, drivers are advised to get back into Ile-de-France between 14:00 and avoid the: 

  • A13 between Caen and Rouen from 12:00 until 14:00 

  • A11 between Angers and Le Mans from 10:00 and 14:00 

  • RN165 between Lorient and Nantes from 11:00 until 13:00 

  • A10 between Bordeaux and Poitiers from 09:00 until 14:00 

  • A7 between Marseille and Orange from 09:00 until 14:00 and between Orange and Lyon from 09:00 until 19:00 

  • A8 between Italy and Fréjus from 10:00 until 12:00 and between Fréjus and Aix-en-Provence between 09:00 and 14:00 

  • A62 between Toulouse and Bordeaux from 10:00 until 17:00 

The Mont Blanc tunnel will see heavy France-bound traffic between 16:00 and 18:00, with delays stretching beyond one hour. 

Sunday 

People setting off on trips on Sunday should try to get out of Ile-de-France before 07:00 and avoid the: 

  • A10 around Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines between 09:00 and 12:00 and between Orléans and Bordeaux from 09:00 until 17:00 

  • A63 between Bayonne and Spain from 11:00 until 16:00 

  • A7 between Lyon and Orange from 07:00 until 20:00 and between Orange and Marseille from 09:00 until 21:00 

  • A8 between Aix-en-Provence and Fréjus from 08:00 until 20:00 and between Cannes and Italy from 17:00 until 20:00 

  • A9 between Orange and Narbonne from 09:00 until 18:00 

  • A20 between Limoges and Brive-la-Gaillarde from 11:00 until 21:00 

  • A62 between Agen and Toulouse from 11:00 until 21:00 

  • A61 between Toulouse and Narbonne from 09:00 until 17:00 

The Mont Blanc tunnel will be busy between 10:00 and 17:00, with waiting times exceeding 30 minutes.  

In terms of return journeys, drivers should aim to get back to Ile-de-France before 14:00 and avoid the: 

  • A10 between Bordeaux and Saintes from 10:00 until 17:00 

  • A7 between Marseille and Orange from 10:00 until 19:00 and between Orange and Lyon from 11:00 until 19:00 

  • A8 between Italy and Cannes from 10:00 until 12:00 and between Fréjus and Aix-en-Provence from 09:00 until 19:00 

  • A9 between Narbonne and Orange from 11:00 until 20:00 

  • A62 between Toulouse and Agen from 11:00 until 19:00 

  • A61 between Narbonne and Carcassonne from 11:00 until 19:00 

People returning to France from Italy through the Mont Blanc tunnel may encounter a wait of over an hour between 15:00 and 18:00. 

This weekend’s heavy traffic comes as SNCF is also set to see record numbers of passengers, with 400,000 expected. 

SNCF Voyageurs has said that ticket reservations are 10% higher at this point in the summer than they were in 2019. 

You can find out more about traffic conditions this weekend on the Bison Futé website. 

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