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Recap: Heavy traffic all weekend in France plus some TGVs cancelled

The number of drivers on certain motorways is expected to double this weekend

An image of a traffic jam

Heavy traffic is affecting roads around France this weekend Pic: ddisq / Shutterstock

Some four million drivers are expected to take to France’s motorways each day this Ascension Bank Holiday weekend, twice as many as normal. 

This is according to motorway company Vinci Autoroutes, which has called for motorists to be careful so as to avoid bumping another car when caught in traffic jams.

The first hold-ups began yesterday morning (May 25), as people using today’s public holiday to faire le pont (make a bridge) to a long weekend set off on trips around the country. 

National traffic forecasting service Bison Futé has classed yesterday and today (May 26) as being “very difficult” in terms of traffic with congestion expected to last until the middle of this afternoon at least and until midnight on some roads.

Read more: Ascension Day holiday: prepare for heavy traffic on French roads

“Everyone is mobilised,” at Vinci Autoroutes, said the network’s regional Rhône Alpes Auvergne communications director Morgane Sauzay. 

“We have reinforced our patrols [...] on the network but also our operators on our safety systems to regulate traffic and reduce the occurrence of bottlenecks, even though these will happen.”

At service stations: “restaurants and petrol stations have also boosted their staff numbers by calling on the first seasonal workers.” 

TGV and Intercité disruption in Occitanie

As drivers struggle to avoid traffic jams on the roads, people travelling to Ascension breaks by train may encounter problems if they are journeying through Occitanie in the south this weekend. 

Numerous trains have been cancelled because of maintenance works aimed at modernising the tracks. Some 300 workers are expected to be rotating constantly over the next four days, in order to get the job done as quickly as possible.

Therefore, from today until Sunday (May 29), there will be: 

  • No TGV Sud-Est or Ouigo leaving or arriving in Toulouse-Matabiau or Perpignan. Montpellier Saint-Roch and Montpellier Sud de France will be the TGV terminus for this time

  • No TGV Atlantique or Ouigo arriving in or departing from Montpellier. However, trains heading to or from Bordeaux and then Paris-Montparnasse will be running almost as normal

  • ‘Severe disruption’ to Intercités trains in Occitanie

Rail replacement buses may be put in place by SNCF for affected passengers. 

Regional IiO trains will also be affected, with cancellations on the: 

  • Narbonne-Sète line from today to Sunday at 11:00

  • Brive-Cahors and Brive-Capdenac lines from today at 15:00 until Sunday at 10:00

  • Castelnaudary-Narbonne and Carcassonne-Limoux lines from today until Sunday at 11:00

This weekend will also give the rail operator a chance to carry out modernisation works in Toulouse-Matabiau station, on the tracks around Carcassonne and on a rail bridge near Béziers as well as the installation of a new rail bridge in Agde.

Why are these works happening on Ascension weekend? 

SNCF wants to carry out these works on this weekend because many people in France will be taking a break and not travelling on the train for work. 

The operator has stated that people wishing to travel for holidays were still able to depart on Wednesday and can still return on Sunday afternoon.

How do I know if my train is impacted? 

SNCF did not sell tickets for trains affected by the works. 

However, if you are still concerned, you can find out more on the SNCF app, the IiO website or by calling 36-36 or 0800 31 31 31 for free.

Related articles 

New TGV will allow travel from Paris to Berlin in seven hours

Faire le pont: When are France’s four-day weekends possible?

Worst French airports for delays and seven other France travel updates


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