The combination of school holidays beginning in some parts of France and ending in others, the annual Easter getaway, and a public holiday on Monday, will see plenty of traffic jams across France this weekend. The worst are expected on Easter Monday.
Official road information organisation Bison Futé has announced an orange warning (‘difficult’ traffic) for the whole country for Friday and Saturday, with many traffic jams expected as people leave large towns and cities up to 15.00 on Saturday.
It advises drivers to avoid hitting the road from big cities - including Paris, Marseille, Lille, Nice, Nantes and Strasbourg - between 11.00 and 15.00 in the northern half of France and between 9.00 and 13.00 in the southern half.
On Saturday a red warning (‘very difficult’) is in place for those leaving the Alps, and an orange one for those heading there.
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Easter Sunday is ranked green (normal traffic) nationally and orange in Ile-de-France, the Grand-Est, and Burgundy-Franche-Comté. Traffic should be normal, with the exception of some delays for those returning to the capital from the Rhône-Alpes region.
Slow traffic is expected on the A10 (Bordeaux-Paris) and the A6 (Lyon-Paris) between 16.00 and 20.00. As usual on Sundays during a bank holiday weekend, heavy vehicles will be prohibited from travelling from midnight to midnight.
Easter Monday is classified red at national level for those returning home to big cities, with difficulties from 15.00. Among the roads to avoid are the A7 (Marseille-Lyon) between 10.00 and 12.00 and the A43 (Italy-Lyon) between 10.00 and 13.00.
Ongoing roadworks in the following spots will also affect traffic this weekend, said Bison Futé.
Rail travel strike warning
To make matters worse for those who wish to leave the car behind and travel by train this weekend, strike action by train drivers and controllers is being threatened. Strikes have already been confirmed in Auvergne from 19.00 tonight (Thursday) until Saturday April 15 at 08.00, and until 08.00 on Tuesday April 18 in Rhône-Alpes.
Anyone planning to travel by train this weekend is advised to check the SNCF website for updates.