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Cost of living: Five ways to beat the motorway toll rises in France

Spend a little time planning your journey and you could save money on French motorway tolls

Cars queuing to go through motorway toll

Charges soon add up on French motorways Pic: Spech / Shutterstock

It is possible to save money on motorway tolls which rose across France by around 2% on average in February. Here are five ideas.

1. Leave and rejoin the motorway

The precise increase depends on the motorway company and the section you drive on. Short journeys are usually cheaper, and it is perfectly legal to leave the motorway, double back at the nearest opportunity and enter again at the same junction, which can reduce the amount you pay overall. This can add just a few minutes to a trip.

Read more: 2022 changes for drivers in France: Higher taxes and speed limiters

2. Use a route comparison website

Comparison website autoroute-eco.fr has done the sums, and you can see savings and options by entering your journey details.

It estimates you can save €6, for example, on the popular Paris to Bordeaux A10 route by leaving the motorway seven times, with roundabouts nearby to ensure detours are quick. If you do the 590km journey without leaving the motorway, it costs €57 in tolls.

3. Check the price of each motorway section

There are five categories of payment, based on height and weight. Class 1 is for vehicles under 2m and 3.5 tonnes. You can work out the cost yourself by looking up detailed prices for each motorway section on the autoroutes.fr interactive map.

4. Consider money spent on petrol

Online route planners such as viamichelin.com can show if it would be cheaper to bypass toll roads, taking into account petrol consumption.

You could save €17 by avoiding tolls on a 725km journey from Souillac in Lot to Brest in Brittany, although it takes 20 minutes longer.

5. Save with a motorway toll badge

Reductions also exist with some of the motorway toll badges, which get you through booths quicker with an automatic payment system.

The Ulys 30 card, for example, gives 30% off for the same journey driven 20 times (10 times for a return journey) in a month.

Related articles

French motorway network announces freeze on most short-trip toll costs

Fine for not paying at toll gates in France rises to €375

Paris-Normandy toll motorway sections to go barrierless by 2025

 

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