Ways to avoid queues at motorway tolls in France

You can make travel easier by anticipating the 133 payment barriers

Telepeage requires a transponder badge in your vehicle which let you pay automatically

There are more than 130 toll barriers (péages) on French motorways, which can significantly add to travel costs and time on the road. Here are three ways to avoid the queues.

  1. Buy an automatic télépéage badge

These badges and kept in the vehicle (often stuck onto the windscreen) and emit a radio signal to the barriers to open. They cost as little as €2 a month on top of toll costs and let you drive through the tolls without having to pay by card or with cash. There are often dedicated lanes to use them and some allow you to, in theory, pass at up to 30kmh.

The rights they give vary depending on the offer, but most offer a discount on prices at the toll, which are counterbalanced by the monthly cost of owning telepeage badge.

The more expensive badges provide other advantages, such as the ability to pay for car parking, electric car charging, travel on other European motorways and a lower price when not in use.

The various motorway operators have their own versions and while the major ones work on all motorways, they do not necessarily cover special sites such as the Normandy bridge, the Millau viaduct or the Mont Blanc tunnel.

The three major télépéage badges, are

  • Ulys (Vinci autoroutes)

  • Bip and Go (Sanef autoroutes)

  • Fulli (Eiffage)

While their monthly cost is already low enough to pay for itself for regular motorway users, market leader Ulys lets new customers use it for free for eight months (although drivers must still pay the tolls).

Not all of the tolls are on motorways, some cover special sites such as the Millau viaduct

2. Carsharing

Only the Mont Blanc tunnel operator ATMB offers dedicated car share lanes at tolls despite the rise of car share lanes.

Read more: Radars to catch drivers wrongly using car share lane on rise in France 

However, the Ulys telepeage system offers discounted prices to drivers doing carshares via the Blablacar app.

Read more: Money saver: Ways to reduce motorway toll fees in France 

3. Toll-booth free motorways

The spread of barrier-free motorways means that the delays caused by toll are no longer a consideration on some motorways.

In 2024, this only concerns two stretches of motorways, an 88-km stretch of the A79 between Saône-et-Loire and Allier (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté), as well as part of the A4 near Boulay (Moselle).

However, from December, the A13-14 from Paris to Caen (Calvados) will also be toll booth free for over 200 km.

Read more: Which French motorways are to become toll booth free - and when? 

These systems rely on technology similar to that used to assess heavy goods vehicles for the eco-tax, with gantry cranes equipped with cameras that scan vehicles’ toll-pass badges and number plates.

Drivers are then charged based on the distance travelled, and either pay either monthly or per trip on the website of the motorway operator, at dedicated pay stations in service stations, via their télépéage badge or in a tabac. 

So far this concerns only the A74 and A4, however the system is set to expand with the opening of the free-flow A13-14.