Jump to content

Toll free to spain


mickcope

Recommended Posts

For the past ten years I have been driving to spain using the toll roads with no problems and a very easy ride. I may want to fund a new motorbike and thought I could justify it to the boss by suggesting using toll free journeys to spain. Google seems to recommend going via Rouen and Pau and down via Zaragoza.

 

Not having driven seriously off toll in France I just wondered if it is worth the effort - or does the extra hassle and added hidden cost to the trip mean it is not worth the effort

 

Thanks for any advice

 

Mick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've done just that in April (Rouen, Le Mans, Poitiers, Angouleme , Bergerac, Mont de Marsan, Bayonne) and are currently on our way back via Somport tunnel, Pau) - but we're away 12 weeks so time is not a problem. And we'd much prefer to use N roads in France, stopping often, than autoroutes - only used toll motorway to bypass Poitiers.

 

If you're only going for a fortnight, say, the calculation may be different?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Had Enough

Time is the most important part of the equation, followed by comfort and hassle. If you're going away for a long time and can spare an extra couple of days each way and don't mind a lot of tiring hassle going toll free will save a couple of hundred euros.

 

However, be warned! Driving through France is not the romantic jaunt that some people portray it as. You will not go through pretty villages peopled by locals in striped shirts and berets with strings of onions round their necks, drinking Pastis whilst someone plays an accordion.

 

The scenery is flat and boring with many industrial areas. Every nice village is by-passed with ring roads that have about eight roundabouts to negotiate. You'll get stuck behind slow-moving vehicles and, as happened to us twice this year, you may come to a dreaded Route Barree sign. The French are good at closing off a road and sending you on a twenty mile detour along tiny little lanes where huge lorries, also diverted, almost force you off the road.

 

As you already know, the motorway is stress free and much quicker. You can overnight on the excellent picnic aires which I've found to be safe and they also have water and toilets.

 

My policy is to use tolls if I want to get to Spain or a particular part of France and then of course use non-motorway roads when exploring the region.

 

I will make you a small bet. If you go to Spain avoiding toll roads, I'll bet that you'll come back cheerfully paying to use them! You're different from many others on here as you already know the advantages of toll roads and don't have a total aversion to paying for them.

 

I'll be interested to learn how you go on, what you decide and to hear your views should you not use tolls in either direction.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had Enough

 

As you already know, the motorway is stress free and much quicker. You can overnight on the excellent picnic aires which I've found to be safe and they also have water and toilets.

 

My policy is to use tolls if I want to get to Spain or a particular part of France and then of course use non-motorway roads when exploring the region.

 

I will make you a small bet. If you go to Spain avoiding toll roads, I'll bet that you'll come back cheerfully paying to use them!

 

Jeez, I thought for one terrible moment from the opening sentences of the post I was going to be in the horrendous position of agreeing with Hadmorethanenoughthanks!

 

Choice is clearly up to you, and I do completely agree there's a place for autoroutes to get somewhere quickly but lots of people have not been safe overnighting on motorway picnic aires - maybe Frank's notoriety has spread to France so even potential miscreants avoid him!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Had Enough

As I see it Solwaybuggerer, if they were to change the name of motorway picnic aires (MPA) to Motorhome Overnight Stops, people would flock to them!

 

I've never understood why people feel safer on an aire next to a town, where the scrotes only have to walk to rob you, than a motorway picnic aire where they have to get in their cars and register their presence on the toll CCTV cameras.

 

Commonsense is the key. I never use an MPA that's too close to a large centre such as Bordeaux but have overnighted for years on them all over France without a whiff of trouble.

 

You're just as likely to be robbed on a conventional aire or on a campsite and in some areas more likely.

 

When I've used an MPA I've been in the company of other motorhomers, the odd caravan and a few lorries, so there are many other people who aren't scared to death of them as well as me!

 

And as I said, they are incredibly convenient. No hunting for aires or suitable wild camping spots. Just drive until you've had enough and there'll be one in a few minutes. And you'll have water and somewhere to empty your loo.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use Autoroute for route planning, and have set it to give reasonably reliable travel time forecasts for our motorhome. The driving day starts at 10:30 am, includes a one hour meal break, and is set to end a 16:00 - unless the final destination can be reached by 18:00. I tend to drive near the limit on two lane roads, but do not exceed about 65 MPH on dual carriageways/motorways irrespective of higher limits.

 

Using non-toll roads from Calais tunnel terminal, the distance to Zaragoza via Pau is 657miles, and Pau to Zaragoza 145 miles. Four days travel with overnight stops suggested near Chartres, Angouleme and Pau, arriving Zaragoza at 14:00.

 

Reversing the route and using toll roads gives Zaragoza to Pau 148 miles, and Pau back to the tunnel terminal 652 miles. Three days travel with overnight stops suggested at Mont-de-Marsin and Tours, with arrival at the tunnel estimated at 17:00.

 

So, effective difference in driving times 3.5 hours, but requiring one extra half day to complete. Extending the non toll driving day by one hour per leg would allow Zaragoza to be reached in three days - all other things being equal.

 

The toll sections eliminated are Boulogne to Abbeville (non-toll uses D901/D1001 via Samer, Montreuil, Nampont and Nouvion - toll uses A16), Rouen to Poitiers (non toll uses D6105 on east bank of Seine to Louviers, N154 to Chartres, N10 to Tours, D910 to Poitiers, then N10 - toll uses A28/A10 to Poitiers than N10 to Bordeaux), and Bordeaux to Pau (non-toll uses D834 via Mont-de-Marsin - toll uses A65/A62). Otherwise, both options use the same roads.

 

Needless to say there are as many alternatives as there are roads, but by using the non-toll autoroutes and good dual carriageways instead of the toll roads, you can see that the extra time taken by going non-toll is not necessarily that significant - and the cost saving over using toll roads with this comparison model will take a long time to reimburse the cost of a motorbike! :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest pelmetman

Paid tolls on the way down to Spain at Pissos for the first time this January...................didn't pay them on the way back :D.................

 

Motorways are for people in a hurry, our holiday starts as soon as I turn the key, so no need to rush B-) ............

 

Unless there's a holdup on the M25 as per usual, and the extra hour I've allowed myself to get the tunnel disappears up sods laws rear end *-)............

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

My preferred route from Le Mans to Bordeaux is D323 To La Flèche , then head on theD938 to cross the Loire at Saumur, then Parthenay, Niort. ( Nice walled Aire in centre of town) ,on D150 To Saintes, D137 to Bordeaux .

The N10 is worth the toll fee, from there you takes your choice to Zaragoza , I take the N121a to Pampalona , lovely scenic road.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Calais/Dunkirk - Rouen - Pont l'Arche - Evreux - Dreux - Marboue (free council aire) - Tours - Poitiers - Angouleme - Nursac (free council Aire, first 4 vans get free electricity!) - Langon - Mont de Marsan - St Sever - St Jean Pied de Port (missing Bay of Biscay border crossing, horrendous traffic).

Then on the lovely smooth spanish roads.

 

The Bordeaux to the border section is now tolled. We returned (northwards) on this route and exited as the toll booths appeared but got back on as soon as possible at no cost! Time off the motorway was about 30 mins.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brian Kirby - 2014-06-29 5:10 PM

 

I use Autoroute for route planning, and have set it to give reasonably reliable travel time forecasts for our motorhome. The driving day starts at 10:30 am, includes a one hour meal break, and is set to end a 16:00 - unless the final destination can be reached by 18:00. I tend to drive near the limit on two lane roads, but do not exceed about 65 MPH on dual carriageways/motorways irrespective of higher limits.

 

Using non-toll roads from Calais tunnel terminal, the distance to Zaragoza via Pau is 657miles, and Pau to Zaragoza 145 miles. Four days travel with overnight stops suggested near Chartres, Angouleme and Pau, arriving Zaragoza at 14:00.

 

Reversing the route and using toll roads gives Zaragoza to Pau 148 miles, and Pau back to the tunnel terminal 652 miles. Three days travel with overnight stops suggested at Mont-de-Marsin and Tours, with arrival at the tunnel estimated at 17:00.

 

So, effective difference in driving times 3.5 hours, but requiring one extra half day to complete. Extending the non toll driving day by one hour per leg would allow Zaragoza to be reached in three days - all other things being equal.

 

The toll sections eliminated are Boulogne to Abbeville (non-toll uses D901/D1001 via Samer, Montreuil, Nampont and Nouvion - toll uses A16), Rouen to Poitiers (non toll uses D6105 on east bank of Seine to Louviers, N154 to Chartres, N10 to Tours, D910 to Poitiers, then N10 - toll uses A28/A10 to Poitiers than N10 to Bordeaux), and Bordeaux to Pau (non-toll uses D834 via Mont-de-Marsin - toll uses A65/A62). Otherwise, both options use the same roads.

 

Needless to say there are as many alternatives as there are roads, but by using the non-toll autoroutes and good dual carriageways instead of the toll roads, you can see that the extra time taken by going non-toll is not necessarily that significant - and the cost saving over using toll roads with this comparison model will take a long time to reimburse the cost of a motorbike! :-)

 

 

What an excellent reply, this says it all!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The route I took down last year seemed straightforward to get to the med, and turn right for Spain, left for the riviera, wherever the sun is. Minimal tolls, few roundabouts, I will do it again next week.

Calais

Rouen

Dreux

Chartres

Orleans. First night.

Nevers

Moulins

Clermont-Ferrand

Millau second night

And then

Narbonne/Perpignon/Spain

Or

Nimes/Arles/riviera

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Hi Flanker7

I am new to motorhoming and we are thinking of driving to Spain next summer, I have followed your route on google maps and it seem a nice and fairly simple drive down. Would you say its an ok route for a newbie, I have good experience of driving in Spain and Portugal with a car but nothing bigger, although I do drive large vans thru work, so the motorhome is not a problem. Also I worked out that the first nights stay would be Nersac, would you agree with this?. Any advise would be appreciated

kind regards

Gary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't comment in detail on your proposed trip, Gary, but do note that the routes are intended as toll-free, or largely so. Also, that you are responding to an oldish string, and to a poster who has made made only three posts in total, although it seems he looks in from time to time.

 

Assuming you would leave from Calais, and that the Nersac you refer to is the one in Charente, it is a bit over 460 miles from Calais. Allowing for motorhome speeds, but using toll autoroute wherever possible, estimated driving time is just over 8 hours.

 

Using Flanker's route, and assuming he avoids toll roads, the distance to Nersac is a little shorter, at about 440 miles, but the driving time increases to almost 10 hours. I assume this is why he stops at Marboue, which is about 240 miles and 5.25 hours driving from Calais.

 

To the above, add time for meal and comfort breaks.

 

He didn't say, but I suspect he also overnights at St Jean Pied de Port, before crossing the Pyrenees via Roncesvalles to Pamplona.

 

There are pretty well as many routes across France to northern Spain as there are roads. The roads through France are generally good but, as with anywhere, motorways and dual carriageways are generally faster than two lane roads. The tolls stack up quickly with motorhomes, so given the time, many opt for the toll free options. It depends on which is the driving concern, time, or cost. How far you will get will depend on the time of your channel crossing, and on the time you prefer to stop driving. Don't forget to allow for the unexpected: delays can arise.

 

My personal view is that it is better to prioritise good stopping places, and then string them together by whatever (within reason!) roads, than to prioritise the roads and then see where stopping places crop up. But then, I like to stop at about 16:00 and have a look round places at which we have chosen to stop.

 

To answer your question about Nersac as the first night's stop, my personal view is that it is probably a recipe for divorce - but that's me! :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...