Driving from England to ski resort in France

(32 Posts)
Facebaffle Mon 30-Dec-13 17:29:40

Has anyone done this?

Dh currently pricing up a last minute ski holiday for February. He's wanting to drive there but I'm not convinced. Will the roads to the resorts be ok to drive on? We've done a lot of driving in Europe but only in the summer months.

Any advice would be appreciated smile

PatriciaHolm Mon 30-Dec-13 17:34:44

We've just done it this weekend! Second time, though we normally fly. With an overnight in Troyes. You will need a car with snow tyres or be prepared to put snow chains on, ideally a 4 wheel drive, but it's not a hard drive, lots of motorway, cost about 150 euro in tolls i would guess.

SanityClause Mon 30-Dec-13 17:46:59

We drive every year.

If you can go on a day other than Saturday, your trip will be shorter, but I know that may not be possible.

Take a packed breakfast and lunch, as the motorway services are very busy around lunchtimes, and try to time fuel stops for mid morning and mid afternoon, as well. There are loads of areas with a loo and a few picnic tables along the way, so there is no need to use services for comfort breaks. Do take your own tissues/loo roll and hand sanitiser, though.

You can get a badge for the tolls from the APRR website, which will speed up waiting times if there are queues at the tolls. (Liber-T, I think it's called)

Make sure you have all the stuff legally required by the French authorities. You can get information on line, and buy it all at halfords or the like. Particularly, remember snow chains. And make sure you know how to put them on the car. This has never happened to us, but apparently French police may stop you from ascending if it's snowing and you don't have chains.

We have done this quite a number of times, and it really is fine.

SanityClause Mon 30-Dec-13 17:49:46

Sorry, just noticed you are looking at February. If this is half term, expect long delays at the Chunnel. If you can afford it, use Flexiplus, which guarantees you on the next train leaving.

stringbean Mon 30-Dec-13 21:23:26

We do this each time we ski. If you can, try and go a day early so you're driving on the Friday; book a cheap hotel at the bottom of the mountain (we usually stay in Chambery or Albertville, but it depends where you're skiing), then you can drive up the mountain first thing Saturday.

Bear in mind that the weather can change very quickly, and easy driving conditions can suddenly become treacherous, so going up the mountain in daylight is one less thing to worry about; you'll need to take snow chains as others have said, and know how to fit them in advance. We have had experience on at least four occasions where gendarmes are checking out cars and turning back those without chains (and we usually go at Easter, so no guarantee of snow-free journey even then!).

Like others here, we take a picnic so we're free to stop where we want. If you want to calculate fuel/tolls etc check out www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Routes .

Chocovore Tue 31-Dec-13 08:30:46

Yup, we normally drive. Don't do what we did this year though and misfuel and get stranded on the motorway!

Driving down the mountain last Sat was horrendous - queues were a nightmare. Don't know what the solution is tbh.

And yes, there are queues T the peages, I fail to see how the automatic gizmos will speed things up though. The queues seem to start miles before and there is 't a separate lane for the gadgets until the very last stretch.

sinclair Tue 31-Dec-13 12:40:56

doing it this year to cut costs - booked half term last minute.

Very interested in the LiberT card as I tried to get this last time we drove and couldn't manage it - can the experts advise, can I buy it online here and does it cut down time?

Saturday we will be setting off from Reims and driving to La Rosiere...any other tips v useful

Chocovore Tue 31-Dec-13 14:08:41

We have just come back from La Rosiere sinclair, have fun.

helencw77 Tue 31-Dec-13 22:18:48

Hi, I can't help with driving to snow resorts but we bought a Liber-T badge from APRR for our summer holiday. It is much cheaper to buy it from them rather than the UK agent, they will deliver to the UK and you can set up a UK bank account to pay directly from so is easy. The downside is that their website is in French, so if you are a non-french speaker then I can see it might be a bit difficult to navigate.

One other point which we discovered during our summer holiday, is that the Liber-T lanes are largely height restricted so if you have a roofbox on your car, you might not fit and then you will find yourself desperately trying to cut across lanes of traffic to get to the lorry lane which was a bit hair-raising at times. I definitely think you would save time if you can use the Liber-T lane, but if height is going to be an issue, I probably wouldn't bother (we had bikes on our roof in the summer).

VivaLeBeaver Tue 31-Dec-13 22:21:50

We did it last year. Did the tunnel in the evening and drove for about 90 mins and stayed overnight.

Set off at 7am and didn't reach Courchevel till 10pm. I think I cried, all the shops were shut and we couldn't even buy milk. Went to bed hungry. Never thought it would take so long. The traffic was awful.

Return journey was much better. We set off about 6am and reached the tunnel mid afternoon.

Facebaffle Wed 01-Jan-14 21:55:39

Thank you for all the replies.

I'm prepared for the long journey (we did 2000+ miles in Europe over the summer), it's the weather conditions I'm concerned about. We'll have to look into the snow chains, Dh doesn't think he'll need them hmm I'll show him this thread.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 01-Jan-14 22:04:42

He will need them. If the weather is bad the police won't let anyone past a certain point. So you won't get up the mountain. Aldi normally do them about this time of year.

SarahBeenysBumblingApprentice Thu 02-Jan-14 16:16:23

We've driven a couple of times, in January at at Easter. As others have said, it's very do-able, but you really need the snow chains. You'll need to put them on earlier than the locals unless you have winter tyres too.

LIZS Thu 02-Jan-14 16:20:31

Friends just back said they wouldn't have got out of the resort had they not had chains and even so it was carnage on the road down the mountain where other cars , including those with winter tyres had skidded. Police can stop you proceeding without them. Your alternative is to pick a resort where you can park near a highway and take a train or shuttle bus to the resort itself.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Thu 02-Jan-14 16:23:45

We've driven from the North of England to the south of France. Snot a problem. Unlike the Brits, the French don't panic and gridlock the roads when it snows.

As others have said, get chains for the tyres.

You'll have a much better driving experience in France than in the UK. We've never found the roads to be very busy, not even in peak season.

Do remember that nearly all French shops close on a Sunday and on bank holidays so check before you drive or you won't get supplies.

Some of the ski forums will have useful advice about driving in Feb. I think the French half terms are the same as ours and as everyone in France will also be heading for the ski resorts, you need to be prepared. Try to book outside half term if you can (and check dates of French half term).

Start collecting euros now for the tolls, the cash only ones don't seem to suffer the same huge queues.

As long as you do your preparation and are organised, you'll be fine.

BlueStringPudding Thu 02-Jan-14 17:16:44

We drive to the Alps pretty much every year. We now do Flexiplus on the tunnel as it does save a lot of time just being able to drive onto the next available train. We haven't yet tried the Liber-T, but have never really had any delays at the tolls. We usually aim for a 9am eurotunnel train on the Friday, stop overnight near Lyon - arriving early evening, then shop at the supermarche in the morning and get into the resort for lunchtime Saturday.

Driving home (to Surrey) takes us about 12 hours - we usually leave resort about 10am, so that the roads have been cleared a bit if needed, and just drive straight home.

You definitely need to have chains on you - we've had to put them on at least 3 times in the last 8 years (both at Easter and Feb half term), and as others have said, they have large Chainage areas where the gendarmes will turn back anyone without them if the weather is bad enough.

We're on a Saturday change over this year, but we do try for Sunday if we can as it is generally better.

Dinnaeknowshitfromclay Thu 02-Jan-14 17:23:18

I've driven to ski-ing in Austria and back in a new but falling apart FIAT. Drove home with pus running down my face due to snow blindness (despite the wearing of the glasses) stopped in a little village for the Pharmacist to give me antibiotics and a friendly farmer drove a nail through the fallen off door mirror into the door, so I could use it to get to the ferry - Happy times!
Remember there are tolls on some (lots) of the roads though and if you put your skis on a special ski roofrack thingy, they make can a tiresome noise for the whole journey that changes with the MPH.

Dinnaeknowshitfromclay Thu 02-Jan-14 17:25:33

Also in some of the filling stations, really bad porn is available over the counter and it was the discovery that the BF I was with at the time had bought an enormous amount of it that was the beginning of the end. The ski-ing was great though!

HarrogateMum Thu 02-Jan-14 17:36:19

You can buy your tag in the uk www.saneftolling.co.uk and pay in £ !

drwitch Tue 07-Jan-14 14:53:16

you can miss the worst of the traffic by stopping for the night where the motorway ends (grenoble, chambery, etc). you can then get to the slopes before the charter and transfer buses get there, on the way back you can have a full days skiing and also miss the traffic

Ash74 Wed 22-Jan-14 10:31:44

When we've driven to Morzine, France the roads were kept accessible all year round. From the UK, once through the tunnel, it was an easy 9 hour drive to L'Aiglon de Morzine. Good accommodation providers will book your tunnel tickets or transfers if you choose to fly.

MrsYoungSalvoMontalbano Tue 28-Jan-14 21:18:33

We do this a couple of times a year. You do need to take snow chains ( rehearse at home before you go) 8/10 times you will be lucky, but when you need them you must know how to fit them!

Carriemac Sat 08-Feb-14 08:51:07

A ny recommendations for stopover hotels? Hoping to get to Dijon or Lyon Friday night

stringbean Sat 08-Feb-14 10:08:57

There are a number of hotels in Dijon Sud - Ibis, Campanile, Novotel etc, all quite close to the motorway. Novotel and Campanile have family rooms; have a look on the Accorhotels or Campanile websites. At Dijon, you're still a long way from the mountains though; depending on ferry/Eurotunnel times, I would try and get further. There are a number of Ibis Budget/Formule 1 type hotels located off the motorway around Lyon - again, have a look at the Accor website; also some located close to the motorway at Macon.

stringbean Sat 08-Feb-14 10:11:16

The budget hotels are all pretty basic, but usually fine for an overnight stop. There's a Flunch at Dijon Sud and a few big supermarkets, so if you're self-catering you can stock up on your shopping here too. I'm really sad - my overnight stop has to be near a supermarket for this reason!

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