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Driving to 3 Vallees at start of half term - advice needed

(16 Posts)
TartyTart Sat 26-Nov-16 19:39:05

Hi, we are driving to the Trois Vallees at the start of the Feb half-term. We have never driven before.. We're arriving in France late eve (nearly 10pm) and are debating whether to drive 3 hours or just drive all the way.

I was told by a colleague to make sure we had reached Bourg St Maurice by 11am or we'd sit in long queues for hours. Is this true? It would mean leaving very early from the hotel after a very late arrival.

Help needed from those who have done it!


PatriciaHolm Sat 26-Nov-16 20:59:58

Traffic will be bonkers. Earliest you can arrive the better! Alpine roads just aren't designed for the number of cars and coaches that move on transfer day, coupled with drivers who don't know how to drive on snow/ don't have snow go prepared!

idontlikealdi Sat 26-Nov-16 21:01:45

I how for do you have to drive in the uk? I'd try and drive straight through tbh but we are only an hour from the tunnel at this end.

TartyTart Sat 26-Nov-16 21:51:07

Thanks for the replies.

We're in the South East so about 2 hours from the Tunnel. We both drive so can share and the kids are pretty old so easy to persuade either way!

TartyTart Sat 26-Nov-16 21:53:23

Just googled. We are about 1.5 hrs but of course the traffic will be heavy so we'll head straight from school.

PossumInAPearTree Sat 26-Nov-16 21:56:26

Ive done it. Was hell.

We went on a Saturday in Jan. Evening tunnel and then drove about 2 more hours and stayed overnight. Set off at 7am the next day and got to Courchevel 1600 after 10pm. All the shops were shut, we had no food, kids were hungry, couldn't even have a cup of tea.

PossumInAPearTree Sat 26-Nov-16 21:58:11

So yes, I would try and keep going if possible. Depends if you think you can drive without sleeping even sharing the driving. Not sure I would risk it.

lampygirl Sat 26-Nov-16 23:14:26

We drive through the night every year though to Switzerland rather than France. Never had a problem but I work jobs where shifts are varied so being awake and focussed through the night is fine for me. Usually a lie in then a quick couple of hours on arrival day afternoon on the nursery slopes as we usually roll in to our flat about 4am with a early afternoon eurotunnel. Last year was heavy snow and we had to follow the snowplough up the mountain which was an experience. Be prepared and have chains etc.

Threesoundslikealot Mon 28-Nov-16 10:39:58

We drive through the night to Austria too. Last year my husband decided to go via Switzerland and then a set of Alpine tunnels so we spent Saturday crawling through those, but normally we go down through Germany on the autobahn and are at the hotel for lunch, without any traffic.

PassTheCremeEggs Tue 29-Nov-16 23:25:57

Would definitely drive through night. Arriving in the middle of the day on the first Saturday of half term is a recipe for a very long queue up the mountain.

As an aside, if you're going to the three valleys and get as far as Bourg St Maurice you've gone too far!

flashheartscanoe Wed 30-Nov-16 09:19:00

We arrived at Lyon airport last year at 9am on Saturday half term, heading for less arcs, I thought we might be early enough to beat the traffic. The road was solid the whole way and the drive took 6 hours. The worst part was that all the aires were full too so no food and huge queues for the loos. I thought next time I would try and stay at the bottom of the mountain the night before or stay well away until afternoon.

TartyTart Wed 30-Nov-16 22:35:06

As an aside, if you're going to the three valleys and get as far as Bourg St Maurice you've gone too far!
Omg how did I live with this weird idea of where the 3 Vallees was until now?! I have been a ton of times and had it all mixed up in my head.

You've all convinced us to drive overnight and aim for a morning arrival. I will report back!

TartyTart Wed 30-Nov-16 22:36:31

I've been tons of times but only flying or by the Eurotunnel. This road trip is a first (and possibly last!)

ScarlettInSpace Thu 01-Dec-16 10:00:06

We drove this Feb but only as far as gerardmer, so we didn't have the 'big' mountain resort traffic to contend with.

2017 we are driving to Les Arc, will do the same as this year: booked family room at Dover premier inn for £48 on the Friday night (we live in the Midlands) & get the 6am ferry, breakfast on the boat, then down the day driving through France, so exiting when we start to see the snow! Should get to Arc 1950 in time for pizza & bed on Sat eve. All 4 of us are snarky on low sleep and the first couple of days would be ruined by arguments if we drove through the night!

We love a road trip (drove route 66 for our honeymoon lol) & luckily so do the kids, we make it part of the fun of the holiday!

Also driving costs total around £400, flying with transfers etc was coming in at £1,500 shock so we have been able to book far superior accommodation than we would if we had to pay for flights...

And as we are self catering it means we can take stuff like juice, cereal bars, store-cupboard stuff with us, win win really wink

ScarlettInSpace Thu 01-Dec-16 10:06:24

spend the day, exciting when we start to see the snow hmm

frozentree Fri 02-Dec-16 07:33:02

We drive down to 3 Vallees every year - if you can avoid driving on a Saturday, it's definitely worth it as it's a nightmare. I would say that if you've not reached Chambery by 11am, then the queues would be very bad all the way up to Moutiers and beyond. The sheer volume of traffic has to be seen to be believed...

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