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Albertville/Moutiers/Bourg traffic at half term - how bad is it?

 Poster: A snowHead
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I've put another post up asking about transfer options from Chambery to Peisey Nancroix on the 15/2/14 - my options are between a road transfer (either hire car or transfer) or a taxi/train/taxi option. The road transfer will be quicker by potentially a couple of hours given a clear road and weather, and the train option is not only longer but it has more moving parts (what happens if the flight's diverted and we get to Chambery hours and hours late, for example? What if we miss the train? What if they go on strike? etc etc). However, you hear such utter horror stories about that road at half term (and it's Paris school holidays as well) that I wonder if that could turn into one of those 4 hour epics - which with grumpy kids I'm not sure I want to stomach - there's also the return to think about when you'd be worried about missing your flight.

The turning point on this is therefore just how bad is that road likely to be on a half-term/Paris holiday week, with a flight that arrives at 1400 and leaves at 1440?

I'd be grateful for any "it's actually not that bad" tales as well as horror stories!

Cheers
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Heres the horror story thread from last season
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2231595&
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Ok, thanks - that's the horror stories - now where are the "it's really not that bad - 2hrs or so should be fine" tales? Very Happy
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andy from embsay, its great, only the week before last, I did Chambery to Montalbert in 50 mins Very Happy
Even with the roadworks in Moutier (They will be there for some time...)
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We drove from Geneva to Tignes on Sat 16 March this year. Was that the end of French school hols (or just a bad day)? We were fine but the traffic coming towards us was bumper to bumper and crawling on the single carriageway bits - eg Bourg to Moutiers and Albertville to Annecy. It looked horrendous.
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andy from embsay, I have just looked at the calendar http://www.lodge-spa.fr/newsletter/news_21/vac1314.pdf and the 15th is indeed the start of the holidays for one of the areas in France. then again, most weekends are the start or finish for one of the school areas in France. My guess is that you could be in for a 3-4 hour journey if you go by car. By train it WILL take you at least four hours or more, but you may sleep easier without the uncertainty. Keep posting on here and you should get some good responses for people who really know what it might be like that day.

Just a thought, but how much of a nightmare will the train be that day? Will it be packed?
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foxtrotzulu, it's Paris on 15/2 according to the SH sticky, so about as bad as it could get. Not sure about the train, but as it's a local one (rather than a TGV or long-distance one) I guess it's not going to be bananas. 1st class isn't outrageously expensive either, so that would be an option.

Train's not strictly 4 hrs is it - it's going to be about 4hrs from wheels hitting the tarmac to arriving in resort. Assuming you walk out of the terminal to either your hire car, your transfer or your taxi an hour after that probably isn't unreasonable on a busy day - so even if you managed a 2hr drive in comparison it's 3hrs. Having never seen it I do still struggle to see how a 120km journey, quite a slug of which is on motorway, can take that long!

I s'pose another option is to just hang out somewhere in the valley until teatime and drive up after that.
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I suppose if one has to pick a fight with the traffic jam then a change over day during the French mid term in Tarentaise Valley should be in the Premium league. Can't think of a place in France that can offer a stronger challenge.

Had been avoiding France mid term at all cost. Last time coming out in 2nd week Jan from BSM to Albertville still took half a day, mostly between BSM and Moutiers with nothing on the road. I think it is just at Moutiers the road starts to have dual carriageway Embarassed
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andy from embsay, Going the other way last half-term, even at 2pm the queue leaving the valley tailed back from Moutiers well past the Landry turn. From own experience if you want to miss the queues leaving, get out by 8am at latest.

Never been stuck getting there, but we ahve the luxury of overnight hotel stop close by and get into Vallandry mid-morning

Parents always take train into BSM in evening and then taxi with no issues. Coming out of BSM is fine as traffic is going the other way,
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andy from embsay wrote:
Having never seen it I do still struggle to see how a 120km journey, quite a slug of which is on motorway, can take that long!

Imagine trying to drive the same distance around the M25, to include the Dartford crossing and M4 junction, at 4pm on the Friday at the start of half term.
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rjs wrote:
andy from embsay wrote:
Having never seen it I do still struggle to see how a 120km journey, quite a slug of which is on motorway, can take that long!

Imagine trying to drive the same distance around the M25, to include the Dartford crossing and M4 junction, at 4pm on the Friday at the start of half term.


Now that's something us northerners can't even comprehend!

Have had an eye watering quote for €96 return to take 6 us us the 7km from Landry to the chalet!
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Try these for transfers and avoid the half term traffic, http://www.geneva-helicopters.com/
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andy from embsay, the motorway bit is relatively ok, until you add in:

1. Tolls - huge queue to pay at Albertville
2. Volume of traffic - at this point everyone on any route will have to be using teh last stretch into Moutiers and beyond
3. While dual-carriageway it is not straight and has many twists and turns which are way sharper than your normal UK bends - these are quite hair-raising when it is snowing heavily, you are tired and tehre are a million Dutch cars up your rear!
4. At Moutier the road splits into 3V and other - there is a lot of faffing trying to get into correct lane
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Boris, There are long term roadworks on the N90 just out of Moutier so I guess the traffic will get stacked on the two lane section before the Moutier tunnel. Sad
I'll be going down on Friday as well, and out before 07:00 on the way back.
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You're not making this sound attractive, guys! Taxi/train/taxi is potentially a bit longer, definitely could be shorter and costs about £200 less than transfer or hire car.

Thanks for all the input - I'll wait til they release the train timetable and make a call then.
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We drove back down from Les Arcs Feb 16th this year - the start of the main half term week - we didn't leave till 8.30 which was a mistake(no excuses, it just took way too long to get going). Traffic coming up the valley was solid from before Moutiers and then coming from Lyon towards Chambery (which shouldn't affect you). The very good advice on here is if you're driving make it either very early or late.
The train may take a while longer, but well worth looking at.
We're going to drive again next season, but Easter rather than Half Term, when hopefully it'll be a bit quieter, and we're going to get a lot closer on the Friday night (Chambery or Annecy) and leave a lot earlier the following Sat.
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boredsurfin wrote:
Boris, There are long term roadworks on the N90 just out of Moutier so I guess the traffic will get stacked on the two lane section before the Moutier tunnel. Sad
I'll be going down on Friday as well, and out before 07:00 on the way back.


Really? And it won't be finished by the winter? Or are you winding us all up? wink
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Quote:

Have had an eye watering quote for €96 return to take 6 us us the 7km from Landry to the chalet!

surely that must make the taxi transfer all the way from the airport more attractive? Maybe a bit more expensive but so much less hassle.

With kids, especially, that's the way I'd go. Leave the headache to someone else (who will know all the possible local rat runs), then there are two of you to help keep the kids entertained. DVDs? Drugs?
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Still miles cheaper, Pam - that's for 6 of us. Train's about €200 for all of us. Taxi to Chambery station about €50. Total of €350. Cheapest transfer quote is just under €600 for 6.

But cost isn't the main issue - sitting in a queue for 4 hours is! And the fear of missing our flight on the way home...
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We spent 8 hours in near gridlocked traffic, from 50km south of Lyon, to Bourg on New Years Eve 2011. My husband almost threw us out of the car on several occasions (3 very excited girls). We got to Arc 1950 at 2300 after setting off from the chunnel at 0500, despite it only taking us 5.5 hours to get to Lyon from Calais.
Never again. We go the previous day now. Stay near Geneva or Lyon and get up early and head off for a day on the slopes, rather than on the roads.
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Neraida, Flippin 'eck that is dreadful, I have driven for ski holidays in France and Switzerland for over 30 years now and the longest delay we have had on the French roads was 2 hours around Lyon when a snow blizzard caught the French by surprise!
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It was awful. We missed the supermarket too and ended up in a restaurant at 2330 for 400 eur meal we didn't really want. My poor hubs couldn't eat because he had 'spiral eyes'
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Neraida, For a good few years we stayed near the motorway around Beaune on the Friday evening and then left after breakfast around 8 ish for a relaxing 3 or 4 hour drive up to the resort then a relaxed lunch, a bit of a wander sussing things out until it was time to get into our accommodation.
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boredsurfin, Beaune is always the choice for the return trip. Really like the new Ibis Styles in the centre and a meal of Charolais beef and great wine is brilliant after a week of fartiflette. On the way down, we often stay in Archamps, nr Geneva. Takes about 2.5 hours, including a stop at the Super U, to get to the resort in the morning.
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andy from embsay, I think that with kids I'd be worried about something going wrong with one of the "legs" of the taxi/train/taxi/taxi/train/taxi transfer arrangement. Taxi doesn't turn up, train gets cancelled - something like that. And even if it all works reasonably well there'll still be traffic on the taxi bits and you have to hump everything around such a lot. 6 lots of humping each way. Shocked
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I know what you mean, pam w - I'm not worried about the taxi bits - there's always going to be taxis at the airport and if there was an emergency our chalet chap would whizz down and pick us up at the other end - it's only 4 miles after all. But the train being cancelled would be a concern - but I guess in the alps, in winter, on that road, there's still a chance of a transfer bus not showing up! I don't think the traffic is much of an issue at the Chambery end - it's 6 miles into town. Not sure at the Peisey end - but everyone says station transfers are a breeze - that's why they use the train (which we would if it hadn't been so unbelievably, eye-wateringly expensive!).

I guess I've got lots of time to cogitate/worry/risk assess it!
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andy from embsay, The only train problem that we've experienced was caused by a rockfall onto the line at between Bourg & Moutiers - but I seem to remember it mucked up the road too. My brother & son got caught up in it & ended up staying with a friend in Bourg & then being coached along the back roads to Moutiers the next morning. It was at the end of a boys week & they arrived home more than a little jaded. In fact, there was a thread about it - can't believe it was so long ago Shocked

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=90525
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Hello I'm doing some (early) prep for our half term 2019 trip to Peisey Vallandry. We are driving down during the Friday and hope to get as far south as Lyon/ Chambery for dinner. Reading some of the advice on traffic it seems the best advice is to try and get up early on the Saturday morning to head up to the mountain and try to make sure we get past the Moutiers bottleneck by 8am?

So far so good.

The additional complication is we also plan to do a supermarket trip in the morning. If we stopped at Moutiers to shop do we then get stuck in the bottle neck or are we close enough/ past the notorious traffic light to avoid it? The alternative would be to go straight to Bourg St Maurice to shop, even though Bourg St Maurice is past the Peisey Vallandry turn-off. We might then get stuck in traffic heading down the mountain when we go back to Peisey Vallandry?
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@Jakebarton, No idea about the traffic, but there is a newish E.Leclerc supermarket in Aime.
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I think you're on target with the timing through Moutier but just keep going if it's clear. The traffic signals on big tunnel are further up towards your destination plus you've got the small tunnel going through Moutier that backs traffic out toward Albertville.

As above, new supermarket right alongside the road further up at Aime so should be suitable. Also you can can cross the valley at that point from the main N90 onto local D220 that passes through Llandry village for your turning up the mountain to avoid the main traffic going further up the valley. Check it on Goo......gle maps to see orientation.

If you want Bourg st Maurice for shop it's not too far if road clear, but again, coming back from there just as you reach the outskirts you can turn left onto D220 to get local road to Llandry from other direction. Both are more workable than Moutier.
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@ski3, @Jakebarton, Be aware that the Gendarmerie close sections of the D220 to all except locals (based on number plate) on peak holiday periods.
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@Jakebarton, could you not do your shop on the Friday evening, even fridge stuff will stay cold in the boot, especially if you take a cool bag with you from home with a couple of freezer blocks. then just head up to resort first thing in the morning to avoid the transfer rush.

we stayed in Albertville on the Friday evening last season, shopped in the Geant hypermarche, then left the hotel early in the morning, we were in Les Menuires by 9am to sort out hire gear for wife and kids before the rush!!


same plan for next season, though to be honest we booked overnight hotel yonks ago, so choices might be more limited.

cheers
terry
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Supermarket in Aime definitely looks like a solution.

Friday is also an option - thank you. Just depends what time we can get down to Lyon (where we have booked the hotel) and whether we are prepared to trade a dinner in a Bouchon for a Friday night shop!
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Quote:

The very good advice on here is if you're driving make it either very early or late.

This is from the earlier (years old) part of the thread, but remains spot on. You either need to be in resort by 8 am (not driving into a supermarket in Moutiers) or postpone the journey up till about 5pm. And leaving, you either need to be on the road down to the valley before 8 am (before 7 am would be better) or - a good plan - spend the quiet Saturday transfer day skiing, then have something to eat before heading down around 7 pm.

A lot depends, of course, on when you have access to your accommodation on the first Saturday - likely to be quite late in the afternoon. Skiing from the car is possible but quite a faff with kids. Planning needed to ski the last Saturday, too.

If you decide to drive up early, stay as close as possible - not Lyons. Hotels on that Friday night shouldn't be as difficult to find as they would be the previous week - but you'd still need to book asap. Driving up late has the advantage of making the first leg of your journey shorter and easier, of course. And leaving late on the final Saturday you could just get a couple of hours up the road before stopping for the night.
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@Jakebarton, sorry, I assumed accommodation was not booked already as you mentioned both Lyon and Chambery.

hope you have a great trip, love this time of year now summer is out the way and the main "daily" activity of researching/planning the ski trip really kicks in Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin
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arriving 15th evening Lyon. Plan to head up the mountain Saturday am
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Quote:


@Jakebarton, could you not do your shop on the Friday evening, even fridge stuff will stay cold in the boot, especially if you take a cool bag with you from home with a couple of freezer blocks. then just head up to resort first thing in the morning to avoid the transfer rush.

we stayed in Albertville on the Friday evening last season, shopped in the Geant hypermarche, then left the hotel early in the morning, we were in Les Menuires by 9am to sort out hire gear for wife and kids before the rush!!


same plan for next season, though to be honest we booked overnight hotel yonks ago, so choices might be more limited.

cheers
terry


Good call Terry, we're in Beaune on Friday night and planned to get away early and hit the supermarche at BSM if it was clear for shopping and lunch. Reading your post more inclined to shop in Beaune on Friday now and just keep going apart from refuel slots if needed. Lunch in resort and meander/pick up kids hire equipment.
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@Jakebarton, I'll be doing the same journey!

Stopped at Aime supermarket this year at Easter and it is fine for a shop, not as much choice etc as the Albertville one but a lot less busy. The Sherpa in Vallandry is also fine for top ups during the week

From previous experience, including half-term, if you're past ALbertville by 11am you'll be fine.
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I would definitely go with the Friday night option and then get out on the slopes as early as you can on Saturday.

Food will keep in a boot at Feb temps.
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@RobH2017, also if you do the shopping on the Friday evening, you can spend more time perusing the beer/wine aisle whilst rest of the family is doing the less important shopping Toofy Grin Toofy Grin
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