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Best route driving to the Alps

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Driving to the Alps (Val d'Isere) on Saturday, AA,RAC and Michelin all suggest a different route. Can anyone suggest the best route (fastest/least congested) ?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
fsa, they never agree. Sometimes the AA forget that roads close in Winter in the Alps. I use viamichelin, as you can show road closures etc. Just adjust your journey dates etc, . I'm sure some of our more local snowHeads can give you the lowdown on congestion, although I suspect on a Saturday most of the journey along the Tarentaise to VDI will be busy.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Saturday is the main charter travel day so either go somewhere else on the way and get to Val later or go very early..........otherwise be prepared to have a very Evil or Very Mad very Evil or Very Mad very Evil or Very Mad very Evil or Very Mad very Evil or Very Mad very Evil or Very Mad very Evil or Very Mad very long wait from before Bourg (can't remember the place) all the way up the valley! I'd seriously consider going to another resort for the day if you can and travel in the evening to Val.

Someone asked a very similar question a few days ago.........have a search for it.
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Dan, I think you mean Moutiers, or even Albertville on a really bad day.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Are there big bottlenecks around Bourg on a Sat afternoon? We're planning to arrive in Les Arcs around 16:00. I assumed that by that time in the afternoon it should be pretty much dead.
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m00958, it'll be awful then. Most of the apartment blocks allow check in from 4-5pm, most of the French visitors wil be arriving hten I imagine
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Hmmm... What would be better then? Getting there at ~14:00? Or leaving it until ~18:00?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
fsa, assuming you are coming from Dijon direction, I would take the A40 and then the A508 to Annecy and then down to Alberville. This cuts out a loop of motorway that can get quite busy. Plus its quite a pleasant drive. However, as the others have said, best to either go as early as possible, or late. m00958, 6pm or so would probably be better than mid-afternoon. But, a bit like the M25, its pot luck really.
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fsa,

Where do yuou start from?

Assuming you start from Calais then it is the toll motorway all the way down. The quickest route should pass Reim and Dijon, go through Lyon, pass Chambery and enter Tarentaise valley outside Abertville with a total distance of about 620miles. Haven't done this route for a few years now as the toll can be heavy.

Any suggestion of going through the Mont Blanc tunnel is a joke because the Petit St Bernard pass never opens in the Winter.

The traffic will be heavy on changeover day but going into the Tarentaise after 7pm isn't too bad. It is the getting out that will be jam packed all the way to Albertville, at least that was what I experienced in New year.

If you don't want to pay the French motorway toll then going through Lille, Charleroi, Namur, Luxembourg, Metz, Nancy, Mulhouse, Basel, Geneva and Annecy to Albertville can add another 120 miles involving a short 60 miles section of single carriageway between Epinal and Mulhouse. For that you will have to paid the Swiss road tax (valid for one year and about £20) when passing the border at Basel.

My latest scheme is start from Amsterdam, cross the boder at Arnhem and go down the Rhine artery along Dusseldorf, Bonn, Karlsrule to Basel and Switzerland. It is the quickest and the most comfortable for me and about 730 miles.

All three routes are quite pleasant to drive.
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m00958,

In 2005 new year I was staying at PG's studio flat for 2 weeks. I took a rest day off and it happened to be a change over day. I got stuck inside Bourg St Maurice and couldn't get out. So I turned back and had breakfast at the McDonald to wait for the traffic to subside. It still took 3 to 3.5 hours to cover 34 miles to get to Albertville.

I had lunch at Chambery and dinner at Annecy. There wasn't any jam when I went back to Bourg but the traffic was continuous all the time.

Therefore going into the Tarentaise should be OK.

I drove everyday around Tarentaise for two week and the problem was only the getting out on the changeover day. The traffic was stationary and I thought part of the road must have collapsed. The section between Moutier and Albertville is 17 miles and the jam didn't occur in this section of dual carriageway. The bottle neck was between Bourg and Moutier.

My other visit to Tarentaise was Mar 2004. I didn't notice any traffic problem but I stayed only 4 days then.
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Thanks for all of your replies. I have an early crossing (3:30!). So I'm just debating, after Dijon, whether to take the A40/N508 or carry on to the A6 to Lyon and then A43.

Anyone tried the A40 then N75/N504 ?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
OK I checked the Autoroute

I think you mean branching off from Macon and not from Dijon as I done that route too when leaving from Chamonix.

Macon to Abertville via A6/Lyon and Chambery is 147 miles. One has to get through Lyon city.

Macon to Abertville via A40/Geneva and Annecy is 143 miles.

My experience is going through Lyon would be quicker because Geneva to Abertville is single carriageway throughout. Going through Lyon is bad only if you catch its rush hours but since you are driving on Saturday so the risk is of a big jam is small.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
fsa, don't even think about going through Lyon, there is no need to go via Geneva either. Stay on the autoroute and follow the signs for Chambery.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
saikee do you use dfds to Amsterdam?
what's the price like
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
David@traxvax,

Have a Lyon bypass been built? Must be 3 to 4 years since I last passed Lyon.

The Autoroute I have is 2004 and it is pretty up to date normally. It indicates a one way short section of only 3.7 miles through Lyon bridging the A6 with the A43.

By sticking with the motorway one would change from A6 to A7 and then do a U-turn back on A46 in order to rejoin the A43. The extra distance travelled would be 20 to 25 miles by not leaving the motorway. Is this your suggested route?

The Geneva route does not involve getting into the Swiss side at all. One can leave A40 and join N508 or N201 sign-post to Annecy.

Kevsmith

Yes I used the DFDS ferry. I think it was £310 in Jan 2005 for two of us and a long wheel base Shogun, buffet dinner both directions for two and a en-suite cabin.

Another snowhead complained about the sea journey too rough for her and the kids. I did between 5 to 6 return trips and have no complaint. I like to start fresh in morning when the ferry docks at 9am. A leisure drive through the congested Netherland for less than 100 miles and I would hit the German autobahn. The DFDS ferry route is also good for Austrian resorts with sightly shorter distance than France.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
From Dijon to Lyon there are now two parallel motorways. The eastly one, the Bourg one not the Macon one, avoids Lyon city centre bringing you in at about the airport which is east of Lyon. You need to stay alert at the various motorway junctions from Dijon down.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
saikee, Not sure if it is a new road, but the route that best gets you around Lyon is as follows:
Follow A6 from Dijon towards Lyon

Just after toll @ Villefranche (just north of Lyon) take the A46 exit towards: Ambérieux d'Azergues, Neuville-sur-Saône, Lyon-Est, Chambéry, Grenoble, Marseille for 16mi

Take A42/E611 exit towards: Genève, Saint-Exupéry, Parc de Miribel-Jonage for 5.5 mi

Then take A432 exit towards: Saint-Exupéry, Charvieu-Chavagneux, Crémieu, Chambéry

The A432 then becomes the A43 to Chambéry

Then @ Chambéry follow the signs for Albertville

Have done this journey for the last 3 years, and never had a problem with it. Hope it is of some help. snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
fsa wrote:
Anyone tried the A40 then N75/N504 ?


Yes I did this on the way out to BSM the week before Christmas, I won't use it again. I went back using the Champery, Lyon, Dijon, Reims route to Calais and it took an hour less.

CP
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Thats Great Big G and CP,

Ignoring stops at a steady 85 mph, in the middle of the night starting 10pm at Calais, whats the drive time to Moutiers do you think?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
bbski, It took me 10 hours from Calais to Villaroger going out and 9 going back, both journeys started early morning so most of the drive was in daylight. Sorry I didn't time the Moutier leg and I don't recall how long it took on the way back, maybe 1/2 an hour to 40 minutes.

CP
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CP, spot on, it's 10/15 mins Villaroger to BSM, 20 mins BSM to Moûtiers.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Fri 11-02-05 15:37; edited 1 time in total
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Calais to Courchevel is 8 hours UNLESS you get stuck in the fabulous Saturday 'traffic management scheme' (no exit from and traffic lights stopping the autoroute!!?!) outside Moutiers - can back up as far as Albertville. Not fun. Avoid hitting Albertville any time after lunch and before early evening on a Saturday if you can.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
So, it appears to be a balancing act between avoiding the day trippers and the change over day traffic.

What chance do you think we'd stand of getting through to BSM, fairly trouble free, if we were planning to arrive around 13:00-14:00?

We were planning to leave our overnight motel (St Quentin) around 09:00 so we would arrive about 16:00-17:00. Now looks like our daughter is going to get a rude awakening at 06:00 Smile
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m00958, Good luck chap!! The weather forecast is not good for driving either, at least you don't have to slog it up to Tignes or Val, which Les Arcs are you going to?

CP
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CP, Arcs 1800. Leave 4 weeks today. We're just planning ahead snowHead
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Just looked on the Les Arcs website, at their calendar of school holidays. It appears that no countries have kids on holiday the week we are going (12/03) Smile WAHOO!

Surely that means the traffic in the afternoon (change over day traffic) won't be anywhere near as bad as it was this weekend. Anybody got any views on that?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Just heard from a friend who left UK at midnight on Friday via the tunnel - took 12 hours of unpleasant driving from Calais to reach Valfrejus where it was raining! (Snowed overnight apparently) He said it was a combination of bad weather and heavy traffic but would've thought driving overnight should have been quiet on the roads. Just shows arrivals during half term week can be difficult to get right!.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I really sympathise with fellow skier, half-term travellers. I don't have to do it and would probably have a lobotomy in preference to joining that great Alpine Voortrek again, if there was anything to remove. May the force be with you! I feel that you must really get up the mountain very early, arriving at resort by 09:30, or else leaving it until a 22:00 arrival. I now either go on a Friday, or trick everybody by not going at all. After a gap from skiing for a few years, 4 of us drove to Tignes for a week. Being in a temporary state of retardation, I chose a half term week. From Lyons, I was contemplating a beer by the fireside at 18:00, having unpacked all clothing and food. The tail back or buchon as they call it there was a great deal in excess of 20 km and it took over 6 hours from Albertville to Tignes! I was like the anti-christ when I got to Tignes and had my beer after midnight, several in fact. I almost choked on it though I was so full of adrenalin, although one of my friends mentioned that I was full of something else. I also almost choked a Belgian, with ill manners, who wanted to take my allocated & pre-paid car space.Methaphorically speaking of course - he saw deep into my eyes and moved on. Even if I was offered a free trip, everything included, I would never, ever attempt such an act of lunacy again. I blanche even now at the recollection - I thought that I had recovered, it was the year 2000, but even now I am shuddering uncontrolably dfewefi[dfhfhhhfcnfdneoiwowowofffn (See! can't even type properly now) I must be suffering from Half-term Alpine Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Hope that doesn't invalidate my insurance.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Bernard, very eloquent, you wouldn't have wanted to do that trip before the N90 was improved for the '92 Olympics. Ah what memories, all day to get from Val d'espair to Abertille, mind you,on any given Saturday it's not much better which is why we do our transfers on Sunday. Although that's losing it's edge, it took our driver 5 hrs to get back from Geneva last Sunday.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Surely the advice must be the same as in this country, say going to Cornwall. If you want to drive through 'bottle necks' you do it in the middle of the night.

I find it amazing travelling on bank holidays. If you set of at 4-5 in the morning you can cover 250 - 300 miles before breakfast. If you set off at 9am then maybe only 100 miles before lunch. Fortunately the 9 o'clock starters never learn and its still quiet from 4am - 9am! Very Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
bbski, See my comment regarding overnight driving above! Great in theory (if you like staying up all night) but doesn't always pan out!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
A changeover day during the French mid term break is the worst combination a motorist can possibly hope for leaving or arriving a skiing resort in France.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Best route from Chez frosties. North on A19 for 4 miles, West on A67 for 5 miles, take exit for Durham Tees Valley Airport, Plane lands in Geneve, take pick of Alpine Resorts
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Nick Dawes, Mind you midnight uk = 1:30am arrive calais = 9am arrive albertville at best, 10 am if raining all the way, then nightmare the rest of the way at 1/2 term, 12 hours seems quite good!

This thread has really helped me, I am not going 1/2 term and will get 8pm tunnel, leave calais 10pm, to get to tarentaise in time for a hearty breakfast (4 drivers so chance for some sleep). Going back on a sunday, will leave early to beat the rush out of the valley. Iwill report on my experience on return!
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bbski, Just beacuse you are paranoid doesn't mean that they are not out to get you! We await your report with baited breath!
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We left Les Arcs on the Saturday after Easter about 6 in the morning, traffic OK till we got to MOutiers, then we crawled all the way to Chambery, then nearly missed the flight in Geneva. (One of the benefits of charters, they kept the plane waiting for the coach, as it was cheaper than getting us all home by another plane. )
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
From experience the mid term break is really a killer. I always tried to avoid it usually by leaving the latest on the day when it started and watched a stationary queue for miles when I left a resort early in the morning.

I must admit that I didn't run into any jam when I headed for Tarentaise in New year to take up PG's flat in Bourg St. Maurice, arriving at around 3pm. Neither did I see any stationary traffic when I left two weeks later, possibly between 7am to 8am.
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