If you are considering a family summer or ski holiday in France, driving to our closest European neighbour is a lot easier and cheaper then you may think. Samoens is only 780km (485 miles) from the port of Calais, and with the vast majority of the journey on a motorway, you can arrive from the ferry to your chalet in less than 8 hours. With the need for social-distancing likely to be with us for a while, travelling by car also allows you to avoid congested airports and your own space to travel in.
How can you travel to France by car?
There are two options:
The Eurotunnel railway shuttle service is probably the easiest, fastest and most comfortable way to drive to France. The journey from Folkestone in Kent to Calais takes just 35 minutes, and the only driving you’ll need to do is onto Le Shuttle (that’s the train).Then, sit comfortably in your own car as le train takes le strain and you pass through the tunnel! There are flexible booking options, and for those who like a bit of spontaneity, tickets can be booked as little as one day in advance. The Eurotunnel even has its own clearly signed motorway exits, leading straight to check ins, at both ends of the tunnel.
The Channel Ferry
A cheaper option than the tunnel, the crossing from Dover in Kent to Calais takes just 90 minutes. There are over 20 crossings a day. If Dover is not convenient, there are other UK ports where you can make the crossing to France, such as Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth and Newhaven to Caen, Dieppe, Dunkerque and St Malo in France. From the North East, you can travel overnight from Hull to Zeebrugge or Newcastle to Amsterdam. Travelling by ferry allows you to sit back and take advantage of the restaurants and duty free, as well as enjoy the beauty of the English and French coastlines.
Book a crossing at one the following links:
Things to consider…
Break up the journey
Samoens is less than an eight hour drive from Calais, but if you want to take in the beauty of more of France, you can break up your road trip with an overnight stop. With only a small detour, you can sample the finest French wines from the Burgundy area. The journey passes straight through Reims with its world famous cathedral, and just past the charming medieval town of Troyes, which dates from the 16th century.
If you travel on French motorways, most are toll motorways. You can pay for the tolls by credit card, debit card or cash. The entrances to the tolls are clearly marked as “Peages”. The journey from Calais to Samoens, in a standard vehicle, will cost 72 euros on the toll motorways.
French Motorways are very well provided for in terms of Service Areas, known as "Aires" or "Aires de service". Distances to upcoming service areas, together with pictograms indicating the services provided, are clearly signposted at regular intervals on the motorways. So too are fuel costs at service areas to come. Some of the smaller “Aires” don’t sell fuel but have lovely picnic areas and stunning viewpoints.
130kph / 80mph – on toll motorways – 110kph / 68mph in wet conditions.
110kph / 68mph – on dual motorways/motorways without tolls – 100 kph / 62mph when wet.
80kph / 50mph – on other roads unless indicated – 70kph / 43mph in the wet
50kph / 31mph – in towns and villages
Seatbelts are required to be worn by all passengers at all times. Children under 10 years old must be in the backseat, and must have a child seat appropriate for their weight.
If you are travelling in the snowy winter months, winter tyres are not currently mandatory in France (as of May 2020), although this is a hot topic, and may be subject to change.
Snow Chains are allowed, and advised, on snow-covered roads.
Checklist of things to remember:
- Full valid UK driving license
- Car insurance certificate
- A warning triangle and reflective jacket, in case of a breakdown (this is a legal requirement)
When you arrive in Samoens, all our chalets and apartments have ample parking right next to the accommodation. In summer, if you do have a car, there are many opportunities to discover beautiful alpine locations such as Annecy, Chamonix and Evian.
If you have any questions about the journey or booking your holiday please contact the PureChalets team