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Routes to the south of France 

Routes via Rouen & Orleans : 

A16 - A28 - A71 - A75 - A20
The route from Calais to Paris, Languedoc, Southwest France or Spain - Mobile version.

After Rouen or Orleans: ►►  For southwest France see :
Routes to southwest France via Tours
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On this page Route map with handy hotels Route description

For a toll-free route to the Mediterranean, click here:
avoid toll roads

Route map with hotels

Only hotels that are very easy to find
► Click any  marker on the map and a bubble will show up with details of the hotels in that location. Click link for further details and to book.   Key:
Upscale classic independent hotels with character
Four-star and quality three star hotels.
Budget and economy hotels such as Ibis or Campanile
Independent budget hotels
 The  hotels listed on this map have been carefully chosen because these are hotels that are close to the exit,  easy to find, and not located in noisy industrial zones. 

Not the route you wanted? 

Click here for eastern routes via Reims and Dijon

Route guide

Leave Calais on the  A16  E402  motorway following signs for Boulogne,
The motorway is a toll-motorway from Boulogne to Abbeville
Just before Abbeville, take the free   A28  E402  motorway to  Rouen. Rouen is sometimes a bit slow, but this is the only bit of hassle on the whole route, and the route is well signposted.

At the entrance to Rouen  the A28 becomes the 28. Follow on down through the tunnel, then across the Seine. Immediately after crossing the Seine, turn 270° right, following signs for Paris and Evreux then Evreux & Orleans . You will join the A13 motorway south of Rouen.

About 10 km south of Rouen, leave the A13 motorway at the exit for  Evreux on the  A154 motorway,  which then becomes the N154 dual carriageway almost to Dreux.

Before Dreux, you have about 10 km on the N12 (straightforward, old-style dual carriageway, sometimes busy). At the start of the town, leave the N12 following the signs for Chartres and Orleans.

After Dreux, the N154 is almost all modern dual-carriageway as far as Chartres. After Chartres, about a third of the remaining 40 km of N154 as far as the A10 motorway is now  motorway-standard dual-carriageway. A new 8km stretch was opened in May 2013. Traffic normally flows freely on the remaining relatively straight single-carriageway sections as far as the motorway. 

After joining the  joining the  A10 , it's motorway all the way. At Orleans, the motorway divides and you have are three possible choices :

1. Clermont Ferrand (for Languedoc and Spain) via  A71  (toll ) and  A75  (free motorway) This route is not recommended for cars with heavy caravans or in winter, as the A75 after Clermont Ferrand has - as well as the Millau Viaduct (toll) - several long steep hills, and a long stretch at up to 1100 metres altitude, that can be snowed up in winter.

2. Toulouse (for the Dordogne, central southwest France) via  the  A20  . This motorway is free from Vierzon until after Brive la Gaillarde.

3. Bordeaux (for southwest France and western Spain), via A10 (toll). See Routes to southwest France

At Orleans, the A71+A20 split from the A10.
At Vierzon, south of Orleans, the A71 and A20 split.

Routes from Calais to southwest France via Rouen are marginally longer (about 5 miles) than routes via Paris, but are cheaper (less tolls) and far easier driving (less traffic, less stress, fewer lorries). At French holiday weekends and other busy periods, they are also usually faster, sometimes much faster.

Looking for other routes south ? .....  
Click here for Eastern route via Reims and Dijon - mobile version

Click here for Western route via A10
(E 05) to Poitiers & Bordeaux

Click here for route avoiding tolls to Bordeaux Bayonne and Irun (Spain)

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