Calais to the Mediterranean without tolls 

via Rouen, Orleans, Nevers, Clermont-Ferrand

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The fastest route to the Mediterranean avoiding tolls

Calais to Perpignan 1200 km - with at least 830 km on motorway or dual carriageway.
► Option no tolls at all
This is not the best, nor maybe even the cheapest option, since the odd euros saved by avoiding absolutely all tolls will mean a longer journey with more stress negotiating built-up areas, rather than avoiding them.
For this reason, the details of the no tolls at all route are indicated below.

►Option minimal tolls
Paying a few euros in tolls on a 1200 km journey is economical in time saved and less stress. The route proposed here provides the best balance between speed and toll costs for  driving from Calais to the Mediterranean beaches of Languedoc and on into Spain towards the Costa Brava..

About-France.com recommended toll-saving route:  
Calais > Abbeville > Rouen > Chartres > Orleans > Briare > Nevers > Clermont-Ferrand > Millau > Béziers > Perpignan (> Girona >. Barcelona)
and Calais.... > Provence

The tolls that are worth paying:
Calais to Abbeville on A16  :  8.00 Euros
South exit from Rouen on A 13 > A154 :  2.10 Euros
Motorway Riom to Clermont Ferrand: 1.20 Euros
Millau Viaduct - Cost: 9.10 Euros in July / August, 7.30 rest of year.
Total recommended tolls (Jan 2015): 11.30 Euros for a car, or 18.60 if you take the Millau viaduct for the experience. 50% more for caravan / motorhome.
Time saved by paying tolls: at least 1 hour.

Route guide:

Leave Calais on the free  A16  E402  motorway in the direction of Boulogne, Amiens. The toll section starts just before Boulogne. We recommend using this short toll section as far as Abbeville.
Just before Abbeville, take the free   A28  E402  motorway to  Rouen.  Entering Rouen the A28 becomes the N28. Follow on down through the tunnel, then across the Seine. After that, follow signs for Paris and Evreux then Evreux & Orleans . You will join the A13 motorway west of Rouen: there will be a 2 € toll to pay (car rate).
About 10 km south or Rouen, leave the A13 motorway for the A154 motorway. Toll gate at the intersection.
Then follow the A154 > N154 dual carriageway / divided highway almost to Dreux. At Dreux, follow signs for Chartres and Orleans. The N154 is almost all modern dual-carriageway from Dreux to Chartres
At Allaines, do not follow signs for A10 motorway. Continue on D994 (old N154) to Artenay, where you join the D2020 (old N20) to Orleans.
    At entrance to Orleans, pass under ring-road, then immediately right following green signs D2060 E60  to Montargis. Follow dual-carriageway D2060 for 30 km, then exit on D952 marked Nevers in green. Follow D952 48 km, past Gien to reach the D2007 (former N7) by Briare. Keep following the green signs for Nevers.
Join the dual-carriageway D2007 (old N7).  At Cosne sur Loire, join the  A77  motorway, which is now free.
  Now follow the A77 / N7 for 100 km, mostly dual carriageway, past Nevers and on until south of Moulins.  Turn right onto N 79/  E62  for Montlucon.  Then, 4.5 km later, turn right again onto D2009 following green signs for Clermont Ferrand.
► For the Alps, continue on the N7 to Lyon, then follow green signs for Grenoble par RN: all Alpine motorways are expensive.
Follow D2009 almost to Clermont, but at Riom join the  A71  motorway. There is a toll of 1.20 € for the last five miles of toll section, after that the motorway, which becomes the   A75  at Clermont, is free for the next 300 km as far as Beziers (except the toll at the Millau viaduct).
   At Beziers, leave at jct. 63, and follow green signs for Narbonne then Perpignan.... or head for the beach at Sète .

Toll-free routes to Provence

Use the above route as far as south of Clermont Ferrand.
Thereafter there are two possibilities.
1. Traffic heading to Provence can leave the A75 after Lodève, well south of Millau, at the interchange with A750, and head to Montpellier. Beyond Montpellier, there is a choice of non-toll routes. All motorways beyond Montpellier are toll.
2. Leave A75 at Exit 20, south of Issoire, (pink spur on the map) and follow the  N 102  via Brioude and  Le Puy en Velay (skirt, or visit) then Aubenas, then Montelimar. From Montelimar, follow the N7 to Orange and Avignon and beyond. The roads are good, and the N102 is scenic, but there is little dual carriageway after leaving the A75 .

Important warning:
The A75 route across the Massif Central uplands is not recommended in winter or for cars towing heavy caravans. It is a mountain motorway that rises on 3 occasions to over 1100 metres and has several long and relatively steep gradients.

Click here for more information on Routes through France to Spain
Is this route worth it?
Avoiding tolls means avoiding Paris
The route below avoids Paris, its tolls and its traffic.
But is it worth it?
From Calais to Gien, south of Paris, is 36 miles longer via this route, for a toll saving of about 18 €uros for a normal car. But the driving is less stress. 

Hotels along the route - all very easy to find
Coloured markers on the map indicate handy hotels close to the road. Click any marker for details. Direction indications for reaching hotels are for southbound traffic.

Alternative route avoiding all tolls :
a) Boulogne: Leave A16 motorway at exit 29, and follow D901 > D1001 as far as the entrance to Abbeville, where you take the Free A 28.
b) At Rouen, before reaching the Seine, take exit at the entrance to a short tunnel, for D6015 marked Vernon, Cergy Pontoise. Follow D6015 as far as Le Vaudreuil, then join the free A154 > N154.
c) At Riom, continue following the green signs for Clermont Ferrand. Then the blue motorway signs for Montpellier
d) To avoid the Millau viaduct toll, go through Millau town, leaving motorway at junction 45, rejoining at junction 47.

Another alternative... with no tolls

Discover a slow and interesting route from the north to the south of France. France with no tolls, not much traffic, but plenty to see and visit. Essentially for those who have a bit of time to spare

Not what you were looking for ? .....
Click here for route avoiding tolls to Bordeaux Bayonne and Irun (Spain)
Click for fastest routes south, with tolls

Map Key: (clickable markers)

Quality /  classic independent hotels with character
Four-star and quality three star hotels - chains such as Mercure or Novotel
Budget and economy hotels - 2 or 3 stars chains such as Ibis or Campanile
Independent budget hotels
Hotel clusters: more than one hotel of different categories

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Small hotels in the south of France
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