Routes to the south of France

Western routes via Rouen & Orleans: A16 - A28 - A71 - A75 - A20

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Route guide and map 
showing easily accessible hotels

The route from Calais to Paris, Languedoc, central southern France or northeast Spain

autoroute A71

Hotels: just motorway hotels that are very easy to find

Click here for a printable PDFversion of these instructions:
 Printable Calais-Southwest France route guide

Click here for more information on Routes through France to Spain

And for when you reachSpain  .....
     Check out Driving in Spain

Map Key: Easily accessible hotels

Quality 3 or 4-star classic independent hotels with character
Upscale chains such as Mercure or Holiday Inn
Midscale chains such as Campanile, Kyriad or Ibis Styles
Budget hotels - 1 star or 2 stars. Ace, Ibis Budget, F1 and others
Hotel clusters: more than one hotel of different categories

Overnight stops on the way...

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.   ► Click any coloured marker on the map and a info box will show up with details of the easy to find hotel in that location. Click the link in the info box to book online at best rates. Links on the map take you to the hotels' own websites or other booking sites,
NB: "Close to the exit" does not mean noisy. All these modern hotels are well insulated and soundproofed.
Left click and hold to move the map around in its frame

Electric vehicle recharging points on A16.> A28 >... route:
A16 North of Abbeville. Baie de Somme service area
A28 before Rouen. No recharging points on the Motorway. Use Leclerc supermarket in Neufchatel en Bray (Exit 9)
N12 500m after roundabout at end of N154. Use Leclerc supermarket or Lidl.
Charging points close to most main exits
A4 Aire Orleans Gidy service area  and so on
For map of all recharging points in France 2022) click here

Want to avoid the tolls?
New : Slow roads through France - Discover a leisurely route down through France on  tranquil byroads, taking in attractive small towns and villages, magnificent châteaux, forests, historic abbeys, valleys and mountains. A route guide in three parts.

Route guide:

Leave Calais on the  A16 E402  motorway following signs for Boulogne, Amiens.
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 N28. Follow on down through the tunnel, then across the Seine. (The Pont Mathilde bridge, closed from 2012 to 2014, has now reopened). 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 or Rouen, leave the A13 motorway for 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).
At Orleans, the A71+A20 split from the A10.
At Vierzon, south of Orleans, the A71 and A20 split.

Routes from Calais to the south of 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.

Not the route you wanted?
Check out these alternatives...
For the southwest via Rouen Tours and Poitiers 
See ► A10 to Southwest France

For southeast France, Switzerland or Italy, via Reims  
See ► Southeast from Calais

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