We look at your options for driving to Les Gets and Morzine from Calais, including how long it takes, what the best route is, where to stay overnight and how much it will cost.
We’ll cover the following frequently asked questions:
- How long does it take to drive from Calais to Les Gets?
- How far is it from Calais to Les Gets?
- How much does it cost to drive to Les Gets?
- How do I pay for French motorway tolls (péage)?
- Where should I stop on the way?
- What equipment do I need for driving in France?
- Should I take snow chains?
- No Headphones Law
- Watch out for Speed Cameras
- What else should I take for the journey?
- Where can I park in Les Gets?
How long does it take to drive from Calais to Les Gets?
Google’s suggested route to Les Gets from Calais is 865km or 537 miles. It takes you via the following towns:
- St Quentin
- Les Gets
Although Google suggests it as an ‘alternative’ route, we do not advise that you travel via Paris, unless you have arrived in France by ferry to Dieppe, Le Havre or Caen.
How much does it cost to drive to Les Gets?
The route shown above is the most direct and includes travel on toll roads (known as ‘péage’ in France). You can avoid paying tolls by travelling via Belgium and Luxembourg, but it’s a longer journey, so although you will save in tolls, you will use more petrol. The tolls will cost you approximately €130 for a return journey, so about £110. The cost of fuel will vary depending on your economy of your vehicle.
In general, a generous figure to work on for your budget would be £400 return, including tolls.
This is good value compared with most flights, particularly if you are taking skis with you. Although a roof-box will reduce your economy, you will save more than the cost of ski carriage. And if there are four of you driving, then you will also have the bonus of reducing your carbon footprint compared with flying.
How do I pay for French motorway tolls?
When you reach a payment section at a French motorway péage you can use any credit or debit card (but not American Express) to pay. The simplest way to pay is to use a touch-enabled card.
All lanes are clearly marked, so choose your lane early and don’t leave your decision to the last minute. Unless you have a tag (see below) then avoid the lanes marked only with a ‘t’ as these are telepéage lanes only.
Make sure you know the height of your vehicle – some lanes are restricted to 2m maximum height and if you have a roofbox or a large SUV you may be over that.
What is an EMOVIS tag?
This is a neat way of reducing your queueing time at every péage. A eMovis tag (sometimes known as a SANEF tag) is a small device that you can order in advance and is attached to your windscreen.
This enables you to take the telepéage lanes which you can pass through by slowing down, but not actually stopping. A sensor will detect your tag and the amount will be automatically billed to your account.
You can order a tag by going to the Emovis website or click here to sign up without the usual Euro 10 ‘sign-up charge’ (the discount link is in the 3rd paragraph). Thanks to Rhino Car Hire (www.rhinocarhire.com) for this special offer.
Where should I stop on the way?
Many people decide to break up the journey by leaving on a Friday night, crossing the channel and then driving some of the way before stopping for the night.
This means you are left with a shorter journey to Les Gets the following morning, even allowing you to ski on your first day if you want to.
Where you stop will be determined by how far you want to drive on the first night. The further you go then, the less you’ll have to do the following day.
It will depend of course on what time you can leave your hometown and how much driving you must do before you leave the UK.
The following shows roughly how long it will take you to travel to each town, with the remaining travel time marked in brackets. This is based on the full journey taking 8 hours 30 minutes (excluding stops).
Arras – 1h15m (7h15m)
Rheims – 2h45m (5h45m)
Chalons-en-Champagne 3h (5h30m)
Troyes – 4h45m (3h45m)
Dijon – 5h15m(3h15m)
Besançon – 6h45m (1h45m)
All of these towns have a wide variety of accommodation available, often very close to the motorway.
We recommend Booking.com for finding a property, as they have a lot of listings and it’s also easy to search with their map. They also have excellent cancellation policies should your plans change.
What equipment do I need for driving in France?
France has a few requirements for driving that we don’t have in the UK. While this may change for British drivers after the transition period ends, currently the list includes:
- Warning Triangle
- Reflective Safety Jacket
- Breathalyser (Technically the law requires you to carry one, but fines are not currently being imposed.)
- Driving licence (Currently an International Driving Licence is not required, this may also change.)
- Insurance and ownership documents
- Passport (which you will also need for crossing the channel!)
- GB sticker on your car, unless fitted with EU number plates
As you are travelling overseas, we strongly recommend you buy breakdown cover, although it is not compulsory.
One significant difference from the UK is that headphones or earphones cannot be worn while driving.
Should I take snow chains?
If you’re driving to Les Gets in winter, then it is highly advisable to either fit winter tyres or take snow chains with you.
You can buy or hire snow chains for your trip. Be mindful that conditions in the Alps can change very quickly and the police often close roads to vehicles that do not have specialist equipment.
You might also want to consider taking a shovel as well, just in case you need to dig your car out.
It’s always possible it might look like this at the end of the week:
Watch out for Speed Cameras
Be wary of speed cameras. Although you do get a warning sign when they are coming up, they are not as obvious as cameras in the UK. The normal motorway speed limit is 130 kmh. Don’t end up like Lewis Hamilton!
Note that it is illegal to use any devices that can detect speed cameras.
What else should I take for the journey?
It can feel like a long journey so it’s worth spending some time to download some audiobooks or podcasts (such as The Ski Podcast) before you leave.
And if you’re travelling with children, then a sense of humour, devices and a stack of travel games are all a good idea!
Parking in Les Gets
There are several locations with free outdoor car parking in and around the village of Les Gets. If you are staying with Ski 2, one of our team will direct you once you have unloaded your luggage (unless you are staying at the Chalet Fleur de Neige in Les Gets or the Chalet Tavernier in Morzine, where there is free covered car parking under the chalet).
The main free car parking is in the large village car park. Please note that this is where the outdoor French Market takes place every Thursday morning, so you will have to move your car on Wednesday evening until the following afternoon.