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Question How do toll roads in France 'work'?

RooFlyer

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I will be hiring a car in France and will probably be using toll roads (A35, A36, A39, A40) in the east.

How do toll roads in France 'work', please?

For instance, do you get a ticket at the entry point then put the ticket in a machine on exit and pay the fee displayed?

Or ... pay a fee up front and exit where you like?
Are there usually manned toll booths?
Is there such a thing as a universal eToll thingy that Avis will offer me when I hire?
Is there a variety of methods ? :eek:
Do they take credit cards, or cash only?

I have a real phobia about toll roads in overseas countries - I've had some bad experiences in making the wrong choices ...

Anyone willing to offer a Dummy's Guide to French toll roads will find a willing reader here. Merci !
 

tgh

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I always use the hire car dongle (Avis in France) and have had no issues.
I did get booked tho..Avis charged me an admin fee and told me the French government would send me the fine..
That was last year and I am still waiting...
 

Pushka

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At the beginning or the end? Is it one charge no matter how much of the road you used?
You pass through the gates. There are multiple toll gates! The longer you use the toll road the more gates you pass through. Or you can go through country road routes and avoid them.
 

Katie

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We used cash and threw it in the bowl. That’s a couple of years ago now. They are efficient. And expensive.
All of our trips (last was April 2018), I think we just paid cash or maybe Paywaved a card, on exiting the toll road/that section of toll road.

I guess you've found that website that seems to explain it all. We've mostly done Paris -> Amiens and vv, with a bit of Calais -> Amiens -> Paris last trip. Good to have coins to chuck into the basket, and also a passenger helping sort the money/ticket (Mr Katie has to be useful somehow :p).
 

kookaburra75

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That explains it pretty well. Although, we found at one toll gate between Aix and Cannes, while we put in the correct amount in coins it didn't register all of the coins, and of course we didn't have any extras to add - leading to a big bank up of traffic behind us until they took pity and raised the boom.
 

RooFlyer

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I just tap on and tap off with CC . its a slower journey if you avoid the "payage" but you et to see a bit more IMHO
If you read the article i linked to, you might think twice ... although if you've done it multiple times, its probably shown to be a 'safe' card.
 

Antoallison

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We only used the Autoroute toll roads if we had a very long distance to cover in a short time. As little as possible as we like to drive on less frequented roads and find small villages along the way.

We used cash and once a credit card - ? from memory Visa.

The rest of the time (6 weeks) we used the non toll roads connecting main towns, which at that time were marked as a green route on the AA Road Atlas (scale 1 inch = 4.4 miles that I bought. As navigator I preferred that to the Sat Nav we had.
 

Pushka

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When programming the Navman I didn’t read the first question properly (it was en Francais) and we seem to be motoring through all these beautiful villages on the way to Epernay. That night I realised the first question was “do you want the route to avoid tolls” and I selected yes. The next day we had further to travel so this time I selected Non! Paid cash only.
 

kelvedon

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Watch your speed on the autoroutes too. When you collect a ticket at the first gate it has a time stamp so if you reach the second booth before a calculated time, they know you’ve been speeding and you’ll get a fine.
 

esseeeayeenn

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It's not comprehensive though.
In answer to some of your remaining questions, the payment methods are far from uniform.
On some tollways you simply pay a standard fee at defined points.
On others you take a ticket when you enter the tollway and then stop again to pay when you exit.
Obviously in such cases the fee depends on where you exit and how far you have driven.
So you pretty much have to play it by ear whenever you approach a payage point.
There may be more than one toll on a route even though you haven't left the motorway.
Especially if different companies built different sections of the road.
On previous trips my credit cards didn't work and so I paid in cash but for the last few years I have used credit cards without problems.
I did find visa cards worked more often than mastercards, I think I read something to that effect as well.
However I don't know if that is still the case as I haven't tried with a mastercard recently.
From memory the card payments are generally contactless now so you don't have to be afraid of it retaining your card.
However in past years I had cards refused many times but never retained.
As far as speeding tickets go there are a combination of fixed and mobile radar cameras and there are also point-to-point sections where they calculate your average speed between two camera emplacements. However I have not been aware of them using payage data for such a purpose. Not saying it doesnt happen but if it was common I would have received an awful lot more speeding tickets than I have!
 

kookaburra75

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I was hoping you'd chip in @esseeeayeenn 🙂, although you've added to my paranoia!

Thanks - I'll go prepared for anything 😱
We certainly didn't plan in advance, and just winged it with cash and a MasterCard. Apart from the one hiccup it was all fine. That's one of the joys of travel afterall - the unexpected :)
 

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