Drive to the French Alps

Travel by Car

Pretty much all of our rental accommodation lies in the Vallouise Valley. With each of our bookings you will receive directions to your accommodation. But if you have lost or forgotten your itinerary use the following directions to get you to Vallouise and we can meet you in the village centre.

Coming from England

From Calais it takes approximately 9 to 11 hours to get to Vallouise, and just around 990km. It is motorway all the way to Grenoble. Tolls cost around €90 each way (Jan. 2011) if you go the standard route - Calais, Reims, Dijon, Lyon, Grenoble, Col Du Lautaret, Briançon, Vallouise.

Take the A26 from Calais to Troyes – A5/A31 then A6 to Dijon – A6 to Lyon – A43/48 to Grenoble – N91 to Briancon. Once in Briancon follow “Toutes Directions” and then Gap/Sisteron. You go round Briancon and then out on the main road heading south on the N94. Approximately 5 kilometres past Briancon and after a main roundabout, at the village of Prelles, take a right-hand turn signposted to Les Vigneaux and Vallouise. Follow this minor road for 15 minutes all the way to Les Vigneaux. Drive straight through this little hamlet to the main road to Vallouise. Turn right at the obvious T-junction signposted Vallouise/Puy-St-Vincent and drive for a further 5 minutes up to the village, passing Vallouise La Casse en route. Go all the way to Vallouise and take "Centre" signs turning left into Vallouise itself and within 100m you will come into the small village square with a fountain in the middle.

Other options:

  1. Lyon - Chambery - Fréjus Tunnel - Col De Montgenèvre - Briancon - Vallouise: The Frejus Tunnel is about the same time wise as the Col Du Lautaret but a lot more expensive due to the tunnel toll (€30 in Jan 2011). Plus it's a bit like driving through an elongated coffin, and why you’d want to pay for that I don’t know.
  2. Grenoble - Col Bayard (access by the "Route Napoléon") - Gap - L'Argentière - Vallouise: Only recommended if both the Col De Montgenevre and Col Du Lautaret are closed due to snow.

In Winter:
If you're travelling on one of the 4 ‘Black’ travelling days make sure that your out of Calais by 6am at the latest, otherwise you are just going to get stuck in the Alps bound traffic from Lyon onwards. Also check that the Col Du Lautaret is open: Tel: Col du Lautaret / Montgenevre 00 33 492 24 44 44

In Summer: In summer the driving times are much the same as in Winter other than the note above.

Coming from Italy:

Motorway until Oulx (35km from Briançon) then pass over the “Col de Montgenevre” (mountain pass) and take the RN 94 down to Briancon. See directions above once in Briancon.

Coming from the south of France:

Take the motorway north until you reach La Saulce, then Tallard, Embrun, and finally Briançon by the RN 94. Once you have reached Argentiere La Bessee (approx. 20km from Briancon) take signs for Vallouise, Puy-St-Vincent. Drive for a further 15 minutes up to the village, passing Vallouise La Casse en route. Go all the way to Vallouise and take "Centre" signs turning left into Vallouise itself and within 100m you will come into the small village square with a fountain in the middle.

Useful contact details relevant to how you approach AlpBase:

Also try the OT at Monetier-Les-Bains for traffic info for the Col Du Lautaret: Tel: 00 33 492 24 40 04;

Useful notes if driving from the UK across France:

You have two choices. The first is to get on the motorway (“autoroute” in French) which starts just outside Calais, and blast all the way south. This is probably the best way if you have a fast comfortable car! Remember, the speed limit is 130kph (about 80mph) on the autoroute, with most traffic moving in the 80-90mph bracket.
You have to pay to use French motorways; you can use either a credit card or euros.

The other option is to take the “N” roads, or more specifically the “RN” roads – the Routes Nationales. These are the equivalent of UK “A” roads. Far more pleasant, often fast, free of charge and scenic. However, despite many ring-roads, you still have to pass through towns and villages on the way, and this is going to make your journey take far longer. All very nice, and far more relaxing, but it could take you 2 or more days to get to us this way!

Our advice is to take a late evening ferry to Calais, hit the motorway for an hour or so, and then get a good night’s sleep at a Formula 1 motel. These are a chain of inexpensive mini hotels spread along the French motorway networks. They are basic, functional, not at all pretty, but very convenient to find and use, and also very cheap. It doesn’t matter what time you arrive – if it’s after 10.00pm or midnight in some cases, it’s all automatically operated. You just put your credit card in the machine by the door. You are given a room number and a code number to operate the door lock.

Each room has a double bed and a single bunk bed, as well as a wash basin and colour TV. Shared shower and toilet facilities are available just down the corridor. Parking is generally fairly secure, in a fenced compound. Although advance booking is not necessary, in peak holiday times it is highly recommended as they do become full.

Booking can be done by phone, or online at http://www.hotelformule1.com
Then in the morning continue your journey by motorway until you reach Grenoble. See above for directions from there.

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