La Roche Bernard

Introduction to La Roche-Bernard La Roche-Bernard is a small town in Southern Brittany. It is a very exciting place to visit for many reasons. The town is situated on the River Vilaine, and plays host to a myriad of small boats in its natural harbour. Two superb...

Local Activities

Whatever your interests, the Brittany / Pays de la Loire region of France certainly offers an incredible range of local activities. From walking to sailing or from playing golf to relaxing on one of the many glorious sandy beaches. Do you prefer a self-catering...

La Brière

A 5 minute drive from La Roche Bernard takes you to the Parc Naturel Régional de La Brière. The park includes the largest wetland area in France outside of the Camargue. It covers around 100,000 acres. Its establishment in 1970 aimed to  protect the cultural and...

Markets in France selling food, crafts and antiques

Visiting local food, craft, and antiques markets in France is one of the most pleasurable experiences enjoyed by holidaymakers. This certainly applies to Brittany and the Pays de la Loire regions. Whether you are looking for local Pottery, Speciality salt from the...

Holiday Website Tips (2) – Be easy to contact

Make sure there is a clear and obvious way for people to get in touch with you wherever they are on your website. Failure to do so could result in lots of potential bookings finding their way to somebody else's website. A few simple ideas may make all the difference...
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Peage sign ahead of French toll booths

French Autoroute System

Unlike the UK, France has a large network of autoroutes which require the payment of a toll if you want to use them. The tolls payable aren’t cheap (for example, it’s around 55 Euros to travel between Caen and Bordeaux), but the roads are well maintained, usually quiet, and really do cut journey times. Maximum speed limit is 130km/h, except when it is raining when the speed limit is reduced to 110km/h.

Toll Booth Delays at French Péages

However, in built up areas and during peak periods elsewhere, there can often be very large queues at the toll booths, which can delay an otherwise rapid journey through France. At these toll booths (péages) it’s not always obvious which booth drivers need to go to, which can cause some last minute changes of direction. Some booths take cash, others take cards and cash, and others are for the vehicles that have a transponder (or tag) fitted.

Transponders for fast use of French Toll booths

We’ve often wondered how to make use of the “fast lane” booths, the ones where the barriers are raised without the driver having to hand over any cash, or enter a credit or debit card. These booths generally don’t have as much traffic passing through them, and the vehicles that do use them go through very quickly. Well, now we know…

The vehicles are fitted with transponders, little electronic tags that sit inside the windscreen just behind the rear-view mirror. As a vehicle approaches the barrier, the tag is ‘read’ and the barrier is raised. Payment then comes out of your nominated UK bank account. You can now buy these transponders in the UK for use when you’re in France.

The company that provided them were called Sanef Tolling, who were licenced to supply transponders for light vehicles (not larger vehicles like motorhomes for the time being). This UK company now seems to be offering the electronic tags. There are no toll discounts available, and you have to pay a registration fee, a deposit for the tag, an annual management fee as well as a usage fee for each month that you actually use it (but there is a payment ceiling after 2 months of usage in any year). However, the tag is transferable between vehicles.

I don’t think the convenience of this system outweighs the cost for us – we use toll roads for no more than 6 or 7 days each year, and generally away from the busy areas and outside of peak periods, but I’m sure that this will be useful to a lot of English second-home owners in France.

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