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Toll roads in France

I will be driving from CDG to Bayeux with a stop in Chantilly at the end of the month. While looking at the route, I noticed toll roads. I will be driving a rental. How can I use the toll roads and pay the tolls?

TIA, Joe

Posted by
885 posts

Get the Via Michelin app......it gives you the route, location of gas stations, where the toll roads are and the cost that they will be. Comes in handy!

Posted by
3618 posts

The one thing to be careful about is relying on an American credit card to pay the tolls. Sometimes they work, but not always. Keep a substantial amount of cash ready in case your card is rejected. Look at the icons above the lanes to be sure you don’t get into a telepass or card only lane.

Posted by
7061 posts

According to viamichelin.com, tolls on that route come to approx €16.60. I would just make sure you have €20-25 in coins just to be on the safe side. I drove around France for 17 days and drove on lots of toll roads; I didn't want to mess with the risk of credit card not working so just kept a baggie of coins in the glove compartment. Easy enough, just make sure you learn the signs on the toll lanes and make sure you go through the 'cash' lane if using coins.

Posted by
7007 posts

To be more specific, the lanes that handle all payments are indicated by a green arrow. A "t" symbol without green arrow means transponder only, a "card" symbol without green arrow means card only.

Posted by
1005 posts

As the previous poster said, use the lanes with green arrows. You'll find that the machines take both credit cards and cash--so you can try your card first to see if it works. Be sure to know your PIN for your card in case the machine asks for it. And be aware that none of the booths have people--it is totally automated.

Posted by
410 posts

Thank you all for this excellent advice. I will be certain to get coins sufficient + a few extra Euros while at CDG. I am bringing a portable Tom Tom GPS from home. It has worked flawlessly in the past.

Posted by
1828 posts

September, 2019 our Bank of America credit cards worked at all French toll booths and parking lot kiosks. At one toll booth, our usual credit card did not work but the back-up one worked just fine. Tip-- have a designated spot where you keep the little ticket you get when you enter the toll road - you don't want to be rummaging for it when you are approaching the toll booth.

Posted by
473 posts

Our rental car last summer even had a place to keep the parking tickets from lots in the window. Very handy. Make sure you keep that toll ticket handy . Toll roads are very easy to use. Just make sure you’re in the right lane. Made that mistake many years ago and it was embarrassing

Posted by
509 posts

In addition to all the sound advice above, on the same general route as first day drivers in France, we would turn on our emergency flashers as we pulled into the toll lane -- just as a precaution to prevent delays to other drivers in case we had to fumble with coins or figure out a credit card issue. That was 2016, and we had inconsistent luck with chip-no-pin credit cards, and quickly loaded up on coins to reduce the stress. Those cards may now have wider acceptance.

Posted by
168 posts

Used both Visa and MC to pay for the tolls (no PIN required) and had no issues at all on the automated lanes. We were there last month and traveled from Nord to Mont Saint Michel (via A14/A13).

All I know is that one leg of the trip (a really short one) was €9.79...and were a little surprised on that cost, compared to the €4-6 average on the other legs.

Posted by
12172 posts

It's not hard. The toll booths should take both credit cards and cash.

My experience is I find myself going through every card, normally twice, before it finally approves a transaction and I go through the gate (my theory is the transaction times out before it gets approval from overseas, running a second time may be faster because of cookies - just a theory).

I've had maybe one out of ten or less where nothing works even after a second attempt. I always go to a line that gives cash as an option and keep some cash on hand (in denominations less than 20's), just in case.

Posted by
7061 posts

I think it's only coins or cards. I don't remember seeing any booths with a slot to feed in bills but they may exist.

Posted by
5697 posts

I once had only a large bill (maybe €50) at a toll booth for a €20+ charge -- yes, it made change but that was a pile of €2 coins.
It seems there are two toll road companies -- Vinci and another --and in 2016 my Visa only worked with one of them.

Posted by
2916 posts

I just got back from France, and for the 3rd year in a row my credit card (Andrews FCU) worked at every toll booth. So I didn't even have to use a backup card or cash. And never a PIN needed; in fact, I don't know if French toll machines are even equipped for PINs.

Posted by
15649 posts

I paid with notes at toll plazas in eastern France, I assume the machines are the same all over. You get all your change in coins. If memory serves, €20s are accepted, certainly smaller ones.

Posted by
7007 posts

Yes, you can use bills, but only €20 or smaller.
But don't worry, most ATMs give you a choice of denominations (pick smallest ones), and the coins will soon pile up anyway. If my memory serves, there are four toll plazas between Paris and Caen; five if you take the faster A14 out of the Paris area.

Posted by
8173 posts

We always have a coin purse with lots of Euro coins and a few 50 and 20 and 10 cent coins as well as a few 5 and 10 Euro notes. Our credit cards -- US chip/sig-- work sometimes and sometimes they don't. The toll stations are privatized to different vendors. In our last driving trip from Paris to the Riviera we found booths where they didn't work south of Paris but had no trouble on the Riviera where there is a different vendor. I'd not chance blocking traffic and would choose the coin lane in case the cards didn't work. We had some ugly moments with card not working and no manned booths. We were assisted by the disembodied voice on the emergency call button who had us put a 20 in a non automated box and then lifted the gate for us.

Posted by
2916 posts

The most important thing is to make sure you use a lane with a green arrow, so that you can always use cash if your card fails. Even though my US credit card has worked at every toll booth in France for the last 3 years, I still make sure to use a green arrow lane just in case.