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Get a Liber-t tag and make your journey to the Alps quicker

Motorway MapFrench Autoroutes are a joy; a great road surface and generally empty apart from when they’re busy and then they are usually really busy. The bad news is you have to pay for them.

The route planning website Via Michelin is currently showing Calais to La Plagne as 922km with 822km on Autoroutes in 9 hours 17mins with 68.70 Euros in tolls. A toll-free route is a similar distance with 238Km on toll-free Autoroutes, but taking a whopping 14 hours and 42 minutes.

Payment of tolls can easily be done with cash or bank card at the designated automatic toll booths which straddle the Autoroute at the end of each paid section or when you exit the motorway; however, at busy times this can involve queuing for a considerable period. The good news is that you can purchase a Liber-t tag to enables you to use the lanes marked exclusively for those with a tag and the super quick lane where you can drive through at up to 30kph.

The Liber-t tag is a small plastic unit which you stick onto your windscreen behind your driving mirror via a clip. It is read by sensors as you approach any lane marked with an illuminated “t”. Once read, your designated bank account is debited on a monthly basis with the usage fee for that part of the Autoroute. Clips can be transferred for use in a different vehicle as long as they are of the same type; i.e. car to a car.

Confusingly, you can get the tag from two different companies. Both are owned by the same parent company and determining the best value for you depends on how many separate months you will use the French Autoroutes in the course of a year. If you only travel in France a couple of months annually, then Bip&Go à la carte is probably for you. If you come more frequently Sanef Tolling may work out cheaper.

Both methods of application are simple online forms in English. You need to link a debit card to your account. Once completed the tag is dispatched and usually arrives within a couple of days.

Unfortunately, you don’t get a discount on the toll fees by using a tag, and, indeed, it’s slightly more expensive as you pay €1.70 a month for each month you use the tag (Bip&Go) and a €5 monthly usage fee capped at payment for two months each year (Sanef Tolling) plus a small financial transaction tax on your monthly bill. Simples? Not really.

It can however, potentially save you a lot of time on your journey. And time, as they say, is money.

Mange tout Rodney, mange tout.

Worth a thought perhaps.

Monsieur Mogul


Monsieur Mogul – Our man in La Plagne

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author

alone and not those of Ice and Fire Ski and Snowboard Holidays

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