Cycling Holidays France - Courleon France

Taking your bike to France? – A money saving tip!

Taking your bike to France – A money saving tip if you use the French Autoroutes.

Here’s a top tip if you are taking your bikes on the roof of your car to France and you are travelling through France on the Autoroutes.

Pay attention at the automatic tollbooths or your journey may seem really expensive!  Here’s why you need to read on….

The toll you pay is based on the category of vehicle, which basically relates to size.  So cars are category 1, vans category 2 and so on.

The higher the category, the higher the autoroute toll.

Watch out at the toll booths!

If you’ve got a roofbox or bike on the roof and you pay at one of the automatic booths the automated system may take your extra height into account and mistake you for a van or truck and charge you more.  However, even with a roof box or bike rack, a car is still a category 1 and should be charged accordingly.

So, to avoid paying more than you need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Put your toll ticket in and check that the read out on the screen says Cat 1 and then the price.  If it does, no worries!
  2. If it doesn’t say Cat 1, press the help button and the machine will connect you to a supervisor – either in one of the booths or in a remote management centre.
  3. Tell them you have a roof box and just a car and should be Cat 1 – the supervisor will use remote cameras to confirm and will amend the price on the machine.
  4. You can then pay as normal.

The key is to call for assistance BEFORE you put your credit card in!

Claiming afterwards

However, if you find this article after travelling through France and you thought your tolls on the french roads were expensive then dig out the receipts and check them.  If you find you’ve been incorrectly charged, you will have to send a letter to the address on the recepit, together with the receipts and a photocopy of your reg docs (to prove your vehicle) and request a refund.  As with most refunds in France, it could turn out to be a real pain!

So remember:

  • Check the readout says Cat 1
  • If it doesn’t call for assistance
  • Get the Category amended and enjoy your journey!
  • Spend what extra you’ve avoided on a slap up French lunch!

Bonne Route!