How to Drive to Champoluc from Calais: All You Need to Know

Driving to Champoluc

We look at your options for driving to Champoluc from Calais, including how long it takes, what the best route is, where to stay overnight and how much it will cost.

In this post we also look at flying and travelling by train to Champoluc as well as covering all the following points:

  • How long does it take to drive from Calais to Champoluc?
  • How far is it from Calais to Champoluc?
  • How much does it cost to drive to Champoluc?
  • How do I pay for French motorway tolls (péage)?
  • Where should I stop on the way?
  • What equipment do I need for driving in Europe?
  • Should I take snow chains?
  • No Headphones Law
  • Watch out for Speed Cameras
  • What else should I take for the journey?
  • Where can I park in Champoluc?
  • Flying to Champoluc
  • Travelling by train to Champoluc  

How long does it take to drive from Calais to Champoluc?

You can expect it to take you around 9½ hours of driving to travel from Calais to Champoluc, excluding any stops you take along the way.

The Google Map below suggests it will take 9 hours and 35 minutes, but it can take longer at peak times, especially weekends.  

map from calais to Champoluc

How far is it from Calais to Champoluc?

Google’s suggested route to Champoluc from Calais is 1008km or 626 miles. It takes you via the following towns:

St Quentin
Reims
Troyes
Dijon
Bourg-en-Bresse
Annemasse
Cluses
Chamonix
Courmayeur (via the Mont Blanc Tunnel)
Aosta
Verres
Champoluc

An ‘alternative’ longer route brings you through Belgium, Luxembourg and the down the German side of the Rhine, then through the Grand St Bernard tunnel (the road over this col is closed in winter).

Ski 2 client Rob Grange has taken this option several times:

It’s about 2 hours and 150 miles longer, but cheaper as the only tolls are the Swiss £40 charge (valid for the year), the tunnel at £57 return and €11 for the motorway in the Aosta Valley.

How much does it cost to drive to Champoluc?

The route shown above is the most direct and includes travel on toll roads (known as ‘péage’ in France). The tolls will cost you approximately €130 for a return journey, so about £120.

The cost of the Mont Blanc tunnel for a car is €60 return, valid for two weeks.

The cost of fuel will vary depending on your vehicle, but a reasonable figure to work on for your budget would be about £500 return, including tolls, but excluding your Channel crossing.

This is good value compared with most flights, particularly if you are taking skis with you. Although a roof-box will reduce your economy, you will save much more than the cost of ski carriage with most airlines.

And if there are four of you driving, then you will also have the bonus of reducing your carbon footprint compared with flying.

Car driving in snow

How do I pay for French motorway tolls?

When you reach a payment section at a French motorway péage you can use any credit or debit card (but not American Express) to pay. The simplest way to pay is to use a touch-enabled card.

All lanes are clearly marked, so choose your lane early and don’t leave your decision to the last minute. Unless you have a tag (see below) then avoid the lanes marked only with a ‘t’ as these are telepéage lanes only.

Make sure you know the height of your vehicle – some lanes are restricted to 2m maximum height and if you have a roof-box or particularly high SUV you may be over that.

French motorway péage

What is an EMOVIS tag?

This is a great way of cutting down your queueing time at the péage. An eMovis tag (or SANEF tag) is a small widget that you can order in advance and then attach to your windscreen near the rear-view mirrow.

The tag allows you to take the telepéage lanes which you can pass through by slowing down, but not actually stopping. A sensor detects your tag and you are billed automatically to your credit card.

You can order a tag by going to the Emovis website or click here to sign up without the usual Euros 10 sign-up charge (the discount link is in the 3rd paragraph). Thanks to Rhino Car Hire (www.rhinocarhire.com) for this special offer.

Where should I stop on the way?

A good way to break the journey is to leave on the Friday night, cross the channel and drive some of the way before stopping for the night. The following morning, you will have a shorter journey to Champoluc. Depending on when you want to set off in the morning, you could even ski a half or full day on arrival.

Where you stop will be determined by how far you want to drive on day one. Evidently, the further you travel, the less will be left for the following day. A big factor is likely to be how much driving you need to do to get to Folkestone/Dover to leave the UK.

The following shows roughly how long it will take you to travel to each town, with the remaining travel time marked in brackets. This is based on the full journey taking 9 hours 30 minutes.

Arras – 1h15m (8h15m)
Rheims – 2h45m (6h45m)
Chalons-en-Champagne 3h (6h30m)
Troyes – 4h45m (4h45m)
Dijon – 5h15m(4h15m)
Besançon – 6h45m (2h45m)

All of these towns have a wide variety of accommodation available, often very close to the motorway.

We recommend Booking.com for finding a property, partly because they have a lot of listings and it’s easy to search with their map, but also because they tend to have excellent cancellation policies should your plans change.

What equipment do I need for driving across France?

France has several requirements that are not compulsory in the UK. While this may change for British drivers after the Brexit transition period ends, the list currently includes:

  • Warning Triangle
  • Reflective Safety Jacket
  • Breathalyser [The law requires you to carry one, but it seems fines are rarely imposed]
  • Driving licence [At present an International Driving Licence is not required]
  • Insurance and ownership documents
  • Passport
  • GB sticker on your car, unless fitted with EU number plates
  • Snow Chains – required for Italy. See below

As you are travelling overseas, we strongly recommend you buy breakdown cover, although it is not compulsory.

Passport on Suitcase

Should I take snow chains?

If you’re driving to Champoluc in winter, you are required by law to fit winter tyres, or to carry snow chains in your vehicle – click here for the regulations for the Aosta Valley, through which you will have to drive to reach Champoluc (you might need to use Google Translate). Snow chains or snow socks can be bought online or rented just for your trip.

You should be mindful that the weather and road conditions in the Alps can change very quickly. The local authorities regularly close roads to vehicles that do not have specialist equipment, so make sure you don’t get caught out.

Another optional, but useful, extra might be a shovel, as it’s always possible it might look like this at the end of the week:

man with a car covered in snow

Headphones Law

A recent and significant difference between France and the UK is that headphones/earphones cannot be worn while driving (although it’s not really a very good idea to wear them while driving anywhere!).

Watch out for Speed Cameras

Naturally, you will stick to the speed limit, but you should still watch out for speed cameras as they are not as obvious on French motorways as they are in UK. It’s also worth considering that it is illegal to use any devices that can detect speed cameras.

The normal motorway speed limit is 130 kmh. Don’t end up like Lewis Hamilton!

What else should I take for the journey?

Whether you break up the drive with a stop overnight along the way, or do it all in one go, it’s still a long trip. Consider downloading some audiobooks or podcasts (such as The Ski Podcast) before you leave to help the journey pass by.

And if you are travelling with children, then a sense of humour, a stack of travel games and – let’s be honest – some devices are all a good idea!

Parking in Champoluc

There is plenty of free outdoor car parking around the village of Champoluc and all of our featured properties have parking adjacent. The Hotel Le Rocher also offers covered underground parking.

For those staying at one of our piste-side properties (Rascard Frantze, Maison Fosson or L’Aroula) our staff will assist you with parking in the central village car park, for which there is no charge.

Champoluc by Train

We have noticed more of our guests choosing to travel by train to the Alps to reduce their carbon emissions and so that they don’t have to deal with the stress of flying.

We cover all the details of how to get there on this page about train travel to Champoluc, including the best routes and how long it takes.

Travel to Champoluc by Plane

Most of our guests travel to Champoluc by plane, to Turin, which has the shortest transfer time, but also to Milan, Geneva or Genoa. The cost of your Ski 2 holiday includes return airport transfers from 5 airports, all within a 3 hour journey from resort.

We cover all the details of taking the plane, including lists of every airline that flies to each airport on this page about flying to Champoluc.

  • Route Information

    Driving directions from Calais to Champoluc

    From Calais docks, follow A26 – ‘Dir Paris/Reims’

    Take A26 south to Reims

    At Reims, take A4 east – ‘Dir Metz, Nancy, Troyes, Lyon’

    After 20 kms, take A26 south – ‘Dir Troyes, Lyon’

    At Troyes, take A5 east – ‘Dir Lyon, Dijon’

    After 70 kms, take A31 south – ‘Dir Dijon, Lyon’

    At Dijon take A39 south – ‘Dir Bourg-en-Bresse, Geneva’

    At Bourg-en-Bresse, take A40 east – ‘Dir Geneva’

    At Geneva, take A40 – ‘Dir Mont Blanc, Chamonix’

    At Chamonix, follow signs to ‘Mont Blanc Tunnel’

    1 km after tunnel exit take A5 – ‘Dir Aosta, Torino’

    At Aosta, take A5 motorway – heading towards Turin – ‘Dir Torino’

    After 15 minutes’ drive, take the exit for ‘Verres’

    After the toll booth, follow signs for ‘Val d’Ayas and Champoluc’

    Total distance from Calais to Champoluc is 1008 kms.

Reaching Champoluc by Coach

Occasionally clients prefer the comfort of travelling to Champoluc in a luxury coach. Unfortunately we can’t arrange this for individuals, but we can if you’re a large group. Please call Roger on 01962 713330 for a quotation.

Most coaches have 51 seats, however we can arrange for larger vehicles if required. The journey from Calais to the resort takes under 13 hours. Leaving the UK on a Saturday mid-evening ferry means you arrive in Champoluc by Sunday lunchtime – leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the fantastic skiing as you get a full six days.

Coaches usually leave on a Saturday night after dinner to get you back to the UK by the Sunday morning.

All the coaches are comfortable with seat belts throughout, reclining seats, a drinks machine and a toilet/washroom.

You’ll have the same two drivers there and back who will stay in the resort and get to know your group, skiing during the day and often getting involved in evening activities.