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How to Pay Highway Tolls in France

Autoroutes (expressways, motorways) connect the major cities and regions in France. Many are operated by commercial companies, prominent among them Vinci Autoroutes. (A related company, Vincipark, operates hundreds of car parking garages in France.)

Toll gates sign in France
Toll ahead...

Rules for tolls, and paying them, are set by the operating companies. Here are examples for Vinci-operated autoroutes.

French toll gates
Autoroute toll gates in France: yellow signs mark the leftmost gate as reserved for télépéage only; the three center gates take cash, cards or télépéage; the rightmost gate takes only credit & debit cards.

Types of Payment

On most autoroutes, you take a ticket when you enter the highway, and pay the toll when you exit. Look for a toll gate marked by a green downward-pointing arrow. The green arrow means all types of payment are accepted,
including euro cash, credit/debit cards, and télépéage (electronic transponder).

Euro Cash

For foreign visitors, the simplest way to pay highway tolls is with euro cash (coins and/or notes).

Forms of toll payment in France
The green arrow means all types of payment are accepted in this lane, including euro cash and cards (and of course télépéage, indicated by the right-hand orange 't' symbol).

Drive into the gate with the green downward-pointing arrow to the toll machine:

French toll machine
A toll machine on a Vinci autoroute. Note the flagged buttons on the left for instructions in French, English or Spanish.

  • 1. Insert your toll ticket in Slot 1, Ticket. The toll amount in euros will appear in the digital display beneath Prix.

  • 2. Insert euro coins (10-, 20- and 50-cent, 1- and 2-euro coins) in the slot between 2 and 3 (marked Pièces [Coins] on some machines) and/or euro notes/bills (5, 10, 20 and 50 euros) in the slot marked Billets. In case of overpayment, change may be returned in the Monnaie (excess change) hole. When the full amount of the toll has been registered, the gate barrier will rise. If you wish to pay by credit or debit card instead of coins or notes/bills (see below), insert your card into Slot 2, Carte.

  • 3. Push the Récu button (Slot 3) to obtain a receipt (if desired). Proceed through the toll gate.

  • 4. In case of a problem, press the Assistance intercom button (upper right-hand corner) and wait for assistance. Don't back up!
  • Toll Amounts

    Tolls are charged by distance, so a longer drive will require more and larger coins and notes/bills. Be sure to have a sufficient and varied supply of notes and coins before entering a toll highway! Don't depend on chance—the euro cash you may have in your pocket at the time—to get you through. Prepare a special reserve of coins and notes/bills for highway tolls as the tolls can be high. The 8-hour, 775-km (482-mile) drive by autoroute from Paris to Marseille in a Classe 1 vehicle (passenger car) incurs tolls of nearly 60€ (see below).

    You can calculate the estimated toll amount for any autoroute trip on the ASFA website (see below).

    Credit/Debit Cards

    Some toll gates are marked by stylized credit card logos meaning you may pay only by credit card at that gate. Cash is not accepted at toll gates marked only by the credit card symbol.

    French toll gate credit card symbol
      Credit/debit cards only in this lane.


    Not all credit and debit cards are accepted for payment of tolls. Cards must contain a computer chip (puce), but not all chip cards are accepted!


    The highway operator (Vinci) does not publicize which cards are accepted and which are not. If you have a credit or debit card from a French bank, and it has the CB (Carte Bleu) logo on it, it will probably work. Any other card may not, and may be seized by the toll machine and not returned.

    Thus, it is wise never to insert your only credit or debit card into a highway toll machine. If you are carrying other cards with which you can continue to pay your travel expenses, you may decide to try it.

    Télépéage

    For télépéage, payment by electronic transponder, signalled by a 't' logo over the toll gate, your vehicle must have a transponder and a payment subscription account with the autoroute operating company—not practical unless you live in France or in a neighboring European country.

    If this is the only sign you see over a toll gate, you must pay the toll via télépéage in that lane.

    Estimating Your Tolls

    Tolls from Paris to:

    City

    Km/Mi

    € Toll

    Bordeaux
    583/362 54.40
    Geneva
    540/336 28.50
    Lyon
    466/277 33.30
    Marseille
    775/482 57.80
    Strasbourg
    490/304 38.00
    Toulouse
    679/422 34.70

    ASFA (Autoroutes & ouvrages concédés), the association of companies operating autoroutes in France, has a website, autoroutes.fr, that provides information in French and English on expressways/ motorways in France, including a distance & toll calculator.

    Fill in the DEPARTURE and ARRIVAL fields of the YOUR ROUTE calculator, then click SEARCH to see a map of a recommended route, statistics on distance, toll amount, estimated motor fuel usage, and other information.