The autoroute (French: [otoʁut] (listen), highway or motorway) system in France consists largely of toll roads (76% of the total). It is a network of 11,882 km (7,383 mi) of motorways as of 2014. On road signs, autoroute destinations are shown in blue, while destinations reached through a combination of autoroutes are shown with an added autoroute logo. Toll autoroutes are signalled with the word péage (toll or toll plaza).
|Source: Observatoire national interministériel de la sécurité routière.|
|Network length (Privately managed & national statistics)|
|Source ASFA., ASFA 2018; Eurostat (road_if_motorwa serie)|
Unlike other motorway systems, there is no systematic numbering system, but there is a clustering of Autoroute numbers based on region.
A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, A10, A13, A14, A15, A16 radiate clockwise from Paris with A2, A11, and A12 branching from A1, A10, and A13, respectively. A7 begins in Lyon, where A6 ends. A8 and A9 begin from the A7.
The 20s are found in northern France. The 30s are found in eastern France. The 40s are found near the Alps. The 50s are in the southeast, near the French Riviera. The 60s are found in southern France. The 70s are found in the centre of the country. The 80s are found in western France.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2020)
Autoroutes are often given a name, even if these are not very used:
- A1 is the autoroute du Nord (Northern motorway).
- A4 is the autoroute de l'Est (Eastern motorway).
- A6 and A7 are autoroutes du Soleil (Motorways of the Sun), as both lead from northern France to the sunny beach resorts of southern France.
- A8 is named La provençale as it cross the geographical region of Provence.
- A9 is named La Languedocienne as it crosses the geographic region of Languedoc
- A10 is named L'Aquitaine because it leads to Bordeaux and the region Nouvelle-Aquitaine.
- A11 is named L'Oceane because it leads to the Atlantic Ocean (Nantes)
- A13 is named the autoroute de Normandie as it traverses the region Normandy.
- A16 is named L'Européenne (the European) because it connects Paris with several European destinations such as the Belgium–France border, as well as Calais, which is connected with England.
- A20 is named L'occitane as it leads to the region Occitanie in south-west France.
- A21 is named the rocade minière (mining road) because it crosses the Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin, the largest mining stub in France.
- A26 is named the autoroute des Anglais (motorway of the English) as it connects Calais, the main point of arrival for cars and lorries from the UK, before continuing to Troyes, and through the Champagne region, whose wines are loved by the British. In addition it passes near the sites of the most famous battles fought by the British Army in World War I, such as Arras, Cambrai and the Somme and not far from Ypres and Mons in Belgium. It also passes sites of earlier UK interest such as Crecy and The Field of the Cloth of Gold.
- A35 is called l'Alsacienne or autoroute des Cigognes (Storks' motorways)as it passes only through the historical region of Alsace, for whom storks are a cultural symbol
- A36 is called la Comtoise after the region Franche Comté
- A40 is named the autoroute blanche (white motorway) as it connects the French winter resort towns and the Alps.
- The A61 and A62 are named autoroute des deux mers (the two seas motorway) because these roads connect the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea from Bordeaux via Toulouse to Narbonne.
- A68 is called autoroute du Pastel because it leads to Albi and to the Lauragais where woad was cultivated to produce pastel.
- A71 is called L'Arverne.
- A75 is called La Méridienne.
- A77 is called Autoroute de l'Arbre.
- A84 is called Autoroute des Estuaires. It is part of the main route between Belgium and Spain, avoiding Paris.
- A104, one of Paris's beltways, is also known as La Francilienne because it circles the region of Ile-de-France.
The status of motorways in France has been the subject of debate through years, from their construction until recently. Originally, the autoroutes were built by private companies mandated by the French government and followed strict construction rules as described below. They are operated and maintained by mixed companies held in part by private interests and in part by the state. Those companies hold concessions, which means that autoroutes belong to the French state and their administration to semi-private companies. Vinci controls around 4,380 km (2,720 mi) of motorway. The different companies are as follows:
- ALIS (SEM, SAPN 8%, Bouygues 20.2%, Ixis 26%, DTP Terrassement 13.44%), operating the A28 Rouen-Alençon 125 km, Alis, official site
- SAPRR (Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône), 1801 km, SAPRR, official site
- AREA (Société des Autoroutes Rhône-Alpes, SAPRR Subsidiary at 99.82%), 381 km, AREA, official site
- ASF (Autoroutes du sud de la France), 2325 km, ASF, official site (bought by vinci-autoroutes.com Vinci)
- ATMB Autoroutes et tunnels du Mont-Blanc, 107 km, ATMB, official site
- CEVM (Viaduc de Millau, groupe Eiffage), 2.5 km, CEVM, official site
- Cofiroute (Compagnie Industrielle et Financière des Autoroutes, private company part of Vinci group), 896 km, Cofiroute, official site
- Escota (Société des Autoroutes Esterel-Côte d'Azur, ASF group), 460 km, Escota, official site (bought by vinci-autoroutes.com Vinci)
- Sanef (Société des autoroutes du Nord et de l'Est de la France), A.C.S. group (Spain), 1317 km, SANEF, official site
- SAPN (Société des autoroutes Paris-Normandie, SEM, groupe Sanef), 366 km, SAPN, official site
- SFTRF, Société française du tunnel routier du Fréjus, 67 km, SFRTF, official site
Only in the Brittany region do most of the autoroutes belong to the government. They are operated by the regional council and are free from tolls.
Safety on French autoroutesEdit
Motorway Speed LimitsEdit
France has the following speed limits for limited access roads classified as motorways:
- Under normal conditions - 130 km/h (80 mph)
- In rain or wet road conditions - 110 km/h (70 mph)
- In heavy fog or snowy/icy conditions - 50 km/h (30 mph)
Limited access roads classified as express roads have lower speed limit (90 or 110 km/h, 55 or 70 mph).
In normal conditions, there is a minimum speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) in the leftmost lane. There is no minimum speed on the others lanes, however the speed must be adapted to the conditions and not constitute a hazard by being too low.
The autoroutes are designed to increase driver safety and allow for higher speed limits (130 km/h or 80 mph) than on regular roads (80 km/h or 50 mph) without increasing the risk of accidents.
The safety features include:
- one way driving: the lanes driving in the opposite direction are separated by at least a crash barrier designed to resist the oblique impact of a car at up to 180 km/h (110 mph); there are no intersecting roads but overpasses and underpasses;
- wider carriageways, with at least 2 (often 3) lanes driving in the same direction, with a larger turning radius - some recently built autoroutes have one-lane-only sections; for privately operated motorways, in 2017, the proportion is 6800 km (74%) in 2x2 lanes, 2252 km (25%) in 2x3 lanes, 84 km (1%) in 2x4 lanes. Each lane is 3.5m wide.
- long entrance and exit ramps or slip roads to get in or out of the autoroute without disturbing the traffic;
- an emergency lane, where it is forbidden to drive (except for emergency services), to park (except in case of emergency) and to walk; Since 2000, new emergency lanes on newly built motorways should be 2.5m wide (or 3m if there are more than 2000 trucks a day). According to the 2000 standard, the emergency lane must be included in a 10m wide (8.5m for sections limited to 110 km/h) security zone without obstacles (in case the security zone includes an upwards slope, it is limited to the line where the slope reaches a height of 3m).
- presence of emergency call boxes every 2 km (1.2 mi) on each side, that allow to call for help with the possibility to locate the call; some call boxes have flashing light that warn when there is a problem ahead;
- rest areas (aire de repos, i.e. car park with public toilets) every 10 km (6.2 mi) (4–6 minutes of driving) and service areas (aire de service with a least a gas station) every 40 km (25 mi) (20–30 minutes of driving) - on most recently built autoroutes these distances may be longer, up to 30/60km;
- regularly patrolling security services, to clear any obstacle and protect drivers in trouble (usually a breakdown or a flat tyre) with appropriate warning signs and beacons;
- dynamic information panels that warn about possible difficulties ahead (e.g. accident, roadworks, traffic jam);
- a radio station (107.7 MHz in FM) provides traffic information bulletins every 15 minutes (with a report in English in certain areas) and breaking news for emergencies;
- on heavy traffic days (e.g. beginning and end of school holidays), specific information and recreation events may be organised in rest areas;
- radars automatiques (speed cameras) are installed in many locations, and announced by a specific road sign.
Fatalities on motorways have decreased between 2002 and 2016.
Fatalities accidents scenarioEdit
On French motorways, in 2016, 121 fatal accidents are direct/initial accidents representing 82% of fatal accidents, 16 (11%) fatal accidents occurs after a previous accident, and 10 (7%) fatal accidents occur after an incident.
Three scenarios catch two-thirds of initial accidents:
- A01 simple collision of two vehicle without direction change
- A06 crash on protection system such as safety traffic barrier
- A05 loss of vehicle control
Fatalities and accidents remaining factorsEdit
Most of fatalities occur by night.
|Fatal accident by Light condition||Fatal accident cause|
|Source Sécurité routière||Source ASFA|
Several factor of accidents are more highly probable by night in proportion to the traffic, although inattentiveness remains risky during the day.
|Influence of time on the risk of accident (% of accidents divided by % of traffic)|
Young drivers between 18 and 34 years old represent 19% of motorway drivers, but they are overrepresented in fatal motor vehicle collisions and are involved in more than half of fatal accidents.
|Involvement of young drivers in 2016, in fatal accidents|
|young drivers in dangerous manoeuvre||young drivers in inattentiveness||young drivers in excessive speeding|
Although pedestrians are forbidden on motorways in conformity with the Vienna Convention, they are still sometimes killed on motorways.
In case a vehicle on a carriage cannot move, motorways safety rules remains applicable: it is forbidden for a pedestrian to travel on the motorway by article 421-2 from the "Code de la route" law. For this reason, in case of accident or breakdown, it is advised to turn on hazard warning lights, wear high-visibility clothing, and go in a safer place such as the other side from the traffic barrier where there is no traffic. Since 2008, it is clarified that warning triangles are no longer mandatory when they would endanger the driver of the disabled vehicle.
|Pedestrians killed in 2016|
|Place where pedestrians are killed||Reason for pedestrian presence|
The toll roads were granted as concessions to mixed-economy corporations; the free roads are directly administered by the national government. Tolls are either based on a flat-rate for access to the road or on the distance driven. The latter case is the most common for long distances; users take a ticket from an automatic machine when they enter the autoroute, and pay according to the distance when exiting; toll booths accept multiple payment methods.
In 2005, the Villepin government proposed a controversial plan to sell all of the state's holdings in autoroute companies to private investors. Critics contend that the price announced is well below the profit forecasts for these companies, and thus that the government sacrifices the future to solve current budgetary problems.
|Mode of payment|
List of AutoroutesEdit
|Number||Length (km)||Length (mi)||Southern or western terminus||Northern or eastern terminus||Route name||Formed||Removed||Notes|
|A 1||211||131||Paris (Porte de la Chapelle)||Lille||Autoroute du Nord||1954||current||Part of E 15 / E 17 / E 19|
|A 2||77.6||48.2||Combles||Belgium||—||—||Part of E 19|
|A 3||18.4||11.4||Paris (Porte de Bagnolet)||Gonesse||1969||current||Part of E 15|
|A 4||482||300||Paris (Porte de Bercy)||Strasbourg||Autoroute de l'Est||1970||current||Part of E 25 / E 50|
|A 5||225||140||Vert-Saint-Denis (Seine-et-Marne)||Langres||1983||current||Part of E 17 / E 54|
|A 6||466.3||289.7||Lyon||Paris||Autoroute du Sud, Autoroute du Soleil||1960||current||Part of E 15 / E 21 / E 60|
|A 7||312||194||Marseille||Lyon||Autoroute du Soleil||1951||current||Part of E 15 / E 80 / E 714|
|A 8||224||139||La Fare-les-Oliviers||Italy||La Provençale||1961||current||Part of E 74 / E 80|
|A 9||280||170||Spain||Orange||La Languedocienne, La Catalane||1960||current||Part of E 15 / E 80|
|A 10||557||346||Bordeaux||Rungis||L'Aquitaine||1960||current||Part of E 5|
|A 11||347||216||Nantes||Ponthévrard||L'Océane||1966||current||Part of E 50 / E 60 / E 501|
|A 12||8.5||5.3||Trappes||Rocquencourt||Autoroute de Bretagne||1950||current|
|A 13||226||140||Caen (Porte de Paris)||Paris (Porte d'Auteuil)||Autoroute de Normandie||1940||current||Part of E 5 / E 46|
|A 14||21.7||13.5||La Défense||Orgeval||1996||current|
|A 16||319||198||L'Isle-Adam||Belgium||L'Européenne||1991||current||Part of E 40 / E 44 / E 401 / E 402|
|A 19||131||81||Orléans (A10 at Artenay)||Sens||L'Éco Autoroute||1993||current||Part of E 511|
|A 20||428||266||Montauban||Vierzon||L'Occitane||1992||current||Part of E 9|
|A 21||58.9||36.6||Aix-Noulette||Douchy-les-Mines||Rocade Minière||1971||current|
|A 22||15.8||9.8||Villeneuve-d'Ascq||Belgium||Autoroute du Nord||1972||current||Part of E 17|
|A 24||—||—||Amiens||Belgium||1980||2011||Proposed, but never built|
|A 25||62.7||39.0||Lesquin||Dunkirk||1963||current||Part of E 42|
|A 26||395||245||Troyes||Calais||Autoroute des Anglais||1976||current||Part of E 15 / E 17 / E 50|
|A 27||13.7||8.5||Lesquin||Belgium||1973||current||Part of E 42|
|A 28||366.5||227.7||Abbeville||Tours||Autoroute des Estuaires||2005||current||Part of E 44 / E 402 / E 502|
|A 29||183||114||Le Havre||Saint-Quentin||1995||current||Part of E 44 / E 402|
|A 33||—||—||Nancy||Hudiviller||—||—||Local autoroute around Nancy|
|A 35||—||—||Lauterbourg||Switzerland (Basel)||—||—|
|A 36||—||—||Ladoix-Serrigny||Germany||La Comtoise||—||—|
|A 39||—||—||Dijon||Bourg-en-Bresse||Autoroute Verte||—||—|
|A 40||—||—||Mâcon||Mont Blanc Tunnel||Autoroute Blanche, Autoroute des Titans||—||—||Part of E62|
|A 42||—||—||Lyon||Bourg-en-Bresse||—||—||Part of E611|
|A 44||—||—||Bypassing Lyon to the west||—||—|
|A 46||—||—||Anse||Givors (bypassing Lyon by east)||—||—|
|A 47||—||—||Lyon||Saint-Étienne||—||—||Part of E70|
|A 51||—||—||Marseille||Grenoble, Val de Durance||—||—|
|A 52||—||—||A8||A50||Great ring of Marseilles||—||—|
|A 54||—||—||Nîmes||Salon Sud (link with A7)||—||—|
|A 56||—||—||Link between A54 and A55 from Salon to Fos freight port||proposed||—|
|A 57||—||—||Toulon||Vidauban, link with A8||—||—|
|A 61||—||—||Toulouse||Narbonne||Autoroute des Deux Mers||—||—||Part of E80|
|A 62||—||—||Bordeaux||Toulouse||Autoroute des Deux Mers||—||—||Part of E72|
|A 63||—||—||Bordeaux||Spain||Autoroute de la Côte Basque||—||—||Part of E05/E70|
|A 64||—||—||Toulouse||Bayonne||La Pyrénéenne||—||—||Part of E80|
|A 65||—||—||Bordeaux||Pau||—||—||Part of E7|
|A 66||—||—||Toulouse||Pamiers||—||—||Part of E9|
|A 71||—||—||Orléans (A10)||Clermont-Ferrand (A75)||L'Arverne||—||—|
|A 75||—||—||Clermont-Ferrand||Béziers (A0)||La Méridienne||—||—|
|A 77||—||—||Poligny (A6)||Challuy||Autoroute de l'Arbre||—||—|
|A 81||94.8||58.9||Le Mans||Le Gravelle||1982||current|
|A 84||170.5||105.9||Caen (Porte de Bretagne)||Rennes||Autoroute des Estuaires||2003||current||Part of E 3 / E 46 / E 401|
|A 86||80.1||49.8||Paris orbital||2009||current|
|A 87||129||80||Angers||La Roche-sur-Yon||2002||current|
|A 88||117.7||73.1||Caen (Porte d'Espagne)||Sees||2010||current|
|A 89||544||338||Lyon||Bordeaux||1991||current||Part of E 70|
|A 507||—||—||Ring of Marseilles||proposed||—|
|A 557||—||—||One-direction ring of Marseilles downtown||—||—|
- A1(972): Around Fort-de-France. Autoroute in Martinique, a French overseas territory.
- A104: The Francilienne around the Île-de-France (Paris) region
- A105: Combs-la-Ville
- A110: Ablis - Tours (proposed)
- A115: A15 (Sannois) - Méry-sur-Oise
- A131: Bourneville (A13 exit 26) - Le Havre
- A132: A13 / Pont-L'Évêque - Canapville
- A154: A13 - Louviers
- A199: Torcy - Champs-sur-Marne (downgraded into RD 199)
- A203: Charleville-Mézières - Glaire
- A211: A21 - N17
- A216: A16/A26 - N216 Calais
- A260: Boulogne-sur-Mer - A26
- A320: A4 - Germany
- A330: Nancy - Richardménil
- A391: A39 - RN83
- A404: Saint-Martin-du-Frêne - Oyonnax - Arbent
- A406: Mâcon
- A430: Chamousset - Gilly-sur-Isère
- A432: Saint-Laurent-de-Mure - Montluel
- A508: Tunnel (access to Monaco)
- A570: A57 - Hyères
- A620: A61 - A62 ( West ring of Toulouse)
- A621: Toulouse - Blagnac
- A623: A620 - A61
- A624: Toulouse - Colomiers
- A630: Lormont - Bègles
- A631: Bègles
- A641: Oeyregave - Orthevielle
- A645: Ponlat-Taillebourg - Seilhan
- A660: Mios - Gujan-Mestras
- A680: Castelmaurou - Verfeil
- A710: Gerzat - Clermont-Ferrand
- A711: Lempdes - Pont-du-Château
- A712: Lempdes - Pont-du-Château
- A714: Bizeneuille - Saint-Victor
- A719: Gannat - Monteignet-sur-l'Andelot
- A750: A75 to Clermont-l'Hérault - Montpellier
- A810: La Rochelle - A10
- A811: Carquefou - Sainte-Luce-sur-Loire
- A831: Rochefort - La Rochelle - Fontenay-le-Comte
- A837 Autoroute des Oiseaux: Rochefort - Écurat (A10)
- A844: A11-A82
The FM 107.7 radio coverage is available in 2017 on 8902 kilometres of the (ASFA) network. This is list of highways that are updated in 107.7 FM every 15 minutes, live 24/7 (if the highway is said alone, it means that the station covers all around it):
Sanef 107.7 (1850km)Edit
- A1: Roissy-en-France - Carvin
- A2: A1 - Hordain
- A16: L'Isle-d'Adam - Boulogne-sur-Mer
- A26: Calais - Saint-Quentin
- A29: Neufchâtel-en-Bray - Saint-Quentin
- A13: Orgeval - Caen
- A14: Carrières-sur-Seine - Orgeval
- A29: (Beuzeville - Saint-Saëns; outside Normandy)
Autoroute INFO (2487km)Edit
- Centre-Est (live from Dijon)
- A5: Lieusant - Langres
- A6: Fleury-en-Bière - Limonest
- A19: Courtenay - Sens
- A26: northern Troyes - southern Troyes
- A31: Beaune - Toul
- A36: Beaune - Mulhouse
- A39: Dijon - Bourg-en-Bresse
- A40: Mâcon - Bellegarde
- A46: Anse - Vaulx-en-Velin
- A71: Bourges - Clermont-Ferrand
- A77: A6 - Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire
- Rhône-Alpes (live from Chambéry)
99% of the privately managed network is protected by natural fencing.
Privately managed motorways have 1764 wildlife crossing structures.
- ^ Bilan de l'accidentalité de l'année 2015
- ^ a b c d e http://www.autoroutes.fr/FCKeditor/UserFiles/File/ASFA_cles17.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- ^ a b c d e http://www.autoroutes.fr/FCKeditor/UserFiles/File/ASFA_Chiffres_Cles18%282%29.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- ^ a b "DTecITM- Maintenance" (PDF).
- ^ by definition motorways are forbidden to pedestrians
- ^ a b c d http://www.autoroutes.fr/FCKeditor/UserFiles/File/Chiffres%20cl%C3%A9s%20accidents%20mortels%202016.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- ^ a b c d http://www.autoroutes.fr/FCKeditor/UserFiles/File/Analyse%20des%20accidents%20mortels%20et%20corporels%202016%201.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- ^ "État de l'insécurité routière | Observatoire national interministériel de la sécurité routière".
- ^ Code de la route : Chapitre Ier : Autoroutes. (Articles R421-1 à R421-10), retrieved 6 August 2022,
I.-L'accès des autoroutes est interdit à la circulation :
- ^ "Gilet et triangle de sécurité".
- ^ Press release of 12-14-2005 Archived November 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
Media related to Autoroutes in France at Wikimedia Commons