You don’t need a 4×4 to drive to the Alps
What are the Benefits?
- The Journey. You can make the drive itself a holiday. If you’re travelling with family and friends, its a fantastic opportunity to explore some truly beautiful areas of France. You can plan stops on the route to major cities like Paris, Dijon or Lyon, take a detour to more remote areas of France you may otherwise not have visited or pop into Belgium or Luxembourg before you make the rest of the drive.
- Cost. If you’re driving with two or more people, then it can save you a lot of money. The prices of Eurotunnel tickets are per vehicle, so costs are significantly lower, and even with rising fuel prices, it can still be cheaper to drive the whole family than to buy individual plane tickets. You still have the costs of getting to the airport on top of the tickets as well.
- Flexibility. When you get to resort, having a car gives you the freedom to indulge in other activities offered in your area with greater ease. There’s also no rushing around in the morning, your flight might depart without you, but your car, won’t.
- No baggage limit. Yep, no need to wear every item of clothing you own to avoid the dreaded 20kg baggage limit. You can take what you want, including your skis without having to pay anything extra because your bag doesn’t fit in the tiny whole they allow for cabin bags
- A bit more leg room.
Ferry or Eurotunnel?
Speed or relaxation ?
If you’re looking for speed, then the Eurotunnel wins hands down. Dover to Calais takes just 35 minutes. Whilst the ferry takes 1hr30 Dover to Calais or 2hrs to Dunkirk.
Have a beer or a glass of wine and a bight to eat from one of the many onboard bars and restaurants. And keep the kids entertained in the games rooms and play rooms on board. You can book with P&O, DFDS Seaways and Irish Ferries.
The French love their toll roads, and there are lots of them. You can pay most by card, but its worth taking a look into the Emovis Tag it detects and charges you as you whizz through the toll stations without queueing. The average costs of toll roads to ski resorts is €70.
Do remember that in Europe tolls will be on the left hand side, so if you haven’t got a passenger, bear this in mind.
If you’re not in a rush, then try adapting your route to avoid tolls by taking the smaller roads, and this way, you can take in all the gorgeous French countryside before heading up the mountains.
A great website for planning your journey and estimating costs including tolls and fuel is Autoroutes . They calculate the best route and give you the prices and locations of all tolls on your route.
Essentials for your journey
Insurance. Check your insurance allows you to drive in Europe, most UK insurers do cover this, but it is always best to check.
Up to date maps. Whilst we almost all rely on our phones for directions, there is nothing more frustrating than your signal dropping out just as you arrive at a 5 prong roundabout and you have no idea what exit to take. Having a map and well planned route mitigates this and means you always have something to fall back on should technology fail you.
Washer Fluid. Now this is something I didn’t know or think about until it was too late. Having the right washer fluid is quite important, traditional washer fluid can freeze in its tank, so if you need to wash your windows, good luck. Getting winter washer fluid that contains anti freeze can help to clear the snow off your windows before you drive and stops the tank from freezing solid.
It is now mandatory to carry certain equipment whilst driving in Europe. You must have:
- A GB sticker
- A Warning Triangle
- A Headlamp Converter
- A High-Vis Jacket- for each person in the car.
- Snow Chains for when there’s snow on the road
- Fire Extinguisher
- First Aid Kit
All of these items can be purchased from Halfords, Amazon, the AA or onboard the ferries.
Estimated Driving Times
Ultimately, it depends on where you are driving from, the routes you take (direct using toll roads or the slower free scenic routes) and whether you’re taking the Ferry or Eurotunnel. Below are the travel times from Calais to our resorts taking the fastest routes, not taking into account stops and breaks.
Calais to Ardent 879km, 8hrs 30 Minutes
Calais to Reberty: 968km, 9hrs 10 Minutes
Calais to Les Coches : 970km, 9hrs 5 Minutes
Ardent – There is ample parking in Ardent, you can park right alongside all of our Chalets. If those spaces are filled up, not to worry, the car park in Ardent is free, and a short distance from the chalets. If you want to park undercover, then your best option is in Morzine, there are 3 covered parking areas, with the largest holding 181 cars. Note there is a height limit of 2.1m. You can then catch the free bus back up to Ardent. Link to parking in Morzine
Reberty – Family Ski Company has spaces allocated in a private underground car park situated between Chalets Genevieve and Claudia, and we recommend that you prebook a car park space with us if you are driving. Parking is limited so please book your space early. There is also street parking is available for free, but as this is unsheltered, you may be digging your car out at the end of the week. Don’t worry if that is the case we will give you a helping hand.
Les Coches – Unfortunately, you cant park outside the Chalets, otherwise you’d be on the piste itself. There is street parking available just below the Chalet, but it is not covered. There is a covered parking area below the tourist office in Les Coches. There are only 20 spaces, so book early to avoid disappointment. Link to website
More and more people are going green and driving electric vehicles, and we are increasingly asked about the viability of driving them to resort.
It is becoming increasingly easy to drive to our resorts in electric cars. Longer range electric vehicles, shorter charging times and increased charging points are all a factor. Infact, major European carmakers have merged forces and created Ionity, a new fast charging network for Europe with the aim of making travelling the continent in an EV as easy as it is in a petrol or diesel car. They have released a guide on Electric Travel in Europe.
A great app for finding charging points for your journey or whilst nipping around the resorts is Chargemaps.
Electric Charging in resort
Ardent – There are a couple of options in Morzine:
75 Taille du Grand Mas – two charging points.
Palais des Sports – two charging points.
Reberty – There are charging stations at:
Freshmile Charging Station (9 min drive)
Les Belleville Charging Station (4 min drive)
Les Coches – Make sure to leave enough charge as you’ll have to drive to Bourg-Saint Maurice
New Motion Charging station (21mins)
Shell Recharge Charging Station (20mins)
Click here to download directions to each resort.