France is the favourite for self-drive ski holidays from the UK. Its resorts are the quickest and easiest to reach, and there are some fantastic towns and cities to visit along the way if you want to extend your trip.
The fastest way to cross the channel to Calais is via the Eurotunnel Le Shuttel, which sets of from Folkestone (4 times an hour at peak season) and arrives 35 minutes later. Your other option is the ferry, which takes longer to reach the other side (usually 90 minutes) but also tends to be cheaper. Having an hour and a half of non-driving time can be handy if you’ve already been on the road for a few hours before reaching Dover – giving you the chance to rest and have a change of scene before you’re back behind the wheel.
From Calais, the best self-drive ski resorts take around 8-10 hours to reach (breaks not included). Most routes take you straight along the A26, onto the A5 after Toyes and then onto the A31 – forking off around Dijon to pass either Lyon or Geneva and then continuing to the ski resorts.
Not only does driving keep your carbon footprint down, with a full car it nearly always works out cheaper as you’re paying for channel crossings, tolls and fuel per car rather than per passenger (as you would with flights or rail). Self-drive also makes travel a lot more flexible – you can set off whenever you like, stop when, where and for however long you please and also avoid the hassle of luggage weight limits, check ins and baggage carousels.
Approx. toll costs for driving to the French Alps from Calais:
70-90€ (as of 2020)
Approx. fuel costs for driving to the French Alps from Calais:
80-90€ (as of 2020)
France road rules
Items required for driving in France (as of 2020):
Good overnight stops on a drive to the French Alps
If you want to see another face of France during your time away, these destinations are either en-route or can be reached by a short detour:
Reims – the champagne region
Paris – city centre or Disneyland
Dijon – the historic capital of Burgundy
Best French Ski Resorts for Self-drive
With distance and approximate non-stop driving time from Calais
523 miles, 7 hrs 50 mins
537 miles, 8 hrs 10 mins
554 miles, 8 hrs 15 mins
546 miles, 8 hrs 15 mins
542 miles, 8 hrs 20 mins
548 miles, 8 hrs 30 mins
550 miles, 8 hrs 40 mins
580 miles, 9 hours
594 miles, 9 hours
578 miles, 9 hours
599 miles, 9 hrs 15 mins
606 miles, 9 hrs 20 mins
606 miles, 9 hrs 30 mins
619 miles, 9 hrs 40 mins
620 miles, 9 hrs 40 mins
The information on this page was accurate for the 2017/18 ski season, but it is recommended that you check the latest laws and journey details through sources like the RAC and ViaMichelin.