Brits will have to endure “Black Saturdays” in France over the coming fortnight.
After the Channel port congestion chaos of last weekend, British drivers face more delays over the next two weekends as the national French holidays begin, said the AA.
French highway authorities are warning of heavy congestion on main routes throughout the country thanks to the first French ‘Black Saturday’ on 30 July, which traditionally brings extremely high traffic volumes and a second ‘Black Saturday’ is also predicted for 6 August.
The AA’s European Breakdown Cover service reports an uptake in the number of drivers wishing to take their cars over the channel following the start of the UK school summer break, which could spell long delays for British families caught up with French national holidays.
Rosie Sanderson, of the AA’s international motoring team, is urging drivers to allow extra time for potential security delays at Channel ports as well as travel delays within France.
“This weekend marks the end of the July holiday for many French families and the beginning of the August one for others,” Ms Sanderson explains.
“This means delays can be expected on the arterial French road network on the next two Saturdays, particularly for families heading for the French south coast.
“We believe the British drivers could to be caught up in congestion on the traditional Autoroute du Soliel via Lyon, as well as routes via Bordeaux to the south-west and through Clermont Ferrand.
“We believe congestion should ease on the Sunday so that might be the best time to travel, if you can. It’s worth considering roads other than the Autoroutes which could avoid congestion and offer a more relaxing, if slower journey.”
Following the recent chaotic scenes at the Channel ports, thanks to increased security checks and understaffing, French customs and security resources have significantly been increased at the UK border.
But Ms Sanderson points out, “Even so, every traveller can expect passport and security checks. That will inevitably take time, so factor delays into your plans. Gone are the days when the authorities simply waved drivers through.”