We’re sure you have already had a look at a map or Google Earth or maybe played around with your Sat Nav. So we’re not going to tell you what you already know.
So lets start with getting over the channel (if coming from the UK). Sadly due to financial problems the choice had been reduced over recent years. Now there is basically three options P&O ferries, Norfolkline and the channel tunnel .
From Calais it will take about 10-12 hours depending on how many stops you make and the speed you go. People have done it in 7 hours however they might have broken a law or two.
You can drive it all in one day however some people prefer to stop over to break up the journey. A popular place to stop is at L’Chavel Blanc Hotel near Dijon. If you can recommend somewhere else or can review this recommendation we would love to hear from you. Don’t hold back tell us the truth!
Using the Autoroute is not free sadly, this year it will cost about £55 each way for a standard car.
Having a car has it’s advantages and one not to be missed is when you arrive in Albertville or Moutiers is to stop off at a supermarket and buy your shopping. It is a lot cheaper than in resort. We have more information about Shops in Moutiers and Albertville for you on their pages. This is also true with fuel, it is much more expensive in Les Menuires or the Val Thorens fuel station. Bare in mind that when you leave Val Thorens you probably do not want to stop off and get fuel at the start of your journey home, therefore we recommend you fill up ready in advance.
It will take you about 45mins to drive up to Val Thorens from Moutiers, you can do it quicker but we do not recommend it. After all you most likely tired from your long trip and could easy make a mistake, the drops are a long way down. We know this road extremely well and have seen cars crashed where they have slipped off the road. We have even seen cars on their roof, 3 in one night is the record!
Please don’t be put off driving up there, the road is very good just use your common sense especially when it snows.
When driving in France there are certain items you need to carry as well as some we recommend:
GB Sticker (This would be silly though if you are not British, substitute with your countries sticker)
Headlight divert sticker.
High visibility vest, one per person in the car!
Your vehicle registration (log book).
Snow chains (see note below)
Top up your Anti-freeze both for radiator and windscreen wash. Val Thorens often drops to -10 and sometimes even -20 degrees.
A warm jacket and gloves (needed if you need to put on snow chains).
The Belleville valley (Val Thorens is part of this valley) has very good road clearing machines. They can move masses of snow off the roads very quickly. However it can snow so much not even the machines can clear it all. It is so IMPORTANT to have snow chains, the police will not let you up the road if you don’t have a set if it is snowing. If you have a big 4×4, something like a Land Rover, Landcruiser or Shogun the police are not as strict and will most likely let you up without chains.
When you need to put chains on it will be cold (because it’s snowing, ahem) and most likely dark (as you have travelled all day and turning up in the resort in the evening). Snow chains are never that easy to fit but doing it in the dark with gloves on! We recommend having a go with them at home on your drive before you go. Make sure you have some gloves and a good torch.
Sat Nat users please read
When driving back down the mountain your Sat Nav might tell you to turn right from the main road on one of the corners (it’s just after St Martin de Belleville and the sign will say ‘La Rochette’). Please don’t do this as it’s a very thin road, stay on the same road from Val Thorens all the way down. The map below shows you the corner in question.
Saturdays are the busiest times to drive up/down the hill, if can get to the resort away from Saturday 08:00 – 20:00 then the traffic will be a lot less.