Driving from Paris to the Languedoc
If you want to take a pleasant drive, rather than hack down Autoroutes (UK Motorways, US Highways) from Paris to the Langedoc, here is a suggested route which goes over the magnificent new Millau Bridge. Obviously you can incorporate this route into your longer drive from Northern Europe/England/Callais to the South of France
From Paris take the autoroute (blue sign) number A6 going to Lyon. You will find the entrance at "Porte d'Italie" or "Porte d'Orléans".
Drive about 70 kms. After the exit for Nemours the autoroute branches into the A6 and the A77 . Follow the A77 direction Dordives continue past Montargis (100km from Paris) Briare Cosnes Pouilly sur Loire (good vineyard & view to Sancerre on a hill on your right) Nevers (200km). At Nevers the A77 becomes the N7 . Stay on the N7 to by-pass Moulins. It has four lanes when it by-passes Moulins but is still the N7 .
After Moulins (300km from Paris), take the Saint Pourçain exit joining the N9 . Be careful because about 5 kms along this road you must take a right to follow the direction of Saint Pourçain and Clermond Ferrand.
Just before Gannat take highway A719 direction Clermond Ferrand (400km). After Riom the highway is free until Béziers.
About 20 kms from the entrance to highway A719 you will see a sign "Aire de repos des Volcans". It's a good place to take a break, coffee, eat something and there is a Tourist Office, also a scenic view of "Chaine des Volcans" if the weather is not misty.
After Clermond Ferrand the A71 becomes the A75 . Follow the direction towards Montpellier.
Pass by Issoire Saint Flour, which is a good village to stay for the night. Between September and May you should not have a problem finding a room.
After Saint Flour you will pass the "Aire de repos de La Lozère" another good place to take a break.
Still on the A75 you pass Marvejol Severac le Chateau Millau (600km) which is in a valley. The Millau Bridge, a huge viaduct, the biggest in the world, spans the valley between the Plateau du Larzac and the Plateau de la Lozère.
Now drive down through Millau, buy fuel (Fr essence, UK petrol, US gas) at the ATAC supermarket on your right (avoid buying essence/petro/gas on the highway as it is very expensive. Supermarkets are the cheapest).
After the bridge over the Tarn river, you get to a roundabout. Take a left following Montpellier. You will pass by the McDonalds famously taken to pieces by the local hero José Bové in protest against the American decision to increase taxes on Roquefort imports (Roquefort is a sheep's cheese produced at Roquefort near Millau).
Drive up to the Larzac Plateau.. On the top of the plateau you rejoin the highway which continues until about 40kms before Béziers. Note the beautiful architectural chimneys sculpted by the wind in the rock.
Around Lodève be careful because in a tunnel (which is going down) the speed is limited to 70km/hour. Just after the exit of this tunnel there is an automatic radar which operates 24 hours per day. Everybody who drives more than 75km/heure is fined. It raises more money for the French government than any other radar trap in France.
Just before Clermont l'Herauld you follow direction Béziers Narbonne (not Montpellier). The highway finishes around Pezenas & you get on the national road (green signs) until Beziers.
Before Béziers you will arrive at a roundabout. Ffollow the blue sign Autoroute A9 for Narbonne Perpignan.
JdeSt-F © 2004,2005.
Open the home page of The Languedoc - www.midi-france.info/ in a new window.