France route planner- best route to Italy (with maps)

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Planning a motorhome trip or driving holiday to Italy? Driving through France and want to know the best route for a car, campervan, caravan using tolls? Here are the best driving routes through France to Italy- and more tips to help you.

Don't forget to grab your free checklist below to make sure you have everything you need when driving in France

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France Route planner- best route to Italy

When setting off on an Italy Road trip, there are a million routes you could take to get there. That is true whether you're travelling by motorhome, campervan, motorbike, car or bicycle!

In order to help anyone coming after us, these are the routes we've chosen when motorhoming in France.

Of course, these routes are applicable to anyone driving from France to Italy, whether you're in a car, campervan, caravan, RV or motorhome.

Free France Motorhome travel Checklist

Planning a trip to France with your motorhome or camper?

Motorhoming in France free Checklist
Motorhoming in France free Checklist

GUIDE– For a step-by-step guide, with video walkthroughs of aires, motorhome set up, checklists and more, grab our France Road Trip & Motorhome Travel Planner

CHECKLIST– Don't forget to grab your FREE France motorhome travel checklist HERE

GEAR– And if you need any motorhome gear for touring France or Europe, here's what we recommend.


Best route to Italy through France using tolls

There are 3 main routes we use when driving from France to Italy. We're either coming from the UK, so are either at Calais or Caen (read more about whether ferry or tunnel is better)

The other route we've done is from the west coast (La Rochelle), across to Italy. You'll find details of all those trips below.

No matter where we're coming from, we choose to use toll roads in both France and Italy to decrease travel time (and maximise our exploring time!) We have given an estimate of toll charges below- this is for a car (the website does not estimate for motorhomes) This is the website we use.

We also always use the Chamonix tunnel if we're going motorhoming in Italy. It runs underneath the Alps from Chamonix into Italy and saves HOURS of steep and twisting roads. Whilst there, we highly recommend taking a day out to go up the Aiguille du Midi (the side of Mont Blanc) on the cable car and enjoy the SPECTACULAR views!

New to motorhome or camper travel in Europe? You might find these posts helpful:

Tour Europe in a Motorhome; Motorhome Europe Travel
How to tour Europe in a Motorhome- step-by-step
Beginners RV trip planner
How to plan EPIC motorhome trips
Free motorhome parking and overnight stopovers in Europe for motorhomes and campervans
How to find Free motorhome parking and overnight stopovers in Europe for motorhomes and campervans
10 essential tips for campervan and motorhome life. Whether you're plan a road trip or full-time van living, these hacks and ideas with help.
Essential kit for Motorhoming in Europe (with free checklist)

NEED GEAR? If you need any kit or essentials for motorhoming in Europe, here's what we recommend and where to find it


France Route Planner- #1- Calais to Italy

Driving from Calais, France to Italy- Trip Facts

Start Point: Calais (Eurotunnel)

Destination: Chamonix tunnel/ Italian border

Distance: 892km

Estimated driving time: 9 hours

Estimated toll charges: 75€


Map of driving route from Calais to Italy

Best Motorhome route to Italy through France- Calais to Chamonix Tunnel and Italian Border
Motorhome route to Italy through France- Calais to Chamonix Tunnel and Italian Border

France Driving Route #2: Caen-Chamonix

There are two routes you can use to get from Caen to Chamonix. The shortest goes via Paris and is invariably called the ‘quickest'.

However, both times we've driven that route, we've run into horrendous traffic jams which didn't occur until we were already there. So now, we prefer to go the slightly longer but much less likely to get stuck route (it's cheaper on the tolls too) via Tours.

Here are the details- you can decide for yourself!

Driving from Caen Ouistreham, France to Italy- Trip Facts

Start Point: Calais (Eurotunnel)

Destination: Chamonix tunnel/ Italian border

Route 1 (via Paris)

Distance: 842km

Estimated driving time: 8 hours 13m

Estimated toll charges: 77€ (for a car)


Route 2 (via Tours)

Distance: 883km

Estimated driving time: 9 hours 22m

Estimated toll charges: 65€ (for a car)

Best Motorhome route to Italy through France- Caen to Chamonix Tunnel and Italian Border
Best Motorhome route to Italy through France- Caen to Chamonix Tunnel and Italian Border

Planning a trip to France with your motorhome or camper?

Motorhoming in France free Checklist
Motorhoming in France free Checklist

GUIDE– For a step-by-step guide, with video walkthroughs of aires, motorhome set up, checklists and more, grab our France Road Trip & Motorhome Travel Planner

CHECKLIST– Don't forget to grab your FREE France motorhome travel checklist HERE

GEAR– And if you need any motorhome gear for touring France or Europe, here's what we recommend.


France Driving Route #3 Planner: La Rochelle to Italy

Driving from La Rochelle, France to Italy- Trip Facts

Start Point: Calais (Eurotunnel)

Destination: Chamonix tunnel/ Italian border (then on to the Dolomites, Slovenia and Croatia!)

Distance from La Rochelle to Chamonix: 774km

Estimated driving time: 9 hours 16m

Estimated toll charges: 31€ (for a car)


Map of trip from La Rochelle to Italy

Best Motorhome route to Italy through France- La Rochelle to Chamonix Tunnel and Italian Border
Motorhome route to Italy through France- La Rochelle to Chamonix Tunnel and Italian Border

Motorhome Blog and Route through France to Italy

Here's a blog of a trip we did in 2019 with our Swift 685 motorhome, from La Rochelle to the Dolomites in Italy

Day 1- La Rochelle to Gueret, France

The trip did not start well.

We got 2 hours down the road when I realised I'd left my passport in the printer.

Yes, really.

Luckily, we didn't need to worry about catching a ferry or tunnel, but it was a silly thing to do. I am grateful that Mr WB was in a good mood and hardly said a word as we turned around… doh.

Planning to take your motorhome to Europe?

Europe Motorhome travel checklist- FREE

GUIDE: Stop the overwhelm with our step-by-step guide. Contains eBook, checklists and more. Complete Europe Motorhome Travel Toolkit

CHECKLIST: Don't forget to grab your FREE Europe motorhome travel checklist HERE

GEAR– If you need any motorhome gear for touring Europe, here's what we recommend.

Then, just after that, our puppy Mac started to have a really bad stomach. There's no easy fix to this, so we stopped every 30 minutes so he could relieve himself. In the end, we stopped much earlier than anticipated and let him recover.

Personally, I'm blaming the pizza Mr WB let him have the night before, but as he hadn't commented on my passport issue, I'm not saying a word about the pizza... Except right here, but he'll never know that. ??

READ MORE: More France road trip ideas to help you plan your trip

We stayed at a fabulous aire in Gueret. HUGE parking area for motorhomes, campers and campervans. Lots of space for a poorly dog to run, playground for kids, restaurant, shop- one of the best aires in France we've ever seen.

Address for overnight parking: Aire des Monts de Gueret off the N145, France

GPS: Lat: N 46. 10′ 58″    Long: E 1. 50′ 55″

Cost for overnight parking: €0

Services available for motorhomes:  waste, water, toilet, showers, from 2€

Motorhome Touring in Europe with a dog- route itinerary France and Italy to Dolomites
Mac feeling much better and ready for motorhome adventures!

Day 2- Gueret to Chamonix

LOOOOOOOONG driving day. Luckily, Mac was feeling much better, so we were able to do 2-hour chunks and get some miles under us.

We chose to use toll roads to speed up the trip- we only have 2 weeks for the holiday and chose not to waste it avoiding toll roads. We also drove past lots of beautiful cities in France that we need to come back and explore one day.

Roads in France (and most of Europe) have several numbers/ names and it can get confusing. We took the N145, the A89 and then the A40.

If you're struggling to find the tunnel, just search for Chamonix on your map. 

Motorhome Touring in Europe- route itinerary France and Italy to Dolomites
Motorhome wild camping at the foot of Mont Blanc!

We spent the night in the French Alps at Les Houches, just outside Chamonix. We found a lovely wild camping spot at Chavants Lake with an incredible view of Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Midi (we visited here on a previous trip and went up the cable car to the top, which was amazing! You can watch the video from the top of Aiguille du Midi and the glass box here)

There were some lovely hikes around the area and several restaurants which were open in October. Mac decided to go for a swim in the lake, which was fine at first until he was so cold he was shaking… and STILL wanted to go in for more. Crazy dog.

There was snow on the mountains, but none on the roads. Winter tyres were not needed. It was chilly at night and we used the motorhome heating.

Address for overnight parking: 148 Allee des Diligences, 74310 Les Houches, France

GPS: Lat: N 45. 53′ 45″    Long: E 6. 46′ 54″

Cost for overnight parking: €0

Services available for motorhomes: Bins


Motorhome Crossing from France to Italy via Chamonix Tunnel

Up EARLY, in time for the most incredible sunrise over Mont Blanc. We were so lucky to see that. Start delayed by 30 minutes whilst we took photos of the stars/ sunrise/ puppy.

There's a reason I currently have 4500 photos to sort through, not including the drone footage! 

We set off about 7am and used the tunnel to cross from France into Italy. It cost 60.40€ for a one-way trip for a Class 2 motorhome to cross (under 3m high)

The tunnel is ok; impressive enough but after driving the world's longest tunnel in Norway we're hard to please!

And we're back in Italy! Our very first motorhome trip to Europe was us taking our camper to the Italian Lakes – it was on this trip we decided to change our future and get more travel in our lives. We love motorhoming in Italy– it's one of our favourite countries to explore.

Again, we chose to use toll roads to make the trip quicker. Also, we find Italian toll roads to be MUCH cheaper than French ones… although there are more tolls so it probably works out roughly the same. We took the A5, then the A4 past Milan towards Verona.

Lake Garda with a motorhome

We stopped at Lake Garda for lunch. If you're never been to the lakes, we highly recommend you go, but it is one of the most challenging places we've ever visited with a motorhome.

The roads are small, the drivers are crazy and there is very little parking for motorhomes. There are very (VERY) few parking places with a view by the lake and nowhere to wild camp.

Having said that, we managed to squeeze into a single parking space (just) and had a lovely picnic lunch by the side of the lake at Toscolano. The weather was perfect- warm enough for an ice cream from the nearby store.

Mac didn't enjoy it quite so much- all he wanted to do was swim in Lake Garda. He was vey upset when we wouldn't let him!

Motorhome Touring in Europe- route itinerary for Lake Garda with a motorhome
Lunch at Lake Garda with a motorhome- beautiful spot! Mac wanted to swim…

One thing to remember with the Italian lakes is there are a LOT of narrow tunnels- some of them are NOT wide enough for two motorhome or trucks to pass, so be careful if you see one coming the other way.

Don't expect them to slow down, especially if they're Italian. We were very glad of our wing mirror protectors (worth every penny. We love these ones!)

Wild camping spot

We stopped just north of Lake Garda, outside the town of Trento, next to Lake di Telago. The lake was pretty, and very quiet, but it's a watersports lake so I would expect it to be much busier in summer.

There is a proper campsite on the other side of the lake if you need it.

Motorhome Touring in Europe- route itinerary in Italy to Dolomites
Motorhome parking in Italy just outside Trento

This was a proper wild camping spot, so make sure you're away by 8am. If you're interested in wild camping with a motorhome, this is how we find places to stop at.

Address for overnight parking: 5 via al Lago, 38070 Travolt, Italy

GPS: Lat: N 46. 5′ 46″ Long: E 11. 3″ 18″

Cost for overnight parking: €0

Services available for motorhomes:  none, but a nice lake for the dog to swim in.


Motorhome in the Italian lakes
Motorhome Parking in Trento

From there, our adventures continued with:

Other posts you might find useful:

Driving through France to Italy? Want to know the best route with tolls for cars, camper vans, motorhomes and more? Here's all you need...

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1 thought on “France route planner- best route to Italy (with maps)”

  1. Thanks Kate this has really helped as I said to you on Instagram, we have never done camping before. We’re real virgins, we’re collecting our MotorHome tomorrow heading of to Devon Saturday then the Eurotunnel Monday.

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