View of Mt Blanc from Val Thorens

Val Thorens By Car

Snow-covered vehicles in Val Thorens

This Val Thorens by car page has information about driving to Val Thorens.

Channel Crossings | Route, Distance & Time | Legal Requirements | Tour Operators

Val Thorens By Car: Channel Crossings

P&O Ferries funnel
P&O ferry funnel

Dover-Calais and Dover-Dunkirk Ferries

You can take a ferry from Dover to Calais with P&O Ferries or DFDS Seaways. DFDS also offers Dover to Dunkirk.

Port of Calais
Port of Calais

Book in advance for a more competitive price.

The ferry companies offer the lowest price if you commit to a particular time of crossing. You pay a bit more for a 'flexi' crossing where you choose the time you want to travel, but it means you can take an earlier or later boat at no extra cost, provided there's space.

P&O even have three options:

PO Ferries flexi options

It can be worth going for the flexi option if you're travelling a long way to the ferry port, making it harder to estimate your exact arrival time.

Soot notice on P&O Dover to Calais ferry

The crossing takes about 1h30. There's usually a coffee bar, and at least one restaurant on board. Big-screen TVs show BBC World. It's a good opportunity to rest and re-fuel (food for the body, not petrol for the car) on a long journey.

There's wifi on board, which may be included or extra depending on the ticket you've bought. Or you could go out on deck and enjoy the view and the breeze.

View from a DFDS ferry


The alternative to a Dover-Calais ferry is the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais, which takes 35 minutes.

Ferries from Hull

If you're travelling from Scotland or northern England, travelling from Hull can be a good option.

The Hull-Zeebrugge ferry is no longer running, since 1st January 2021.

Hull-Rotterdam still runs, but the arrival point is further north and therefore a bit less convenient than Zeebrugge for driving to the French Alps.

Hull-Rotterdam is an overnight crossing, and your ticket includes a cabin. There are restaurants on board, and entertainment.

Hull to Zeebrugge ferry
Hull to Zeebrugge ferry

Val Thorens By Car: Route, Distance and Time

Reims and Calais signs

Viamichelin is a useful site for route, distance, and journey time.

A good route is:

D117 road sign near Val Thorens

Viamichelin suggests a distance of 930km from Calais to Val Thorens; journey time 9h34; and a cost of €167 (February 2024).

Belleville valley in the evening

Val Thorens By Car: Legal Requirements

GB sticker on a car in Val Thorens

Winter Tyres or Snow Chains/Socks

It is compulsory in certain mountain areas of France in Winter (1st November to 31st March) to:


It is compulsory to have at least 3rd party insurance that's valid in France.


You must have with you your driving licence, registration document (V5), and insurance papers.

Items to carry

You must carry the following items:

Speed limits

These vary according to whether the weather is fine, or wet. The limits are as follows (fine/wet):

See also the extra obstacles and legal requirements created by the Conservative Party's awful Brexit.

Val Thorens By Car: Tour Operators

You can book a self-drive holiday through a tour operator (an accommodation plus Channel crossing package). Erna Low specialises in these. Most of the other tour operators sell self-drive ski holidays to Val Thorens too, including Inghams.

Have a good journey to Val Thorens by car!

Skiing Made Easy

Skiing Made Easy

Skiing Made Easy is a Kindle ebook and paperback. It's a practical guide to learning to ski, based on many happy seasons of ski teaching in Val Thorens.

'This is the book I wish I'd had when I started skiing' - Amazon reviewer.

Read more about Skiing Made Easy.

Buy the paperback direct or on Amazon. Buy the Kindle ebook.

OutdoorMaster Ski Googles

OutdoorMaster Ski Goggles

OutdoorMaster ski and snowboard goggles from Amazon - £36.99 at the time of writing.

As an Amazon Affiliate, I could theoretically earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

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