An independent guide to Val Thorens

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. It covers Channel crossings, with links to the ferry companies and Eurotunnel. There's a suggested route for driving to Val Thorens, including directions, timings, and costs. The 'legal requirements' section has advice on insurance, essential documents and items to carry, and speed limits in France. Finally, there's information about tour operators who offer self-drive packages.

Val Thorens by car: channel crossings

Soot notice on P&O Dover to Calais ferry
P&O Ferries funnel
P&O ferry funnel

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

Life jackets on a DFDS ferry
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 you can take an earlier or later boat at no extra cost, provided there's space. 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.

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.

If you're travelling from Scotland or northern England, the Hull-Zeebrugge ferry can be a good option. It leaves around 6.30pm, and arrives at Zeebrugge at 8.45am. There's plenty of evening entertainment on board if you want it, and you can get a good night's sleep in your cabin, to arrive fresh and rested on the continent.

Hull to Zeebrugge ferry
Hull to Zeebrugge ferry

Val Thorens by car: route, distance and time

Belleville valley in the evening

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

A good route is:

  • A26 from Calais to Reims
  • A4/A26 Reims to Troyes
  • A5/A31 Troyes to Dijon
  • A6 Dijon to Lyon
  • A46/A432 around NE of Lyon (signed for St Exupéry airport), and A43 to Chambéry
  • A430 to Albertville
  • N90 Albertville to Moutiers
  • D117 up the hill to Val Thorens

Viamichelin suggests a distance of 976km from Calais to Val Thorens; journey time 9h21; and cost of €83 tolls + €78 petrol (April 2017).

D117 road sign near Val Thorens

Val Thorens by car: legal requirements

GB sticker on a car in Val Thorens


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:

  • GB sticker (display on rear of vehicle)
  • warning triangle
  • high-vis jacket for each person in the car
  • breathalyser kit (see a breathalyser kit article)

Speed limits

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

  • Urban areas             50kmh
  • Outside towns          90kmh/80kmh (but since 2018, there's an 80kmh limit on rural roads without a central reservation)
  • Dual carriageways    110kmh/100kmh
  • Motorways               130kmh/110kmh

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!

Val Thorens resort

The resort of Val Thorens with Mont Blanc behind

The Val Thorens resort section has details of resort facilities including the tourist office, post office, banks, medical centre, church, parking, radio station, and the cinema. There's also a Val Thorens history section, a Val Thorens resort maps page, and information about the sports centre, market, and resort shuttle bus.

Val Thorens accommodation

Montana Plein Sud apartments, Val Thorens

Val Thorens offers a wide range of accommodation, including luxury hotels, comfortable apartments, catered chalets, and budget self-catering. Read about the hotels, self-catering accommodation, and chalets in Val Thorens.

Snow-covered vehicles, Val ThorensGB sticker on snowy carP&O ferry funnel