If, like us, you are used to the huge traffic volumes in the UK and the poor condition of much of the road network, then French motorways are a joy to use and make it very easy to drive to Maureilhan from the coast of Northern France.
Remember that French motorways have toll booths at regular intervals which will take cash or credit cards. Petrol and diesel are cheaper in France than the UK and partially offset the cost of the tolls. It is worth going to a Telepeage shop and signing up for one if you have a French bank account - if you are in the UK Vinci Autoroutes now have a telepeage centre open in Newcastle (I believe) and you can apply there if you do not have a French bank account. They cost almost nothing, you get a discount on the tolls and online billing and you save a lot of time by using the dedicated Telepeage toll booths.
French motorways are excellent and, outside of the main holiday period in July and August, relatively uncrowded. Main services with shop and fuel are every 20 miles or so and are usually open 24/7. In between each one you will usually find at least one picnic area with tables and toilets and water. It is worth remembering to bring a toilet roll with you. The journey from Calais can be done in about 11 hours or so including stops if you keep up with the French traffic.
You can log on to www.michelin-travel.com for the latest Michelin route planning service. The AA (www.theaa.com and RAC also offer similar services. Bison Fute is also worth a look for listing delays.
Don't forget to tell your insurer you are going abroad or you may find you are not fully comprehensively insured. A green card is not compulsory in France but it may save you some grief if you are unlucky enough to have a road accident. You will also need a country of origin sticker if your number plate does not have one, plus a set of replacement light bulbs, a red warning triangle and yellow fluorescent jackets for the driver and all passengers. Sat Navs with traffic camera warnings are illegal in France as are radar detectors and jammers. Speeding, if caught, may land you with a cash fine so it's worth having at least 150 euros in cash. You may also find the police will not let you drive and if your co-drive can't produce full driving licence details the car may be towed into storgae.