Why pay tolls?
Although you pay tolls, the Autoroutes are wider, better and emptier than in England.
The French Autoroutes do deliver you to your destination safely and speedily. Alternatively you can enjoy more relaxed motoring, travelling on the Route Nationale. If you travel from Cherbourg or Calais to Montpellier by Route Nationale you will certainly have to spend one overnight stop. It is of course delightful to dawdle down the Routes Nationales stopping at agreeable auberges en route, but your Gite or campsite is probably booked from Saturday to Saturday.