At least 42 people have been killed in a collision between a bus and truck near the southwestern town of Libourne, officials said.
The bus caught fire in the Friday morning crash that also left the driver of the truck dead.
Images shown on French television showed the coach as a charred shell that had been entirely burned.
Five surviving passengers were brought to hospital with injuries while three others were unharmed, local authorities said.
The interior ministry said the bus was carrying elderly from a nearby village going on excursion.
Local politician Florent Boudie, who had visited the accident site, told BFM-TV that it was unclear what had caused the accident. He said the authorities were considering high speed and weather conditions as potential factors.