Motorway service areas & motorway hotels in France 

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Routes through FranceFrench Motorways are very well provided for in terms of Service Areas, known as "Aires" or "Aires de service". Distances to upcoming service areas, together with pictograms indicating the services provided, are indicated at regular intervals on the motorways. So too are fuel costs at service areas to come.

The first point to note, however, is that full service areas are not the only points at which drivers can stop for a break on the French motorway system. Far more frequent than full-scale service areas are much smaller "aires de repos" which are in essence just off-road parking areas where drivers can pause for a break, a picknick or other essentials. But whatever the type of "aire" that is coming up, the services provided are always clearly indicated in advance, with standard pictograms.

Here is a guide to what you can expect to find at the different stopping points along French motorways.

Motorway service areas

a) Full motorway service areas.
French motorway service area signsWell indicated in advance, full motorway service areas provide a wide range of facilities for motorists. As well as offering a filling station (petrol, diesel and sometimes LPG), full motorway service areas have at least one restaurant, maybe more, a snack bar, a cafe, at least one shop selling a range of products for the traveller, including sandwiches, drinks, newspapers, and maybe more. there are also of course toilets and sometimes shower facilities. In tourist areas, there is often a shop selling local specialities and guidebooks, and there may well also be a tourist information point. Examples are the Aire du Poulet de Bresse, near Bourg-en-Bresse on the A39, or the Aire de l'Aveyron, north of Millau, on the A75 motorway. More and more full motorway service areas are now equipped with free access wi-fi.
All big service areas have ample parking facilities, and often a landscaped area with chairs and tables for picnicks. Most have an outdoor children's play area. Some even come with tourist attractions included; one such example is the Archeodrome, located on the main A6 Beaune-Tailly service area, in Burgundy, which has replicas of neolithic huts, a group of medieval dwellings, a Gallo-Roman house, and other historic reconstructions.

French motorway hotels:

There are not a lot of motorway hotels in France; by "motorway hotels", we mean hotels that are actually located on motorway service areas.
► Book online: About-France.com is partnered with leading discount hotel booking portals and also directly with France's major hotelier Accor (Ibis, Etap, All Seasons, etc).
Note that many Accor hotels, notably budget F1 hotels and Ibis hotels, need to be booked directly through Accor (use the links below) , as they are not available through the big portal sites like booking.com and Hotels.com,

These easily-accessible hotels are often full, particularly for motorists who turn up without a reservation, and advanced booking is is highly recommended.
Motorway and region Service area and hotel:
This table only shows hotels actually on motorway rest areas. For route maps showing hotels very close to motorway exits click for the following motorways: A10 (Paris-Bordeaux -Bayonne) A26 (Calais-Troyes Dijon and beyond) A71 / A20 south from Orleans (Calais - Montpellier / Toulouse)
A1 southbound (Lille - Paris )
Half way between Calais and Paris or Belgium and Paris.
Aire Assevillers Ouest  Ibis styles hotel (***) On southbound side. Foot access from northbound.
A6 northbound only (Lyon-Paris) - Burgundy Auxerre sud Aire Soleil Levant Ibis hotel (**)
A6 (Paris Lyon) : Burgundy Macon - St. Albain Ibis styles hotel
A36 (Mulhouse - Beaune): Franche Comte Besancon Marchaux Ibis hotel (**)
A39 (Dijon - Bourg en Bresse) - Burgundy Cuiseaux - Aire du Poulet de Bresse Ibis budget hotel (**)
A40 (Macon- Bourg - Geneva) - Rhone Alpes Bourg en Bresse - Jasseron Ibis hotel **
A46 / E 15 Lyon orbital motorway east (Between A6 and routes south) Mionnay service area - northbound side   Ibis budget hotel (**) -  accessible both directions
A75 (Clermont Fd. - Beziers) - Midi Pyrenees L'Hospitalet - Aire du Larzac - Balladins hotel **
A9 (Orange - Spanish border) - Languedoc Montpellier-Fabregues Ibis hotel (**)
A9 (Orange - Spanish border) - Languedoc Aire du Village Catalan, s of Perpignan. Hotel **
A10 (Paris - Bordeaux) Poitou Charentes Aire Poitou-Charentes nord. Hotel Ibis styles
A61 (Toulouse Narbonne)  Midi-Pyrenees Aire du Laurageais  Fasthotel La Couchée (**)
A 63 (Bordeaux - N10 - Biarritz) Aquitaine Aire Bordeaux Cestas Hotel de Cestas  (ex Campanile) **

b) Smaller service areas
As well indicated as the full service areas, but with less pictograms on the advance information signs, smaller service areas are similar to large (or even not so large) petrol filling stations on other roads. They are essentially just fuel stops, with a snack bar / cafe, toilets, and usually a small shop selling essentials such as snacks, busicuits, and drinks.

c) Parking areas - rest areas (aires de repos)
Designated in advance as "Aire de .....", these parking areas are situated on average about every 25 kilometres. They are usually unmanned, and are just places where drivers can have a pause on their journey. Facilities are limited to toilets, generally unheated. They are designated with the standard P pictogram for parking, + the toilet (or for Americans, washroom) pictogram, and perhaps the picnic area pictogram. They may or may not have a telephone kiosk.

d) Secure truck / HGV parking areas on French motorways
There are a number of secure HGV parking areas on French motorways. Some are on service areas, others are a few hundred metres from the motorway. These areas provide secure lit parking for trucks 24/24 and 7/7, and are manned by security staff and watched closed-circuit TV cameras.
A1 Vermars west service area, southbound Lille-Paris only (Just before Paris)
A2 Valenciennes, exit 20 (Between Paris & Brussels) Off motorway park with 300 spaces.
A 10 junction 11 A10/A83 interchange. Off motorway secure parking for 40 trucks
A 16 exit 48 near Calais Transmarck Polley secured lorry park. Off motorway, 210 spaces.
A 16 exit 48 near Calais All4Trucks secured lorry park. Off motorway, 150 ->300 spaces.
NEW A 31 Junction 6, Langres south (between Reims and Dijon or Nancy & Dijon) Private off-motorway park.
A 43 L'Ile d'Abeau North service area, between Chambery and Lyon, Lyon direction only.
A 46 Lyon eastern orbital motorway. Communay service area secure truck park, south of Lyon
NEW A 7 Montelimar east service area. Between Lyon and Avignon. 129 places
NEW A 9 Lunel interchange. Near Nimes between Avignon and Montpellier
A9 Beziers - Exit 36 Beziers west. Off motorway park with 330 spaces
A9 Narbonne - Exit 38 Narbonne south. Euro-Diesel Services truck park. Off motorway

Prices on French motorway service areas:
As one might expect, prices in motorway service areas tend to be more expensive than in equivalent locations elsewhere. But even in motorway service areas, one can shop around. In one service area visited recently (on the A 40 Alpine motorway), the cost of coffee and a sandwich was almost 30% less in the small cafe attached to the filling-station part of the service area, than in the cafe area of the main service area. Different franchises, different prices ! (Or is it reasonable prices for the regulars, who know; high prices for the passing tourists?)

Wining and driving
Wine is available with meals in French motorway service areas - a fact that surprises a lot of visitors. But don't forget that the drink drive limit in France is lower than it is in the UK. The best advice is the same everywhere; don't drink and drive.

Motorway from Calais to Lyon:

Main Service areas on the A-26 - A5 - A 31 - A 39 - A 42 (Lyon).
(Click for a choice of hotels close to motorway exits on this route)

Most restaurants are self service, some have waiter service

Eating facilities
A 26 at km 55 Aire de Rely Small restaurant
A 26 at km 179 Aire d'Urvillers Restaurant
A 26 at km 239 Aire du Mont de Nizy Small restaurant
A 4 (A 26) 22 km after Reims Aire Reims Champagne Restaurant
A 26 at km 336
(After Chalons)
Aire de Sommesous Restaurant
A 5 at km 200 (after Troyes) Aire Chateauvillain Val Marnay Two restaurants
A 31 before Langres Aire Langres Perrogney Restaurant
A 39 at km 25
(after Dijon)
Aire Pont de Saone chene d'argent Fast food
A 39 at km 79
(after Poligny)
Aire du Jura Restaurant, self-service, snack. Viewpoint, many facilities, nature trail, activities in summer
A 39 at km 115 Aire du Poulet de Bresse Restaurant, self service, viewpoint, play area, motorway hotel: Etap hotel (**)
A 42 20 km before Lyon Aire Lyon Montlue Self service

Motorway from Calais to Rouen and Tours:

Main Service areas on the A-16 - A 28
(Click here for a choice of hotels close to motorway exits on the Rouen route)


Click here for a selection of Motorway tolls in France: Jan. 2015 (for cars) (For Car + caravan; add about 50%)

When driving in France, don't forget to carry a fluorescent jacket... And a breathalyzer
All vehicles travelling on French roads must now carry a yellow fluorescent jacket, that can be put on if the driver has to get out in an emergency. The jacket must be carried in the car, not in the boot (not in the trunk), and be readily accessible. Drivers not carrying the obligatory jacket may receive an instant fine of up to 130 Euros, if stopped by police. As from spring 2012, all cars must also carry a breathalyzer (alcohol level test kit)

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