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Motorway services in France

Service areas, facilities and motorway hotels

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Service areas Hotels on French motorways South from Calais - A 26 South from Calais - A 16
French motorway tolls Prices on service areas Wining and dining HGV parks

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French Motorway service areas

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French 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.

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 café, 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.
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These easily-accessible hotels are often full, particularly for motorists who turn up without a reservation, and advanced booking is is highly recommended. Advanced Internet booking also means plenty of discounted offers that are not available to travellers who just show up at the door.
Motorway and region Service area and hotel:
This table only shows hotels actually on motorway rest areas. For route maps and more hotels see below
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  Hotel La Salle
A36 (Mulhouse - Beaune): Franche Comté Besançon 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
A71 ( Paris Orleans - Clermont -Ferrand - Béziers )  Auvergne Aire des Volcans d'Auvergne. 37 km north of Clermont Ferrand ** Hotel des Volcans quiet hotel with great views
A75 (Free - Clermont Fd. - Béziers)  - Auvergne Lempdes, 30 mins south of Clermont Ferrand.
No service area, but Hotel Evan right on exit 20
A75 (Free - Clermont Fd. - Béziers) - Midi Pyrenees L'Hospitalet - Aire du Larzac - P'tit-Dej hotel **
A9 (Orange - Spanish border) - Languedoc Montpellier-Fabrègues   Ibis hotel (**)
A9 (Orange - Spanish border) - Languedoc Aire du Village Catalan, s of Perpignan.  Hotel **
A10 (Paris - Bordeaux)  Poitou Charentes Aire Poitou-Charentes nord. Vouillé, Deux Sèvres (400 km from Paris)  Hotel Ibis styles
A61 (Toulouse Narbonne)  Midi-Pyrenees Aire du Laurageais  Fasthotel La Couchée (**)
A 63 (Bordeaux - N10 - Biarritz) Aquitaine Aire Bordeaux Cestas Hotel Campanile **

►►►► For MORE MOTORWAY HOTELS - handily sited close to exits, check out these route maps:
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 / café, 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
    See HGV information for France

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 café attached to the filling-station part of the service area, than in the café 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 Saône chêne 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:  Ibis budget 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)

Eating facilities
A 16 before Abbeville Aire de la Baie de Somme
Self service restaurant
A 28 at km 68 before Rouen
Aire de Maucombles
Self service restaurant
A 28 after Exit 15 for Broglie, Aigle
Aire les Haras
A 28 - A11 by Le Mans
Aire la Sarthe Le Mans
Self service restaurant, fast food restaurant
A 28 after exit 26 Aire Sarthe Touraine
Restaurant, Self service restaurant

See sample tolls (for cars)   For Car + caravan; add about 50%

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When driving in France, don't forget to carry a fluorescent jacket... And a breathalyzer

All vehicles travelling on French roads must  carry a hazard warning triangle and 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. All cars must also carry a breathalyzer (alcohol level test kit).... but there is no fine for not having one !

 ► Other general pages and information about driving in France:
French motorway tolls Road numbers and roadsigns Avoiding Paris Avoiding heavy traffic Filling up
HGV restrictions and information Speed limits & cameras Routes from Calais French driving laws Accidents

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