A26 Motorway through France

From Calais to eastern France and the Med

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 En français: itinéraire nord-midi par A26

Route guide showing hotels just off the motorway 


All hotels are very easy to find

Hotels along the way

This guide is selective. There are hotels accessible from virtually any motorway exit, but some of these can be a fair distance away and hard to find. And some of them are noisy and not as good as they make out.
This map  shows only hotels that are easy to find, even without a Satnav, recommended by travellers, and mostly very close to the motorway.
► Book online: About-France.com is partnered with major discount hotel reservation sites Booking.com and Hotels.com. The links from the map will take you to one of these sites, for reliable online booking at the best discounted rates available.
Well sited motorway hotels can quickly fill up, 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.

About-France.com is an independent user-supported website that does not track visitors and carries very little advertising, Links to carefully selected affiliate partner websites, including Booking.com and Hotels.com, may generate commission on sales at no cost to the user.

Recommended routes through France to Switzerland:

Traffic heading for central Switzerland has a choice of routes after Dole. One possibility is to go via  A36  motorway to Besançon,  leave A36 at exit 3, then follow Lausanne or Neuchâtel . Another route is to leave the A39 at the exit for Poligny and then follow ordinary roads across the Jura mountains and into Switzerland.
For eastern Switzerland (Basel, Zurich), follow A36 to Mulhouse, then follow Basel.
Not the route you wanted?
 Click here for western routes via Orleans or Rouen

Map Key: Easily accessible hotels
Quality 3 or 4-star classic independent hotels with character
Upscale chains such as Mercure or Holiday Inn
Midscale chains such as Campanile, Kyriad or Ibis Styles
Budget hotels - 1 star or 2 stars. Ace, Ibis Budget, F1 and others
Hotel clusters: more than one hotel of different categories

► Hotels: Click any coloured marker on the map and a bubble will show up with hotel details and secure online booking at the best Internet rates.

Electric vehicle recharging points on A26 route:   Updated 2024.  
Virtually all motorway service stations in France, and most large supermarkets, now have EV recharging points. These are now over 100,000 EV recharging points at around 40,000 recharging stations in France, and the number is growing very rapidly.
For map of all recharging points in France) click here 


    Leave Calais on the  A26  E15  autoroute / motorway following signs for Reims.

Carry on past Arras and Laon, always following A 26 Reims. Do not take the A1 in the direction of Paris, whatever your TomTom or Satnav  tells you. Continue straght on following the  A26  E17 .
A few kilometres after the the toll station at the northern approach to Reims, the A26 joins the A4 Motorway. There is a cluster of hotels just off the A4 motorway at exit 22, Reims Tinqueux,  immediately after the motorway intersection. Otherwise, keep following the direction Chalon en Champagne and Strasbourg. Follow the autoroute A 4  almost as far as Chalons en Champagne, where the motorways divide: take the right-hand lane to rejoin the  A26  E17 following signs for Troyes and Chaumont.
If heading for Strasbourg or Germany, remain on A4 motorway after Châlons. Click here for A4 hotels  
 At Sommesous, after Châlons, there is a pleasant small service area with restaurant and snack bar, which is not usually too busy. If you visit this service area, take care when leaving. Unlike most French motorway service areas, there is no separation between northbound and southbound traffic, and it is therefore possible to rejoin the motorway in either direction; make sure that you remember to follow Troyes if going south, Reims if going north.
    At Troyes, the  A26  E17  meets the A5  motorway. From here keep following Chaumont Dijon and Lyon. At Chaumont, the A5 turns into the  A31 E21 , which you now follow as far as Dijon.
     At Dijon you will meet an intersection with the  A39  motorway. At this point you have two options. Either continue down the A31 > A6  in the direction of Chalons-sur-Saône and Lyon, or else turn off onto the   A39    following Dole and Besançon. Either route will take you to Lyon.
Option 1   The  A31  route is a bit shorter but far busier. There is an Ibis Styles (*** with pool) on the southbound motorway service area at Macon - St. Albain, just north of Macon. If you choose the A31, just keep straight on as far as Lyon, where, if heading further south, you will be directed round the full length of the orbital motorway. Traffic gets very dense after Châlons sur Saone, where the A31 joins the A6 from Paris, France's main north-south motorway. At Lyon, follow signs for Marseille or Grenoble or Geneva, depending on your destination.

Option 2     The  A39  route is much quieter and easier driving (not many trucks / HGVs), but a little longer. If your destination is Switzerland or Italy, the A39 route via Dole is strongly advised. For the south of France, follow the A39 motorway to its end at Bourg-en-Bresse, where it joins the A40.   After Bourg keep following Lyon or Geneva/ Milan depending on your ultimate destination. On approaching Lyon, follow directions for Grenoble or Marseille, depending on your destination.
  To skirt round Lyon, follow signs for St Exupéry airport, then keep following Valence & Marseille, or Grenoble, depending on your destination. If following Marseille, take great care when you join the A 43 Grenoble-Lyon motorway, just after the airport. Traffic bound for the south must take the next exit off this busy eight-lane (2 x 4) motorway, after just five kilometres. The exit is not the easiest of motorway intersections, so keep the signs for Marseille firmly in view, as you do a 270° exit onto the A 46 Lyon outer ring-road.
   From then on just follow "Marseille". This will quickly lead to the A7 Rhone valley motorway; at Orange, traffic bound for Languedoc and Spain branches off onto the A9 motorway. There is an Ibis hotel (**) at the Montpellier-Fabrègues service area just southwest of Montpellier.

The motorway to Italy, Switzerland and south east France

Calais - Reims - Troyes - Lyon
Unless you particularly like driving in heavy traffic and want to see the Paris ring road, which can be a daunting experience for much of the day, and even worse on French holiday weekends, the route south via Reims is strongly recommended. 

Not the route you wanted?
Check out these alternatives...
For the southwest via ParisTours and Poitiers 
See ► A10 to Southwest France

For southwest France, and Spain via Rouen  
See ► Southwest from Calais


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