There are various strategies and timings you could use for driving to Alpe d’Huez or elsewhere in the French Alps.
As I have written before, I am going to assume you will start the French leg of your journey in Calais and that you begin your journey in the UK.
If you live in the South East and are within 2 or 3 hours of Folkstone or Dover then I’d suggest there are 3 good strategies to consider: Do it all in one day, do it in two days with a nice stop or do it with an overnight stop.
You could also drive overnight, though this often isn’t as good an idea as it might seem.
The one day journey and a two-day journey with a stop in Epernay are described in detail on other posts.
Where to stop overnight
The one with an overnight stop is a favourite if you want to maximise your holiday by gaining an extra half-day. But where to stop?
Assuming you leave after work, say at 6 or 7 PM in the evening, and aim to get an 8 or 9 PM Ferry or Shuttle, you will be in Calais at anything from 9 to 11 PM local time.
You can use the Ferry or Shuttle terminal to get something to eat.
I’d suggest that the furthest you would want to travel is to Reims, which is 2.5 hours away. You will be there anytime from 11.30 PM to 2.30 AM.
You can choose to stay in various hotels along the A26 autoroute, from in Calais itself (too many choices to recommend) to Reims while driving to Alpe d’Huez.
Béthune, A26 Junction 6
The first place with hotels right by the autoroute is Junction 6, Bethune. This has a Campanile and a Première Classe right by the péage and a Best Western a little further away.
St Quentin, A26 Junction 10
The next is at Junction 10, St Quentin, where there are a Première Classe and Campanile next to each other and a Kyriad close by. There are several other hotels in the small town of St Quentin within 5 km of the junction.
Reims West, Tinquex
The next stop is the Western part of Reims called Tinquex. Here there is a cluster of hotels. Ibis, Novotel, Première Classe, Kyriad all within a small radius.
Reims South, A4 Junction 23
In the southern part of Reims, off the A4 at Junction 23 is the Première Classe and a Campanile further into town.
This is a good junction for fuel as the huge Leclerc supermarket is right by the péage.
Reims Est, Taissy
Finally, all the way around Reims in Taissy is another comllection of Première Classe, Campanile and a FastHotel. Follow the signs to Reims Est and Cormontreuil to exit the autoroute.
An early start
If you get as far as Reims you have only 6 hours of driving to Alpe d’Huez. If you have an early breakfast or get it on the road later in the day, you can arrive early enough to get a short ride done in the afternoon.
I have only mentioned the relatively cheap hotels that are right by the autoroute. If you are happy to drive a bit further from a junction there are many more hotels, some of great character but perhaps less suited to a fast journey across France.