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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > France

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Where to stay in France

Hotels

France’s hotels run the full gamut from palatial to poky, with international chains, privately owned properties and some of the most bling-encrusted luxury on the planet. Prices are normally displayed by the entrance and within the rooms themselves – these include taxes and service, but there’s almost always an extra charge for breakfast. Expect to pay significantly more for hotel accommodation in Paris. Local tourist offices are a logical place to approach for information on different hotel options, and almost all properties can these days be booked online. An advance amount is usually required as a deposit and – regardless of the type of hotel – it’s always sensible to make management aware if you intend to arrive late in day.    

Grading: Following decades of hotels in France being officially graded from 0-4 stars (with a '4 star deluxe' grading being the equivalent of a 5-star property elsewhere), the country now employs a more standard 5-star system. The majority of hotels in the country are government-rated.

Bed and breakfast

Otherwise referred to as chambres d’hotes, France’s B&Bs represent some of the most characterful, cost-friendly, and appealing accommodation in the country. Invariably family-run affairs, they’re far more common in smaller towns and rural areas than in cities. You’ll usually be given the option of taking an evening meal with the hosts (at an extra cost). This can be a superb way to learn more about the local way of life, sample home cooking and yes, even practise your French. There are various websites that will point you towards the best properties. There are various websites to point you towards the best properties. Word of mouth is also responsible for a lot of recommendations. Such is the disparity in cost between urban and rural regions, meanwhile, that you may well find that chambres d’hotes offer a charming room for the same price as a single bed in a boxy inner-city budget hotel.

Camping

There are thousands of campsites throughout France. A few have tents and caravans for hire. Prices vary according to location, season and facilities. All graded campsites will provide water, toilet, and washing facilities. Touring caravans may be imported for stays of up to six consecutive months. Numerous British companies offer camping holidays in France. The French Government Tourist Office has a full list of tour operators who run all types of tours, including camping and special interest holidays.

Other accomodation

There are hundreds of youth hostels in France, offering very simple accommodation at low prices. You will find them in all major towns and cities, as well as numerous parts of the countryside. They vary greatly in quality and atmosphere—some are hip, others are horrid—but in general they’re a great bet for sociable travellers on a budget. Almost all are non-smoking. To combat the threat of bed bugs, sleeping bags are no longer allowed (but bedding is provided).

Gîtes de France are holiday homes (often old farmhouses) in the country, all of which conform to standards regulated by the non-profit National Federation.

Villas and houses can be rented easily. Local Syndicats d'Initiative can supply a complete list of addresses of local rental agencies.

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