Where to stay in France
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. 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 the day.
Grading: The grading system is from 1 to 5 stars.
Bed and breakfast
Also 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.
France has no shortage of campsites and a few of them 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. The French Government Tourist Office has a full list of tour operators who run all types of tours, including camping and special interest holidays.
Before planning a caravan trip, it’s essential to have the correct paperwork in order (insurance documents and an up to date passport), and applying for a Camping Card International allows you to earn discounts at some camping sites
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 are an ideal 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).
For more authentic accommodation, Gîtes de France are privately owned holiday homes and many of them are converted farmhouses. All of these properties conform to standards regulated by the non-profit National Federation.
Villas and houses can also be rented easily. Local Syndicats d'Initiative (tourist information office) can supply a complete list of addresses of local rental agencies.