So where to visit? Let us tell you where to find the best hotels in France... Read more
Anyone thinking of visiting will be relieved to know that hotels in France are immensely varied, with more than 17,000 to choose from. Whilst the major chains such as Ibis and Novotel are well represented in France hotels of all kinds abound, with many being independently owned by families or individuals. There are busy holiday seasons though and for anyone journeying to France, hotels are best booked well in advance.
The jewel of France is its capital, Paris. This city has some of the world's most famous landmarks, from the Cathedral of Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower and the Pompidou Centre. Other cities also offer great experiences for visitors. Marseille, down on the Mediterranean coast, is a sultry city, known for the passionate nature of its people. A spirit called pastis and fish stew are the things to try here.
Also on the coast is the French Riviera, where you can find glamorous resorts like Cannes, where the famous film festival is held, and St Tropez. Carcassone, in the south, offers a hazy summer idyll and many people opt for one of the many self-catering cottages or flats when they stay here.
The French Alps are good for a visit in summer, with their spectacular views and hiking and cycling routes, but it is in the winter when they come alive. Ski resorts like Chamonix-Mont-Blanc offer some of the best winter sports facilities in Europe.
France is still a predominately rural country and it is in the countryside that many people believe you will find the true France. Self-catering apartments are plentiful in rural areas, whilst gites and converted farmhouses offer other appealing options. Some locations, such as ski resorts, also have holiday villages, offering a great standard of accommodation as well as a ready-made community. Even some chateaux have been converted to accommodate tourists.
Hotels in France are inspected, then approved by the French authorities, and are classified using a star system, wherein four stars and an L (for luxury) would indicate a high class, sumptuous hotel, and a single star would be allotted to a very simple hotel that provides only essential facilities.
Booking cheap hotels in France is best done in advance, especially in the summer high season, as otherwise a suitable place to stay may prove elusive.
Remember that a surcharge may be levied, for breakfast or for such things as an extra bed, but that any relevant taxes should be included in the quoted rates. For hotels in France, the usual check out time is around noon, and it is customary to have checked in by about ten o'clock at night.