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France hotels

French hotels have defined elegance since César Ritz created the first of his luxury lodgings here in 1898. But, given the strength of the euro these days, they don't always define good value. What Parisian hotels lack in bang for the buck, however, they more than make up for in ambience, whether at gilded grande dames like Le Meurice and the Hôtel de Crillon or hyper-hip boutique hotels like the Murano. Properties across the country make excellent use of their historical heritage. For example, the country châteaux of the French aristocracy now provide luxe lodgings to Loire Valley visitors. Those looking for a more rustic experience can hole up in Provence's cozy chambres d'hôte, converted country houses that are the French answer to a bed-and-breakfast. If you want to try your hand at French cuisine, book a room at a gîte, or self-catering hotel, and hit the local markets. It helps to speak some French at these more rural spots—but the extra effort can translate into a great location amid vineyards and lavender fields or in the mountains among the farmlands. (Go to www.gites-de-france.com for reviews and centralized booking.)

The government's four-star system rates all French hotels, taking into account room size and amenities. One- and two-star hotels are almost always small and drab affairs, so be sure to avoid those. Hotels in the three- and four-star range exist at most price points, so focus your search on those properties. In countryside hotels, Internet connections often don't come standard (if they come at all), and even cell phone reception can be spotty. Many of the smaller hotels in France have yet to create online booking engines, so you'll need to make reservations via e-mail. Be sure to leave ample time to do so, as proprietors don't always offer same-day responses.

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Hotel Photo
Hôtel de Toiras, St-Martin-de-Ré, Île de Ré

In the pretty port of St-Martin, on the French equivalent of Martha's Vineyard, the Hôtel de Toiras, a cluster of beautifully decorated stone houses,...more

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Editors' Pick
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Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc, Antibes, France

From this resort on nine forested acres, most rooms have views of the sea and the Lérins Islands. The restaurant serves traditional French cuisine "that...more

see the Côte d'Azur guide
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Editors' Pick
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Hôtel Du Manoir, Tours

This converted 19th-century townhouse offers exceptional service and midsize, light-filled rooms mixing traditional furnishings (big, old mirrored armoires and...more

see the Loire Valley guide
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Editors' Pick
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Hôtel Duo, Paris

Here's a tale of two hotels: The modest, family-run Axial Beaubourg and the once-seedy Duo Hotel next door were skillfully merged by rising-star architect...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Hôtel du Petit Moulin, Paris

In the most happening corner of Paris—the northern edge of the Marais in the 3rd Arrondissement—this 17-room hotel with 17 different interiors by...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Hôtel K, Baerenthal

Deep in a storybook-perfect forest in the eastern region of Moselle, the sleek Hôtel K is the project of chef Jean-Georges Klein and his wife, Nicole, and...more

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Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Hôtel Langlois, Paris

Though it offers great value for the money, there's nothing visibly budget about this Belle Époque beauty, with a great Right Bank location. It was built...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
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Hôtel le Cep, Beaune, Burgundy

There's nothing trendy about the Hôtel le Cep, a collection of handsome town houses near the Hospices de Beaune built between the 14th and 16th centuries....more

see the Burgundy guide
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Editors' Pick
Hôtel Le Rhul, Marseille

This grand three-star hotel on the Corniche offers nothing but sea-view rooms, half of which have small private terraces. Aside from vistas across the Bay of...more

see the Marseille guide
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Editors' Pick
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Hôtel le Saint Grégoire, Paris

Tucked away on a narrow street between Montparnasse and St-Germain-des-Prés, this 20-room hotel, in an 18th-century mansion, is popular with...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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