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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
Le Placide, Paris

Le Placide was opened by two affable sisters in October 2006, in what's long been a hotel desert at Sèvres-Babylone, near the Bon Marché...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Le Petit Nice, Marseille

This exquisite pair of Greek villas, set in lush gardens on a rocky promontory overlooking the Mediterranean, has been run by the Passédat family since...more

see the Marseille guide
$$$$
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Le Pavillon des Lettres, Paris

Occupying a powerful little corner of Paris (near the French Ministry of the Interior and the Élysées Palace), this 26-room sister hotel to the...more

see the Paris guide
$$$$
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Le Meurice, Paris

Gone are the days when surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, a frequent guest, would open his window and dangle a lobster from the end of a fishing pole into...more

see the Paris guide
$$$$
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Le Mas du Langoustier, Île de Porquerolles

Located on the quiet, happy island of Porquerolles—France's answer to Nantucket—this is the kind of hotel to which a devoted coterie of Parisian...more

see the St. Tropez guide
$$$$
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Le Mas de Pierre, St-Paul-de-Vence, France

The Riviera benefits from a charming hotel like Le Mas de Pierre, just outside terrifyingly popular St-Paul-de-Vence. Views of the distant countryside are...more

see the Côte d'Azur guide
$$$$
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Le Mas Candille, Mougins

If you were Picasso, you too might choose to live in the exquisite hilltop, predominantly 15th-century cobbled-street Mougins for 15 years, but since you're...more

see the Côte d'Azur guide
$$$$
Editors' Pick
Le Manoir les Minimes, Amboise

If you're looking to combine secluded luxury and a taste of French small-town life, this elegant 18th-century manor house near the royal château of Amboise...more

see the Loire Valley guide
$$$$
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Le Manoir, Île de Port Cros

When you arrive at this handsome white bastide with a tile roof and twin turrets flanking its facade, it'll take a day or two before the regulars decide if...more

see the St. Tropez guide
$$$$
Editors' Pick
Le Lodge Park, Megève

In contrast to the chalets that are the mainstay of Megève, the Lodge Park owes more to Wyoming than Savoie. It's in a quiet spot surrounded by trees but...more

see the Megève 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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