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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 Particulier Montmartre, Paris

Tucked down a romantic stone-paved lane in Montmartre, the five-suite Hôtel Particulier is an extraordinary guesthouse that skillfully demonstrates how...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
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Hotel Amour, Paris

André, the mono-monikered artist and nightlife impresario, has reworked this Montmarte building into a hip bobo (bohemian bourgeois) flophouse, where the...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
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Hilton Arc de Triomphe, Paris

Since the new Paris Hilton is a real ocean liner of a hotel—with 525 rooms, it's the largest to be built in the City of Light since World War II—it...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
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Hôtel de la Cité, Carcassonne

The only luxury hotel within the town's medieval walls, this neo-Gothic structure was built in 1909 on the site of a bishop's palace. "Beautiful and delightful"...more

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Editors' Pick
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Hôtel de Sers, Paris

Even though it stands in the very grand shadows of the George V in the heart of Paris's "golden triangle" luxury district, the Hôtel de Sers is no...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
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Hôtel de Crillon, Paris

In this, its flagship property, Concorde Hotels manages to make the the oppressive designs of the ancien régime—stone staircases, mile-high...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
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Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris

The 191-room Plaza Athénée has pulled off the neat trick of becoming the hippest grand hotel in Paris. The world's young, rich, and titled check...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
Hôtel Negresco, Nice, France

With its world-famous pink dome, white wedding-cake facade, and liveried porters, the Negresco is as iconic as hotels get. No wonder it is referred to as a...more

see the Côte d'Azur guide
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Editors' Pick
Hôtel Montalembert, Paris

When the Montalembert was renovated and reopened in 1990, it rocked the hotel world with its radical departure from traditional hotel design—an uncluttered...more

see the Paris guide
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Editors' Pick
Hôtel Martinez, Cannes, France

This 1927 Art Deco palace defines Cannes's Croisette and is a favorite of jet-set families thanks to the large suites, palm-lined pool, and private beach. The...more

see the Côte d'Azur 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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