Cheap Holidays In France
Cheap holidays in France are still possible because, compared with some European countries, there is still great value to be had when staying and eating out in France. Compared with the UK, for example, better quality hotels and apartments are available in many resorts for the same price. Even though, at the time of writing (May 09) the pound has sunk against the euro to the stage where it is almost parity, I enjoyed a break at Easter, staying in French hotels and bed and breakfasts which would have cost at least 50% more in the UK. It's just a shame - what was brilliant value is now simply good value! Cheap holidays in France are not quite as cheap as they used to be.
The focus isn't on French package holidays or organised tours in this article, nor is it going to tell you the best way to enjoy cheap holidays in France by hitching a ride from Paris to the south of France. But it will give you a few pointers to where you can stay for cheap holidays in France. I've lost count of the number of times I've visited France, but I'm pretty sure it's more than twenty, so I hope I've learnt something worth sharing if you've have no idea where to stay in France.
Cheap French Hotels
There is a variety of cheap French hotels available which can be split, more or less, into three categories; the cheap hotel (motel) chains, the typical small French hotel and the "bed and breakfast" or chambre d'hote. The last one isn't really a hotel but most of them offer such good value, are so well appointed and provide outstanding evening meals, that they are worth including when thinking about cheap holidays in France.
French Hotel Chains
For a stopover of one or two nights, or longer in some of the big cities, the cheap French hotel chains are worth considering. All but the very cheapest have private en-suite bathrooms, but be warned - the bathroom or shower-room will be small and basic, but should be clean, regardless. We have stayed in Etap Hotels, Premiere Class, B&B, Best Hotel and Fast Hotel, and perhaps one or two others that I can't remember. As I mentioned, all of these have private bathrooms and serve a basic buffet breakfast, where you can fill up for the day on coffee, fruit juice, baguettes and sometimes croissant, cereals and yogurt.
The breakfast at B&B hotels (by which I mean hotels in the B&B chain, not privately owned "bed and breakfasts," are the most memorable because they include bacon and scrambled egg in their buffet. Few things compare with a baguette, loaded with bacon to start the day! But remember, It won't be in a grand dining room with thick white napkins - it will be in a breakfast room which may just be an extension of the reception area, with a paper napkin and a plastic-topped table in all likelihood.
Cheap French hotels in these chains are often sited just out of town, quite often on a main road which means that they are often easy to find after a long drive, but sometimes they can be hidden away on a business or industrial park. Don't expect to be able to step outside and walk to a bar or restaurant, it's unlikely, but sometimes you can because the hotel is on a retail park with a restaurant nearby. Most have free secure parking in a barrier-controlled parking area behind a high fence so you can rest peacefully in your bed at night.
For cheap holidays in France, the all important price - typically 55 euro for a twin or double room with breakfast in a provincial town, rising to 85 euro for a hotel in Paris. A few of these chains are bookable through the main hotel booking sites (e.g., Active Hotels) but many have to be booked directly on the relevant hotel chain website. See the links at the foot of the page.
Traditional Small French Hotels
Many of my happiest nights when enjoying cheap holidays in France, have been staying in traditional small hotels. They are all different and yet, all the same. All different because, obviously, layout and location vary, but all the same because they are often a bit "tired", have sloping floors interesting bathrooms, and are full of their own individual character.
For example, we recently stayed in the Ecu de France, a little hotel just off the market square in Montreuil sur Mer, in northern France. I say hotel but in fact it is a restaurant with a few rooms upstairs. Having waited for the restaurant to open at 6 pm, we checked in at the bar, before making our way up a very narrow steep staircase to our room. No lift (elevator) and steep stairs was a challenge but - this is why we come to France, to stay somewhere different. The room was a reasonable size and quite well furnished although it was a bit of a squeeze around the bed to get into the room. But there was a great view over the square.
As is often the case, the bathroom was so small, it was difficult to close the door behind you while standing at the washbasin, but the shower was OK and everything worked. The room had a TV but this was placed very high up on one of the walls - good job there was a remote because I couldn't reach it, and I'm well over six feet tall. I'm telling you all this detail to give you a feel for a little French hotel if you're only used to large international concrete hotel buildings - they are very different.
It was great at night to make our way down a few steep stairs to the restaurant for a very nice meal, and likewise in the morning for breakfast. We paid only 45 euros for bed and breakfast for two, which was a special offer, but the full rate is not much more. There are little hotels like this all over France, often on the market square so you can park outside. So if you're thinking about cheap holidays in France, why not try staying somewhere like this?.
Some of these hotels are bookable through the major hotel websites which has the advantage that you can read the reviews, but others have to be booked direct after you've found them in the search engines, or on the tourist office website for the relevant town or region.
Bed and Breakfasts - Chambre d'Hotes
We have stayed in "bed and breakfasts" or chambre d'hotes all over France and have rarely been disappointed. For about the same price as a budget motel chain, or a small French hotel, we have stayed in small chateaux, converted barns and stables and all sorts of other wonderful rooms. Most of them have offered never ending evening meals with wine, all attentively served by caring hosts. The downside, if there is one, is that your host may speak little English, or any other language other then French, credit cards are rarely accepted and the evening meal will be a set menu with little or no choice. But that aside, if you want cheap holidays in France, consider staying in a chambre d'hote. You can find them on several websites which give full descriptions.
In due course I will add a few suggestions to this site or create a new site with some of my favourites. Meanwhile here are a few photos to give you an idea of what's available
Chambre d'Hotes Guides
The beautiful chambre d'hotes above are not exceptional - choose carefully and you can have cheap holidays in France staying somewhere like this, and the food can be exquisite - on one occasion we came down to dinner to discover a guinea fowl roasting on a spit in front of a roaring log fire. And many of the hosts produce their own wine or even spirits - all quite legally - and are very generous in sharing their wine with you over an evening meal. Expect to pay about 25 euros for a four or five course evening meal including wine.
Many chambre d'hotes have family rooms for parents and children to share and a selection of games to play. And some have outdoor pools which are open in the warmer months for children and adults enjoy themselves.
The guide books listed will help you choose a great place to stay.
Links For Cheap Holidays In France
- B&B Hotels - Online Reservation
Online Reservation for the popular B&B budget hotel chain. Don't get confused - these are not chambre d'hotes, they are motel style hotels.
- Etap Hotel: Online Budget Hotel Reservations
Etap Hotel online reservation: discount hotel rates in France and throughout Europe for leisure or business travel. Find a budget hotel for your accommodation in France.
- Booking.com One Of The Major Hotel Booking Sites
Save up to 75% on hotels in 15,000 destinations worldwide including many good value hotels in France. Hotel reviews provided to help you choose.
- Chambres D'Hotes France .com
Another major directory of B&Bs/chambre d'hotes and gites (country cottages) to rent. Mainly in English with detailed descriptions.
- Daytripper Guide To Boulogne Sur Mer, France
Guide for a trip to Boulogne Sur Mer on the Cote d'Opale (Opal Coast), Northern France. Visit the Old Walled Town, Nausicaa - National Sea Centre, hotels in Boulogne
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