The countless independent hotels and the houses of the numerous hotel chains in France are divided into six categories, ranging from “no star” to “5 stars”. Single and twin rooms are very common. An additional bed and breakfast is sometimes available at an additional cost. The hotel chains (Accor Hotels, Best Western, Châteaux & Hôtels Collection, Choice Hotels, Hilton, Ibis Hotels, Marriott Hotels and World Hotels) have booking centers. Among the 5-star hotels in France, around 30 hotels are currently classified as Palace Hotels because they meet the following criteria: they have a fitness area, a spa, multilingual staff and a concierge service. Logis de France are small or medium-sized hotels in the 2 to 3-star category, often family-run, offering cheap, quality and comfortable accommodation. All have their own restaurant. Their addresses can be found in a hotel guide published by the Logis de France, which also describes the respective facilities and extras. Relais-Châteaux are châteaux converted into hotels, in whose kitchens famous chefs pamper guests’ palates. Relais du Silence are hotels that offer their guests either rest in beautiful and peaceful nature or security close to popular sights. Paris: Hôtel à Paris lists about 1900 hotels in and around Paris with current prices, which depend on the season and demand. Bookings can also be made at the tourist offices in the stations or at the central information office: Paris Info – Office de Tourisme et des Congrès and its partners Hôtels & Préférence and SoRoom. For travelers who don’t want to stay in a hotel, Paris Info offers an overview of the many alternatives such as furnished apartments, private rooms, B&B and couch surfing. The tourist tax is currently between €0.25 – €5, depending on the accommodation. It can be included in the price or charged separately.
There are about 11,000 campsites in all regions of the country. They are everywhere: by the sea, on farms, to the outskirts of big cities like Paris (e.g. Camping de Paris). There are campsites in France of all sizes, from small and family-friendly to large with an international audience and a wide range of leisure activities such as swimming areas, private beaches and changing evening entertainment (e.g. Camping du Letty). Some rent mobile homes (caravane), bungalows, mobile homes (mobil-homes) and tents. The prices depend on the region, the season and the offer of additional facilities such as restaurants and leisure areas (swimming pools, lakes, beaches, mini golf courses, boules courts, tennis courts, etc.). All official campsites have running water, toilets and washrooms. Good to know: For free camping, either a permit from the local authority or a permit from the property owner is required. When planning the route when traveling with mobile homes and trailers over 3.5 t, it should be noted that driving vehicles of this weight class on some designated roads and bridges is prohibited. In addition, there is an obligation for mobile homes over 3.5 t to attach warnings about the blind spot on both sides of the rear. Instead of bread rolls, French campsites (also sometimes delivered to the campsite on request) usually have croissants, baguettes, pains au chocolat (croissants filled with chocolate) and chaussons aux pommes (apple pockets). Many campsites offer entertainment or stalls with jewelry and regional specialties on certain days of the week. On smaller campsites, there is sometimes a lack of toilet paper in the toilet blocks. A tip for learners of the French language: some smaller campsites are mainly visited by a French-speaking clientele, even if they are in a popular tourist area. You can quickly strike up a conversation in playgrounds, at reception and at sales and information stands. These campsites are easily recognizable by their websites, which are only available in English in addition to French. The list of regulations and rules, such as observing rest periods, is sometimes a bit longer in these places, which can also be positively assessed depending on personal preference. The Tourist Office has a complete list of all tour operators offering all types of holiday travel, including camping and active holidays. The French camping association La Fédération des Campeurs, Caravaniers et Camping-Caristes (FFC) offers numerous advantages for members, sells useful products for campers (discounts for members), gives practical tips and offers insurance cover.
Other accommodation options
There are hundreds of youth hostels offering basic accommodation. The length of stay is usually limited to 3-4 nights, in Paris to a week. The hostels are open to members of the national youth hostel association on presentation of the youth hostel card. Youth hostel guides and address lists are available from national and regional youth hostels. For more information, contact the Fédération Unie des Auberges de Jeunesse (FUAJ). Farm holidays, the so-called agritourisms, are very popular in France with families, couples and single travelers. The activities on offer are of great attraction, such as horseback riding, wine tasting, food production on the farm, animal feeding, Hiking as well as swimming in the lake or pool. In addition, the kitchen or the farm shop usually offers culinary specialties made on site. For an overview of French farm accommodation, see Bienvenue à la ferme (French speaking only) and Accueil Paysan (English and French speaking). In France there is a large selection of hostels / guesthouses (gîtes) or country houses (gîtes ruraux), which are often themed. The Gîtes de Pêche, which mostly have anglers as guests, are close to waters that are rich in fish. Other themes include horseback riding, mountains, sea, tropics, golf, foodie, city, country and extreme sports. The Gîtes de France website provides an overview of hostels across France. There are holiday apartments (résidence de tourisme) and holiday homes (résidence de vacances) all over France, from rustic to luxurious. More information is available from the regional tourist offices such as Val d’Isère Tourisme, Argeles-sur-mer Tourist Office and Tourisme Bretagne. Holiday parks that offer activities and entertainment for the whole family are mostly located in the popular holiday regions of France. These can be booked through various tour operators or directly with the respective provider. A holiday on the water in a houseboat will certainly not be forgotten. During a houseboat holiday you can explore all of France’s charming and picturesque waterways in a calm and relaxed way, such as Brittany, Alsace, Burgundy, in southern France or in the Camargue. A sports boat license is not required for this.