Where to stay in France?

France, a country full of charm and elegance, is home to a wide range of charming accommodations to suit the most varied tastes. From majestic chateaux to cozy small country hotels, the choice is as wide as the country itself.

You can find châteaux converted into luxury hotels that intertwine France's rich history with the present in these magnificent buildings, offering guests a unique experience. The majesty of their halls, the opulence of their rooms and the medieval atmosphere transport you back in time, immersing you in a fairy tale come true.

Another type of charming accommodation in France are the "maisons d'hôtes" and are characterized by a more intimate and personalized experience than conventional boutique hotels. The term "maison d'hôtes" translates as "guest house" and they are often private homes where the owners open their doors. These small accommodations generally have 5 rooms and as a consequence allow for a more personalized attention and a more familiar atmosphere. They are especially popular in rural areas and tourist regions of France, such as Provence, Burgundy or the Bordeaux wine region.

When it comes to small luxury hotels, it is important not to forget the French "savoir-faire" that manifests itself in the excellence of service and attention to detail that the best French hotels provide to their guests. Luxury hotels in France are distinguished by their refinement and sophistication, offering a unique and memorable experience.

Another way to experience France is by renting a self-catering apartment or villa in the countryside or in the city. Travelers can immerse themselves in the authenticity of French life, enjoying the privacy and comfort of a home away from home. It is an opportunity to live like a local, explore the charms of this country and create unforgettable memories in a unique and welcoming environment.

We have divided our short travel guide to the most beautiful destinations in France into sections:

  • Where to stay and what to visit in Île de France and Paris
  • Where to stay and what to visit in the South and South West of France
  • Where to stay and what to visit in the West of France and the Loire valley
  • Where to stay and what to visit in the East and South East of France

Our favourite towns, villages and best places to stay in Île de France and Paris

For all its sophistication France fiercely hangs on to its rural traditions and beliefs like no other modern country. This is very much reflected in the country’s range of accommodations. Hotels in Paris, the French Riviera and most coastal towns are as sophisticated and stylish as any in the world, of course, but it is the small, romantic bed & breakfast or maisons d’hôte in the French countryside that are especially charming. In addition to its beautiful cities, France has managed to preserve its magnificent landscapes, mountain scenery and a village life of yesteryear with no apparent contradiction. So whatever you are looking for – whether a bold design hotel, peaceful bed & breakfast in a medieval village or just downright chic, you will find it here.

Our favourite towns, villages and best places to stay in the South and South West of France

Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur: the Mediterranean at its best

The region is divided into Provence, with its fields of aromatic lavender, the Alps with their imposing peaks, Camargue with its unique biodiversity, and the French Riviera with its charming ports and seafront restaurants. This diversity makes the region one of the most visited in France.

In this extensive region, you'll find well-known cities such as Marseille, Nice, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, and Arles. Cultural centres brimming with historic sites, from grand churches and museums to castles and bustling squares, invite visitors to immerse themselves in an elegant lifestyle, with luxurious boutique hotels offering refined gastronomic experiences.

The French Riviera, also known as the "Côte d'Azur," is a coastline bathed by the Mediterranean Sea, supposedly starting in the city of Hyères, southeast of Marseille, and extending to Menton, near the Italian border. This stretch includes iconic places like Nice, Cannes, and Monaco, enticing with golden sandy beaches and hidden coves. Finding charming accommodations directly on the beach on the French Riviera is challenging, as these are mostly super luxury hotels on the Côte d’Azur. But there are several small boutique hotels and holiday homes on the French Riviera a few kilometres from the coast that are more affordable. It's an expensive area, but where price and quality go hand in hand.

Provence is where you relax, strolling through its extensive fields of olive groves, vineyards, and lavender, dotted with villages where good food is always accompanied by cheese, baguette, and good regional wine. The area is tranquil and very romantic, with small B&Bs in Provence or guesthouses in the countryside or small villages. There are also holiday homes and villas in Provence for rent with a decoration that evokes the French countryside, with light colours and traditional rustic furniture in an elegantly classic style.

The Camargue Regional Natural Park is located near the city of Arles and extends along the mouth of the Rhône River into the Mediterranean Sea. Although geographically associated with Provence, the Camargue has natural and cultural features that distinguish it as a unique region with an astonishing natural environment: salt marshes, dunes, lagoons, and meadows with biodiversity that includes the iconic white horses of the Camargue, bulls, and flamingos. The region is popular for bird watching and enjoying nature. You can see our list of charming accommodations in Camargue.

In contrast, the Alpes de Haute-Provence and Alpes-Maritimes offer magnificent mountain landscapes, with majestic peaks, high-altitude lakes, green valleys, and famous ski resorts. The Verdon Regional Natural Park, with its dazzling canyons, is a beautiful place with trails that offer panoramic views of the gorges and the Sainte-Croix reservoir. See our selection of charming accommodations in the Alps.

Occitanie – Languedoc - Roussillon and Midi Pyrenees: the sunny side of life

Nestled against the backdrop of the imposing Pyrenees and caressed by the waters of the Mediterranean, Occitanie, consisting of the former regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées is a destination with an enormous diversity of landscapes and historic jewels. Its inhabitants like to take the time to enjoy life and are proud to share the products of the excellent regional gastronomy, which includes the famous foie gras.

Languedoc-Roussillon, in the heart of the South of France, bur with beauty. Enclosed with the natural obstacles of the Pyrenees, the Rhône, and the Cévennes, it emerges as an amphitheater with the sea as its stage, bathed in a generous sunlit glow. It shelters the awe-inspiring Gorges du Tarn in the Lozère department, where dramatic limestone cliffs, crystalline rivers, and verdant forests converge. The Gard department holds the Camargue, an enchanting scenery of marshes, lagoons, dunes, and beaches, celebrated for its protected flora and fauna. Cap d’Agde, meanwhile, lures with its powdery beaches, secluded coves, and a medley of water escapades. Moreover, Languedoc-Roussillon wears the crown as France's largest wine-producing region, inviting connoisseurs to embark on a sensory journey through its varied local vintages. No better place to discover this region than one of our charming country hotels and B&B in Languedoc-Roussillon or a boutique hotel in historic cities such as Montpellier, Carcassonne or Arles.

Away from the ocean, the Midi-Pyrénées, with its intricate blend of landscapes, traditions, and terroirs, finds its cradle between the Massif Central and the Pyrenean mountains. Characterized by expansive natural realms and rivers that meander in intriguing patterns, this region passionately embraces ecotourism. The enchanting Canal du Midi stands as a monumental ode to local heritage, while the Pyrenees National Park, teeming with unparalleled biodiversity, is a sanctuary for nature devotees. The tranquil valleys of the Garonne and Lot cast a serene spell with their rolling hills, vine-clad expanses, fields, and rivers. Historical gems like Toulouse and Albi lie embedded here. The Pyrenean mountains invite with natural parks, lush valleys, glacial lakes, and cascading waterfalls, presenting a playground for mountaineering enthusiasts, beckoning with opportunities for hiking, skiing, rock climbing, and paragliding. Beautiful and authentic guest houses (maisons d’hôtes), boutique hotels and holiday homes await you to discover the regions natural wonders.

New Aquitaine – Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes et le Limousin: between vines and the ocean

With its resplendent Atlantic coast, the verdant expanse of the Landes forest, the imposing Pyrenees, and the tranquil Dordogne valley, Aquitaine emerges as a captivating blend of natural wonders and coastal allure. The region is celebrated for its Bordeaux vineyards that paint the hillsides. Travelers are equally enchanted by the sprawling Atlantic beaches, such as the dune-kissed shores of Arcachon Basin, as they are by the rich culture of the Basque Country and its deep-rooted traditions.

History and heritage interweave in Aquitaine, with cities like Bordeaux, Biarritz, Bayonne, Pau, and Sarlat narrating tales of times gone by, and globally renowned prehistoric sites like the Lascaux caves adding mystique. Gastronomy thrives here, where land meets sea to conjure up dishes both delectable and authentic. Bordeaux, a vinous sanctuary, beckons enthusiasts to wander amidst its elegant architectural marvels and centuries-old vineyards that have transformed winemaking into an art.

The Atlantic coast is undeniably one of Aquitaine's crown jewels, boasting pristine sandy beaches, towering dunes, and iconic surf spots. The hinterlands, with the majestic Pyrenees and the bucolic valleys of Dordogne and Garonne, showcase picturesque villages and breathtaking landscapes. Stay in our handpicked boutique hotels and guesthouses in Bordeaux, Biarritz or Bayonne.

In the north, Poitou-Charentes unfurls a diverse landscape, from the expansive salt marshes of the Atlantic coast to the lush hills of Haut-Poitou. The salt marshes of Île de Ré and Île d’Oléron, easily accessible and boasting stunning beaches, quaint villages, and bustling fishing ports, stand testament to nature's craft. Nestled in the verdant hills of Haut-Poitou are renowned vineyards, medieval castles, and scenic hamlets, promising an ever-changing yet consistently mesmerizing landscape.

Meanwhile, Limousin, an often-overlooked area nestled in the heart of France between the Loire Valley and the Massif Central mountains, is a repository of cultural heritage, history, and untouched beauty. It is also famous for its Limousin cattle.

As you journey through, opt for a stay in one of our handpicked country hotels, B&B and boutique hotels in Aquitaine to experience the epitome of regional luxury.

With its resplendent Atlantic coast, the vast expanse of the Landes forest, the imposing Pyrenees, and the tranquil Dordogne valley, Aquitaine emerges as a region where eating, drinking, and living well are synonymous. The region is famous for its characteristic Bordeaux wine, and its rather traditional people take pride in identifying as "Bordelais" rather than French. There are also beautiful beaches bathed by the Atlantic waters, such as Arcachon, Île de Ré, or the well-known Biarritz.

Périgord is now part of New Aquitaine and is known for its rich culinary tradition, including specialties like foie gras, truffles, mushrooms, and duck-based dishes. Additionally, the region boasts an abundance of castles, prehistoric caves, and charming villages that attract visitors interested in history and culture.

Corsica: the authentic island

This realm was the birthplace of Napoleon, where mountains caress the sky. Corsica has everything to be a paradise, but above all, it is an island of profound contrasts, where millennia-old traditions intertwine with raw and untamed nature. Its tumultuous history has indelibly shaped the Corsican spirit. Mountainous and rugged, with narrow roads and steep declines, dotted with perched villages and views that will take your breath away at every turn. This landscape and the island's history define the Corsican character: they are straightforward, somewhat rugged, and sparing with words with those who visit the island; skill is needed to earn a smile, but if you manage to enter their hearts, the scene changes, and they become people of extreme kindness. We invite you to discover the island by staying in the best areas, from small mountain hotels to luxurious 5-star accommodations on the coast in Corsica.

As you navigate this captivating island, consider a stay in a country side B&B or one of our selected boutique hotels and luxury hotels in Corsica.

Our favourite towns, villages and best places to stay in the West of France and the Loire valley

Brittany – land of myths and legends

In Brittany, a land steeped in traditions and character, maritime tales entwine with Celtic legends. The sea's rhythm pulses deeply through the region's veins, yet its countryside is an equally captivating symphony. The Breton landscape proudly showcases its cornerstone, granite, an emblematic stone that graces its buildings, churches, and quaint villages.

Imagine a land where sandy beaches meet sheer cliffs, where picture-postcard villages lie in the shadows of historic monuments, and where festivals and traditional feasts animate the streets. Brittany offers a kaleidoscope of experiences tailored to every whim. The Breton coasts, a mosaic of inlets, cliffs, golden beaches, and beguiling isles like the Bréhat islands or the Glénan archipelago, invite exploration. Venture inland, and you’re greeted by sprawling forests, rolling green hills, and serene, majestic lakes.

Sprinkled across this marvelous region you will find some of the most enchanting country hotels, romantic guest houses and luxury hotels in Brittany.

Normandy – cliffs, beaches and local delicacies

Normandy, in the northwest of France, is a tapestry woven with history, culture, and arresting landscapes. Synonymous with the pivotal D-Day beaches, which have left an indelible mark on World War II history, Normandy is also a beacon of medieval architecture, Gothic churches, enchanting port towns, and culinary marvels like its cheese and cider that leave one yearning for another taste.

Travel through Normandy, and you are greeted by views that seem to leap out of a painter's canvas: staggering cliffs, sandy shores, verdant fields, and regal forests. Equally captivating is the ethereal Mont-Saint-Michel, rising majestically from the tidal bay. And for those seeking the allure of golden sands, the chic beaches of Deauville and Trouville beckon.

Discover Normandy, an evocative blend of history and natural beauty from one of our carefully chosen chateau hotels, boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts in Normandy. If you want to enjoy the region in a more private environment you will find luxury villas and stylish holiday apartments in our selection.

The Pays de la Loire and Centre Val-de-Loire – chateaux and vineyards

In France's picturesque Pays de la Loire, a blend of natural wonders unfurls — from the shimmering Atlantic coasts to meandering rivers, punctuated by salt marshes and expansive natural parks. Nestled between the allure of the sea and the grandeur of iconic châteaux, which dot the banks of France's most celebrated river, the Loire, the region exudes an enchantment that is undeniably captivating.

To the East, the Centre Val-de-Loire with its world-renowned Loire châteaux, exquisite wines, and a heritage that stands as a testament to French culture and the art of living awaits to be discovered. No better place to enjoy life than staying in a chateau hotel in the Loire valley or an authentic B&B located in a historic town on the shore of the majestic Loire.

Our favourite towns, villages and best places to stay in the East and South East of France

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes – volcanoes and mountain peaks

In the heart of France, Auvergne unfolds as a verdant canvas of lush landscapes and a rustic charm that is undeniably its own. This central French region is marked by its distinct volcanic terrains, shimmering lakes, medieval castles, and quaint villages.

Meanwhile, in Rhône-Alpes, whether carving down snowy trails in Chamonix or meandering around the serene waters of Lake Annecy, the French Alps stand majestic, watching over every moment. A realm that oscillates between the thrill of winter sports and the tranquility of spa resorts, it's a destination that beckons both the adrenaline junkies and those in search of sublime serenity. We have put together a selection of charming mountain chalets and boutique B&B in Rhône-Alpes.

Burgundy and Franche-Comté – l’art de vivre

Bourgogne Franche-Comté paints a picture of refined living, set against a blend of diverse landscapes that underscore its affluence and allure. This region is celebrated for its vineyards, with a culinary legacy featuring delicacies such as coq au vin, escargot de Bourgogne, and the pungent Epoisses cheese. Strolling through the local markets, one is greeted with an array of fresh, premium offerings - from seasonal fruits and vegetables to artisanal cheeses and superior cuts of meat.

Embark on a journey through the region's intricate network of canals, indulging in culinary highlights from Dijon to Châlons-sur-Saône. Then, make your way to the Jura, where breathtaking views of the Alps await, elevating the already enchanting experience. Where to stay in Burgundy? How about a boutique hotel in a historic village, a chateau hotel surrounded by vineyards or a chalet in one of the famous ski resorts?

Alsace and Eastern France – tradition, wine and gastronomy

Alsace, a region with gingerbread houses and wine routes, where French charm meets German fairytales. It's towns shimmer with colorful half-timbered houses, awe-inspiring Gothic churches, and grand medieval castles. Alsace is like stepping into a storybook. Vineyards, renowned for producing some of the world's finest white wines, drape the landscape, while the enchanting Christmas markets add a festive spirit to the region's appeal.

The greater Grand Est region is truly Europe's heart. From Strasbourg, the European capital, venture to the esteemed vineyards of Champagne and Alsace, or let the Vosges mountain ranges captivate you. This region, steeped in memories, bore witness to significant World War I battle, including the iconic Battle of Verdun.

The Vosges present a mesmerizing mountainous landscape, graced with dense forests, serene lakes, and cascading waterfalls. The Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park, nestled in the Bas-Rhin, stands as a pristine testament to nature's grandeur, with hiking trails offering panoramic mountain views.

Champagne-Ardenne, to the east of the Parisian basin, boasts rich natural beauty. It unfolds across the chalky plains of Champagne and the damp expanses that define the landscapes of this historic French province, renowned for the world-famous Champagne wine. Here, culinary traditions rise to a crescendo, spotlighting indigenous delights such as the effervescent champagne, Langres cheese, Ardennes ham, Reims mustard, and the delectable pink biscuits of Reims.

Discover the area from one of our boutique hotels in Strasbourg or a country hotel the wine region of Alsace.

The North of France

In the Hauts-de-France region, soaring cathedrals, bell towers, and citadels punctuate the horizon, while its plains narrate tales of a rich mining past. The vibrant carnivals and Lille's grand broderie present the perfect opportunity to indulge in France's crispiest fries before embarking on a serene retreat to the Opal Coast.