Look beyond hotels

 (Photo by Reid Bramblett, created with Wordclouds.com)

From B&Bs and farm stays to cottages, castles, and campgrounds, here are French lodging alternatives to the traditional hotel

B&Bs links
Apartments links
Farm stays links
Castle hotels links
Cottages & villas links
Residence hotels links

Tips

About the lodging star ratings (☆☆☆ to ★★★)

You will notice that all hotels, B&Bs, and other lodgingds (as well as sights and restaurants) on this site have a ReidsFrance.com star designation from ☆☆☆ to ★★★.

This merely indicates that I feel these accommodations offer a little something that makes them special (or extra-special, or extra-extra special, etc.).

These star ratings are entirely based on personal opinion, and have nothing to do with the official French hotel ratings—which have more to do with quantifiable amenities such as minibars, and not the intangibles that make a hotel truly stand out, like a combination of great location, friendly owners, nice style, and low prices.

In general, a pricier place to stay has to impress me that it is worth the added expense.

This is why I give ★★★ to some (official) "two-star" hotels or B&Bs that happen to provide amazing value for the money—and similarly have ranked a few (official) "four-star" properties just (★★☆).

About the lodging price brackets (€–€€€)

Accommodations rates vary wildly—even at the same hotel or B&B—depending on type of room, number of people in it, and the season.

That's why here at ReidsFrance.com we simply provde a general price range indicating the rough rate you should expect to pay for a standard double room in mid-season.

There are three price ranges, giving you a sense of which lodgings are budget, which are moderate, and which are splurges:

under €100
€€ €100–€200
€€€ over €200
Useful French phrases

Useful French for lodging

English (anglais) French (français) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is? Où est? ou EH
...a hotel un hôtel ehn OH-tel
...a B&B une chambre d'hôte ooun SHAHM-bruh DOH-t
...a rental room une chambre de location ooun SHAHM-bruh de lo-kah-SION
...an apartment for rent un appartement ehn ah-part-teh-MOHN
...a farm stay un agrotourisme
or
un gîte

ehn ah-grow-tour-EES-muh
or
ehn ZHEET

...a hostel une auberge de jeunesse ooun oh-BEAR-dzh de szou-NESS
     
How much is...? Combien coute? coam-bee-YEHN koot
a single room une chambre pour une personne
or
une chambre simple
ooun SHAUM-bra pour oou-n pair-SOHN
or
ooun SHAUM-bra SAHM-pluh
double room for single use [will often be offered if singles are unavailable] une chambre double ooun SHAUM-bra DOO-bluh
a double room with two beds une chambre twin
or
une chambre double avec un duex lits    
ooun SHAUM-bra TWEEN
or
ooun SHAUM-bra DOO-bluh ah-VEHK ehn grahn lee
a double room with one big bed une chambre double ooun SHAUM-bra DOO-bluh
triple room une chambre triple ooun SHAUM-bra TREE-pluh
with private bathroom avec salle de bain ah-VEHK sal de bah
without private bathroom sans salle de bain SAHN sal de bah
for one night pour un soir pour ehn swa
for two nights pour deux soirs pour douh swa
for three nights pour trois soirs pour twa swa
Is breakfast included? C'est compris le petit déjeuner? say coam-PREE luh p'TEE day-zhuh-NAY
Is there WiFi? Y'a t'il du WiFi? yah-teel doo WHY-fy?
May I see the room? Puis-je voir la chambre? PWEE-zhuh vwah lah SHAWM-bra
That's too much C'est trop  say troh
Is there a cheaper one? Avez-vous une chambre bon marché? ah-veh VOO ooun SHAWM-bra bone mar-SHAY


 

Basic phrases in French

English (anglais) French (français) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you merci mair-SEE
please s'il vous plaît seel-vou-PLAY
yes oui wee
no non no
Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais? par-lay-VOU on-GLAY
I don't understand Je ne comprende pas zhuh nuh COHM-prohnd pah
I'm sorry Je suis desolée zhuh swee day-zoh-LAY
How much does it cost? Combien coute? coam-bee-YEHN koot
That's too much C'est trop say troh
     
Good day Bonjour bohn-SZOURH
Good evening Bon soir bohn SWAH
Good night Bon nuit  bohn NWEE
Goodbye Au revoir oh-ruh-VWAH
Excuse me (to get attention) Excusez-moi eh-skooze-ay-MWA
Excuse me (to get past someone) Pardon pah-rRDOHN
Where is? Où est? ou eh
...the bathroom la toilette lah twah-LET
...train station la gare lah gahr

Days, months, and other calendar items in French

English (anglais) French (français) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quand est-il ouvert? coan eh-TEEL oo-VAIR
When does it close? Quand est l'heure de fermeture?   coan eh lure duh fair-mah-TOUR
At what time... à quelle heure... ah kell uhre
     
Yesterday hier ee-AIR
Today aujoud'hui ow-zhuhr-DWEE
Tomorrow demain duh-MEHN
Day after tomorrow après demain ah-PRAY duh-MEHN
     
a day un jour ooun zhuhr
Monday Lundí luhn-DEE
Tuesday Maredí mar-DEE
Wednesday Mercredi mair-cray-DEE
Thursday Jeudi zhuh-DEE
Friday Vendredi vawn-druh-DEE
Saturday Samedi saam-DEE
Sunday Dimanche DEE-maansh
     
a month un mois ooun mwa
January janvier zhan-vee-YAIR
February février feh-vree-YAIR
March mars mahr
April avril ah-VREEL
May mai may
June juin zhuh-WAH
July juillet zhuh-LYAY
August août ah-WOOT
September septembre sep-TUHM-bruh
October octobre ok-TOE-bruh
November novembre noh-VAUM-bruh
December décembre day-SAHM-bruh

Numbers in French

English (anglais) French (français) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 un ehn
2 deux douh
3 trois twa
4 quatre KAH-truh
5 cinq sank
6 six sees
7 sept sehp
8 huit hwhee
9 neuf nuhf
10 dix dees
11 onze ownz
12 douze dooz
13 treize trehz
14 quatorze kah-TOHRZ
15 quinze cans
16 seize sez
17 dix-sept dee-SEP
18 dix-huit dee-SWEE
19 dix-neuf dee-SNEUHF
20 vingt vahn
21* vingt et un * vahnt eh UHN
22* vingt deux * vahn douh
23* vingt trois * vahn twa
30 trente truhnt
40 quarante kah-RAHNT
50 cinquante sahn-KAHNT
60 soixante swaa-SAHNT
70 soixante-dix swa-sahnt-DEES
80 quatre-vents  kat-tra-VAHN
90 quatre-vents-dix  kat-tra-vanht-DEES
100 cent sant
1,000 mille meel
5,000 cinq mille sank meel
10,000 dix mille dees meel


* You can form any number between 20 and 99 just like the examples for 21, 22, and 23. For x2–x9, just say the tens-place number (trente for 30, quarante for 40, etc.), then the ones-place number (35 is trente cinq; 66 is soixsante six). The only excpetion is for 21, 31, 41, etc. For x1, say the tens-place number followed by "...et un" (trente et un, quarante et un, etc.).

‡ Yes, the French count very strangely once they get past 69. Rather than some version of "seventy,' they instead say "sixy-ten" (followed by "sixty-eleven," "sixty-twelve,' etc. up to "sixty-nineteen.") And then, just to keep things interesting, they chenge it up again and, for 80, say 'four twenties"—which always make me thinks of blackbirds baked in a pie for some reason. Ninety becomes "four-twenties-ten" and so on up to "four-nineties-ninteen" for 99, which is quite a mouthful: quartre-vingts-dix-neuf. 

 

More on Alternative accommodations

★★★
La Maison Gobert is a cosy Paris B&B in the 11eme (Photo courtesy of the property)

Chambres d'hôte (bed and breakfasts) aren't just great big Victorian cottages run by kindly but nosy little old widows anymore

 
There are loads of lodging options and alternative accommodations in France (Photo photos courtesy of the properties)

There are dozens of hotel alternatives, from PAris apartments to country villas, farmhouse B&Bs to residences, and campgrounds to castles. Here's how to find the lot of them.

 
 (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Hostels, B&B's, apartments, farm stays, castles, university dorms, campgrounds...there are so many of these budget options I needed to create a whole separate section on this website just to fit them all in

 
★★★
The master bedroom of this Apartment on the Champs-Élysées has a view of the Eiffel Tower (Photo courtesy of the property)

How to find and rent a vacation appartement (apartment) from $40 in France

 
★★☆
Eiffel Tower views from the living rooms in the self-catering apartments of Residence Charles Floquet (Photo courtesy of the property)

Serviced flats, residence hotels, Aparthotels, and other townhouse suite lodging in France

 
★★★
Les Anniquins is a horse farm in the Loire Valley where doubles start at €75 a night (Photo courtesy of the property)

Stay on a working farm (Séjours à la ferme) and experience the best of French hospitality and countryside tradition

 
★★☆
Château de Brou in the Loire Valley sleeps 14 (Photo courtesy of the property)

Stay in a real château (castle) and live happily ever after (temporarily) as King and Queen of the castle

 
★★☆
The Gite Napoleon in the Alpes-de-Haute region of Provence (Photo courtesy of the property)

A place to call your own for the night or the week—renting a gîte, villa, house, or cottage in France

 
★☆☆
An 8-bed dorm room at the Hiphophostel Le Village Montmartre hostel (Photo courtesy of the property)

Cheap bunks in shared dorms and a backpackers-of-the-world-unite atmosphere

 
★☆☆
A room at the Résidence Sainte-Marthe in the historic center of Avignon (Photo courtesy of UniversityRooms.com)

How tourists can stay in cheap university housing in France

 
 (Photo courtesy of Europosters)

Couchsurfing and other hospitality networks allow you to sleep for free in other member's homes

 
A typical European hotel bathroom (Photo Public Domain)

Ways to sleep for free in France

 
This Provençal home in the countryside just outside of Avignon sleeps six amid olive groves, a pool, and rows of lavender—and its owners would love to visit California (Photo courtesy of Homeexchange)

Trading spaces isn't just a show on basic cable anymore. It's a way to live life like a local on your travels absolutely for free—so long as you let the local borrow your life (and home) in return.

 
This house in Normandy was looking for someone to watch the chickens and pet sheep for a couple of weeks (Photo courtesy of mindmyhouse.com)

Sleep for free on vacation by watching someone's house (and, often, watering their plants and feeding their cat)

 
Camping de Paris, where you can pitch a tent by the Seine River in the Bois de Bologna park (Photo courtesy of Camping de Paris)

Camping and campgrounds (terrains de camping) are a cheap way to spend the night while traveling

 
A classic train couchette sleeping six (Photo by DB Autozug GmbH)

Sleeping in couchettes on overnight trains

 
The gorgeous Sanctuary of Notre-Dame de Bétharram in the Pyrennees, conveniently just 16km from Lourdes, charges €42 for a double (Photo courtesy of guidestchristophe.com)

Sleep in a religious guesthouse or retreat at abbeys, monasteries, priories, and convents across France from just €17

 
A French-Argentinian couple need help restoring their 16C farm to run it as a B&B via Helpx (Photo courtesy of Helpx)

Programs like WWOOF and Helpx let you barter your services for a free place to stay

 
Sailboats at Cannes (Photo by plb06)

If you love sailing, or just have an unquenchable taste for adventure and new experiences, you can sign on to help crew a boat just about anywhere in the world, including France

 
The author, at 12, with his Uncle Marc (19) and the author's trusty hippie-orange VW family campervan somewhere in the Alps (Photo © Frank Bramblett)

Camping is a great way to see France, but you needn't be tied down to tent pegs; RV rentals are as easy in Europe as they are here at home