France has got everything: stunning beaches, high mountains, unspoiled nature, lively cities and authentic villages. Enjoy your dose of culture in the Dordogne, taste some of the best wines in the Bourgogne, mingle with the jet set on the Côte d’Azur, feel the magical vibes of Bretagne (and get some oysters to go with that), go surfing in the Basque country, skiing in the Alps, catch one of those Alsace Christmas markets and of course, visit the City of Love – oulala Paris! I absolutely love France.
The hotels in France are as diverse as the regions and highlights, which made the task of choosing only ten quite impossible. From modern design hotels to charming historic castles, from large luxury hotels to small intimate boutique hotels, these are the first 10 French hotels worth mentioning. We will be writing a part two (and 3 and 4) soon enough!
The Château de Bagnols is a 13th century castle located in the countryside among the vineyards of Beaujolais, not far from Lyon. It is a five star boutique hotel, part of Relais et Châteaux. I was lucky enough to stay there for a few nights and the rooms are truly magnificent.
An English lady, Lady Hamlyn, bought the medieval castle in 1987. The restoration took years and every small detail was taken into account. The hotel has since been bought by Jean-Claude Lavorel from Lavorel Hotels. It is a special experience to stay in this historic building decorated with frescoes and tapestries. The beautiful garden exudes tranquility.
When you arrive in the sleepy village, 3 old men at the petanque and 1 crowing rooster, you do not expect that such a beautiful luxury hotel is hidden here. There is not much (nothing) to do in the village but it is a perfect central location to relax and explore the region. I loved staying here, it’s my number 1 of all the hotels I have been to in France!
Parisian L’Hôtel is a small five star hotel but one of the most famous nevertheless. Oscar Wilde died there (in room 16). After extensive refurbishment in the late 60s, L’Hôtel soon became the favorite place of the rich and famous. Salvador Dali, Princess Grace, Jim Morrison and Serge Gainsbourg stayed here, just to name a few. The decoration is amazing, classical with a twist, quite some kitsch but in a good way. France as it should be.
L’Hôtel is located in a building from 1830 in Saint-Germain des Prés. There are just 20 bedrooms, all decorated in their own style. There is a pool set into the vaults and a Michelin starred restaurant called…Le Restaurant. The hotel is part of A Curious Group of Hotels.
For those in Paris who are insensitive to the old-fashioned charm of L’Hôtel, the avant-garde hotel Amour is a good option. The owner is André Saraiva (together with businessman Thierry Costes), a famous graffiti artist: This is certainly reflected in the decor of the hotel. Saraiva opened a second hotel in 2015, the Grand Amour and an Amour hotel will open in Nice as well next summer.
The 24 rooms of the hotel Amour have been designed by different artists, like Pierre Le-Tan, Olivier Zahm, or Glenn O’ Brien, so they are all cool, edgy and unique. Every floor has it’s color. The hotel is located in Pigalle. It’s popular with a young and artistic crowd.
L’Absinthe is a charming little 3 star hotel in a 16th century historic building, right in the centre of the old town of Honfleur. No big luxury here, no swimming pool or spa, no parking – L’Absinthe is an adorable hotel with character, tastefully decorated with love and care, in an authentic historic building in a good location. It’s all about attention to detail. For me, L’Absinthe is the best address of Honfleur (I recommend the attic room).
You will get a personal and friendly welcome here, fresh breakfast with warm bread, a piano in the reception area and the feeling of being part of history. A hotel with a soul!
If you want to see stars, the hotel du Cap Eden Roc is the right place to be. They have all been there, from Brangelina to Mick Jagger, from Churchill to Picasso, from Charlie Chaplin to Elisabeth Taylor. This legendary five star hotel is situated in a breathtaking park of 9 hectares, on one of the most beautiful locations around the Mediterranean Sea.
Only two things count here: luxury and tranquility. This hotel has been around since 1885. It has a reputation to hold and it is very well looked after. Everything seems to be excellent, from the service to the food. I say “seems” because I have never been there unfortunately. Hotel du Cap Eden Roc is high on my hotel bucket list though.
Next summer, from April 19th to October 16th, five monumental sculptures by Tony Cragg will be exhibited in the hotel and its park.
The Luberon is one of the most beautiful regions of France. Sometimes, in summer, too touristy but the rest of the year it’s authentic and so very Provencal. La Bastides de Gordes fits right in the authentic side. The building is from the 12th century. Once home to the gendarmes, it became a 3 star hotel in the late 80s and since a few years now (and more than 20 millions of renovation) it’s a luxury 5 star Palace.
As a mother who always travels with her children, I was happily surprised to know that they do there utmost here to make families feel welcome. They give special attention to children, organizing events like outdoor movies and treasure hunts.
You can stay in a beautiful room or suite, but they also offer a picture-perfect private villa with 4 rooms with its own garden and private pool. It’s called Maison de Constance. La Bastide de Gordes won the price ‘Grand Prix du Meilleur hôtel de charme’ in Europe at the Villégiature Awards 2018.
Hotel Les Sources De Caudalie is located in the vineyards of the Château Smith Haut Lafitte, south of Bordeaux. The hotel has 49 comfortable and modern rooms. A spa center, tennis courts, two posh restaurants, an outdoor swimming pool and of course a very extensive wine cellar are also available.
The lake suite ‘L’ile aux oiseaux’, furnished by the famous Martin Margiela label, is an absolute must for lovers of nature and authenticity but also of luxury.
In any case, the region is absolutely worth a visit, and not just for wine lovers! I studied close to Martillac and I was surprised at the low number of tourists in the region while it has so much to offer. It does has many advantages though: no mass tourism, a casual atmosphere, no long lines and ridiculously high prices, just a piece of real France. In that respect, Hotel Les Sources De Caudalie stands for the stylish simplicity that is so characteristic here.
Saint Tropez is blessed with loads of gorgeous luxury hotels like hotel La Mandarine and Château de la Messardiere. Hotel la Mandarine is a fairly unknown hotel, hidden in a beautiful Provencal garden, where you can relax and enjoy the comfort of a luxury hotel and outdoor swimming pool, but with the intimacy and charm of a small unknown hotel. One of your best bets if you are looking for tranquility and relaxation.
But if you want to party, it’s the Byblos you want! Hotel Byblos is a five star Palace in the heart of Saint-Tropez. It has been the hotel of stars for decades. Mick Jagger even got married here (1971 with Bianca)! The hotel is built like a Provencal village with small colored houses built around the pool area. It’s chic but low-key and fun.
If you want to party, you can head down to the legendary and very exclusive Les Caves du Roy. It’s downstairs but somehow, one does not hear the music or noise from the rooms. You will find more Saint Tropez hotel recommendations here such as the great hotel Pan Dei.
You’ll find Le Mas de la Fouque about 900 meters from the wild beaches of the Camargue. With a bit of luck you can see the pink flamingos from your hotel room. The rooms are luxurious and you can even stay in a gypsy caravan on the domain, definitely worth it to taste the region’s atmosphere. All rooms have a private terrace. There is also a very good restaurant where gypsy dancers and musicians perform live on a regular basis.
Enjoy your holidays to the fullest with the spa and pool and feel connected to nature without sacrificing any comfort. Lovers of intimate private hotels will love Le Mas de la Fouque.
I love myself a luxury tree house every now and then 😉 The comfortable tree houses at Domaine Pech & Lafon are scattered throughout the forest. The Domaine is located in Lot et Garonne, between Bordeaux and Toulouse. Is there anything better than watching the stars from your tree house, with a glass of Bordeaux?
Imagine yourself in the middle of a haven of peace where birds and deer greet you every morning. The area looks as if it was the backdrop of a Disney movie! Oh, and did I mention the private jacuzzi on your terrace?
Domaine Pech & Lafon is a Logis d’Exception. These are hotels that stand out for their elegance, unique environment and refined decoration. Do you want to sleep in a castle, watermill or tree house? There are 28 Logis d’Exception hotels in Europe.
When it comes to location, Castelbrac earns 10 out of 10. At the edge of a cliff, this 5 star hotel with gorgeous dramatic sea views, has 25 refined rooms located in three different buildings, a restaurant, a chapel (!) and a spa. The pool overlooks the promenade of Dinard.
Castelbrac has its own private boat for guests to discover the Côte d’Emeraude and surrounding islands during the summer months. The decoration of this design boutique hotel is ‘sea inspired’. The modern rooms are light and fresh. You don’t come here for the rooms anyway but for the views and the unspoiled nature.
This charming luxury hotel is located in a renovated old castle from the 14th century. Chateau du Viguier du Roy offers just 21 rooms. The property is 4000 m2 and the garden and patio are gorgeous. This hotel is a combination of classic and modern at its best. Enjoy the library, the gardens with fountains and the chapel but also the jacuzzi, the swimming pool, the sauna and the restaurant. The key words of this castle are history, luxury and intimacy.
We started the top 10 with a château, we’ll finish with a château. A real hidden gem! So let me know in the comments: what is your favorite hotel in France?