French style hotels de charme
There is a wide choice of options, ranging from open air hostelry (camping, caravan hire and bungalows), and holiday villages to small independent hotels, not forgetting voluntary joint ventures and integrated chains. Great diversity indeed, but all with the common denominator of charm and tradition in the purest French style.
Logis de France: the whole of France on a gourmet plate…
The Logis de France offer more than 3000 wonderful places in France, where you can recharge your batteries, pamper yourself and discover hotels where the welcome is friendly and personal and the local cuisine is authentic. Often the host (or the hostess) is also busy at the stove - a one-man show – something the guests always appreciate. As you have no doubt gathered, catering is one of the strong points in the group, with cooking inspired from regional specialities concocted by real food craftsmen and women. It is classified in 4 distinct categories ranging from Cuisine Généreuse (Generous Cooking) to Table distinguée (Distinguished Restaurant), with Gourmet Cuisine and Gastronomic Restaurant.
With their unfailing success, the Logis now offer a selection of more than 3000 hotels spread all over France, all remarkable for their location and their architecture.
Among the Logis de Caractère and the Logis Nature-Silence, you will discover the most beautiful old residences, as well as hotels nestling in the loveliest of pastoral surroundings:
- The Logis de Caractère are beautiful buildings with original architecture which cannot fail to attract those tourists who love architectural heritage and an atmosphere full of history.
- The Logis Nature-Silence, are always situated in a calm environment, to guarantee a demanding clientele a relaxing break, far from the madding crowd.
For truly customised holidays, the association has set up Logis Famille-Enfants with everything you need for some wonderful family holidays.
Also very popular are the Logis Randonnée Pédestre (Hiking lodges), generally located near hiking trails and which offer hikers appropriate equipment and services.
The Logis Vélo are specifically designed for fans of cycling and mountain biking holidays. They offer equipment hire, storage space for bikes and special meals.
The Logis Neige (snow), intended for skiing fans, are located at the foot of the slopes ore near a ski resort. They provide space for storing equipment and everything you need to make sure you get full enjoyment out of your stay in the mountains.
It is worth noting that all the members of the Logis de France association are bound by a Quality Charter guaranteeing high quality services.
The Logis de France Label offers a range of hotel–restaurants and hotels with a friendly welcome, traditional, regional food and a certain degree of comfort, and all at a very reasonable quality-price ratio. Logis de France, part of the leading independent hotel group in Europe. Providing quality accommodation thanks to:
- A classification chart listing over 200 criteria to establish the level of each hotel establishment as 1, 2 or 3 chimneys, reviewed every three years according to any changes in customer expectations.
- An inspection system for the hotels, in the form of unannounced visits, conducted by fully independent external consultants, with inspections taking place at least every three years.
- A quality monitoring service in charge of collecting customer reviews
In 2004, the National Federation of Logis de France (FNLF) was awarded ISO 9001 certification by the Swiss organisation SQS. This attribution is a guarantee for the guests of the expertise and reliability of the FNLF for its process of attributing and monitoring the Logis de France label.
- The National Federation of Logis de France was accredited by the Tourist Ministry to attribute the "Quality Tourism" label to members of the Logis de France who meet the necessary criteria, i.e. who fulfil at least 85% of the national quality commitments.
Rural gites and B&B: a friendly welcome is always on the menu
Basically, a Rural Gite is a house just for you…the perfect holiday cottage to spend time as a family or with friends in any season. It is an independent house, most often rented by the week, but weekends and short breaks are also possible at certain times of the year.Each gîte is comfortably equipped to allow guests to enjoy all the charm of an individual house.
The surroundings are always of good quality and favour the great outdoors, peace and quiet. The atmosphere is familiar and the landlords are always friendly, available and more than willing to tell you all about the area, and relations are generally very good between tenants and owners.The range of gîtes on the market it very wide, starting with gites for 2 and going up to accommodation for groups of 10 or more. It is worth noting that some landlords have several gites next to each other, providing an opportunity for several families to holiday together in the same place.
The bed and breakfasts in France are somewhat similar to the English version. They can be summed up in the simple phrase: "You sleep in our house and you make yourselves at home". For one night or more, you will be welcomed as friends in the houses of individuals who have arranged their residence (farm, château or manor house) with a maximum of 5 guestrooms. Included in the bill is a hearty breakfast which will introduce you to some local specialities. Depending on the place and the inspiration of your hosts, you can enjoy homemade jams, farmhouse bread hot from the oven and regional cheese or charcuterie. A whole menu: the lively, friendly discussions will make a great start to your day.
The collective brand of the gîtes that belong to the National Federation of Gîtes de France (43,000 landlords, 56,000 houses, 35 million days of holiday) ranging from 1, 2 3, 4 to 5 ears of corn.Gîte de France has also developed themed gîtes: Panda gîtes, original gîtes, gîtes and horses, Toboggan gîtes, snow gîtes and fishing gîtes
Accueil paysan: the countryside with open arms
A different way to discover the rural environment. Small farmers receive tourists into their homes, their restaurant, the inn or a gîte nestled deep in the countryside where it is easy to recharge your batteries. They welcome visitors in the countryside forged by their work. They will generously share their expertise as gardeners, breeders, wine-producers or landscaping and their skills in everything relating to life on the land, with plants and animals, in a constant endeavour to preserve the environment that is as fragile as it is "natural".
The Association "Accueil Paysan" founded in 1987 groups some 700 members whose aim is to welcome tourists in a rural setting and show them the range of farming activities and the environment in which they live and work.
Since 1988, the network "Bienvenue à la Ferme" (Welcome to the Farm), run by the Permanent Assembly of the Chambers of Agriculture and the Departmental Chambers, has officially approved small farmers who wish to branch out into tourist activities. The demanding qualification ranges from farmhouse inns (650 in France, which offer traditional meals with local produce, most of which comes from their farms), farmhouse teas, sale of farm produce, horse-riding on the farm, farm schools, discovery farms, hunting farms, holiday farms and camping on the farm.The inns and farmhouse inns of France are grouped under the sign of the shamrock, a symbol of good luck and happiness, which remind us of the fact that you have to sow to enrich the earth, and include two denominations: the inns, which offer local produce, and the farmhouse inns, which serve mainly their own produce as well as local produce. The innkeepers and farmhouse innkeepers formed an association in 1992 to perpetuate countryside food and defend their local produce
Life at the château – from dream to reality!
Most of us dream of it, and it has now become accessible thanks to groups like Relais & Châteaux, Grandes Etapes Françaises or Châteaux et Demeures de Tradition which promote the best of the French hotel industry in a particularly well cared-for setting. Set up in châteaux often full of history, or in beautiful residences, these establishments also house a collection of the best restaurants in France. Their kitchens are home to the "haute couture" of French Cuisine. Many of the great chefs whose names have become or are about to become legendary pass through these establishments on their way to fame.
Whether you are seeking to spend a romantic weekend in a manor house, castle or bastide, or you are a golfing fanatic or looking for a spa resort for a bit of pampering, you will easily find your dream establishment in the range on offer in these various groups.
Châteaux & Hôtels de France, which Alain Ducasse and Laurent Plantier have been running since 1999, now has 523 members and since 1975 has grown to include "establishments combining the traditional, authentic charm of the French regions with a customised service, buildings full of character, unfailing comfort, a warm welcome, a beautiful situation and an authentic cuisine".
Among the members, the 121 addresses which display the "Bonne Table" label are some of the greatest restaurants, the Lasserre restaurant in Paris, the Michel Chabran restaurant in Pont de l’Isère, Ledoyen, and more. In 2002, Châteaux & Hôtels de France added a member on Reunion Island, and now includes four addresses in Corsica. Membership categories are shown by helmets, ranging from 2 to 4, and the 12 establishments which have been awarded four helmets are an unforgettable experience in luxury and sophistication, for those who are lucky enough to stay there, and offer exceptional levels of service.
Discover more accommodation facilities for a family break in qualified destinations
Loisirs de France
Loisirs de France, the quality label for holiday villages, set up by UNAT (the National Union of Tourist and Open Air Associations) in 1997 is the result of a rigorous, original quality procedure, as it applies to the activities and internal services, the site, the environment and the comfort of the accommodation.
Holiday villages are no doubt the most suitable formula for families of all types (ordinary, large families, reconstituted families, single parent families, etc.), for family gatherings or holidays for grandparents with their grandchildren, in other words, the perfect venue for carefree, completely safe get-togethers.More than 450 destinations are available in the country, at the seaside or in the mountains, spread all over France, with children's clubs and adult activities included in the price!Open to all, these holiday villages ensure you spend easy-going holidays in beautiful sites at reasonable prices.
A network of accommodation providing activities or holiday organisation to explore the heritage in their regions by hiking or walking.Accommodation facilities, labelled Rando Gîte, Rando Plume, Rand’Hôtel or Rando Toile, grouped under one national brand name: Rando Accueil.Accommodation which meets the quality requirements corresponding to customer expectations; friendly welcome, conviviality and availability, activities and services on offer. Regional delegations which foster a networking system of several facilities on one particular theme relating to exploring the national heritage.
Les stations Kids (Kids' resorts)
Towns and villages that wish to obtain the Station Kid (Kids' resort) label must meet the requirements for all the compulsory categories in a minimum of three criteria. The towns and villages which receive the Kid label agree to meet the other conditions that will enable them to obtain the points they are lacking within three years of receiving the award. The points covering "events" and "activities" are compulsory. The Station Kid label is awarded for three years. It is confirmed every year depending on its activities and events. This confirmation obliges the resort to continue the level of service towards children and their families. Any area where swimming is forbidden is automatically excluded. The association grants the label to towns and villages which have a real policy in place to welcome children aged 3 to 12 and their families. It is awarded on examination of an application file and an inspection audit to make sure that the services and equipment in the resort are suitable for the requirements of the label.
FAMILLE PLUS is a national quality label, resulting from the collaboration of three associations of tourist villages:
- the National Association of Mayors of Listed Resorts and Tourist Villages,
- the National Association of Mayors of Mountain Resorts - Ski France,
- the Federation of Green Resorts and Snow Villages.
Recognised by the Ministry in charge of Tourism, this label aims at promoting the towns and villages committed to constantly improving their facilities for welcoming families.
The criteria cover:
- the welcome and information,
- events in the village,
- the activities,
- discovering the surroundings and the heritage,
- accommodation, restaurants, shops and services,
- the amenities and the safety precautions.]
Les plus beaux villages de France (Most beautiful villages in France)
he most beautiful villages in France are rural villages with fewer than 2000 inhabitants which have preserved an exceptional architectural and historical heritage. The certification has been awarded since 1982 by the association Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. 144 villages have the certification and are recognised for their heritage and each village has a layout of high overall quality. 149 villages belong to the Plus beaux villages de France. The association (a not-for-profit organisation) is awarded grants from the Regional Councils.
The hotel franchise Relais du Silence - Silencehotel was created in 1968 by independent hotel owners who wished to pool their resources in order to set up a national and international marketing service. In 1993, they created an International Union of all the National Associations in the form of an Economic Interest Group. The underlying principle of the 262 European hotels in this chain of independent hotel owners (like the Manoir du Lys in Bagnoles de l'Orne, Normandy), is a quiet, peaceful environment, with a personal welcome by the owner-managers in a family atmosphere in hotels ranging from seven to fifty rooms and generally of a standard ranging from two to four stars. Expanding the Relais beyond the border, with the arrival of Ireland in 1999, could eventually lead to setting up hotels in other areas in North America and also Eastern Europe. The wish to get back to basics with a personal, friendly welcome could well come true with the chain of Relais du Silence-Silencehotel, which is perfectly suited to lovers of authenticity, simplicity and comfort.
Specialised facilities: Tourisme & Handicap (Tourism for the disabled)
The national certification Tourisme & Handicap was created on 4 May 2001 by Michèle Demessine, then Minister for Tourism.The label is gradually gaining ground all over France. It is awarded by regional boards, after an appraisal of the site, based on a set of very precise, strict specifications. It guarantees accessibility of all the premises to people with all kinds of disabilities (the blind, the deaf, people in wheelchairs, etc.), and is meant to be the catalogue of truly accessible, adapted sites. The covers accommodation sites as well as restaurants, and includes cultural and leisure activities.