Since I moved to France I’m constantly meeting people who are disappointed with their accommodations in France, even when it comes to the more expensive hotels. After hearing various complaints about the rooms, the breakfast and wifi I understood that people from different places come with very different expectations when it comes to hotels. That’s why I decided to make a list of things you should know before booking a hotel in France.
Some tourists come from countries where the hotel rooms are very spacious. That’s not the case in most French hotels, especially the ones that are under 4 stars. Even in many beautifully designed hotels, the rooms would normally be small, and not a place you would want to stay in for most of your day. That is definitely the case in Paris but also in other touristic cities like Bordeaux.
Most hotels will offer a breakfast, but it will usually, not be included in the price of your room and you will need to decide if it’s worth taking. As opposed to non-European countries, this would usually be a very simple continental breakfast which includes bread, butter and jam, a croissant, a hot drink and an orange juice. Higher-end hotels would also offer some cold food such as ham, cheese, and yogurt. And only the very high-end hotels will provide a full breakfast. That’s why if you are in the middle of the city and don’t rush anywhere, consider eating your breakfast outside, where you can probably find better coffee and pastries.
- Air conditioning – this one is a real problem in France. Although it tends to be quite hot in France during the summer most places are still not equipped with an air conditioning system. You can usually expect an AC in the big chains and the high-end hotels but much less so in budget ones. If you’re going to visit France in the summer and you know that heat is something you really suffer from, check out with the hotel if they have an AC before booking.
- Parking – Besides luxury hotels, most establishments in big cities won’t offer free parking. If your hotel is located outside the city center, it can be just a small fee for the whole stay. But in the busy city center, it can easily get to 20 euros/day, so consider this cost when booking a hotel in France.
- Wifi – luckily, in recent years free wifi has become a standard and most hotels provide it. However, as it wasn’t the case until several years ago some hotels are still behind on that, so if you absolutely need wifi for work, ask about it before booking. The quality of Wifi is also often not great, so don’t hesitate to ask about it when ordering.
Using public transport
In most big cities in France, there’s a very good public transport system that can get you quickly to the city center. That’s why booking a cheaper hotel outside the city center but next to a metro/tram line is a very good option for those looking to reduce cost. That, of course, will depend on the length of your stay and what you plan to do during your visit. If you’re coming for one night or you want to taste the nightlife in the city I would stay closer to the center, as in most cities there’s no public transport at night.
In most hotels, the prices you pay when you book do not include the city tax (taxe de séjour) you have to pay for every night you stay in the hotel – it can range between 1 to 3 euros per person, per night.
By law, all hotels have to display their rates in the room. That would be a maximum rate for the room and not necessarily what you paid (you may have come in a low season). However, the price can not exceed the price you paid for the night.
Hope these tips were helpful!
If you’re looking for accommodation in Bordeaux – check out the best hotels in Bordeaux.