How To Choose Your French Accommodation


When choosing accommodation in France, it seems to me that most travellers go with one of two main choices. They either a opt for a hotel or stay in an apartment.

Now let’s be clear. I’d stay in a tent if it meant I was in France (Scott will raise his eyebrows at this. It’s a long, long time since I actually stayed in a tent. But it’s true – I would stay in a tent. If the tent was in France.) However, like just about everyone, we usually end up choosing between hotels and apartments.

But how do you choose between the two for your particular trip? Here’s my top nine things to consider when making your accommodation decision.

  1. Apartments are just perfect if you wish to experience a destination like a local. You can come and go as you please. You don’t have to worry about when housekeeping will arrive. You have the choice to eat in or eat out for each and every meal. And you can shop at the local market, and cook up your own French feast, which can be very cost effective whilst guaranteeing you get exactly what you feel like. Of course, you also get to make the bed and wash the dishes when you take the apartment option.
  2. Hotels offer excellent flexibility in terms of standards, locations and prices. Wherever you wish to visit, there is usually something for everyone. You can indulge your high end fantasies or meet budgetary constraints. But taking the hotel option can sometimes end up adding to the overall cost of your holiday, as you rarely have the option to cook for yourself.
  3. Hotels are also relatively flexible in terms of the number of nights you can stay, luggage storage and check in and check out. Some (but certainly not all) apartments have minimum stay conditions and often have restrictive check in and check out days and times.
  4. Apartments can be very cost effective if you are travelling as a family rather than a couple or as a solo traveller. Hotel choices can be quite limited once you get to three or more travellers. And apartments often offer multiple bedroom and bathroom options, which can be very handy.
  5. Apartments usually offer more space, even if you opt for a studio. European hotel rooms can sometimes be described as rather small, and you often end up using the bed as a couch.
  6. Apartments often contain a washing machine. Washing machines are really useful when you want to travel light, and your budget doesn’t stretch to a hotel laundry service.
  7. Balconies can be hard to track down, regardless of whether you prefer an apartment or a hotel room! If you want one, be ready to pay extra, especially in Paris.
  8. Do read the reviews. You can get quality reviews on both hotels and apartments. While there are always outliers, generally they give you a pretty good idea of what you will find when you check in.
  9. Regardless of whether you prefer hotels or apartments, it pays to book early. I’ve been disappointed in the past when my preferred option has already been booked for the dates I am planning to travel. Even when those dates have been more than six months into the future!

For our upcoming trip, depending on where and how long we are planning to visit, we will be staying in a combination of 3 hotels and 4 apartments. And I guess it goes without saying that I am looking forward to checking them all out – and of course, sharing them with you.

Do you prefer hotels or apartments? Or do you pick and choose like I do? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Until next time – au revoir.

About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.

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2 thoughts on “How To Choose Your French Accommodation

  • Ann Clifton

    I must admit that I love nothing better than having an apartment and pretending for a short time that I am a local! I have found some wonderful, inexpensive apartments on Airbnb the last couple of times that I have visited France with one particular favourite in Saint Germaine just minutes from Luxembourg Gardens.
    The freedom to drop into the local patisserie and get fresh croissants and baguettes for breakfast along with the beautiful delicatessen goodies to go with pre dinner drinks makes a bit of self catering very attractive.

    • Janelle Post author

      I couldn’t agree with you more Ann – France is a wonderful place to self cater. Haven’t tried Airbnb ourselves, but love the fact that there are more and more options available for travellers!