France is the top destination for families that want to spend holidays together. France is a country to visit, to explore, to discover and to appreciate. Yet, let’s not forget that this multifaceted country makes part of countless dreams, is a dream itself and has so much to offer to its visitors. So, why not fully live the dream and be tempted by a stay in a charming hotel? Little Guest found for you a fine selection of the best charming hotels in France.
Charming hotels are unique and authentic, on many aspects.
This kind of place is deeply linked with the history and the environment in which it is set and is a true testimony of the times and the region in which it is located. Usually built in a traditional stone architecture, noble materials and beautiful roofing, the style mostly gives off the peculiar nature of the homeowner through the decorations, the furnishings and the different services that are offered. These establishments are the antithesis of the large hotel chains as we know them. They offer a personalised and exclusive experience with a great feeling of immersion thanks to the culture of the region in which they are set and the many activities that retrace the region history.
Yet, the “charming” concept holds its own subjectivity but is evolving through time. Published by Payot & Rivages editions, Guide des hôtels de charme en France‘s managing editor Jean de Beaumont has been behind the scenes of these guides for 20 years now. He admits that today’s travellers now seek for peaceful and comfortable accommodations, but mostly look for pretty and nicely decorated places, with what could be described as “contemporary charm” since the decoration specialised press paves the way of the ongoing trends. This modern charm is based upon the will to bring long-forgotten materials back to the present times while keeping their authentic and noble nature. For some accommodations, specific blends of colours are favoured while they are equipped with very modern features. Designs are not forgotten and are carefully selected and elaborated, still with the idea to create a warm and cosy atmosphere. Despite perpetually reinventing itself on a decorative aspect, the services that are offered keep being personalised and unique. What truly matters is the authenticity.
The attractiveness of the place, the quality of the services that are offered and the staff proximity make part of the key assets of such hotels. The employees make sure that every client feels at home. For families seeking lovely and welcoming accommodations, with a high-class service and customised activities in order to fully enjoy their stay and appreciate the surroundings, a charming hotel is one of the best options available.
From Normandy to the French Riviera and through Loire and Provence regions, not to forget Paris and Corsica, France really is an infinite pool of diversity and beauty. This multifaceted country can be visited all year long, the period just depends on your envy and the seasons. Even with the closeness offered by these establishments, your trip will be complete: France will sometimes take you to romantic settings, and other times to stunning or even exotic ones. To help you choose the right hotel for your next family holidays, discover here a selection of the most beautiful charming hotel in France.
Languedoc-Roussillon is a French region known for its many sites registered among the UNESCO’s World Heritage. Clustered between massifs on north with the Massif Central and at on south with the Pyrenees, and nature wonders, on the west with Mediterranean coasts and on the east with the Narbonne natural reserve, this region hides many treasures. Its vast and rich natural and cultural heritage is impressive, and the large variety of landscape composed of mountains landforms, steep gorges, wild lagoons, woodlands fine sandy beaches and, of course, its mild and sunny climate are unforgettable.
Languedoc-Roussillon is also known for its gastronomy with famous specialties such as the Castenaudary’s cassoulet, codfish brandade, the blanquette de Limoux and Cévennes’ honey.
Things to do:
Kayaking in the Gorges du Tarn. With a 600m depth, the Gorges du Tarn are among the most impressive of the country. Discover beautiful landscapes and small hilltop villages composed of stone houses.
Collioure’s port. Located just a few kilometres away from Perpignan, the fishing Catalan port of Collioure offers colourful buildings, pedestrian streets, a church built right next to the sea, picturesque beaches, the perfect setting for a wonderful time in family. And if you’re feeling adventurous, the tourism office offers a treasure hunter bundle for all the families passing by and seeking for games and riddles all together.
Sète. With all its canals flowing to the surrounding beautiful beaches and to the vast lands of the Étangs de Thau. Sète is an enchanting city to visit with your children. The tourism office offers a paper-chase game on smartphones on the tracks of the famous pirate Barbarossa who ruled over Sète at the end of the 16th century.
Nicknamed the “grapevine cathedral”, The Abbaye de Valmagne with its pinky façades is listed as a historical monument since 1947. Discover this abbey with the local paper-chase game.
Anduze‘s bamboo groves. Explore this small and authentic city set at the entrance of Cévènnes during a stroll, and solve the riddles, suitable for children aged from 4 to 12.
The Lac du Salagon for water sports lovers. Whether you like windsurfing, kitesurfing, paddling or just a simple swim, this place is full of activities for the whole family. This lake is a sumptuous serene haven made of reddish soils and surrounded by countless mountains. It also is the perfect location for a walk in family with the help of the Randoland booklet.
A hidden gem: Little Guest offers you the opportunity to stay in a choice establishment: La Maison Albar Imperator. In the heart of Nîmes, a stone’s throw from the Maison Carrée and the Jardin de la Fontaine, this hotel is a real invitation to relax and enjoy. Decorated by the interior designer Marcelo Joulia, the hotel offers a contemporary setting where charm and French art of living are combined to perfection. Its magnificent spa and, above all, the exceptional cuisine of Pierre Gagnaire guarantee a divine stay. The icing on the cake is that children can enjoy special dishes designed especially for them, and can meet new friends in the lovely kids’ club, which offers them a host of fun and educational activities.
In opposition with the shrines of luxury and consumption, these locations nestled in the ski stations provide with warmth and conviviality. Whether they are charming cabins or small luxurious hotels, these accommodations offer a dream experience for everyone and provide everything for a welcoming and comfortable moment. Cocooning under a warm blanket with a great view on the snowy tops after a long day breathing fresh air and skiing of the mountain slopes or hiking on the snowy trails is one of the pleasures winter allows. So head to Tignes and meet next to the great chimney of the Diamond Rock.
Skiing in Tignes: with its direct access to the sunny ski slopes in the valleys of Tignes, the Diamond Rock hotel brings innovative touches. The owners managed to create a luxurious atmosphere by reinventing the traditional mountain hotel codes, all of this in a refuge in the snowy heights. Built right on the rocky flanks right at the centre of Tigne le Lac (2,300m high), Diamond Rock has been conceived to offer a chic cocoon with a 5-star service. The intimate and modern suites give off wonderful sights over the surrounding mountains. Push the door of your room and discover the very fine decoration, a blend of modern lines and rough material such as solid wood, rock and marble.
Not-be-missed: Tignes is one of the most renown winter sports station of the Savoie region. It is the favourite place of all skiers and snowboarders with its 300 km snowy slopes and 75 brand new ski lifts. Wear your skis, your ski goggles, grab your sticks, and all the family is ready to ski down the slopes! The beginning may feel shaky and unsure, but you will quickly get your reflexes back and enjoy your best curves on the snow: spend the whole day on the tracks until the sun starts to set, and head back to the warm accommodations of the Diamond Rock to relax and rest comfortably. The time has come to bathe inside the heated pool of the hotel 500 m² with a splendid view on the ski slopes and to relax in the wellness centre and its sauna. And now that your batteries are back to their fullest, it is time for more fun during the night. This charming hotel offers many entertainments such as bowling alleys, pool tables and a cinema: the perfect place for the whole family.
All of this inevitably empties the stomachs, but Diamond Rock have your back. Why bother dining outside when you can enjoy a meal around the table of one of the best gastronomical restaurants of Tignes le Lac, the Les Cîmes restaurant? The menu is permanently renewed to offer ever-greater dishes to the clients. Your family fancies a typically Savoyard cuisine? The Bôrna restaurant will gladly great you to let you discover a hushed atmosphere that will allow the youngest to enjoy a true highlander experience.
The mountain during summer: great hikes in the mountains are waiting for you at Tignes, but also many activities during summer such as biking, golf, swimming in the lakes, climbing, kayak, paragliding, yoga or even the via ferrata. And if you cannot wait for the return of winter to wear your skis, discover the glacier de la Grande Motte where ski lovers are welcome during summer!
Native land of the famous painter Cézanne, the land of inspiration of countless impressionist painters, favourite place of Matisse and many other artists, Provence is a region that leaves a mark in the mind. Travellers have so much to discover: the authentic villages, the medieval city, the villages in the mountains, the ochre cliffs, the green Verdon gorges, the vast lavender fields, or famous yellow pastis, to name a few. The beauty of the landscapes and the sweet way of life of Provence make this destination the perfect one for the families. Its cultural richness offer a great variety of activities such as the visit of the Palais des Papes in Avignon, a walk on the Pont d’Avignon with an audio guide (with special commentaries made just for children), tasting sessions the legendary Calissons d’Aix du Roy René, or the great visit the château d’Estoublon with the tasting of their delicious local products. The landscapes are a true invitation to a walk a to contemplation. Provence also offers to be discovered on a ride with a horse or with a bike! Talking of bikes, the slopes of the Mont-Ventoux are a real challenge to the yearly professional cyclist, and this is a well-renowned waypoint of the Tour de France.
Where to stay?
Little Guest offers you to stay 30 minutes from Saint-Tropez, in the heart of the Var, at the very family-friendly Ultimate Provence. This boutique hotel is located in the middle of a magnificent vineyard, and allows you to fully enjoy all the flavours of Provence. On the programme: wine tasting, fitness room, bistronomic restaurant, large outdoor swimming pool for sunbathing, 33 comfortable rooms, and a host of activities that the owners will be able to advise you on, according to your wishes.
Not-be-missed: located at the foot of the massif des Alpilles, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is a typical Provence village. With paved streets, shady plazas and artisanal boutiques, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is the landmark of every artist and traveller seeking for tranquillity and authenticity. Do not forget to head there on market day to enjoy the local atmosphere.
Have a nice trip!
Audrey, 25 y.o, journalist and travel enthusiast, from Brussels