Who better to ask for their thoughts on the most charming hotels in France than our French partners in Paris? Here are the places 'le plus charmant' they came up with...
Haute-Savoie - Chalet 1864
The Chalet is open all year round for you to experience the Bornes and Aravis areas. 1864 refers to the year the house was built. You can expect typical vernacular architecture coupled with contemporary minimalism to create a lovely aesthetic. The result is both clean and cosy - you can feel the 'hygge' from here. It fits in perfectly with mountains and fine examples of Alpine pastures. And then there's the Reblochon cheese you find everywhere... On the subject of cuisine, the hotel serves mostly modern Savoyard dishes. There's nothing commonplace here.
Le Cantal - Le Buron de Niercombe
The road runs out at Nierveze, the meeting place. There, we get into a 4x4, which sets off towards Plomb du Cantal. Burons are summer shelters, with stone walls and lauze stone tiled roofs. Yours has been renovated in a rugged contemporary style of hardwood, wool and brushed steel. All around, there's a remoteness almost 5,000ft above the Cere Valley. The immense sky and patchwork of meadows are the highlights in spring. There's no Wi-Fi or electricity, but the wood and candles are plentiful.
Les Landes - Les Pres d 'Eugenie
At Michel Guerard's place, it's not about more or less. From the Grande Maison to the Couvent des Herbes, from the Table des Pres to Mere Poule et Cie, the style varies, the architecture differs, but the same requirements remain - the view, the happiness and the satisfied feeling of fullness. The seven houses, the restaurants, the thermal spa and the gardens of the estate offer the ultimate in harmony.
Provence - La Divine Comedie
In the heart of historic Avignon, surrounded by a huge garden, there is an 18th-19th-century house that tells a story of its noble owners. It was recently transformed into a guest house by a discerning trio, in collaboration with visual artist Louise Cara and the interior designer Anne Froget. The result is a cross between Provençal France and Italy and it makes a delightful place to stay. The small spa is an intimate must and the swimming pool is glorious. The harmonious rooms are decorated with contemporary motifs and a family-friendly style. The risk is you'll not venture out of the grounds and you'll miss the Palais des Papes (Popes' Palace). To get you moving, we have designed a gourmet city walk or a kitchen workshop with exceptional Provençal products, so there are no excuses!
Brittany - Jean Imbert's eco-friendly hut
Lost among pine trees and facing the ocean, this cosy little nest was dreamed up by chef Jean Imbert as a refuge in the heart of nature. The chef welcomes you to the Sables d’Or dunes on the edge of Brittany. You live here in his house, adapting to the rhythms of the tide. Wake up early in the cabin, collect eggs from the chicken coop, then head for Erquy's auction, where you'll find the best lobsters in the area. In the afternoon, brave the wind to discover Cap Frehel. Warmed and invigorated, spend time in the kitchen: what a pleasure it is to prepare sustainable vegetables from the garden... Local, fresh and organic. Enjoy this little corner of the world lost in the trees and out of time.
The Dordogne - Bel Estiu
What better alternative to the hustle and bustle of urban life than the countryside? In France, countryside doesn't come much finer than in Perigord. A few miles from Sarlat, Bel Estiu is an old 18th century farm, delightfully restored. The barn, transformed into a guesthouse, is wonderfully charming - the soul of the place. The decor uses Impressionist touches to create an overall simple elegance. In the kitchen, there are organic vegetables for the visitors and home-made preserves, enough to knock up a good snack. Then it's time to relax in the swimming pool in the garden or go on a truffle hunt.
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Normandy - La Maison Plume
The pretty village of Villequier sits on the banks of the River Seine. In the Parisian room, or in Amour (which has a slightly British feel) you can watch the river flow by. The house has been refurbished in a cheerful modern style. Another of the most charming hotels in France. Villequier was very pretty without Plume, but is even better with it.
La Maison Plume
Cote D'Azur - EPI 1959
White bungalows, blue swimming pools and the tennis court's orange tree, sand and sparkling seas take you back to the heady days of the late 50s. Nothing is off limits and whatever you want is available: the hotel's restaurant serves colourful cuisine 24 hours a day if you so wish. This is definitely one of the most charming hotels in France. Near the water's edge, in a Mediterranean paradise, everyone's guaranteed their bit of privacy.
Le Perche - D’une île
They knew how to build in the 17th century, from Versailles to the farms of Le Perche. The remains of an island bear witness to this today, to the delight of stayers. This boutique guesthouse is in the countryside of the national park, made up of five buildings containing eight rooms and a restaurant. The rooms are tastefully renovated and showcase the building without diluting the authenticity. Then there is the kitchen, whose produce comes from the garden next door, local farmers, markets and sustainable fishing nets. Recently taken over by the team from Septime (one Michelin star), the restaurant, which is open to everyone, promises 100% local percheron cuisine based around wild grown produce.
The Luberon - Le Tasseou
Painters have long talked about it and shown it to be true: what defines the Luberon is the light. Inside and out, the 1630 Tasseou shepherd's hut is a light well. What's the Luberon famous for? White stone, pale tiles, silvery grey olive trees, the smell of pine trees, the majesty of the cypress trees and the blue of the sky. Inside, the blueprint is cosiness and it's not as stark as is sometimes found elsewhere. Another reason this makes the list of the most charming hotels in France. There's a good choice of materials used, even in the gym, whose wooden and leather equipment adds to the air of rustic sophistication. An ideal place to stay with family or friends (up to 17 people).
Cover photo: La Gree des Landes Yves Rocher Eco Hotel Spa