Small hotel experience: discover the diversity of France.
is a large country; and while hotels belonging to the main chains are
liable to be virtually identical from Calais to Carcassonne and from
Strasbourg to Brest – with perhaps a few token gestures to
traditions – small independent hotels,
specially rural hotels, are much more likely to be
that reflect local styles, local traditions and local cuisine. Small
hotels in Brittany are Breton, and often run by Bretons; small hotels
in Alsace are very different, more similar to those in Germany on the
other side of the Rhine, than to those on the other side of France, or
even to the kind of small independent hotels you find in the Loire
Valley or the mountains of central France. As for the south of France,
small hotels in Provence and Languedoc generally have all the flavour
of their Mediterranean areas. In brief, the independent hotel
experience is something that is anchored in "le terroir", the essential
lifestyle and traditions of the French regions.
Trying to find and book the right hotel for your stay or an overnight
stop in France
can be a daunting task.
total number of hotels in France in 2014 was 18,300 – and in
to that, there are thousands of Bed
gites or other forms of
In fact, the large majority of hotels in France
are small independent hotels, however surprising this may seem. The
is that the big hotel chains have a vastly superior presence when it
comes to advertising, and they also tend to site their
properties in strategic and visible locations. Conversely, most
independent small hotels are in less eye-catching locations,
have the budget to do massive advertising, so finding them and
realising how many of them there actually are, can be a hard task.
hotel selection is quite
independent : unlike many other directories,
just pay to be listed or featured with
Independent-hotels.info. iHi France
lists only small hotels that meet a range of
and price criteria, good quality good value
hotels for independent and discerning travellers.
sought out wherever possible small hotels in attractive
from noisy main roads. There are hotels in rural France, in
small French towns, and even in or around French cities;
for hotels in urban locations, iHi gives priority to hotels in quiet
quarters, on side streets or on roads with little night-time
most of the small hotels listed in the iHi
independent hotel directory are in period or traditional buildings,
converted farms or
chateaux, old coaching inns, or classic town houses in regional style.
A few modern hotels are included, when these are the best options
available for a given location or area.
editors have read through thousands of hotel reviews, to include only
hotels where many travellers have reported friendly, helpful and
has selected hotels offering good value for money. Good value hotels
are not necessarily cheap hotels; they are hotels whose prices
competitive or low compared to other hotels of similar standing in the
same area. Some - a few - of the hotels listed in this directory are
cheap - but travellers wanting essentially to book cheap
hotels should realise that cheapness usually comes at a price....
And that the price of cheapness is either poor quality, small
rooms, characterless hotels, or other downsides that will ensure that a
hotel is not listed with iHi.
To be listed on iHi France, a hotel must rank well on at least three of
the four above criteria.
book rooms, you will be directed either to a booking portal offering
the best rates avaialble, or in some cases directly to the hotel's own
website. While most hotels now use booking portals, some do not - but
this is not a reason to be excluded from the iHi directory if criteria
French hotel classification - The
official hotel star rating:
Hotels range from five-star to one-star; there are also unclassified
hotels and upscale B&Bs. In the
French hotel ranking system, stars are awarded essentially in
function of the
amenities and services provided, not the state or nature of those
amenities, so are not always the best reflection of a hotel's quality .
The new system introduced in 2009 has gone some way towards correcting
this, but even so the system still leaves a fair number of hotels
over-classed, and others underrated, specially in the two-star to
For more details, see below.
Types of small hotel and guest accommodation in
As in other countries, guest accommodation in France comes in different
forms. While hotels provide the lion's share of the market, other guest
accommodation is avaialble in the form of gites
(holiday cottages), Bed
and other forms of collective accommodation such as Villages
de vacances. The word "pension", meaning lodging house or
guest house, has more or less fallen out of usage.
To be classified as a hotel and eligible for a star ranking, a hotel in
France must have at least seven rooms. Smaller establishments, most of
them independent, can be defined as "hotels non classés" or
"chambres d'hôtes" (B&Bs); voluntary schemes for
these exist, but many owners do not bother as the schemes are costly
and the advantages unproven.
similar reasons, some hotels prefer not to apply for the maximum number
of stars to which they are entitled, judging that the costs incurred by
the additional star are not likely to be offset by greater occupancy
and more income – which in a way makes a nonsense of the
whole idea of
classification. However, this is a phenomenon specific to independent
hotels, and notably to small independent hotels, not to the French
hotel industry in general.
hotels and more:
the term "boutique hotels" is usually applied to rather chic small
city hotels with character, normally with at least three
directory includes plenty of two-star hotels offering similar qualities
in a simpler and less expensive form – boutique hotels at
Free hotel listings with iHi -
strictly for independent hotels
good and calm independent hotel in France, Spain, Italy or the UK.
If you run or have stayed
a small independent hotel that you think ought to be in this directory,
iHi welcomes suggestions from
travellers and hotel owners. Maximum
size (discretionary) : 40 rooms. City hotels: acceptable
up to 75 rooms. No
independent establishments or hotels belonging to very small
independent chains. Membership of a voluntary chain or independent
hotels, such as Logis de France or Inter Hotels, is no
Ne soumettre que des
bénéficiant d'un cadre calme et
agréable. L'annuaire iHi - France accepte des
établissements indépendants appartenant
à des chaînes d'indépendants, comme
Logis de France.