Small independent hotels you'll love staying in


Nice small hotels in the south of France.
This page lists a choice of small quiet independent hotels in the South of France - from budget hotels to boutique hotels, and especially hotels offering good value for money. It should be noted, nevertheless, that for upmarket hotels on the French Riviera, good value never means cheap !  For the best deals, try the shoulder months of may and June, or September and October. These are the best months in the south of France, generally sunny and warm, but with less tourists than in the busiest holiday months.
Symbol and price KEY

 €  - Not expensive : good value for money.
€€€ Rooms generally over 100 € per night. For travellers on a medium budget.
Hotels with no price marker are in between.
 Hotel with pool

Rates may vary according to  season.


The south of France
In the classic sense of the term, the "south of France" has come to signify Mediteranean France and its hinterland - south and southeast France rather than the southwest of France.
In this acceptance of the term, the South of France is divided conveniently into two parts - east of the Rhône (Provence and the French Riviera -) and west of the Rhône (Languedoc- Roussillon).
To the east of the Rhone, the hills come virtually down to the coast, and there is only a very thin coastal plain in parts, none at all in others - but lots of old seaside towns.  To the west of the Rhone (for hotels see Languedoc hotels), there is coastal plain bordered by long sandy beaches, but few old coastal ports, as in bygone days the coast was also bordered by marshes.

Other regions:
Hotels outside Paris
Loire and Centre
Burgundy hotels
North East France - 
Auvergne & Limousin
Champagne, Lorraine, Alsace 
Charentes, Aquitaine
the French Alps 

Travel guide to Provence
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  Hotels en Provence - Côte d'Azur

Small independent hotels in Provence & Riviera

South of FranceA seriously selective directory of nice quiet hotels with character.

The iHi France independent hotel guide lists small independent hotels with character,  that offer a relaxing environment and good value for money.

iHi welcomes suggestions from travellers and hotel owners.
Click any hotel link for details, photos, location map, prices and booking

Small independent hotels in Provence  

Area 6b - north and west   The Provence heartland
covers the  following departments (listed west to east):
84 Vaucluse (Avignon)
13 Bouches du Rhône (Marseille, Aix, Arles )
04 Alpes de Haute Provence  (Digne)
05 Hautes Alpes (Gap, Briancon)

Further west (Area 6a) : see Hotels in Languedoc


  • €€€  Villeneuve les Avignon  (84 - Vaucluse)
    Hotel La Magnaneraie. **** Top rated four-star hotel, with 32 rooms,located in a villa standing in its own grounds, in Villeneuve les Avignon, across the  Rhone just opposite the historic centre of Avignon. Pool.  Not strictly independent, but part of a small independent chain of 9 hotels, this hotel is affiliated to Best Western. An ideal base from which to explore the area around Avignon and inland Provence.
  • Fontaine de Vaucluse ( 84 Vaucluse)
    *** The hôtel du Poète is an intimate small hotel, with wonderful gardens, an outdoor pool and hot tub. A haven of peace 20 km east of Avignon, and just a short walk from the village of Fontaine de Vaucluse. This is a clean comfortable hotel with friendly and attentive staff, that gets top reviews for location and atmosphere. Fontaine de Vaucluse is famous as the home, for seven years, of the Renaissance poet Petrarch (the "poète" in the hotel name).

Bouches du Rhône

  • €€€ Les Baux de Provence (13 Bouches du Rhône).
    The Mas de l'Oulivier is a delightful small four-star hotel, nestled among the olive groves, cypress trees and lavender in the Alpilles regional park. Gardens, pool, 27 rooms. A central  location between Avignon, the Camargue, Arles and Aix en Provence
  • €€€ Aix en Provence (13 Bouches du Rhône).
    The Hotel Artea was once the home of composer Darius Milhaud. It is a short distance from the station and from the Cours Mirabeau and the centre of old Aix. The hotel has the charm and quality of an old Aix town house, and merits much better than  its two-star rating. Spacious, bright and air conditioned rooms
  •  €  Manosque (13 Bouches du Rhône).
    The Hotel du terreau at Manosque, between Aix en Provence and the Luberon, gets good reviews. Small friendly hotel in the historic part of Manosque, nice clean rooms, and good value for money. Plenty of cafés nearby, and street parking no problem in this small town. Great base for discovering the Luberon and the Gorges du Verdon.
  • Arles (13 Bouches du Rhône)
    Hotel de l'amphitheatre Though classed as two star, this hotel, in a seventeenth century town house, deserves three or four*. Calm, tasteful, friendly; air conditioned rooms. In the heart of the old town, close to the Roman arena and amphitheatre and to the Rhone. Generally excellent reviews.

Southern and Provençal Alps

  • Saint Bonnet en C (05 Hautes Alpes)
    The Hotel la Crémaillère lies a few hundred yards from the N85 Grenoble-Marseille highway, north of Gap. Excellent reviews. Hotel in la rural setting with large gardens. 23 spacious and comfortable rooms, lounge, restaurant, well situated for outdoor activities all year round.
  • La Grave (05 Hautes Alpes)  - Ecrins National Park
    Châlets de la Meije *** are a small complex of modern chalets, at the edge of les Ecrins national park: magnificent setting with spectacular views towards the la Meije glacier.
    Swimming pools, spa, and a friendly welcome. Restaurants close by in the village. Telepherique in easy walking distances;  a lovely calm mountain location in summer.

French hotels and the stars ....
 Hotel star ranking in France, though revised in 2009, is still   largely an amenity-based system rather than a quality based system. A hotel with all the required amenities can qualify for more stars, even when the services are quite basic. Conversely, a bijou hotel that does not get enough amenity points as required for a given star level will find it hard to qualify for the star ranking.    This means that while the French hotel star ranking system does by and large reflect quality, it is not always the case, and it is quite possible to find some really good two-star hotels, and some fairly tawdry three star ones.
   There are even some well established ** hotels - including at least one in this directory - that prefer to forgo a third star because the extra star would entail higher taxes and greater obligations that would not necessarily be offset by greater income..

Small independent hotels in the French riviera area 

Area 6b - south east  The French Riviera
covers the  following departments (listed west to east):
84 Var  (Toulon)
06 Alpes Maritimes (The Riviera, Nice, Cannes, Menton)

Further north : see  French Alps

Var - western Riviera

  • Agay, on the Esterel coast (83 - Var)
    Hotel l'Esterella ** Clean friendly two star hotel in a small out-of-the-way seaside town between Cannes and Saint Raphaël. Ideal location close to sandy beach, restaurants and shops. Free parking. Train station 1 km. Reasonably priced given the location. The main complaint seems to be the lack of English & Italian TV channels...
  • Bandol near Toulon (83 - Var)
     €   Hotel Key Largo; ** In this small seaside town, character two star hotel on the corniche by the sea, close to the beach, the marina and 5 mins walk from the station. Easy parking most of the year. Simple, clean and reasonable size rooms; restaurant with sea view. Friendly welcoming staff.
  • Cavalaire sur mer near St Tropez (83 - Var)
    Hotel Villa Provençale; ** Quality two-star hotel in a quiet residential area of this small seaside resort off the main routes. No swimming pool, but the hotel is about 600 metres from the beach. The welcoming German owners speak good English and French, the rooms are clean and spacious, and the atmosphere is warm and friendly.
  • €€€    Saint Tropez (83 Var)
    Hotel Chastelas ***** Mythical small luxury hotel among the pines on the  Saint-Tropez peninsula; five stars, 7 suites and 16 rooms.   Pool. 
  • €€€   Saint Tropez (83 - Var)
    La Bastide Saint Tropez ***** Just 26 rooms in this smallt five star hotel in Saint Tropez, the ultimate chic resort: a beautiful old residence in its own grounds, standing among palm trees and other exotic Mediterranean vegetation. Pool, restaurants,  very refined service.
  •  €   Le Lavandou (83 Var)
    The Azur hotel ** is set in grounds of two hectares, overlooking the sea in this popular family resort. The hotel gets top reviews for its calm and tranquil setting, sea views and friendly welcome, as well as value for money. Heated outdoor pool.

Alpes-Maritimes - the French Riviera and inland

  • €€€ Eze, near Nice
    Hotel Chèvre d'Or ***** As someone put it, "a hotel to die for" - but only for a once-in-a -lifetime treat. This hotel is perched like an eagle's nest at the edge of the dream village of Eze, on its hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean between Nice and Menton. Not cheap by any means, but maybe worth it for the experience.  Pool.
  • Antibes - Juan les Pins 
    Hotel le Petit Castel; *** This hotel is located among the pine trees in a calm residential area on the isthmus between Juan les Pins and Antibes. It's a good small three star hotel, offering comfortable accommodation but nothing glitzy. Easy walking distance to the town and to the beaches.
  • €€€ Hotel at Juan les Pins - Antibes
    the Hotel la villa Cap d'Antibes **** is a very quiet small hotel set in its own Mediterranean gardens, a short distance from the beaches and restaurants of Juan les Pins. Outdoor pool, free guest parking, clean comfortable rooms and welcoming staff. Not cheap, but then don't expect to find cheap hotels in Juan les Pins . 
  • Cannes (06 - Alpes Maritimes)
     €  The Hotel PLM Cannes ** is a small two-star hotel in the centre of old Cannes. Lots of good reviews. A short walk from the train station, and from the beach and the famous Croisette boulevard. Plenty of cafés and restaurants in the vicinity.
  • €€€  Vence, between Nice and Cannes.
    Hotel Diana: *** this very-well reviewed three-star hotel is close to the historic centre of Vence, the "artists town" in the hills just inland from the coast. It gets top marks for cleanliness and friendliness, and has both a garden and a terrace. Rooms are attractive, and nicely decorated. 
  • Nice, Côte d'Azur   €   Hotel Marbella ** Magnificent views out over the port and sea from this small hotel at the eastern edge of Nice. Small but clean attractive rooms, friendly staff and very good value for money. Most rooms have sea views and are quiet; but make sure of a sea-view room when booking. The few rooms on the street side are not so quiet. No website Tel  0(0 33) 4 93 89 39 35  Fax 0(0 33) 4 92 04 22 56

*  Gites in Provence and the Riviera

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