FRANCE Magazine editor Carolyn Boyd names her eight favourite places to stay in France, for every budget
Château de Saint-Paterne, Sarthe/Orne
The moment we walked through the door of Château de Saint-Paterne, we could not help but feel special. Owners Charles-Henry and Segolène de Valbray, who have spent years renovating the 500-year-old château to an impeccable standard, have created a hotel-cum-chambre d’hôtes that is stylish, characterful and relaxing. Everyone is welcome, from retired couples to families with small children, and its ten rooms are simply beautiful. After aperitifs in the salon, guests go through to the dining room to enjoy a wonderful candlelit meal created by chef and cookbook author Charles-Henry.
4 Rue de la Gaieté, 72610 Sainte-Paterne
Tel: 0845 33 9007
Doubles from £119 including breakfast. Evening meal from £39.
Le Ferme du Lac Vert, Alps
This fantastic chalet in the village of Montriond, just outside Morzine, raises the bar for ski chalets everywhere. With amazing food, friendly staff and décor that just oozes quirky charm, the chalet enveloped me in its cosy atmosphere and I never wanted to leave. Whether you’re there in winter, or for the excellent activities all summer, this place is hard to beat.
169 Vieille Route, Montriond, 74110 Morzine
Tel: 01483 890 044
Three nights’ half board from £510 per room (based on two sharing).
Zoo de la Flèche, La Flèche
Stay the night at the safari lodges in this zoo in Sarthe, and it won’t just be the youngsters who are in touch with their inner child. The lodges back on to the enclosures of the lemurs, wolves, tigers and polar bears so you can get up close and personal from the comfort of an arm chair. I loved the attention to detail, such as the excellent food and wine provided in the fridge, as well as the chance to be part of the zoo after hours.
La Tertre Rouge, 72200 La Flèche
Tel: (Fr) 2 43 48 19 19
Lodges from €115 pp per night (children from €62), including breakfast, dinner and two days’ admission to the zoo.
Hôtel Villa Rosa, Alsace
The words ‘down to earth’ sum up this lovely little hotel in the Vosges mountains which is run by the welcoming Anne-Rose who grows the fruit, vegetables and flowers in her garden and then uses them in dishes for her convivial tables d’hotes evenings. The eight rooms are prettily decorated and the whole place just exudes a rustic charm.
4 Rue Thierry Schoerré, 68410 Trois Epis
Tel: (Fr) 3 89 49 81 19
Doubles from €64.
Manoir du Moulin, Vendée
This lovely B&B has welcoming has a garden that is so relaxing you might never leave to explore the many attractions that lie within a 40-minute drive in every direction. I just adored how Canadian hosts Shari and Warren had used antiques and flea market finds in their beautiful interiors.
Tel: (Fr) 6 26 97 24 12,
Rooms from €130 per night.
Sleeping in the glorious surrounds of Jacques Garcia’s amazing interiors is made even more exciting once you know that Oscar Wilde also lived (and died) within the same walls. You can book the room in which the famous scribe uttered those immortal words “This wallpaper will be the death of me – one of us will have to go”, which has his desk and all manner of memorabilia making it a museum in itself. It’s one of the once-in-a-lifetime stays, but absolutely worth the splurge.
13 Rue des Beaux-Arts, 75006 Paris
Tel: (Fr) 1 44 41 99 00
Rooms from €295.
Château de la Treyne, Lot
Perched on cliff above the River Dordogne, the Chateau de la Treyne is like a fairytale, especially when the morning mist sits on the surface of the river. We stayed in the Favourite apartment, which was simply divine; an amazing carved wooden ceiling, a gold bath in the bathroom (which is in the chateau turret) and beautiful Louis XIV furniture. The gardens, too, are fit for a princess.
46200 Lacave, Lot
Tel: (Fr) 5 65 27 60 60
Rooms from €200.
Mare e Monti, Corsica
This charming little hotel high in the hills of the Balagne region in northern Corsica is a lovely little find for those exploring this spectacular region of the ile de beauté. Rooms are sinple yet charming and the little poolside restaurant serves up a lovely menu of Corsican specialities. It’s the history of the place, however, that makes it that little bit more special. Built in 1870, the owners have kept a wonderful Napoleonesque salon for posterity’s sake, while on the ground floor there is a tiny little chapel.
20225 Feliceto, Corsica
Tel: (Fr) 4 95 63 02 00
Rooms from €79.