Broaden your horizons with our guide to some of the most eye-opening places in France. from mountain-top stays to seaside hotels
Evian Royal resort, Haute-Savoie
With a spectacular view of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) from a setting high above the water, the five-star Evian Royal Resort will take your breath away. The hotel, which dates from 1905, has recently been renovated and makes a wonderful escape. The elegant decor is as impressive as the view, with ornate frescoes, beautiful floor tiles and an elegant staircase. The bar area has been given an impressive facelift, with a circular marble bar at its centre, while the restaurant ‘Les Fresques’ offers haute cuisine in stunning surroundings. Rooms from €434, buffet breakfast €35.
Pic du Midi, Hautes-Pyrénées
The idea of staying at the highest observatory in the Pyrénées is to admire the stars, but by day, the view of the mountains is nothing short of sensational. Set at 2,877 metres, the Pic du Midi de Bigorre offers 15 simply decorated bedrooms. An overnight visit consists of a trip up to the summit in the cable car, a visit to the observatory, a chance to watch the sunset over the mountains before dinner, and an astronomy session. Breakfast the next morning gives you an additional chance to admire the view, with the descent down the mountain mid-to-late morning. Stays from €399 for two.
Le Saint-James, Bordeaux
Set in the village of Bouliac, known as the balcony of Bordeaux, Le Saint-James offers wonderful views of the city. The hotel itself was designed by top French architect Jean Nouvel and its rust-red frontage looks out over the swimming pool and the hotel’s own vineyard, the second smallest in the region (the smallest is on a roundabout at the airport) and the city beyond. With 18 rooms offering minimalist decor, a changing repertoire of artworks and exhibitions, and a Michelin-starred restaurant, a stay here is a real treat. Rooms from €195, breakfast €25.
Hôtel Suisse, Nice
One of the best views in Nice is from the eastern end of the Promenade des Anglais, and by booking a stay at the Hôtel Suisse, you can enjoy it from the comfort of your bed. This four-star hotel has an excellent view of the Mediterranean, with most of its 39 rooms offering panoramas across the Baie des Anges. You can enjoy an aperitif in the bar before venturing out for dinner in one of the many restaurants in Nice’s old town. On returning to your room, you can enjoy the amazing view lit up at night. Rooms from €114, buffet breakfast €18.
Le Terrass’, Paris
This four-star hotel in Montmartre makes the most of its elevated position to offer excellent views across the city toward the Eiffel Tower. The 85 rooms and seven suites are decorated in contemporary style, with bright colours and geometric patterns, and are inspired by the district’s artistic scene. Unsurprisingly, the penthouse suite has the best views, which can even be enjoyed from the spa bathtub, while other rooms have balconies that look out across the city. The hotel dates from 1911 and has been in the same family for five generations. In 1954, the addition of a panoramic restaurant and bar made it the ‘in’ place for artists and writers. Rooms from €165.
Villa Marie, Saint-Tropez
Nestled on the edge of a 7-acre pine forest overlooking fields of vines and the turquoise-tinged waters of the Bay of Pampelonne, the luxurious Villa Marie will beat many other places hands down when it comes to hotels with a view. This luxurious property is built in the style of an Italian villa and is set in immaculate grounds dotted with bubbling water fountains, a Provençal garden, sun-dappled terraces and a turquoise lagoon pool that provide guests with ample space to relax. The icing on the cake is the flower-bedecked balcony facing out towards the Mediterranean. Doubles from €290 including breakfast.
Château de Balazuc, Ardèche
Close to the town of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc and a new replica of the prehistoric Chauvet cave, the Château de Balazuc enjoys sensational views of one of Ardèche’s most beautiful gorges. Owners Florence and Luc Lemaire renovated the château, which dates from the 11th century, from a crumbling heap, and have given it a real touch of class. In just four beautiful rooms, they have blended contemporary decor, including a grey and white colour scheme and parquet floors, with the existing stone features. Doubles from €140 including breakfast.
Crillon le Brave, Vaucluse
Enjoying sensational views of the Luberon hills to the south and Mont Ventoux to the east, a clutch of sandy buildings perched on a hilltop comes together to create the wonderful Hotel Crillon le Brave in the village of the same name. The 28 rooms are spread between eight old village houses, each offering their own character, crisp white linen and elegant furnishings. The main restaurant is the domain of chef Jérôme Blanchet, who uses the delicious local Provençal produce to create sumptuous seasonal menus which can be enjoyed on the terrace – with its incredible views – or the vaulted dining room. Doubles from €310 including breakfast.
La Co(o)rniche, Pyla-sur-Mer, Gironde
Surrounded by golden beaches, with a stunning view of the Bassin d’Arcachon, La Co(o)rniche is an uber-luxury hangout right next to the famous Dune du Pilat, Europe’s highest sand dune. Designed by Philippe Starck, and a showcase for his weird and wonderful talent, this reincarnation of a 1930s hunting lodge opened in 2010 and offers stylish bedrooms in yellow and cream hues, a stunning terrace bar and a restaurant that is the go-to hangout in the area. Rooms from €380.
Domaine de Biar, Montpellier
This beautiful 18th century Folie, one of several summer residences built in and around Montpellier for the wealthy, stands in 50 hectares of beautiful parkland. The pièce de résistance is the panoramic view over a vast stretch of ancient trees, bamboo groves, horse-filled prairies and the banks of the River Mosson. Nestled in the heart of the parkland is the swimming pool complete with sun terrace, which on a summer’s day is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Breakfast is just as impressive as the property, with everything on the menu organic, either grown in the Domaine’s garden or sourced from local suppliers. Rooms from €140, including breakfast.
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