accommodation in france

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accommodation in france

Postby banjaxed » 18 Nov 2012, 7:52pm

I am a mature(!) / novice cyclist and planning a north to south tour of france next summer and need to plan accommodation. In my previous tour from st malo to limoges I spent more than I had planned as I relied on the local office de tourisme to get me in somewhere when I arrived at each destination - the average cost per day was in the region of £75 (hotel, meals etc) and was too much!

For next year's trip I want to reduce my daily costs to something like £40 but I don't want to camp. All suggestions much appreciated.

(My planned route will start in britanny and follow the west coast to bordeaux and then across to Sete - near montpellier)

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby Ti-bride » 18 Nov 2012, 8:09pm

Have you tried Often have excellent deals and quite often you can cancel with only 24hrs notice and not have to pay a cent/penny.

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby borisface » 18 Nov 2012, 8:17pm

Chambres d'hotes - French B&Bs can be excellent but maybe more than your budget. Gites d'etape are a bit like a french yha are pretty good & cheap. Maybe some info here

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby eileithyia » 18 Nov 2012, 8:48pm

...and if you are in the vicinity of one Formule One, cheap, bit impersonal, but at least would balance your budget for the some of the more expensive options.
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Re: accommodation in france

Postby simonineaston » 18 Nov 2012, 9:18pm

I liked the joke, written elsewhere here, which goes, 'Before packing for your cycle-touring trip, lay all the things you are taking out on your bed, then halve the items to be packed, and double the money...'
A couple of tips you might not know about; nearly every French town I've ever been to has a municipal camp site, usually cheapNcheerful, sometimes surprisingly luxurious and now and then seemingly dominated by intimidating geezers in white vans. Nearly always works for me though :-)
Also, if you take traditional maps with you, then Michelin maps have Michelin approved camp sites marked on them.
Another tip that's worked for me although a bit labour intensive 'specially if you are going a long way, is buy a copy of the French Camping Site Guide ... 2067169343
then mark the ones you like the look of on your map, be-it paper or if you are tres moderne, on your smart phone. Hope that helps.
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby simonineaston » 18 Nov 2012, 9:27pm

Ah - just read your post... :roll:
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby geocycle » 18 Nov 2012, 9:29pm

Ti-bride wrote:Have you tried Often have excellent deals and quite often you can cancel with only 24hrs notice and not have to pay a cent/penny.

Yes, that's who I use. The cancellation facility is good.

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby andymiller » 19 Nov 2012, 9:25am

I find very useful - although my experience (in Italy) is that it can be a bit hit and miss as far as finding bargains is concerned, sometimes I seem to have got better deals at places where I had simply turned up. It's also important to note that the cancellation conditions are set by the hotel - some for example offer a better price for a confirmed booking with no refund if you cancel, while others graduate the amount you pay depending on when you cancel - always check before you book.

I don't know whether TripAdviser has a presence in France but it might also be worth trying.

One question though is how to find a happy medium between pre-booking and then being tied into a restrictive schedule (yes I know you can cancel or not turn up - but bear in mind that in remote areas out of season this can create real annoyance and inconvenience for people offering accommodation). I think the trick is to have a list of possibilities but not to book ahead more than a day or two (or not at all in low season - but you may need to call to check the place is open).

Another way of finding a happy medium would be to find a nice place to stay and then stay there for say three nights and do day rides. there's nothing in the Book of Rules that says you aren't allowed to stay in one place for more than one night and that you always have to haul your luggage with you.

It's worth checking out hostels and 'gite d'étape' (strictly speaking, the 'auberge de jeunesse' are the equivalent of the YHA - but the GDE are the same basic recipe - bunk rooms for hikers). Gites du séjour (I think that's the term used) and chambres d'hôte are worth researching (listings on the Gites deFrance website) but prices can vary a lot - some places will be more upmarket and expensive than local auberges/pensions. Another couple of possibilities are and

Google Maps is an excellent tool for researching accommodation - although probably most useful in remoter areas where you won't be overwhelmed by choice.

If you can read French then the Guides Routard are the best bet, because they are a French publishing house their listings are always much more comprehensive than British or American guides. Not a 100 percent guarantee of quality because being listed can lead to businesses becoming complacent. I don't know whether there is any internet equivalent as yet.

One final point though: 90 euros a day for staying in hotels plus meals in hotels/restaurants doesn't sound like an outrageously high budget - at least for one person travelling alone and/or in the main tourist season. You could shave something off that by taking a packed lunch, or eating the menu du jour/menu d'ouvrier or staying demi-pension, but I suspect if you really want to save money you'll need to stay in hostels or bite the bullet and camp.
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Re: accommodation in france

Postby al_yrpal » 19 Nov 2012, 10:09am

See my post here.... viewtopic.php?f=42&t=69697#p598259 Instead of entering 'Camping' you can enter hotel, chambers d'hote, Formule 1, or even park bench! And, the map will highlight all those available before you go. You can read the reviews, gold star likely candidates and on the road, have a peak and decide where you want to stay. When we tour in France, every day, when we arrive at our accomodation and have a shower etc, we simply ring ahead and book the next night, this takes into consideration, weather, fatigue factor, time to visit places of interest, and its very flexible.

Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby benvrackie » 22 Nov 2012, 10:08pm

Did a big circuit of France this year. My return journey included Sete/Bordeaux/Vendee/Loire/Brittany.
My accomodation included, Camping/Gite d'Etape/Chambres d'Hote/Budget Hotels. The Camping gives you
good flexibility and really keeps the costs down. On a good day if I'd pitched up in a municipal site my total
cost for the day would be under 25 euros. However Chambre d'Hotes can be very expensive, but in some areas
overnighting can be difficult and they are the only option, that or wild camp. Gite d'Etapes were probably the
best form of accomodation and at 12 euros per night by far the best value. I also find campsites great for meeting
fellow cycle tourists of many nationalities. If you get weary of the camping after a few nights just go upmarket
for a night.

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby nmnm » 23 Nov 2012, 5:19am

Many people seem to like , a website community for people who put each other up on their travels. You can read the profiles of potential hosts to get a good match. It's free, so a few nights of this would help your average nightly costs. I read that some round the world tourers like to host warmshowers visitors to help stay in the loop and avoid cabin fever. If you pick carefully, you will be hosted by like-minded mature cycle tourists local to each area, no doubt a memorable stopover each time!

There's another site called couchsurfing but I think maybe it's more youth oriented, though I could be wrong.

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby loafer » 1 Dec 2012, 9:47pm

the french yha we used them last trip was a few years ago

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby georgew » 2 Dec 2012, 10:57am

Another vote for Formulae 1 hotels. Clean, basic and plenty of room. Most importantly they allow you to bring your bike into your room and that's a huge plus. I've brought my bike and my trailer into my room and they made sure I was on the ground floor.

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby Mattie » 2 Dec 2012, 6:30pm

I have found cheap hotels in the small towns, but even so they are still around €18-25 at the cheapest. The only real way to keep the costs right down is to camp. In my humble opinion (IMHO) Camping is actually preferable - it is a bit more sociable - you can cook for yourself - wash your clothes - keep an eye on the bike - not get bedbugs or fleas - and the best bit of all is you get to sleep in a tent :D

Honestly, maybe give camping a try ?

Bon route

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Re: accommodation in france

Postby stewartpratt » 2 Dec 2012, 7:24pm

I like Logis de France. An eclectic mix of mostly characterful places - often excellent, sometimes outstanding, occasionally Fawltyesque, never regrettable. Plenty of cheap options to be had, especially with a meal (I've had a room and a good meal for less than the cost of the room alone). The website is good, too, and makes for easy booking in advance.

I wouldn't plan a visit to Formule 1 or 1er Classe or similar on a bike tour, personally. They're great backups for when all else fails, so may suit if you need a stop where there's no readily available cheap option, but they're anaemic dead boxes on out-of-town industrial estates, with no easy access to any worthwhile food - maybe a polystyrene-boxed burger if you're lucky.

IME you get more bang for your budget Euro buck in the rural south, so if you're leaning towards F1 territory I'd lean more that way in the north.