There are over 15,000 chambre d’hôtes in operation throughout France. The name literally means “bedrooms of the host” and is the French answer to the English bed and breakfast. The advantage of staying in a chambre d’hôtes is that you get personalised service and often a stunning location along with lovingly appointed rooms for a very reasonable price.
These establishments typically have less than six bedrooms and vary widely according to the region in which they are located. This sort of local flavour is what makes staying B&B’s such a different experience than hotel life.
It is worth making mention of the difference between a full English breakfast and a traditional French continental one. A Continental breakfast consists of an assortment of cereals, bread or croissant, a variety of jams, often homemade, cold meats and cheese. You will also be able to find tea, coffee and hot chocolate along with some fruit juice. If your accommodation is located near a bakery, you will soon find that breakfast with a freshly baked pain au chocolat is to die for.
There are many chamber d’hôtes that are owned by English people. These tend to be in larger cities or in the south of France and cater to the specific needs of British tourists. If you think you’ll go into withdrawal without your daily ration of bacon, eggs, sausage and beans, it is best to arrange a stay at an English-owned establishment. Otherwise a French establishment is recommended.
It is far more common for French B&B owners to offer a cooked evening meal should you so desire. This table d’hôte, literally “table of the host”, meal is usually taken with the family that runs the accommodation. It is worth taking part in one of these meals at least one while you’re on holiday as it will provide you with a more intimate look at French culture.
Whether you fancy a rural farmhouse, an ancient house in a tiny hamlet or unique accommodation tucked snugly away in a quiet corner of a large city, you can count on a warm reception and a comfortable, affordable stay in France’s chambre d’hôtes.