All hotels in France are required to carry star ratings and therefore conform to national standards. The rating system ranges from one to four stars with an extra designation of deluxe for hotels that are truly exceptional. The French Ministry of Tourism is responsible for the inspection of each property and allocation of stars.

It is tempting to rely solely on this system when booking accommodation but it must be remembered that the grading rubric is geared towards facilities and other more abstract criteria. For example, while a four star property may have a fancy new gym and sauna, a one-star property may be far ahead of the game in terms of service, character and décor.

Rates are charged per room rather than per person like in England. All hotels are required to display the price of the room on the door and most will have a variety of rooms on offer for different prices. If you don’t really like the room you are shown, it is not considered rude to politely request that you have a different room. Standards vary greatly even between rooms in the same price band. Do beware of raising the Gallic ire by being excessively particular as you could end up with something much more terrible than you started with.

Most hotel rooms are doubles in France. In fact, it is not really worth staying in a single, as they are only barely less expensive than a double. The comfort alone is worth the extra money. A room with twin beds, (deux lits) generally costs more than a room with a double bed (grand lit) so unless you are on holiday with someone your really can’t stand, then it is more economical to double up.

You can expect to pay nearly double for a room in Paris compared to the rest of the country. Rates vary widely according to star designation, hotel location, the region in which it is located and the season in which you would like to book.

There are plenty of independently owned hotels in addition to the larger chains. These are regulated by such organisations as Auberges de France, Relais et Chateaux and Relais de Silence.

If you really want to go out, it is worth investigating a listed châteaux. Staying in one of the magnificent houses will be truly unforgettable. Châteaux are either self-catering, bed and breakfast or half board (demi-pension). The Chambres d’Hôtels de Prestige is an umbrella organisation that publishes a guide to available properties.