France may be the land of luxury, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on your accommodations. With these money-saving tips, you’ll have leftover cash for the important things, like another bottle of Burgundy.
You’ve probably heard of this convenient mobile app that provides a daily list of curated hotels available at discounted rates. It specializes in same-day bookings for on-the-go travelers, but you may now reserve rooms up to seven days in advance. But you may be surprised to learn that in ever-popular Paris, we found rates at the Hotel Châteaudun Opéra, located between Montmartre and the Garnier Opera house, for $97 at press time.
Similarly, Airbnb has been highly popular for access to studios, apartments, and rooms in private homes across the country. What’s on offer in France? You could have a studio in central Bordeaux for $86 a night, or a one-bedroom apartment in seaside Biarritz for as little as $49 a night, depending on the time of year. Of course, we also love the perk of feeling like a local — many hosts leave lists of their favorite restaurants, shops, and other activities, so you can experience the destination as if you live there, if only for a little while.
Country cabin or yurt
For unique, rustic lodging in wide open spaces, check out Canopy & Stars, a U.K.-based site where you can book a two-person yurt, cabin, or tent in rural regions like Dordogne and the South of France. All of the glamping-inspired accommodations are handpicked for special features like eco-friendly design or a lakeside setting. Filter by the “on a budget” collection to see choices in the under-$100 range.
Stay in a charming town just outside of Paris to still enjoy the cosmopolitan delights while skipping the city hotel prices. In Fontainebleau, a 45-minute train ride from Paris’ Gare de Lyon, stay at Hotel Carpe d’Or or the Ibis Château de Fontainebleau hotel, both of which start around $95 a night and are located in Fontainebleau’s central area. From there, you can walk to cafes, shops, and the Palace of Fontainebleau — a nice alternative to more-crowded Versailles — when you’re not in the City of Lights.
Overnight train or ferry
Save a night of hotel money by combining your transportation and accommodation. Brittany Ferries offers a two-berth cabin on an overnight boat from Portsmouth, England, to the French city of Caen for about $60 per cabin. If you prefer to stay on dry land, consider an Intercités night train, a French rail service that offers overnight rides between select cities. An 11-hour journey from Paris to Nice starts at €60 (around $71) for a berth in first class.