Where to stay in France

Hotel Mistral, Paris


Hotel Mistral is definitely off the beaten path in Montparnasse, just a few blocks from the cimetiere.  The rooms are modern but quite small. The staff made up for these negatives, though, first by showing my niece an app for the metro which allowed us to put in our destination and location and find our way easily around the center.  We metro’d to Hotel de Ville to get our Paris Museum passes (see below) to the Arsenal Port near Place Bastille for an evening cruise on the Seine, to Musee l’Orangerie, Tour Eiffel and the Arc d’Triomphe.

The staff also let us use the small garden for an impromptu dinner one night and arranged for a taxi to pick us up fairly early Sunday morning to go to Gare d’Lyon. 

But the absolute best part of the hotel was their recommendation for a restaurant our last night.  It was raining and we wanted to stay fairly close to the hotel and they rsuggested Cantine du Trocquet, where we had a fabulous meal. (see Where to Eat, below)





Hotel de Provence, Cannes  https://www.hotel-de-provence.com/

With a lovely front garden, balconies, spacious rooms and a short walk to the promenade, this was by far our favorite hotel on our 2021 trip. The staff is reasonably pleasant and offer a free glass of wine in the evening. They didn’t even seem to mind when we came in looking like drowned rats; nor later when we sat in the bar having a bottle of wine laughing about getting stranded in a torrential rainstorm.

Hotel L’Atelier, Villeneuve les Avignon


I came across this hotel on one of the booking sites while researching a trip to Provence and once I found their web site, I thought I had discovered a hidden gem.  I was mainly looking for a hotel outside the city since my sister and I planned to have a rental car and this promised to be a lovely oasis.

Unfortunately the pictures of beautiful rooms and grounds are somewhat deceptive.  Yes, the deluxe rooms have lovely patios and there is a very nice terrace for other guests but when I finally found the hotel after an hour of driving around and around Villeneuve, I was not pleased that our room was a tiny space at the top of three flights of narrow stone steps, that it did not have an actual bathroom, just a shower stall in one corner and a toilet stall in the other and that you have to know to ask in advance to reserve a parking space, something no one at the hotel told me even though I wrote to say we were renting a car at the Avignon train station.  Having been traveling for more than 30 hours, I was exhausted and cranky and pretty much lost it (for which I apologized the next day) when I saw the reality and found I had to park several blocks away.

Despite these disappointments, there are a number of positives that should be mentioned; a generous breakfast, the ambience of Villeneuve les Avignon which is a lovely village with fairly easy access to other towns and sights (leaving aside the nerve wracking challenge of getting through Avignon) and generally helpful concierges.

What I will take away from this experience is to look at other booking sites for more information and make sure that what I see online is what I’m booking.

Hotel du Soleil, St. Raphael


I’m not sure how I found this a charming B&B in a lovely residential area of St. Raphael; my usual web research I suppose.   While it can be challenging getting through St. Raphael to the hotel, the owners and hosts gave us very clear directions from Frejus plus there is plenty of parking and unlike many hotels you do not pay extra or need to ‘reserve’ the parking.

It is a 15-20 minute walk to the marina (where we ate every night) and to the town center; the walk is pleasant and gave us an opportunity to see many beautiful villas.

The owners are extremely helpful in terms of providing directions and ideas for trips in the area and I loved having my own little pot of hot coffee and milk in the mornings.

Our room was small but we had a delightful balcony plus were able to sit in the patio area in the evenings after dinner and have that last glass of wine.

My only minor complaint was that the sound proofing is not great and you can hear everything and I mean everything as other guests return at night.

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