Nigel Horne has penned an article in the Telegraph Online entitled “why are French Hotels so grotty?” Really a bit unfair methinks, despite having had our share of disappointments in French bedrooms! In terms of value for money the rooms are usually much better value then UK hotels – and OK we may spend as much or more on the restaurant usually than on the room. Unless staying more than a night or two, the bedroom is really just somewhere to sleep, wash and contemplate the plumbing. Regrettably Fawlty Towers is still alive and kicking in various corners of the UK, and is often over-priced or falls into the bland packaged variety such as the big name roadside lodges, Besides I prefer the idiosyncracies of characterful hotels with ghastly wallpaper on the ceiling, creaking pipes and bolsters!

We have had some great little hotel visits, and very few disasters. A combination of the Michelin red guide, the Logis de France guide or personal recommendations has largely served us well. A recent stay was at the Hotel du Sauvage at la Ferté-Gaucher (77 Seine et Marne, Ile de France) – (Sauvage = wild) about 40 miles east of Paris – decent room, excellent meal (less excellent wine – the Touraine Sauvignon was too old!) – the room was €63, the three course meal with “amuse bouches” was €25 each plus wine – the town was a small quiet market town with a few bars, pharmacy, chocolatier, pattisserie and florist etc – all in all a decent stopover at a reasonable rate.(2006 prices!!)