Perpetually ranked as one of the world’s most popular destinations, France sees 90 million visitors each year who come to revel in the country’s rich culture, history, and culinary delights. With dreamy hotels showcasing the French art de vivre, the hospitality experience is an undeniable part of the allure.
Looking for a sun-kissed Provençal escape? A culinary retreat in the Loire Valley? A history-drenched hideaway in Versailles? A palatial stunner on the Riviera? You’ll find these standout establishments and more on this curated list of the 15 best hotels in France—part of our Hotels We Love series of the best hotels and resorts of 2023. These hotels span diverse geographical regions, including the Riviera, Alps, Champagne, Provence, and Lyon.
In no particular order, here are our picks for the 15 best hotels in France.
1. Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle
- Location: Versailles
- Why we love it: Exclusive access to France’s legendary palace
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Millions of annual visitors flock to the Chateau de Versailles, but how many get to sleep on the domain itself? Launched in 2021, Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle occupies a 17th-century building that once housed Louis XIV’s finance minister. A major restoration didn’t just polish the parquet. It also recreated a royal realm based on archival research: the Royal Manufacture de Limoges designed tableware based on Louis XV’s plates, artisans crafted replicas of Marie Antoinette’s chandeliers, and Maison Pierre Frey reproduced the original wallpaper.
The Michelin-starred restaurant continues the immersion in regal splendor. Alain Ducasse orchestrated “the King’s Feast” with pageantry, as waiters in period costume serve a parade of traditional dishes based on Louis XIV’s favorites. The 13 guest rooms and suites are decorated with four-poster beds, marble fireplaces, and museum-worthy antiques. Airelles offers an array of exclusive experiences, from guided horseback riding tours through the Versailles gardens to the “Marie Antoinette” day complete with pampering at the Valmont Spa. Don’t miss the after-hours tour of the palace.
2. The Maybourne Riviera
- Location: Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Côte d’Azur
- Why we love it: Sky-high Mediterranean views and superb dining
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Unveiled in 2021, the Maybourne Hotel Group’s first French hotel made a splash in the French Riviera, a region already known for its legendary hotels. A cliff-side location close to 1,000 feet above Roquebrune-Cap-Martin offers panoramic views of Monte Carlo, the Mediterranean, and the coastline curving into Italy. From every vantage point—the glass-enclosed restaurants, the infinity pool loungers, suite terraces—the visual montage is on full display.
Maybourne tapped French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte to transform a vacant property into a seductive modernist hangout filled with head-turning artwork—including the lobby’s gleaming sculpture of two intertwined people by Louise Bourgeois suspended from the ceiling. The 69 guest rooms and suites are done up in a contemporary style—the suites feature furnished terraces that seem to float between the sea and sky. The pièce de résistance is the Michelin-starred Ceto restaurant, overseen by chef Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur fame. An ode to the sea in its decor and cuisine, Ceto champions sustainable fishing. The marine theme continues in the summer Ceto bar, where cocktails like the Circe (made with dulce seaweed, beetroot, and bourbon) take their names from Greek mythology. New in 2023: The hotel unveiled a seasonal beach club in Cap Martin.
3. Hôtel du Palais
- Location: Biarritz, Basque Country
- Why we love it: Imperial history at the only Palace hotel on the Atlantic coast
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On the Atlantic coast near the Spanish border, Biarritz is a beguiling mix of glamour and chill surfer vibes. This ambiance is embodied in the Hôtel du Palais, a landmark on the Grande Plage that’s intricately linked to its setting. The hotel was originally built in the mid 19th-century as an imperial villa for Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie, who transformed the seaside town into a fashionable resort frequented by monarchs and exiled Russian aristocrats. The Villa Eugénie later became a luxury hotel, and to this day, the beau monde hold court at this sumptuous seaside address.
Part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, this Palace-classified hotel completed a four-year renovation in 2021, restoring not only the facade and slate roof but also the period furniture, tapestries, and signature blue carpet—adorned with Napoleon III’s imperial bees—on the grand staircase and hallways connecting the 86 rooms and 56 suites. The chandelier alone (weighing 904 pounds) in the Bar Napoléon III required some 250 hours of restoration work.
Chef Aurélien Largeau, who has worked with some of France’s finest chefs including Christopher Coutanceau and Christophe Hay, sources ingredients from local fishermen and Basque producers to craft the Michelin-starred menu (John Dory served with lemon confit and periwinkles, cage-caught lobster roasted on pine needles). Notable accoutrements include a heated outdoor pool with direct beach access and a sprawling, five-level spa with a counter-current pool and Guerlain treatments. When the waves are glassy, the hotel can set you up with surf lessons.
4. The Carlton, a Regent Hotel
- Location: Cannes, French Riviera
- Why we love it: Belle Époque glamour
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The Carlton is part and parcel of the history of Cannes. The cream-colored confection—its twin domes said to be inspired by a famous courtesan’s breasts—was the first luxury hotel to open in 1913, effectively making Cannes a summer beach destination. Over the years, the star-studded guest list has included Hollywood’s crème de la crème, starting with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant when Alfred Hitchcock filmed To Catch a Thief, and to this day, it hosts the jury of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
Reopened in 2023 after a restoration project that lasted five years, the 332-room hotel is making waves anew on La Croisette. There are two new wings, a Mediterranean garden, an infinity pool, a conference center, and the C Club Fitness and Spa, which features the city’s first boxing ring. Designer Tristan Auer recruited the finest French craftspeople to buff, polish, and restore the gold leaf, chandeliers, and acres of marble. When you need to recharge, there’s no better vantage point to admire the Big Blue than the love seats in front of the French windows (72 rooms have sea views).
5. Les Fermes de Marie
- Location: Megève, French Alps
- Why we love it: Authenticity and Alpine chic
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The Alpine town of Megève has had a reputation for luxury since the 1920s, when Baroness de Rothschild fashioned it as a ski resort to rival Switzerland’s St. Moritz. But what makes Les Fermes de Marie stand out here is its intimate, family-style hospitality. The family-run Maisons & Hotels Sibuet hospitality company, which has its roots the French Alps, rescued a number of at-risk high-altitude farms, dismantling them in the mountain pastures and reassembling them as a hamlet on a four-acre estate in Megève. Opened in 1989, Les Fermes de Marie is a celebration of heritage that channels the fairy-tale ambiance for which Megève is known: horse-drawn carriages, cobblestone streets, traditional Savoyard houses.
There’s a deep sense of place here, reflected in the design: warm woods, fur throws on fireside leather couches, weavings on the walls. Some of the 70 guest rooms have terraces for admiring the snow-capped peaks. When it comes time for après-ski, the Pure Altitude Spa offers ofuro baths, an outdoor sauna, and a birch tree–lined relaxation room, while the Pure Altitude product line harnesses the natural antioxidant powers of mountain plants such as edelweiss. Note that Maisons Sibuet also offers a collection of luxury chalets in the area that come with five-star Fermes de Marie hotel services, including daily breakfasts, afternoon snacks, concierge services, and housekeeping.
6. InterContinental Lyon – Hôtel-Dieu
- Location: Lyon
- Why we love it: The rebirth of a heritage site on the Rhône
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A prominent historical landmark in central Lyon got a new lease on life when it was reborn as the InterContinental in 2019. Located on the Presqu’île at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, the Grand Hôtel-Dieu had operated as a hospital for eight centuries before the premises were vacated in 2010. The building is significant to locals—an estimated one in three Lyonnais alive today were born here.
The project required five years and a total of 800 workers to transform the Hôtel-Dieu into a neighborhood hub with restaurants, boutiques, and the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie museum. The transformation included the addition of the 144-room hotel, its interiors designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel, known for his work turning heritage sites into hotels (e.g., the Molitor in Paris). The contemporary decor reflects the city’s history; for example, the silk accents are a nod to the historic silk weaving industry. Duplex Suites come with enormous, 20-foot windows that frame views of the Rhône River.
Linger over a drink at Le Dôme, a bar housed under the soaring vaulted ceilings of the building’s former chapel. The Panthéon cocktail, made with St.-Germain liqueur, vodka, white tea, and a house-made champagne syrup, pays homage to Jacques-Germain Soufflot, the architect who designed both the Paris landmark and the Hôtel Dieu’s 18th-century facade.
7. Royal Champagne
- Location: Épernay, Champagne
- Why we love it: Vineyard views at the region’s first wellness retreat
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When the Royal Champagne first opened in summer 2018 amid the region’s UNESCO-listed vineyards, it was the first wellness-focused destination retreat in champagne country. The 16,000-square-foot wellness center is outfitted with two swimming pools, Jacuzzis, and treatments by cult brands Biologique Recherche and Kos Paris. (Candle massage, anyone?)
The setting is steeped in history: This was the site of a coaching inn where the kings of France used to overnight when traveling to their coronations at the Reims cathedral; in the 19th century, Napoleon frequently stayed here. Built into a hillside, the Royal Champagne incorporates the historic property into the contemporary resort, which features a series of landscaped terraces. The never-ending vine views can also be appreciated from your private terrace (each of the 47 guest rooms has one). The decor by in-demand designer Sybille de Margerie (connected to the Taittinger Champagne family) references Napoleon in bumble bee emblems and the gold leaf ceiling in Le Royal, the Michelin-starred restaurant.
Small details take hospitality to the next level here: One touch of the in-room “Champagne Please” button and you’ll have a bottle delivered to your room. There’s also a Champagne Chauffeur who can arrange private cellar visits in champagne houses that aren’t usually open to the public, and e-bikes available for a spin through the vineyards.
8. Tuba Club
- Location: Marseille
- Why we love it: A cool hangout on the Mediterranean
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Tuba Club is the place to eat, drink, swim, and sleep in Marseille’s Les Goudes, a picturesque fishing village on the western edge of the Calanques National Park. And that’s exactly the point: Co-owners Greg Gassa and Fabrice Denizot say they created it with social gatherings in mind. Formerly a free-diving school frequented by noted French diver Jacques Mayol in the 1980s, Tuba Club consists of five cabins, a three-suite guesthouse, and a restaurant, all sitting directly on the Mediterranean Sea. The hotel revives the seaside hut vibe à la Corbusier with fresco work painted by Emmanuelle Luciani and a retro design scheme from interior designer Marion Mailaender.
Views aside, the big draw for locals is the food: rising culinary stars Sylvain Roucayrol and Paul-Henri Bayart work wonders with seafood at the restaurant. (Get the red tuna tartare and don’t skip the Provençal cookies and mascarpone ice cream for dessert.) Equally delicious is the menu of Mediterranean snacks on the terrace bar, Le Bikini. When guests aren’t dining or drinking, they’re likely luxuriating on yellow-and-white striped loungers at the water’s edge, or taking advantage of such outdoor activities as boating (with a Tuba-prepared picnic basket for snacks), paddleboarding, canoeing, hiking through the Calanques, or rock climbing.
9. Lily of the Valley
- Location: Saint-Tropez
- Why we love it: Wellness at just the right remove from the glitz
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The first property from father-daughter hoteliers Alain and Lucie Weill, which opened in 2019, is unlike any other in the area. A 20-minute drive from the heart of Saint-Tropez, Lily of the Valley is an ideal spot for those who want to feel slightly removed from the glitz and more embedded in nature. The Philippe Starck–designed hilltop hideaway sits at the end of a winding private drive in La Croix-Valmer on the southern corner of the coast, known for its dramatic headlands and footpaths. Beneath it sits the Plage de Gigaro, a secluded three-mile stretch of sand that guests can access on foot, with the hotel’s complimentary shuttle, or on one of its electric bikes.
There are 38 guest rooms, 6 suites with private terraces or gardens, 8 pool suites with both a large private garden and pool, and a massive villa that sleeps 6. All accommodations jut out over the Mediterranean.
One of the retreat’s defining features is its health and wellness programming, with retreats that range from 4 to 21 days. The half-acre wellness complex has its own 80-foot pool, sleek fitness rooms for TRX and Pilates, advanced Biologique Recherche facial treatments, Ayurveda massages overseen by an award-winning masseur, and a plant-based restaurant. Guests also have access to in-residence sports coaches and dietitians who tailor programs for individual goals. Bonus: This is one of few properties in Saint-Tropez to remain open year-round.
- Location: Eure-et-Loir
- Why we love it: A restorative retreat 20 minutes from Giverny
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Previously the estate of French actress Catherine Deneuve for nearly 30 years, this bucolic 100-acre property an hour by train from Paris is the kind of nature escape travelers come to France to experience. Located less than 20 minutes by car from Monet’s house in Giverny, Primard is one of only a few properties near the famous site that draws more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The hoteliers of Les Domaines de Fontenille, Guillaume Foucher and Frédéric Biousse, transformed the 18th- century directoire-era private residence into a five-star hotel, complete with grounds showcasing rose gardens with than 200 varieties, wild meadows, boxwood topiaries, and a prairie with Highland cows, sheep, and wild birds. A robust permaculture garden supplies the produce for two on-site restaurants, while a greenhouse is set up as a tea salon for guests.
There’s a picture-perfect outdoor pool, a Susanna Kaufmann spa, and plenty of activities to make the most of the surroundings, from canoeing to gardening workshops. But the biggest draw is Les Chemins, the one-star Michelin restaurant from chef Romain Meder who earned attention as Alain Ducasse’s protegé at his now-closed triple Michelin-starred restaurant at the Plaza Athénée in Paris. Here, with a vibrant plant-forward tasting menu built upon a foundation of vegetables, grains, and fruit, Meder demonstrates how nourishing and inventive a plant-forward fine dining experience can be (fish and some shellfish make appearances).
11. Hôtel Crillon le Brave
- Location: Crillon-le-Brave/Vaucluse
- Why we love it: A taste of village life in a stylish pied-à-terre
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This hideaway in the foothills of the Mont Ventoux in Provence is more than an idyllic getaway. It aims to connect travelers to the heart of the picturesque 17th-century village it’s named after, Crillon-le-Brave. The hotel is made up of nine interlocking stone houses enveloped in fragrant climbing plants, and they’re connected by intimate squares and cobblestone alleyways. The 17 rooms, 17 suites, and private house were designed by Tunisian architect Charles Zana with a Provençal flavor and a residential feel: terra-cotta tiles, exposed wooden beams, antique furnishings, embroidered throw pillows and curtains, and a soft color palette.
There isn’t a mediocre view from any guest room, restaurant (there are two on-site dining options), or pool lounger: The Vaucluse’s vineyards and olive groves below are omnipresent. When guests aren’t off strolling the footpaths beneath the village, cycling Mont Ventoux, or relaxing by the pool, they might enjoy the Tata Harper spa, which occupies the estate’s former 18th-century vaulted stables.
12. Fleur de Loire
- Location: Blois (Loire Valley)
- Why we love it: A chef-driven culinary experience
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There are hotels with destination restaurants and iconic chefs and then there are destination restaurants that happen to have rooms. Fleur de Loire is a labor of love from chef Christophe Hay on the Loire River that falls somewhere in between. Following his time at La Maison d’à Côté, the award-winning restaurant and inn he ran for eight years in nearby Montlivault, he aimed bigger, taking over this 54,000-square-foot former hospice from the 17th century, erected at the behest of Louis XIII’s brother, Gaston d’Orléans. Hay turned it into both the new home for his fine dining restaurant as well as a Relais & Châteaux hotel & spa.
The gastronomically focused hotel offers 44 rooms and suites, plus 2 multicourse restaurants and a pastry shop, that use produce from his 2.5-acre permaculture garden about near the property. A Sisley spa features an indoor and outdoor pool. Environmental considerations go beyond limiting waste and working with local ingredients: The hotel runs on a closed water cooling system that doesn’t require contact with the air. Reservoirs for rainwater allow staff to water the garden while the energy for the building is sourced entirely from wind power. In the guest rooms, amenities come from a local soapmaker, the Savonnerie des Muids, whose products are composed of oils, vinegars, and honey from the Loire (they’re presented in refillable containers). Wood used for furniture throughout the property was drawn from certified sustainable forestry operations.
The design scheme, dreamed up by the architect and decorator Caroline Tissier, masterfully evokes the serenity of the river. She made liberal use of wood, brass, and stone and played up a soft aquatic-gold color palette in common areas and restaurants. Rooms feature carpets and linens in sandy tones and nature-inspired custom wallpapers—ideal spots to rest after a memorable meal.
13. Domaine des Etangs, Auberge Resorts Collection
- Location: Massignac
- Why we love it: Total immersion in nature
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Once the vacation home for the late French billionaire Didier Primat, this estate with a restored 13th-century castle was taken over by his daughter Garance and overhauled into a vast nature-focused retreat in the same spirit as Primland, her resort in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The property, on 2,471 acres of wooded parkland, combines a working farm, a sculpture park with a dozen artworks, a gallery for art exhibitions, Gallo-Roman–inspired thermal baths, gourmet restaurant Les Dyades, and five-star accommodations.
There are seven suites in the castle and farmhouse, as well as six private residences spread out across the property, each with one to five bedrooms. While it’s tempting to spend the entirety of a stay outdoors, the castle’s common areas beckon. The game room has a billiards table and trunks full of toys, board games, and costumes for children. For more adult pursuits, there’s a cozy library built for lingering and a cigar room. Throughout the hotel are works by European artists Hans Peter Feldmann, Thomas Ruff, and Henri Matisse and such scientific objects as astronomical instruments and celestial globes—mostly from Garance’s personal collection.
14. La Bastide de Gordes
- Location: Gordes
- Why we love it: A luxurious trip back in time
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The France-based Airelles collection of hotels is known for dreaming up prestigious properties in historic destinations; this one in the ancient hilltop town of Gordes in the Luberon is among its most iconic. Here, 18th-century Provence lives on—literally. It’s woven into the decor, which is full of antique furniture and accessories sourced from nearby L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue markets and ancestral portraits and floral wallpaper. Staff wear either earth-toned culottes and vests with straw hats or floral bodices and flowy beige skirts.
On the hotel’s sprawling terrace, a showstopping swimming pool—easily one of the most spectacular hotel pools in France—is surrounded by dry stone walls and century-old olive and cypress trees, which makes each lap feel downright cinematic. (Adults will be happy to know there is a separate small pool for children and another pool in the spa.) Dining is taken just as seriously as wellness, with seven on-site restaurant options. The hotel is a five-minute walk from the main part of town, which includes an outpost of Jean-François Piège’s popular Parisian restaurant Clover.
15. Les Sources de Cheverny
- Location: Cheverny (Loire Valley)
- Why we love it: Wine-infused spa treatments in nature
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After the success of the spa-hotel Les Sources de Caudalie near Bordeaux comes an equally impressive addition to the Loire Valley from Alice Tourbier (whose sister founded the French skincare brand Caudalie) and her husband. Set around a restored 18th-century manor house, the property encompasses 110 acres of farmland and vines with guest rooms spread out among stone houses, converted barns, and wooden cabins with lake views.
There’s plenty for guests to do on the grounds, from biking and horseback riding to taking advantage of Caudalie’s signature wine-infused treatments in the spa. Off-property excursions include visits to Chambord as well as the Château de Cheverny, cycling itineraries along the Loire à Vélo’s more than 500 miles of bike paths, and winetasting. But no visit is complete without a meal at Le Favori, the hotel’s gastronomic restaurant that earned a Michelin star for chef Frédéric Calmel’s seasonal ode to the Loire Valley terroir.