Decent Hotels w/o Reservations?

Old Aug 4th, 1999, 03:17 PM
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Decent Hotels w/o Reservations?

We've just decided to cash in those frequent flier miles to go to Europe for 2-1/2 weeks in late September/early October. I've only gone once before 12 years ago and was sorry I wasn't more flexible about jumping off the train (Eurailpass) and staying someplace on the spur. Can I find decent hotels (ok I'm kinda fussy) w/o reservations?
I know I'll need reservations in Paris (ANY RECOMMENDATIONS?), but then I'm thinking SWITZERLAND, ITALY AND SOUTH OF FRANCE? WHERE SHOULD I GO?? WHERE SHOULD I STAY? (budget up to $150 USD). Thanks for any info.
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 04:42 PM
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Hi David - we've travelled at that time of year in the South of France and Northern Italy and found we were OK without reservations. However, we went with a sketched out a plan of where we were going (subject to change, of course, along the way) and an idea of appropriate hotels when we got there (so we weren't starting from scratch at 5:00pm in a strange town) Our best source of ideas for hotels are - this web site, Michelin, Gourmet Magazine, Web searches and a guide called "Chambres d'Hotes" (which is a list of bed and breakfast like inns in rural France).

Where to go depends on if you plan to drive or take the train - If you plan to rent a car you could drive to the D-Day Beaches from Paris (a great experience for Canadians and Americans) and down through Bordeaux and the Basque Country - or alternatively head south to Provence and the Riviera. (equally wonderful).

I'd be happy to provide specific recommendations once your itinerary has firmed up at bit......have a wonderful holiday.
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 07:13 PM
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Thank you Elizabeth. We will probably get a Eurailpass starting in Paris. I appreciate the suggestion on backup plans. We haven't firmed up the itinerary - open to suggestions for cities/towns in northern Italy, south of France (Venice, Aix-Provence???) Does anyone want to share suggestions for Paris hotels?
Thanks for the info!
Old Aug 5th, 1999, 12:46 AM
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We put our foreign clients at Hotel Jardins du Luxembourg, opposite Luxembourg gardens in a very quiet dead-end street (5, impasse Royer-Collard 75005 Paris ; tel. 01 40 46 08 88 ; fax 01 40 46 02 28). Charming hotel, tastefully decorated, English-speaking staff. You should book now (this one or another), since the end of September is a busy period for trade shows. And for the south of France, the easiest thing is to take the TGV to Avignon (3 hours), stay a few days in the city, and then rent a car to take advantage of Provence in its best season, lucky you !
Old Aug 5th, 1999, 03:24 AM
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If you get to the hotel after 5-6pm, there is a better chance of getting a nicer room at a much lesser price (specially that time of the year). The management is more willing to negotiate.
We found this out during a driving vacation we took in England/Scotland. We came across very nice hotels/B&B's and almost every night were able to stayed for much less than the posted price. However, we had a car and the flexibility to pack and go to the next place if weren't happy with the rate.

RE: Hotel recommendations in Paris. There are probably 300 past postings on this forum with great Paris's hotel recommendations. Do a Search by hotel in Paris and you'll be rewarded!!! My personal favorite (been to Paris 4 times; 4 different hotels) is the Hotel Muguet on the 7th. Superb location, friendly staff, clean, comfortable, nice breakfast, quiet, about $100/double. I have posted their website address. E-mail me if you need more info. Have fun planning your trip, sounds like a blast!
Old Aug 5th, 1999, 10:10 AM
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In addition to the above suggestions, you might take a look at Fodor/Rivage's Hotels of Charm series, and also the Karen Brown books, which have received generally favorable reviews from posters to this forum. I used both for a trip to Paris & the Loire earlier this year, and found the descriptions to be accurate.
Old Aug 5th, 1999, 11:16 AM
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Thanks everyone. This site is unbelievably helpful. I should have read through the postings before I posted my question!!! Now I'm torn between so many tempting destinations. Cinqe Terre (?) sure sounds like a popular area. I now know I need to pare down my destinations - probably to 3-4 central sites and explore from there. Now I'm thinking of starting in Milan and returning from Paris and seeing: Lake Como; Venice; LaSpezia/Lucca/Siena; Monte Carlo; Aix/Arles/Avignon; Paris. Does this sound doable in 18 days? I'm planning on buying a Eurailpass. Will this work in Italy, France, and possibly
So many places, so little time...
Old Aug 5th, 1999, 03:06 PM
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When I travel by Eurailpass, I only make a reservation for the first night. After that, I use the services of the tourist office in whatever town I'm in. They usually always have an office at the train station or close by. In 6 trips I've only had one or two rooms that were somewhat bad - but it's only 1 night - no big deal in the scheme of life. I've found that outside of summer season, the tourist offices usually close by 5 and aren't open on Sundays. My last trip to Paris I used the tourist office to find a hotel. You won't get the Holiday Inns, Hyatts, etc but if I wanted those types of hotels I'd stay in the US. I've actually had some great rooms - in hotels as well as bed & breakfast places. Oh one other tip -- make sure you're clear about what you want in the room - if you ask for a room with a bath - you may get a room with a bath tub - no toilet. You have to ask for "ensuite" or bath/shower and toilet in the room if that's what you want.

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