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jenniw Aug 16th, 2005 06:21 AM

Town Centre Accommodation
We would prefer to stay in hotels or b&b's in the centre of towns on our driving trip through France & Northern Italy. Want to be able to walk to local restaurants and not worry about enjoying some of the local wine and having to drive. We have heard that the drink driving laws are very strict in France now. Would appreciate your recommendations for good inner city/town/village places to stay around the 80 euro per night range in the following places: Auxerre, Beaune, Lyon, Avignon, Isle sur la Sorgue, Bonnieux, St. Remy, Nice, Menton, Lago Maggiore, Lago Como.

Appreciate any info.


Patrick Aug 16th, 2005 07:06 AM

I can't specifically help you as I'm more familiar with hotels that are about double that in price, but I know there are some in your price range.

But I will say that I agree with you 100% in your goal of staying within the town centers. While some love the idea of staying in remote locations, I prefer being able to walk out our hotel door and find a good selection of places to visit or eat within an easy walking distance. And like you, I don't want to drink and drive -- as some do when they stay in remote Tuscan villas for example.

Now another question. If your goal is mainly to stay in the center of these towns, have you considered taking trains rather than driving? We've done both during our many European trips, but I have decided that if staying primarily in city or town centers, the train works best -- no problems finding your way around one way streets, no parking issues, and less stress as the train delivers you right to the village center in most cases. Just a thought.

P.S. I know you had a lot of comments about your first couple of posts. I'm glad you've considered them and have learned from them. This is a good post, not in all caps, and on the right forum! Welcome to Fodors.

jenniw Aug 17th, 2005 01:45 AM

Thanks for the pat on the back Patrick, I have learned alot in the last couple of days and am enjoying the exchanges. Thanks for your advice re trains but try to talk my car mad husband out of the chance to drive through such beautiful countryside. We also want to explore Provence fairly thoroughly and take the trip from Cote d'Azur to the lakes in Italy - so car it is. We also like to control our own movements to a certain degree.

I would probably look at some hotels at a more expensive rate than quoted but it will depend on the exchange rate - which is never wonderful with the AUD.


ira Aug 17th, 2005 05:11 AM

Hi jenni,

Check on

They usually have 2* places in your price range.

The more chimneys, the better the food.


Dave_in_Paris Aug 17th, 2005 12:37 PM

Chambres d'hotes, the equivalent of b&bs, are fairly scarce in the centers of medium-sized towns in France. They tend to be in the countryside, where people have more space in their homes and where there are fewer job opportunities. You may find some, but to be in the center. you're more likely to have to rely on hotels. Have you considered tables d'hotes, where dinner can be provided along with the lodging, usually on advance notice, when booking? They're called tables de hotes. They're not so common either, and don't provide three-star food, but they do give you an opportunity to spend a little more time with your hosts and perhaps meet other guests, and they solve the driving-after-dining and drinking problem.

Mimar Aug 17th, 2005 01:32 PM

So, jenniw, do you really intend to visit all these towns? Because Avignon and Isle sur la Sorgue are both within a half hour of St. Remy. And Menton is not far from Nice.

Previously, I insisted on staying in the middle of towns, but we had some trouble driving and parking in small Italian hill towns. So now I'm looking at staying on the outskirts of a small enough town to be able to walk into the center/centre.

Jean Aug 17th, 2005 06:49 PM

What town were you considering on Lake Como? Most would recommend you stay in the mid-lake area -- generally Menaggio, Bellagio, Varenna.

If Bellagio, I can recommend Residence La Limonera which is in the center of town. These are apartment accommodations and, depending on your dates, should be within your budget. Go to

jenniw Aug 18th, 2005 05:08 AM

Hi all

Thanks for the tips Dave, I thought this might be the case in towns. Not too precious about the #*'s for food as I am sure it will all be fairly reasonable and at least some variety in a town.

Also agree wth you Mimar that staying on the outskirts of town can be great - at least get a chance to walk off dinner on the way home.

We were also thinking of staying somewhere around Lake Maggiore - someone had recommended and hotel in Belgerate ? which is right on the water. Can anyone help with any recent reviews.


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