With one of the most famed aspects of France being its eccentricity, you might not be surprised to learn that this proud and romantic country offers no shortage of rather quirky and unusual options for an overnight stay.
Here are just five of our favourites.
This four-star boutique hotel in the City of Lights’ 18th district is particularly noted for the Ice Kube Bar, which is a bar made completely of ice. As explained by the official website of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, this transformed wartime shelter is kept at a temperature of minus 18 degrees, and requires 20 tonnes of ice to keep it cold.
As for where you stay for the night, the Scandinavian-style rooms in cool colours are just another factor in this hotel’s popularity among the trendiest Parisian youth.
An extremely different proposition on the outskirts of the French capital, meanwhile, is this noble stone-built former residence of the Marquise of Preignes and Baron Empain.
Château Bouffémont is the quintessential option for chateau rental in France, with some 2,000 square metres of grand reception halls and suites incorporating every inch of opulence with its crystal chandeliers, authentic wood panelling and fine fabrics.
Furthermore, with the entire chateau able to be rented for as many as 27 guests overnight, you really will be able to feel like the lord or lady of the manor.
Le Wagon des Estives
The term ‘estives’ means summer meadow pastures, and when you are interested in a rather different rural vacation in France, you can’t make a much more charming choice of accommodation than this restored 1950s wagon in the beautiful volcanic area of Auvergne.
This travelling goods wagon was rescued from obscurity after its working life and given a new home at the family-run farm of Ferme des Prades. Today, it provides staying guests with a shower, hot tub, compost toilet and even a hammock. Furthermore, as it’s heated, it’s a perfectly comfortable form of accommodation even at the height of winter.
You might feel like you’re staying in one of the Gyrospheres from Jurassic World, but there’s nothing quite like sleeping in a bubble, as this venue near Marseilles in southern France makes possible.
Attrap’Rêves gives you a wonderfully romantic cocoon within which to pop the question, share some intimate time with your loved one or simply gaze up at the stars together. It’s also a great way of being ‘out in the wild’ without having to constantly swat away flies, and is so secluded that it can be tricky for visitors to find, even with GPS.
A little house set atop a power station tower might just be the epitome of French quirkiness. Strictly speaking, however, the structure in which Villa Cheminée is based near Nantes in western France is a mere replica of some other such towers nearby. It is, in effect, an installation artwork by Tatzu Nishi, measuring 16 square metres and perched 15 metres in the air.
This isn’t the kind of hotel that you can book at late notice, however, as it is typically reserved very far in advance. Nonetheless, the incredible sunset views that it affords of water, boats and birds, as well as its bizarre all-round style, surely makes it well worth the wait.