The stage is set for the FIFA European Championship 2016, and football fans from across the continent will descend on France for their summer break, for sun, sea, steak frites, and football. Whether your love it or loathe it, we’ve got your France hotel choice sorted.
England’s schedule sees them about the country with group matches in St Etienne to the west, Lens to the north and Marseille on the south coast. Bustling Marseille is a hub of creativity, with a trendy art scene alongside a rich history. Rooms don’t come cheap though – rooms at the Escale Oceania Vieux Port over the weekend of England’s match there will set you back around £250 per night.
Wales’s itinerary is rather more geographically compact, with matches in nearby Toulouse and Bordeaux. Consider hiring a car and driving between the two cities; it’s easily and doable and both offer plenty to entertain. Bordeaux, with it river facing facades or classic French architecture, is reminiscent of Paris – but without the eye-watering price tags – and serves as the gateway into wine country. Boho Toulouse is artisan coffee shops, hectic nightlife and stylish boutiques
Even better, you can snag rooms in both for less than £100 a night; check out Hotel Castellane, which has rooms in the heart of Toulouse going for £92, or a self-catering Appart-City Bordeaux Centre, where you can check in for £89 per night.
There are still corners of France that football mania has left untouched. Fans will descend on the major cities with big stadia hosting matches, but country villages should remain as untouched as ever. The Alpine ski resorts are still worth a visit after the snow has melted, when you can mountain bike or hike through the lush green scenery. Try Morzine, which is served by Geneva airport, so you’ll be more likely to bag a cheap flight than if you fly into France. Le Sporting hotel has double for £90 per night.
If it’s a city break you’re after, head to coastal Biarritz, with a thriving Basque food scene and laid back surfer culture. The Alcyon Hotel dates back to the 18th Century and has well-kept rooms for a bargain at £86 per night.
Miles away from sporting fever on the Atlantic west coast, the walled city of St Malo often falls off traveller’s radar when it comes to France, but for no good reason. Much of its architecture, from its intricate cathedrals to the turreted city walls, dates back to medieval times, and if history doesn’t do it for you, perhaps you’ll find something of interest in its plethora of restaurants and cafes – and be sure to try the oysters, a St Malo specialty. Check out the quirky interiors at Hotel du Palais, which has rooms for £70 per night during the Euros.