Ask me if I love French 2-Star Hotels! As an American traveling in France, my first instinct was to shy away from the insignia that sits on the front wall of every hotel, if it was only a 2-Star. That has changed completely.

I now LOVE French 2-star hotels! They are everything required in a nutshell and my go-to for regular travel in the country. And, come to find, for the French traveling their own country as well.

Reliable, clean, safe, quiet, no frills but basically well kept, you can’t go wrong.

En fait, I now have favorites in places I frequent. In new villages and towns, I keep my eye open for an attractive 2-Star that I can suss out online before going in. For instance, in Dol de Bretagne, just up from the train station is the hotel de la gare’.

There’s a system with French hotels, always plastered on the front wall before you enter; look to find how many stars it has. We all know what a five star is, and even a four star. In France, a truly great experience can be had in a 3-Star, without question. But not all 3-Stars are worth their weight in gold. Discernment plays a part.

There are  2-Stars that somehow fulfill the requirements of a 3-Star but really, they’re 2-Stars.

I’ve watched a trend in my favorite area of Paris (the 7th) where ‘upgrades’ have allowed a truly 2-Star to claim a third = charge more, get the same as you got with them as a 2-Star! Appearances can be deceiving. As well, there are 3-Star hotels that exude authentic French culture and you want to simply immerse yourself and dive right in.

Arriving late one winter’s night in Dol de Bretagne on the TGV from Paris, the region was encased in ice. My car was waiting for me in the carpark but driving in the dark on ice-packed country roads was not going to happen.

Half a block up, I spotted a hotel sign and decided to see if they had a room. Surely that light was left on for travelers like me. Walking from the gare was treacherous in and of itself, but I was in luck. Family run, the father answered the door, handed me a key and said good night.

Oh, a good night’s sleep in fresh, crisp sheets after a long day of travel? Perfect.

The boulangerie was next door … so in the morning a coffee and croissant? Doubly grand.

These small hotels are everywhere in France. Frequently you can get a truly single room for the lowest rate on the chart so be sure to ask for that if you’re budgeting. And, you can get a double that is actually two singles (ask when you book) if you’re traveling with someone and want to share a room but not a bed.