Should we book ahead in French villages?

The Tripologist with Michael Gebicki

WE INTEND SPENDING THREE TO FOUR WEEKS DRIVING FROM PARIS TO FLORENCE AND WOULD LIKE TO VISIT INTERESTING VILLAGES BETWEEN RENNES AND AVIGNON. WE ARE GOING IN APRIL. SHOULD WE PRE-BOOK OR CAN WE TRUST TO CHANCE?

J. GRIFFIN, BREAKFAST POINT

In April you should certainly be able to find places to stay along your route, but I'd book ahead. Accommodation in villages is often in short supply, particularly in the characterful French villages on your wish list. Booking in advance also gives you more hours for leisure and pleasure - finding a place to stay can take a couple of hours out of your day. Booking ahead comes at the expense of flexibility but if you choose well, it's a sacrifice worth making.

To help plan your trip, look up Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (france-beautiful-villages.org/en) for a guide and handy map. You can find some great accommodation at sawdays.co.uk. Also, check out Relais Routiers (relais-routiers. com), a truckers' guide to fine dining in France - great for anyone keen to experience unpretentious regional gastronomy at a cheap price, with salty company.

Since you have a generous amount of time, you could stay three nights in each village, which gives you two full days for exploring and experiencing French provincial life.

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