Monday, 24 March 2014

Travelling in France: Logis Hotels

I was very interested to read a large feature on Logis (de France) in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday. The organisation has undergone some changes, reducing the membership, sprucing up the website and now simply calling itself Logis Hotels as other countries are now covered. The way it works is that approved hotels pay a fee to join and be included in the annual guide.

Over the years we have routinely used Logis when we've needed an overnight stop and a meal to break a long journey. They are generally family run, independent hotels offering decent value for money, often located in characterful towns on the old routes nationales. In the main they are not the most glamorous or luxurious places, but they have a certain provincial charm. However, they can punch above their weight food-wise, albeit in a rather formal French way, but remain passionately regional. Confusingly, there is a broad range of Logis, but a new rating system should help travellers get a better idea of what to expect. Logis d'Exception is the most upscale.

Last summer we stayed at the Hostellerie des Clos in Chablis, a swankier example of a Logis (see pics above and read more about it here) and another smart example is Hostellerie de la Mère Hamard in Semblancay north of Tours. More typical is Le Dauphin in Salbris in the Sologne region south of Orleans. Another time we'll try out the Hotel Tatin in nearby Lamotte-Beuvron where allegedly the Tatin sisters (accidentally) created the famous apple tart. 

Logis membership can alter from year to year and one of my favourites is no longer listed – Au Coeur de Meaulne run by award-winning chef Patrick Rajkowski and his wife Karin on the edge of the Tronçais forest in the Auvergne. Moving their young family from Switzerland, the Rajkowskis acquired what was a run-down inn and have turned it around. It is now rated by Michelin as a Bib Hotel and is busy with plenty of repeat business. Never underestimate a Logis.

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