France: hotel reservations ahead of time or on-the-fly?

Hi there, My family of 4 is thinking of visiting France (Annecy, Dordogne, Brittany, and Paris) next June and would like to be flexible and be able to stay in a place longer if there's something of interest or leave sooner if we'd rather go somewhere else. In general, is it possible to obtain hotel reservations on-the-fly
when traveling or should I plan on reserving rooms ahead of time? Thanks! Bill

Posted by Doug
Portlandia
3289 posts

In general it is possible to find rooms on the fly, particularly if you have a car and can be a little ways off the well-trod tourist track. I would suggest booking ahead for Paris if it is at the end of your trip.

Posted by Adam
Boston
2630 posts

Is this late June? While it is always possible to enjoy the benefits of traveling without reservations, for it to work in the summer you and your family will have to be very flexible about what kind of accommodations are acceptable. That's especially true for a party of four.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2466 posts

I used to always travel without reservations, now I seldom do. At least book your first night or two, so you don't have to search for accommodations while jetlagged. Then, you can do an internet search for your next stop before you leave your current one. Booking.com or Venere.com are good, and may have last-minute deals. This method means you don't have to start looking for a place for four people when you could be seeing/doing something more interesting. June is a peak travel month, so reserving something in Paris might be a good idea if you know that's your last stop and approximately how long you want to stay.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7820 posts

Bill it IS more difficult to find quad rooms in Paris in June, so at very least book that ahead, well ahead, unless you have a huge budget and can pay the big bucks to find something last minute?

Posted by Kim
Paris
544 posts

Usually if you wait to reserve, you minimize your chances of finding good value for money and being able to make the choices yourself from a wealth of options. If you wait until arriving, you'll find some of the choice is made for you, because there simply won't be the range of availability.

Posted by Diane
Ottawa
1154 posts

On the fly can work for two, but not for 4. The norm is France is NOT 2 double beds per room (rare!). You are asking about a busy time (high season) in tourist areas and, if you're budget-conscious, you will be either SOL or waste a lot of time finding your beds for the night. Book ahead. We often travel as 4 and are always thankful to have booked ahead, even in shoulder season.

Posted by Bill
Boulder, CO, USA
5 posts

Thanks for the replies! It's sounding like it would be best to make reservations ahead
of time. Bill

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17745 posts

Bill, While it does limit spontaneity, pre-booking rooms (especially for a group of four and especially in Paris) would really be the best idea. June is the height of the spring shoulder season, and getting close to peak travel season of July and August, so I suspect it will be busy. If there happens to be a convention or other event in town at the time, rooms may be scarce and you may be forced to pay a sum that's WAY above your budget, stay in a "less-than-desirable" part of the city or accept dodgy accommodations. The same is true for the other locations you'll be visiting. I always pre-book accommodations, as I don't like wandering around a new and unfamiliar city while hauling all my worldly possessions, just to find a place to sleep. That seems like a waste of valuable holiday time. Happy travels!

Posted by Judy
Adelaide, SA, Australia
802 posts

Travelling 'on the fly' especially in peak touuist season can mean spending endless hours of your precious vacation time chasing accommodation.