- Hôtel de Lutèce (Paris; tel. 01-43-26-23-52; www.paris-hotel-lutece.com): It slumbers on Paris's "other island," the Ile St-Louis, which usually escapes the crush of visitors on the more popular Ile de la Cité, just across the bridge. You're still in the city, but here you can imagine yourself in a country inn.
- Les Maisons de Léa (Honfleur, Normandy; tel. 02-31-14-49-49; www.lesmaisonsdelea.com): It overlooks a Norman 18th-century port favored by the French novelist Flaubert. The amenities aren't grand, but the charming setting includes an appealing restaurant, and -- more surprising -- the price tag is reasonable.
- Hôtel d'Avaugour (Dinan, Brittany; tel. 02-96-39-07-49; www.avaugourhotel.com): Its exterior looks as antique as the fortifications ringing the medieval harbor, but a major restoration transformed the interior into a cozy getaway on the Norman coast. Add aesthetic appeal, old-time flavor of Dinan's winding alleys, and views of the Channel, and you've got the ingredients for an affordable escape.
- Ostellerie du Vieux-Pérouges (Pérouges, Rhône Valley; tel. 04-74-61-00-88; www.hostelleriedeperouges.com): This hotel, described as a museum of the 13th century, is one of the most significant in central France. Composed of a group of 13th-century buildings with low ceilings and thick walls, it evokes the France of another day and doesn't overcharge.
- Hôtel Clair Logis (St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Côte d'Azur; tel. 04-68-81-03-27; www.leclairlogis.com): The real estate surrounding this converted 19th-century villa is among the most expensive in Europe, but this hotel manages to keep its prices beneath levels that really hurt. When you check into your room (named after a flower in the garden surrounding the place), you'll be in good company: Even General de Gaulle, who knew the value of a centime, stayed here.
- La Réserve (Albi, Languedoc; tel. 05-63-60-80-80; www.relaischateaux.fr/reservealbi): Scrublands, vineyards, groves of olives, and cypresses surround this dignified farmhouse. It's less expensive than many luxurious hideaways along the nearby Côte d'Azur, and its location is just outside the center of one of our favorite fortified sites in Europe, the town of Albi.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.