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Although hotels are less expensive here than in the neighboring towns, you may find that you must pay for half board in July and August. Most places are closed in winter, but May, June, and September are great times to find a good deal.

Check out Ste-Maxime's chicest hotel and beach club: the legendary Le Beauvallon (tel. 04-94-55-78-88; www.lebeauvallon.com). It was scheduled to reopen in spring 2012 after a multimillion-euro renovation that included the relocation from London's Hyde Park of the Pavilion -- a steel-and-glass events space that was originally commissioned for the Serpentine Gallery.

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.