Subject: Re: cheap hotels
Hello Ziners,

Cheap and reasonable hotels are hard to come by. So when a friend emphatically recommended a cheap hotel in Beaune, Burgundy, for a trip from the South of France to Holland, I took his word for it. Au grand St. Jean it was called and right near the center of town, gated parking, 42 euros per night, I believe. Bargain. I booked per phone. We left at 10 am for a trip that normally takes 5 hours. Unfortunately it was Saturday, beginning of August. Miles before Aix, the traffic came to a stop and slight go. At 6 pm, south of Lyon, I called the hotel to say we would arrive later. I was told that if we didn't make it before 8 pm, the room would be given away. By that time, the roads were cleared. I took my car to the test (not easy to find another room that time of year) and arrived 7:57 pm, a bit shaken, in the unbelievably drab lobby. We got our room, phew, which turned out to be even worse, qua decoration and comfort, than the lobby. Sagging beds, filthy green/gray carpet (the decorator must have also outfitted the hotel in Aix where Don and Linda stayed), walls so thin that, when someone sneezed 5 rooms down, you heard it. Most surprising (or not so surprising) was that the hotel was not full at all. They have a web site, but I won't bother you with it. And parking was extra.

On my way back, I stopped again in Beaune (it's convenient just off the Autoroute and at a half-way mark). This time I took a truly cheap hotel, Etap, one step up from the bare-bones Formula I chain. This time, for 28 euros, I got a very clean, bit spartan, room with double bed and loft above, with a single bed. There's a shower and toilet, no frills. TV with various channels. All high-tech, no romantic decoration. But for an efficient stop, these hotels are truly a bargain. With online reservations: www.etaphotel.com and free, gated parking. The hotels tend to be on the outskirts of towns, but, in the case of Beaune, within a short drive to easy parking in town. And no one sneezed, as far as I can remember.

Regards, Frieda Lekkerkerker