HI Hostels Blog

Celebrating 65 years of sustainable hostelling in France

France is just one of those destinations that you can return to time and time again, whether it’s on your bucket list or you’ve been a few times there is always more to see!  
We have 69 hostels across France for you to choose from to set off and explore this beautiful country. Here are some of our favourite..

Hi Annecy

Only 10 minutes’ walk from the old town of Annecy, dubbed the Little Venice of the Alps for its beautiful network of canals, the hostel is on the edge of the forest and overlooks the legendary Lake Annecy. Two outdoor terraces offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the opportunity to meet fellow travellers. A wide range of activities including skiing, mountain biking, canyoning, swimmingand hiking are available around the lake or in the mountains.

Cyclists by lake Annecy ©MDLFJean-François Tripelon-Jarry
Cyclists by lake Annecy ©MDLFJean-François Tripelon-Jarry

Hi Cahors

In the heart of the green district of Cahors and only a few minutes from the city centre, the endless bay windows of the youth hostel overlook the Valentré bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An exceptional view! The hostel, through its minimalist design is bright, airy, and perfectly embodies the surroundings of the contemporary green district and local heritage of the area. The perfect getaway to explore the Lot Valley, Dordogne, Périgord and its famous vineyard and quaint villages.  

Hi Lille Stephane Hessel

The futuristic architecture of the hostel, shaped like a heptahedron, is the epitome of Lille’s modernity. From the hostel you are just a few minutes from the Palais des Beaux-Arts, the picturesque Rihour Square, and the old town with its pedestrian streets and typical houses. A model of eco-responsibility, the building complies with the High Environmental Quality standard and Low-Energy Building status. The sustainable ethos of this ‘eco-citizen’ hostel is sure to charm you. 

Guests in kitchen at HI Lille Stephan Hessel ©FUAJ
Guests in kitchen at HI Lille Stephan Hessel ©FUAJ

Hi Paris Yves Robert 

Not far from the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, in the heart of a new eco-friendly district, the hostel is based in an old warehouse of the French railway company, refurbished, and transformed into a solar power station, its wood-panelled façade opens onto a peaceful covered garden. The hostel hosts a theatre, bar and restaurant – overlooking the garden. The complex is designed to foster shared experiences and friendly moments. 

Celebrating 65 years of sustainable hostelling in France 

FUAJ 65 yearsIn 2021, the French Youth Hostel Association – FUAJ/HI France – is celebrating 65 years of sustainable youth hostels with a social and environmental purpose. 

From the first hostel in the 1930’s by Marc Sangnier, to today’s innovative and modern hostels, it is evident the hostelling movement in France continues to adapt, thrive, and most importantly, provide a safe space for travellers keen to discover the world and people around them… 

HI France’s youth hostels are at the heart of a social, solidarity and green economy. This is achieved, firstly, through a long-standing commitment to sustainable tourism which continues to grow with the implementation of the Green Key label, currently in 29 hostels, and the continuous improvement of sustainable practices through HI-Q&SSecondly, unwavering commitments to inclusivity and an ethical charter that drive decisions and ensure a sustainable mindset is at the heart of operations. For example, investments have been made over the years to make hostels more accessible to guests with reduced mobility and through their work with the Civic Service agency they welcome volunteers every year. Promoting art is also a core mission of the French youth hostels, they support artists and make art accessible to all  through offering exhibition spaces, ‘artist houses’ and partnerships with museums for example. Finally, at the peak of the pandemic last year, the hostels were made available to help front line workers and those most in need. 

This story of culture, unity and friendliness will be presented in a unique exhibition celebrating the rich history of youth hostelling in France in youth hostels across the HI France network until April 2022. Find out dates and locations on Instagram @aubergeshifrance or Facebook AubergesDeJeunesseFUAJ

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