06/26/2004: "Formule 1"
In Orleans and Lyon, we're staying in the Formule 1 chain of hotels. It's super-cheap and super-clean and rather odd. Each one is completely identical.
You check in using a kiosk just outside the door -- you get a six-digit code which gives you access to the front door and your room -- there are no keys. The bathrooms and showers are down the hall -- they flush or clean themselves when you unlock the door to leave. You have to push the shower button every 20 seconds to keep the water going. Each room has a sink, a TV, a double bed and a single bunk above it. The double bed has a single pillow that goes the whole way across. The towels are small -- just big enough to take a shower.
This chain of hotels is owned by Accor, who also owns the five-star Novotel hotel we stayed in in Sharm al Shaikh. All of their hotels in France, including this super-cheap one, have wireless Internet (it costs 5 euro for an hour of use within a 24-hour period, which is the same price but more convenient than Internet cafes).
It reminds me of what I've heard of the Japanese cubicle hotels. If I ever make it to Japan, I'll probably discover that they are much more weird than these.
Tomorrow we're eating in the super-expensive three-star restaurant Paul Bocuse. They asked that I reconfirm my reservation a week in advance with our mobile number or the name of our hotel. I was too embarrassed to say we were staying at Formule 1.
It's almost two PM. We've had our breakfast and done our laundry. It's time to go explore Lyon.