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I've arranged a inter rail, with couch surfing as solution to sleep in the night.

Lets say I have an inconvenient, and I need to reserve a hostel on the same day for the night: is it easy to find a room in August in any city/town in France (except for Paris, I'm not going there) or do I risk the night out :) ?

I'm going to Montpellier, Toulouse, Lyon, Strasbourg... do you think I can easily find a cheap hostel for the night, or are they going to be all busy?

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Note that things should get somewhat easier at the end of August. The days around the 15th of August, especially if it falls close to a week-end is one of the busiest time of the year for the hospitality industry. We once had to drive for hours looking for accommodation in the South of France, going at night through a region we intended to visit, despite being quite flexible budget-wise (i.e. ready to pay for hotels). –  Relaxed Dec 11 '13 at 9:10

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Despite the multitude of currently existing online services, you might want to do it the old fashion way, which is asking around in the village where you want to stay over. For us, so far it worked always . You want to ask for the "Chambre d'hotes", which is french for Bed & breakfast. Another option is to ask for selfcatering accomodation called "gites".

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Look for the Gites de France logo. Almost always you will see a sign saying "chambre d'hotes" when you enter almost any (if not all) French villages. The ones you see when you enter a place, are almost always full. But they are almost always part of an informal network of gites owners, which means that they will call around until they have found a place to stay. This method has never failed me. We are a bit reluctant in trying it with kids, but for this summer we decided to see if searching for accommodation also works with small children. In the end it gives you the ultimate freedom in traveling. You can decide on a per day base your itinerary.

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I think the pronunciation of "gites" is closer to "jeet" (we don't pronunce the 's') –  Vince Dec 13 '12 at 13:41

August is the month where most French are on vacations in Southern France. So it's really busy in Montpellier, Toulouse . In Paris, I can tell there are some hostel rooms left. July/August is actually when Parisians leave Paris.

Nonetheless, I suggest you save hostels contact before hand. There are some alternatives as cheap as hostels :

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Surely, Parisians do not sleep in Paris's hostels… –  Relaxed Dec 11 '13 at 9:06

I don't know about August, I've heard that's a very busy time in France. But I was in France in September, and had no trouble turning up to hotels on the day (at about 5 or 6 pm) and getting a room to stay in. Did this in ~ 5 hotels all over france (we were driving around).

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What about hostels ? –  Patrick Jun 29 '12 at 14:58
    
I'm not sure, I never stayed in a hostel in France. I stayed in a hostel in Switzerland and turned up that day aswell. Twas fine. However it might be different in August. –  Rory Jun 29 '12 at 15:18

If you don't find any hostels, try using AirBnB. They have a service of last-minute apartment booking. You don't have to book the whole apartment (even though sometimes it might be cheaper than booking a hostel), you might try a room in an apartment.

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