Can baker, florist and grocer all-in-one hotels save the French countryside?

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Can baker, florist and grocer all-in-one hotels save the French countryside?

France’s 20 most beautiful villages View Gallery A hotel group in France is plotting to introduce all-in-one country inns to rural villages in an attempt to revive tourism. The idea is to concentrate the French provincial feel in one neat, tidy package, with each inn or hostel coming complete with a cafe, restaurant, grocery store, bakery and florist. The scheme is the brainchild of rural hotel network Logis de France and an attempt to tackle what it says is dwindling tourist numbers in isolated villages across the countryside. While little information has been forthcoming, with Logis unresponsive to requests for details, its idea is to provide everything that a visitor could possibly want from a stay in the French countryside – rather than having to go out and find it for themselves. France is the world’s most visited country Credit: Getty Rumoured to be rolled out sometime this spring, the revamped hostels and inns will be launched in villages that have fewer than 2,000 inhabitants and are perceived to have poor servicing when it comes to the needs of tourists. Will it work? It seems doubtful. For those who make the effort to travel to small, out-of-the-way havens to experience the French countryside – cycling or walking a couple of miles each morning to pick up a fresh baguette from the boulangerie – it may feel a little like a gimmick invented for the lazy. Anthony Peregrine, Telegraph Travel’s France expert, said: "It all depends what villages we’re talking about. Les Baux de Provence, for instance, reckons it’s overrun and needs some kind of visitor-reducing scheme; others are gagging for the tourist euro. France’s 20 most beautiful villages View Gallery "And the thing is that I’m fairly sure it’s not an all-in-inn that’s going to make the difference. What matters are beauty, situation, surrounding landscape, local produce and history. Plonking a bread shop next to reception at the Lion d’Or just isn’t going to cut it. "Far more important are already existing quality labels like Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (there are some 155 of them), Villages of Art & Culture, Village Préféré des Français and that others of their ilk. Those thus blessed are doing pretty well." France remains the world’s most-visited countries, welcoming 89 million visitors in 2017, but there appears to be concern over rural depopulation – similar to issues facing the Italian countryside in recent years – and how that might impact tourism.