Yes, it's true. There is a French equivalent of the classic 1970s sitcom and it's just by the ferry terminal in St Malo. Awful doesn't begin to describe it. It's almost a theme park of 1970s hotel horror, the kind of place you thought had long been consigned to history.
Where to begin? Perhaps with the hang-dog owners, who look like they wouldn't turn down any reasonable offer to buy the place lock, stock and barrel should you have a few spare Euros to discard. Their thin smiles and demands to pay on arrival should've warned me, but by then it was almost too late. Insanely - or perhaps out of twisted curiosity - I ordered the breakfast. More of that later.
The bedroom was a carnival of filth, from the unidentifiable insects crawling over the beds to the aggressive mould hanging out in the shower. The shower itself was a black plastic pipe and the towel is better described as a dishcloth. Outside was noisy, but I wasn't too bothered about that. In fact, I was relieved to hear human voices on the wind, reassuring me that I'd not actually died and been transported to hell in a flea-ridden pit of a bed. Bad dreams - featuring a tall, manic hotel owner battering a poor Spanish waiter with a frying pan - punctuated my sleep.
In the morning and after the shower, which was more of a spit, I took my leisure in the hotel lounge and awaited breakfast. This consisted of a loaf of bread, a knife and a eclectic selection of dusty condiments. I made my excuses, sawed off a slice of my tongue and ate that instead. Boy, it was good!
In short, not a place I'll be frequenting regularly, though it was a memorable experience. Strange how the 70s weren't as good as I'd remembered them...