France's official hotel scale currently stops at "four star luxury," but in Paris, half a dozen hotels offering rooms from upwards of ?600, or about $840, a night claim the right to call themselves "palaces" - a term that even the hotels themselves cannot agree on who qualifies to use.

Now the government wants to reform the system, putting in place common standards and labels for each level of accommodation from bed and breakfasts to presidential suites.

"We hope to move as quickly as possible, even at the end of 2008 if we can reach an agreement," said Guenola du Couedic, a spokeswoman for the tourism minister Luc Chatel, who announced the reform plans in a statement late on Monday.

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