in a gite or holiday cottage
According to "Gites de France", the biggest gite rental agency, in 2011
there were over 45,000 gites or holiday rental properties in France.
But with plenty of properties, particularly at the higher end
of the range, not listed with Gites de France, the real number is
considerably higher. There are gites and holiday cottages throughout
France, with a particularly large number in Brittany, the Southwest and
- if skiing chalets are included - the Alps.
While Gites de France is a booking agency, and
generally speaking customers will book their accommodation
with the agency, there are also ways of booking gite accommodation
directly with the owners. Many owners, particularly those offering
better quality gites, speak English; indeed there are thousands of
gites all over France that are actually owned and run by locally-living
British or Dutch - even Australian - expatriates, who take pride in
their properties and
are happy to deal directly with customers. Unlike most French
owners, foreign owners may quote prices in pounds or dollars,
payment in these currencies or in Euros.
The price of gite accommodation varies enormously. There
are a number of specialist gites and cottage websites, notably British
and American sites, that have a lot of gites advertised at rates well
About-France.com is partnered with Gitelink France, an
online directory of good quality but affordable gites, that includes
many gites with English-speaking owners, both French and foreign, as
well as websites in English. Links below will
take you directly to the Gitelink directory pages for the different
regions and areas of France.
In short, for anyone looking for a
relaxing break in the country - or even by the seaside but away from
the big resorts - hiring a gite is an option that needs to be seriously
explored. If you need convincing, just click on any of the links below,
and then explore on their own independent websites any of the gites
that catch your attention.
Find holiday cottages on a map. Check out the Gitelink gites
maps of France
procedures for hiring a gite in France
There are a number of accepted principles, when it comes to hiring a
gite in France.
Almost all gite owners require a deposit, normally a quarter to a third
of the rental cost. This must be paid to secure any booking. This
deposit is generally returnable, perhaps minus a service charge, in the
event of cancellation, except for last-minute cancellations.
payment: gite owners normally require payment in full
either a month or so before the rental date, or on arrival.
and damage deposit ("la caution") . This is standard
practice. Owners generally return this deposit or destroy the cheque
after the visitor has left, and the property has been checked for
damage or breakage that has not been reported. In most gites, "normal
wear and tear" and the odd small breakage will not lead to a deduction
from the deposit.
linen: the situation is very variable. Many gites include
bed linen in the rental cost; but this is often not the case, notably
with cheaper properties. In the past, most gites required visitors to
bring their own sheets and pillowcases, and this is still the case, or
an option, in a good many gites. Information on this
is always provided by gite owners.
gites are private homes, not hotels, and in most
cases visitors are
expected to clean up before leaving. Some owners provide a cleaning
option as an extra, for those who prefer to leave this to someone else.
Most guests clean up properly - but those who leave a gite in a mess,
and requiring extra cleaning over and above what is normally done
before the next guests arrive, may find that a cleaning fee is deducted
from their breakage deposit.
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