Gites de France can help you find your ideal holiday home in France
What is a gite and what is Gites de France?
A gite is a self-catering holiday home or cottage in France and most of them are members of Gites de France, an organisation that promotes holiday accommodation in France.
The word gîte is French for a den such as an animal might make. A small and cosy place that gives shelter. A homely place, a home from home. gites in France are a great alternative to the much more formal, and expensive hotel, and gites are just great for families as they offer flexibility, freedom and economy. It can be translated as 'french country cottages'
France needs holiday accommodation! France is one of the world's top holiday destinations, and the country is so large and so varied, that many French people never venture beyond it's borders for their vacations, so it stands to reason that France needs a whole lot of holiday accommodation both for it's own people and for visitors from abroad. This is where The Federation of Gites de France come in - an organisation for promoting tourist accommodation, supporting local populations and ensuring that all accommodation is of a high standard. Members of Gites de France will display a sign bearing their logo outside their property, like the one shown in the picture here, and when you see this sign you'll know that you are going to get good quality accommodation and value for money.
Our gite and guest house at Les Trois Chenes, Videix, Limousin, France is registered with G de F, so look out for their signs and logos.
The official site of Gîtes de France proudly announce that they have over 45,000 gites, or holiday homes and 10,000 chambres d'hôtes or guest houses on their books, but what or who are Gites de France exactly and what can they do for you?
Latest News: Gites de France are translating their site into English! At last the rest of the world will be able to find tourist accommodation through them. 22 March 2011
What do you know about Gites de France?
Have you ever used Gites de France to book your holiday?
What is Gites de France?
Gites de France is an organisation that rates, labels and advertises holiday accommodation in France and is now one of the largest in Europe with 55,000 holiday homes, guest houses and camp sites on its books. Its 'raison d'être' is to find you a gite in France.
How Gites de France works
Representatives visit gites to advise the owners, ensure that the properties meet the high standards required and to rate the tourist accommodation. The Gîtes de France label guarantees quality accommodation that complies with a national charter. Under this system, each gîte is awarded 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 ears of corn, or epis, a rural equivalent to stars.
Each gîte is rated according to its surroundings, its level of comfort, the quality of its furniture and its amenities.
Aims and Objectives
- Ensure that tourists enjoy the best possible visits in terms of welcome and comfort
- Ensure that they enjoy an authentic, convivial visit and discover the natural, calm and space of rural France.
- Contribute to the value and conservation of natural and built environment
- Participate in local development and to aid rural populations
How can they help you find holiday accommodation?
Gites de France list three types of accommodation
- Bed and Breakfasts
- Self-catering holiday homes or gites
- Camp sites
Bed and Breakfasts or Guest houses
These are Chambres d'Hotes in French which means literally rooms of the host. Although many B&B's are run as hotels in reality, others really are 'homes' where tourists are invited as guests. Our B&B falls into that category, and I count the wellington boots lined up at the door in the dining room as proof of that! Rooms are rented by the night, and breakfast, towels and sheets are always included in the price. Many B&B's offer a table d'hôte, literally the table of the hosts, which means that evening meals are provided. Chambres d'hôtes are not permitted to offer choice, so you will be given a set meal. If you have any special dietary requirements, contact the owners in advance.
This is just a normal gite and they sleep between 2 and 7 - 10 people. There are all types of accommodation and they are let for the week-end, although usually only off-season, 3 nights or by the week. For long stays, special rates can be arranged.Gites are entire houses or apartments which are self catering and self-contained. They may have shared facilities like gardens and swimming pools. You will normally provide all your own food and household items, (toilet paper, washing up liquid etc), although in practice guests tend to leave a supply of these things for the next person. This applies in our gite where I provided a 'starter kit' and people have passed the kindness on. Towels and sheets may be included in the price or may be charged separately. Normally cooking gas is included and a certain amount of electricity, but above that there may be an additional charge. You need to read the Terms and Conditions carefully to make sure you know the full extent of the cost.
In addition to the average family gite, there are several types of special gites and you will find them all on the Gites de France website:
Gites de Groupe are large Gites and are suitable for groups or large families. Gites d'Etape
are for groups of ramblers and cyclists. Gites Equestre are for horses and they offer water, a field and/or stables. Panda Nature Gites have been judged particularly rich in wild life or nature and have been given the Panda label in association with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Chalets Loisirs are groups of wooden chalets set in the countryside and which provide a range of outdoor activities.
Secial offers and special interest holidays
Gites de France also advertise a range of special holidays:
- Seasonal breaks: Easter, lambing, Valentines Day, Snuggle-round-the-wood-burning-stove etc
- They also offer special interest holidays such as wildlife, fishing or golf holidays. We offer painting holidays for example.
- City holidays are another specialist group.
Have a look around their site and see what else they have to offer Gites de France
What is a Gite Rural de France
A gite rural, or gites ruraux are country gites, like ours. They use the word rural, and the gites of france are concentrated in the countryside.
How to use their web site
On their site you can see news, special offers, good deals and adverts. You will also be given a choice of various types of holiday:
- Regional holidays, for example Limousin, Brittany etc
- Guides which you can buy on-line
- Special offers
- Special interest holidays
- Gites which includes camping sites
- Chambres d'hôtes
- City holidays
On the home page you'll see all these options and you can choose from them. You can also search by area, date, availability and for individual establishments. Our gite for example is No.878476 and our Bed and Breakfast is 8713
Once you've found your holiday accommodation's page on Gite de France, you can then see what they offer, how much they charge, if the dates you want are available and booking arrangements.
How to book
You will be able to book either:
- Through the owner directly, and you will see a name, e-mail address and telephone number for contact on the right hand side of the page.
- Through Gites de France and you'll see their contact button
- A combination of the two according to season. For example, in the year 2011 G de F are taking bookings June - September and we are taking bookings for the rest of the year. Gites de France take 15% commission on the bookings that they arrange.
WARNING: On the availability chart, G de F have only available : GREEN, or not available RED. They block in the period managed by the owner as RED. Therefore it appears that the gite is not available, when in fact it is! (Not quite fair considering they don't reduce the payments, eh?) Always contact the owners to double check.
Gite de France produce catalogues and brochures
Gites de France also produce national and regional guides to their Guest houses and their gites. You can order these from the site, at a cost, or you can contact Tourist Information Offices and ask for one.
The tourist offices work with Gites de France and a few other bodies that do similar work, Charmance, for example, and tend not to advertise establishments not accredited by them. Contact Rochechouart Office de Tourisme for copies.