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Gites de France Holidays

Gites de France French Destinaions

A gîte literally translates as a shelter, but the word has come to represent the numerous holiday homes or apartments that are available to rent in France. These are usually self contained country cottages, perhaps converted outbuildings on a farm, and come in all shapes and sizes. There are gîtes situated all over France, so you can either pick your region and then find a gîte that is suitable, or you could find a charming little place with your name on it and then plan your holiday around that.

Sometimes there is more than one gîte on a property, if a farmer has converted all the outbuildings this is not uncommon, and so you may want to find out exactly what facilities come with your gîte, and which ones you are going to have to share, like the swimming pool (piscine) for example. If the farmer has really got into the tourist industry, you may even find a restaurant or dining room on the premises. This can be an extremely pleasant way to get to know the local produce and regional culinary delights.

You can usually hire a gîte from Saturday (4pm) to Saturday (10am), or just for one weekend. The price does not often include heating but you may be able to obtain sheets and other such necessities from the owner. However, be sure to have all of these arrangements made before you sign the rental agreement, get an estimation of how much daily heating bills will cost, or a price per sheet, or you could end up paying through the nose at the end of your week's holiday.

If you are interested in staying in a gîte when you go to France you should contact the government backed company Gîtes de France that supports and supervises a wide range of gîtes and gîtes ruraux, and also chambres d'hôtes. This latter kind of accommodation entails paying to stay in a room in someone's private house, and a full list of these rooms is available from Gîtes de France. They also produce other useful publications including guides to Nouveau Gites Ruraux, Chambres et Tables d'Hôtes, and Chambres d'Hôtes de Charme, all priced at €20. For a complete list with photos of all the properties available, go for the individual regional or departmental guides that cost between €4 and €12. All of the above publications are available from the Paris headquarters at 59 rue St Lazare, Paris 75439, (Mon Fri 10 6.30; Sat 10 1 2 6.30).