Gites De France Has Worn Me Out

Nov 16th, 2002, 10:33 AM
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Gites De France Has Worn Me Out

I had been trying to book a Gite since last summer with this service. Having written to an owner personally and getting a reply which said that they had reffered my letter to a resrvations service, I then sat back and waited. No contract of hire arrived and I was left in the dark.

Meanwhile I was waiting and waiting to try and search and book online. The online service is coming into effect in some areas now and not yet in others. In the areas which have come online I noticed that many of the properties were already booked. In one region I managed to get 1 availability only. I have concluded that many of these properties are booked far in advance by returning visitors and getting availability in summer is very hard.

Having said all that I realised I had to persevere. I kept going for 2 days solid and eventually located a property. I got the contract today hurrah!!! But to coin an English phrase I feel "bloody knackered" by it all.

I have spent all day translating most of the contract. I have to sign and return one half to say I've understood the terms and conditions which is laughable as I could be signing up to be shot on arrival for all I know.

Even on their so called "English" website they fool you by putting about 3 things in English and then the whole of the description in French.

Despite my frustration as a struggling tourist I fully accept I am being utterly unreasonable here as if a French person booked through an English company they would have the same experience. Just thought I'd unload to fellow Fodorites. What are your experiences of Gites De France? Am I the only idiot out here?

Nov 16th, 2002, 10:52 AM
uncle sam
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I looked into this last night. I found a couple of things:

1. If it is only one couple you are probably better off financially staying in a hotel.

2. I found that most of the prices quoted were in GBP instead of Euros and most required you to go through a Brit company to rent.

I did find a few castles and chateaus in the Loire valley in which to rent rooms.

We travel economically and generally view the room, as long as it is clean, nice bed and ensuite as merely a place to leave stuff and sleep until we head out again.

We've found a number of nice places for about 60 Euros per night. However a couple of these chateaus were awesome and the rooms were only 135 Euros so we may splurge and stay in one for a few nights.

Nov 16th, 2002, 12:48 PM
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Have you tried using the Babelfish page to translate the web page? You put in the url of the web page and viola, the whole page is translated for you.
Nov 16th, 2002, 04:21 PM
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Nov 16th, 2002, 06:45 PM
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There are so many easier ways to find a place on the web -- why knock yourself out? Alistair Sawday has published a number of good books of interesting places to stay, and has a good website listing many gites as well as B&B's, etc. at

I'm not at all affiliated with this company. I did find a fantastic place in Normandy in his book of French gites. We signed no contract. Simply send our visa number when we made the reservation to guarantee our arrival. Easy.
Nov 16th, 2002, 10:32 PM
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We used and had great results. They have B and B , Gites and luxury chateaux all of which seem to be affiliated with the Chambres d ' Hotes organization also.
Nov 16th, 2002, 11:03 PM
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Carol: I know, it's a shame. Some owners in France still stick to the old fashioned "contract". Probably due to bad experiences in the past. But quite impractical in my opinion.

All direct from owner, with their own website and generally more modern in their booking policy. Note that there are more properties in the French version than in the English one, so check both.
Bonne chance!
Nov 17th, 2002, 04:09 AM
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We have used GDF loads of times with nary a bad experience both booking through the owner, through the site and through the reservations system. It sounds to me that those who need more help (ex;: they don't speak French) would be advised to use the reservations system and ask for someone who speaks English. Make sure you have the GDF book for the region you want; that way, when the booking person suggests something you can quickly look it up and see a photo.
Barring that, just go through the dozens of web sites that cater to Brits. Good luck!
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