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Renting Gites through the Gites-de-France web site

Renting Gites through the Gites-de-France web site

Dec 3rd, 2010, 01:59 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 6
I agree that 2-star may be perfectly acceptable (it is mainly a question of equipment, washing machine etc.), but my point is again : how do you know? Another point: Gites used to have to be renovated old houses with some local character; if this is still often true, you can see now more and more modern houses which, I think, should not belong.
The chambre d'hotes and gites basically follow the same rules (inside a given departement). Here again, competition (and the need to make a living for the owners)have diluted the original idea (hosts should welcome guests personnally and eat at the same table...); now, you even find kitchenettes in some chambres, which rather defeats the idea!
But, I suppose things have to change, and, as an older generation of gite owners retire from the trade, there is less exchange between hosts and guests and more absentee owners. Still, compared with hotels, it is a different experience and a highly enjoyable one. Just let's hope that Stu never encounters a bad gite (or a dirty one with no one to complain to ... The Gites de France newsletter published -very honestly- last month a letter of protest from a client who had rented a gite that they had to clean through and through on arrival; the description was chilling!).
GiteduMoulin is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 02:24 PM
  #42  
 
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Gites used to have to be renovated old houses with some local character; if this is still often true, you can see now more and more modern houses which, I think, should not belong.

This is a question of taste. I have stayed at a wonderful B&B outside Pourville-sur-Mer which was in a modern architecturally designed house with an indoor swimming pool. No exchange with the owner who was in Morocco (and listed her apartment in Marrakech), just a manager of the house. But it had a wonderful view from the doorway of the room: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...7624436592493/ .
Michael is online now  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 02:53 PM
  #43  
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So far, we have rented 33 different gites, several of them multiple times for 43 total rentals, for 74 weeks. We have rented 3 new gites for '11. We only rent 3 & 4 star gites, and as I stated in my write-up, we rent the higher priced gites - hoping that the price says something about the quality of the gite. We have never felt that we had to clean a gite before we were willing to stay in it - and we are kinda "clean freaks". On most rentals where we cleaned the gite ourselves before departure, the owners inspected the gite for cleanliness before they returned our security deposit and we departed. We have cleaned the gite ourselves about 25% of the time, and paid the owners to clean it the other times.

About 5 of the gites have been new houses built from scratch - not renovated older buildings or something "added on" to the owner's home (new or old). Many gites have been the "family home", that is too large for the owner now that the family has grown up - or the home is too far away from the owner's work location. For all but about 5 gites, we have been greeted by the actual owner. For the others, we were greeted by the owner's rep. We could communicate in English with only 2 of the 33 different gite owners/reps. We have helped 5 other friends rent gites in France, because our friends could not speak French. One Gite owner in the Dordogne (where we have rented from the same owner 5 different times for 10 weeks) e-mailed us and asked us to contact our friend who was in France & scheduled to arrive at her gite in 1 week - and tell our friends that lightning struck the building & "blew out" the oven.

We stayed in a huge 4 bedroom/5 bath gite in the Loire in '09 that had a large living room with a piano, a large dining room, lots of lovely antiques, and 2 kitchens - neither of which were fully functional. The stove & dishwasher were not working in the "new" kitchen, and the dishwasher and gas cooktop didn't work in the smelly "servents" kitchen.

One gite owner on Lake Annecy asked us to cat-sit his cat while he took a vacation to Portugal (he gave us his brother's local phone # in case of trouble). He was one of the owners who could speak English.

I agree with GiteduMoulin about the "wheatie" rating system. There seems to be very little consistency from department to department. We rented a 4 wheatie gite in the Gard which was attached to the owner's home (4 & 5 wheatie gites are supposed to be "stand alone/not attached" structures), and also the gite did not have an oven. I have visited a 5 wheatie gite that was no more luxurious than most of the 3 wheatie gites we've stayed in - except the owner was "well known" in the region. He had another 4 wheatie gite we've rented twice for 4 weeks total. It was no more luxurious than the 3 wheatie gites either.

I also agree with GiteduMoulin about the gites in popular locations not being as nice & more expensive that gites in less popular regions. The Gite on Lake Annecy was a tad "rustic", while 2 gites we rented close by in the Franche Comte were fabulous - and at a lower price (1 of them was a "new" structure, other was the former family home, which was still used for large family get-togethers).

Stu Dudley
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Dec 4th, 2010, 06:19 AM
  #44  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 6
Another thought... For chambres d'hotes afficionados, check the "Bienvenue au Chateau" website (It has an English version).In spite of its rather grand name, it has human-size properties,and the prices can be quite reasonable. It is a French non-profit organization and covers the whole West of France.
And talking about prices, you write : "we rent the higher priced gites - hoping that the price says something about the quality of the gite" , you are probably making the right assumption there. I was struck with how surprised (and happy!) some of your readers were, commenting on "fantastic prices". Gites in France are, I think, undervalued (look at British prices) and this is a consequence of the history of the movement. Actually, the first gite owners were farmers, providing accommodation on the farm to earn a well-needed extra income. In rural departements, the proportion of farm to non-farm owners has actually tipped in favor of the latter only about a decade ago. Now, renovating an old house to make it into a gite attracts different kinds of people: those who inherit family property which they would like to keep (often for their children), those who like to restore houses and wish to share their love for the area (but who might ultimately resell the property, since, in rural areas, you won't get rich owning a gite...) or those who try to make a living out of it (mostly with 5 chambres d'hotes and table d'hotes, which makes it a full-time job, many sad stories among gite owners). I am sure there are other categories, but what I would like to point out is that it is a mixed bag, as opposed to the beginnings, when farm owners introduced city people to the "delights" of the country, and when, I am sure, the experience was totally authentic; Departing even more from its origins, G de F has now created "urban gites", a sub-category located in small or big cities.
Maybe for more context, I should have started by saying that my 2 gites have 4 wheaties and that I have served as a volunteer official at my departement G de F office, where I learned a lot and met good friends, but unfortunately found a resistance to change that eventually wore out my patience (and not just mine!). Rural departements after all will be rural... but I enjoy sharing my love and knowledge of this place, so I will just continue on my own!
GiteduMoulin is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 05:38 PM
  #45  
 
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I am sure there are other categories

Another one is, as I experienced it, a farming couple who retired, leased their farm and purchased a house in the nearby town to turn into a B&B. That's the way they traveled on their vacation and decided that they would like to run one just to meet people. I think that Americans were unexpected in their neck of the woods.
Michael is online now  
Sep 17th, 2011, 12:02 AM
  #46  
 
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Bookmarking - thanks for the great info!
castlevisitor is offline  
Sep 17th, 2011, 12:29 AM
  #47  
 
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thanks Stu
ozgirl is offline  
Sep 17th, 2011, 02:44 PM
  #48  
 
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Thank you Stu!
rmw555 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2011, 05:40 AM
  #49  
 
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Stu, you are a legend. We also visit France and stay in gites - it really spoils you for other travel. We have rented from a variety of sites and used gitesdefrance for the first time last year. They have a lot of places in all areas. We find that each independent area varies so much in their srevice. Last year we rented through the one based in Macon[burgundy]- great service- but another area we were looking at were disinterested. Now we are researchimg our next trip and because gitesdefrance has so many listings at good prices we are looking at them more. The main problem we find is that sometimes the info is limited - hardly any photos, is there a full oven [we cook at home more than we eat out], is linen provided, and if not, how much to hire. How do you get around this?
rhon is online now  
Sep 18th, 2011, 06:03 AM
  #50  
 
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I read about the gites in this forum. LOVED everyone we stayed in, each different, but all very nice. This is such a helpful website.
Nlingenfel is offline  
Sep 18th, 2011, 06:17 AM
  #51  
 
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"The main problem we find is that sometimes the info is limited - hardly any photos, is there a full oven [we cook at home more than we eat out], is linen provided, and if not, how much to hire. How do you get around this?"

We always contact the owner directly and ask those very questions. If there is something you specifically need they will usually sort it for you.

Muck
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Sep 18th, 2011, 06:32 AM
  #52  
 
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Wow, such a quick reply. However, we have often found that the gite we wish to know more about does not have an owners website. Where this is available, we always look at this. We have sometimes found it difficult to find out more info. Just our personal experience.
rhon is online now  
Sep 18th, 2011, 07:29 AM
  #53  
 
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we have often found that the gite we wish to know more about does not have an owners website

I recall a gite owner complaining that if one belongs to Gites de France, one may not have an individual web site. That was a few years ago, and the policy may have changed.
Michael is online now  
Sep 18th, 2011, 01:37 PM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
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We have found some on GDF that do have their own website. The link is under the photo. Then it is easier to get info and still book through GDF where payment can be made with credit card.
rhon is online now  
Sep 18th, 2011, 07:05 PM
  #55  
 
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What a great report. Thanks Stu for sharing your wonderful knowledge ot this area
tdk320n is offline  
Sep 28th, 2011, 06:59 AM
  #56  
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Just got back from 2 1/2 weeks in London. We've rented & stayed in 43 different gites. We have 2 new ones reserved for next year, and will reserve a third this week or next. Each department works independently - so some depts have good service & some don't. You either reserve through the dept office, or contact the owner directly. I have never attempted to contact the owner directly for further info about the dept.

In all but 1 of the 43 different gites, there was only 1 occasion where we were not able to rent sheets & towels - we had to purchse them ourselves while in France. This was a brand new gite & new gite owners.

Many of the gites have their won web site.

If there are not any good pictures of the gite on the GDF site or on the owners web site - I won't rent it.

For one of the gites we're renting for next year, we rented through the owner. She said to send a check in US dollars to reserve the gite, and to pay the balance in cash once we get to France.

Stu Dudley
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Sep 28th, 2011, 07:14 AM
  #57  
 
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Great info. Many thanks to Stu and all who contributed.
TDudette is offline  
Sep 28th, 2011, 08:38 AM
  #58  
 
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Thank you Stu. I really hope we have the opportunity to use this someday!
hopingtotravel is offline  
Nov 24th, 2011, 05:33 PM
  #59  
Ian
 
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I am late to the party. Thanks all for the great information.

Stu: I can't find the one you mention in Domme. Can you please email me the name & contact info. cab87 at rogers.com

Many thanks

Ian
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Nov 24th, 2011, 09:12 PM
  #60  
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>>Stu: I can't find the one you mention in Domme. Can you please email me the name & contact info. cab87 at rogers.com<<

Sorry - I don't divulge detailed info about specific gites. It is getting harder & harder to rent them every year because more people outside of France/Europe are discovering them.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  

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