The Gîtes in France (Gites de France) are private French holiday properties that are available for rent. Gîtes are fully-furnished and equipped for self-catering and there are over fifty-five thousand registered in France. Many owners organise their own rentals and they can be found via online searches or by checking with the tourist information office in the area that you wish to stay.
The gite owner often lives close to the accommodation to provide help, assistance and a warm welcome to guests although this is beginning to change in France with many property companies organising this for the owners. Gîtes are commonly farm workers’ cottages or converted barns and outbuildings that have changed use over the years.
This type of holiday accommodation traditionally had basic facilities, but most gites are now well maintained and have excellent facilities such as fully fitted kitchens, en-suite bathrooms, televisions and access to a swimming pool or other facilities. The term ‘gite’ is increasingly used for most forms of holiday cottage and even holiday flats or apartments are referred to as gites.
All gite owners are required to ensure that their accommodation complies with the necessary rules, regulations and insurance requirements and are encouraged by the local tourist board and planning authorities as they attract investment and tourism. This type of accommodation are normally varied in their location and provide a welcome alternative for a French campsite or hotel.
Gites can be classified in the following way as graded by the Gites de France organisation: Gîte Rural – are self-catering accommodation in the countryside, by the sea, or in the mountains. It is completely self contained with one or more bedrooms, a lounge or dining room and with kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Chambres d'Hôtes – These are French bed and breakfast accommodation where you are a guest in a private home. Some hosts offer Table d'Hôtes which provide either full or half-board although there are often restaurants in close proximity if this service is not offered.
Gîtes d'Enfants – These are holidays for children that are offered by families during the school holidays where host families provide lodging for children of various ages with a wide variety of activities and they are regulated by the government.
Gîtes d'Etape – These provide stopover and holiday getaways off the beaten track for groups of walkers or cyclists similar to our youth hostel.
Chalets-Loisirs – These are wooden cottages or cabins set in the countryside offering various outdoor activities, such as, fishing, cycling and horse-riding.
A travel writer and internet marketer, Robert has travelled extensively in the Alps, has stayed at Gites in France
and has visited many French Chalets