Guides

A day in Besançon

The city of Besançon is the capital of France's Franche-Comte region is a wonderful place to spend a day. Famous for its rich cultural history, the city has plenty of attractions. If you're lucky enough to be staying in one of the rural gites in Franche Comte, make sure you schedule in at least one visit to this beautiful city. The Citadel Start your day in Besançon with a visit to the citadel. Built by the renowned architect Vauban, the city's magnificent 17th Century citadel is one of the most popular tourist attractions in this part of France. The citadel affords superb views over the city and surrounding countryside so ensure to take your camera. Children are well-catere... Read more

An Introduction to Alsace

Alsace is situated on the bank of the River Rhine and lies between the Rhine and the Vosges mountain ranges. Bordered by both Germany and Switzerland, Alsace has a distinctive cultural heritage. The Alsacian dialect is widely spoken in the region and closely resembles Swiss-German. Alsace's German heritage can be seen in the towns and villages of the region. Buildings appear much more German than French and you could be forgiven for forgetting you're actually in France at all. The pretty, half-timbered houses are painted in bright colours and wouldn't look out of place in the Swiss or German towns just over the border. There are many charming gites in Alsace and, like the res... Read more

Wines of Burgundy

Burgundy is often overlooked by British holidaymakers who flock to the south of France but the region has plenty to offer. As well as fantastic natural scenery and great food, Burgundy is an excellent destination for wine-buffs. With a history of wine-producing stretching back around two thousand years, Burgundy continues to produce some of the finest wines in the world. The climate and soil produce a distinctive flavour which is highly prized by wine experts and the region is one of the most terroir-conscious in the whole of France. Burgundy wines tend to be more traditional than produced in other regions of France and many vineyards are family concerns. Most winemakers wel... Read more

Out and about in St Malo

The Brittany port of St Malo is one of the most popular tourist towns in north-west France and is a great place to spend a day or two of your holiday. The historical walled city contains countless beautiful old buildings and picturesque winding streets which are perfect for exploring. If you're staying in one of the charming, rustic gites in Guebernez or one of the other rural areas of Brittany, a day in lively St Malo is the ideal way to incorporate some sightseeing and shopping into your holiday. One of St Malo's main attractions is its spectacular Grand Aquarium . A great day out for adults and children alike, the aquarium is home to sea life from all over the world and... Read more

The Three Best Museums in Pas de Calais

Many holidaymakers simply pass through Pas de Calais on their arrival in France but the region is also home to a wide range of attractions. If you have a day or two to spare at the start of your holiday, why not stop off at a gite Pas de Calais and explore the area? If time is limited, be sure to take in at least one of the following museums: The Louvre-Lens Museum The Louvre-Lens opened in 2012 and was built as part of a scheme which aims to attract more visitors to the town of Lens. The museum building consists of several different galleries stretching out from the main section. There is an impressive collection of art on display, with works dating back to 3,500BC. As wel... Read more

The Spa Towns of Lorraine

The region of Lorraine is often overlooked by British holidaymakers. Located in the north east of France, bordering Germany, Lorraine is an attractive region with lots to offer. Famous for its wonderful spa towns, the area is ideal for a relaxing break. The region's countryside is largely untouched and when it comes to finding the perfect rustic gite Lorraine has plenty to choose from. For a laid-back holiday for two, book into a cosy gite and spend a day or two at a nearby spa town. Each spa town has its own attractions and some have been providing treatments for many hundreds of years. The most recently opened spa is situated in the town of Amnnville where the spa's water i... Read more

An Introduction to the Limousin Region

France's Limousin region makes a great base for exploring the south west of the country. Limousin is bordered by the regions of Poitou-Charentes, Centre, Midi-Pyrrnnes, Aquitaine and Auvergne, meaning there are endless possibilities when it comes to days out and excursions. There are countless rustic gites in Limousin, making this a great spot for a relaxing holiday. Although the region is inland so you won't have access to a beach, some lakes are suitable for swimming and many gites have private swimming pools. The Limousin countryside is characterised by its many hills, valleys, lakes and dense forests. The landscape is especially beautiful in this part of France and much o... Read more

Tips for Shopping at French Food Markets

If you're thinking of taking a self-catering holiday in a French gite, you will probably want to take advantage of the wonderful food markets France is famous for. Most towns will have at least one well-stocked food market. The produce tends to be very fresh, locally produced and very reasonably priced. If you're not used to buying your food at markets, it's worth bearing in mind a few tips to help you get the most from your shopping trips.Arrive earlyThe best produce will sell out quickly and once it's gone, it's gone. Popular markets get very busy, especially during the summer months, so by arriving early you'll be surrounded by a handful of locals rather than huge crowd... Read more

Calvi: The Jewel of Corsica

The Corsican town of Calvi has a long, rich history but today is best known for its excellent food and drink and tourist attractions. If you're looking for traditional rustic gites de France Corsica has plenty to choose from. The size of the island means that it's easy to get around. No matter where you're staying, Calvi will be accessible by either car or public transport and the town is well worth at least one visit during your stay. For the best views in Calvi and possibly in Corsica, a visit to the citadel is a must. Standing on top of a steep hill, the citadel isn't easy to reach but it's worth the effort. Try and avoid walking up the hill in the midday sun if you can as... Read more

Cycling Holidays in the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is a wonderful choice for a cycling holiday. There are trails and paths suitable for all levels of ability, fitness and experienced. From short, lakeside bike rides to whole days cycling over rough terrain, there is something for everyone. If you're traveling light, you can hire bikes for adults and children from many agencies throughout the Loire Valley area. Many Loire Valley gites are situated near to popular cycling routes so if you're lucky enough to be staying in one of these, you can leave the car behind and explore the surrounding areas entirely by bike. The Massif Central mountain range dominates the Loire region and the lower reaches of the mountains... Read more

Holiday Gites and Villas in France - Book Direct

Our guide to choosing a gite in France.
Gite with private pool