Tips for a successful gite holiday

Many British and French families own a gite, a holiday home they rent out to tourists. There are gites all over France, in the centre of town as well as in the countryside or by the sea, and they come in all sizes, from cosy apartments for couples to rambling houses with space for ten or more guests. There may be a swimming-pool or tennis courts. It’s easy to book gites online here are, first choosing a location then making your selection based on the number of people in your party and the facilities you want.

A self-catering gite holiday gives you the freedom to do whatever you like, whenever you like. Get up early to visit tourist attractions before the crowds arrive, or have a lie in followed by a breakfast of fresh pastries from the local bakery. Do remember, though, that the gite probably belongs to a family who clean it themselves and may live in an adjacent property. Tidy up before you leave and be considerate if arriving late at night or leaving early in the morning - letting the owner know your arrival and departure times will be much appreciated by them.

Some French gites are rather remote, so taking your own car across the Channel makes things easier. Bringing your car will also allow you to carry all the luggage you might need - no worries about airline baggage limits. A ferry crossing is a pleasant, relaxing start to your holiday, and many companies offer deals on gite and ferry packages, making your holiday cheaper. As always, school holiday times are the most expensive for both gites and ferries.

Most gites will provide everything you need, but it is worth checking with the owners that items like towels and bed linen are included. If you are required to bring your own sheets (unlikely, especially if the gite owner is English), bear in mind that most French pillows are either square or a long bolster shape.

Although some gite owners speak little or no English, don’t worry if your French isn’t up to scratch. After making your reservation online you will receive an email in English with directions, arrival and departure times and everything else you need to know. If you encounter problems during your stay, you should be able to convey what’s wrong with the help of Google translate, a phrasebook or dictionary. Remember that a smile and a ‘merci’ goes a long way!

Check our directory of gites across France where you can search for all the facilities you need, and most of all relax and enjoy your next gite holiday.