Staying in France for a holiday can be wonderful. It can be pricey. But it doesnt have to cost you a small fortune. There are some lesser-known and amazing places to stay and enjoy the place and the region.
If you want to stay in a city, you’ll more likely want a hotel, rather than a gite. For the purposes of definition, a gite is loosely defined as a house that you can rent as accommodation for a short period of time, usually a week or 2, typically in a rural location. Usually the house is only occupied by you and your group (friends, family you are with etc). Usually you dont share the same front door as other holiday goers. Sometimes the gite is attached to the land owner’s house or another gite, but you would normally be separated by a wall without joint access.
Your 2 main variables are
- Number of people and
The number of people will dictate the size of the gite. The remoteness will dictate how far into the backend of nowhere you want to be.
Those are essentially your 2 main things to evaluate a gite on.
You may want remoteness because you want to enjoy the peace and quiet. Or you may want the remoteness because you know you’re going to be noisy – or your kids will be. There is a great joy in knowing the kids can scream their heads off, have a crazy-loud boys-own Swallows-and-Amazons outdoor load of fun, making as much noise as they want, yet you dont have to worry about a single neighbour.
If you have noisy, rambunctious kids, remoteness is probably what you want. And need.
Now, there are some really mediocre, bog-standard boring gites around. The ones that have been newly built with near-zero character. Plain walls. Plain inside. Plain outside. Functional. Booooring!
This article isn’t about them.
Let’s look at some of the best gites in France.
This cute gite is one of the small ones, but quaint, based near Chalus in northern Dordogne. If you haven’t got a truck-load of kids this is a sweet retreat, out on a farm.
The Big One
Another fantastic gite in Dordogne is this one, which is on the other end of the size scale…
This one is a whopper. This gite in Dordogne is massive, sat like a king within 26 acres of land, mostly open grassland, plus enough forest trees to make it fun to play in. The house or rather farmhouse is huge. With 5 large bedrooms it can house a LOT of people. The master bedroom upstairs overlooks the stone barn section which is like a giant medieval banquet hall. The stone section is floor-t0-roof double height with the open plan lounge, kitchen and huge dining area, with a central log fire in the middle of it all.
The bedrooms are all large doubles, with 3 out of 5 having ensuite bathrooms. All brand new.
And as well as the size of the building, the land is what really makes this gite special. There is enough space to house your own baseball game. Or football. Or whatever takes your fancy.
Through a small wood is a large lake, more open fields and a forest you can play in.
This one doesn’t hit the ‘remote’ button because it is a collection of 15 chalets together in a wooded area so it is a nice semi-social environment, but with your own space as well. There is a pool and fields you can explore. The chalets are not classy in the traditional sense of the normal French style, but they are very pleasant in the Nordic / New Zealand style, made of Douglas Fir and are bedded into the forest, as you can see from the photo.
Inside they are functional in a pine Ikea Nordic sort of way. These gite chalets are really all about where you are. You’re in the middle of a forest in a beautiful tranquil environment. Expect bike rides and walks out with the kids, playing and mucking about climbing trees.
This gite here has a nice layout in a small hamlet of 12 houses which gives a small and nice community feel. The owners have done a great job in renovating the gite from a tired old cottage into a clean, vibrant holiday location. It has a good abience of relaxation and they organise alternative therapy sessions for extra relaxation.
The Gite Yurts
This little beauty! The owner Sally has done a bold and visionary thing; she and her husband took a 6 acre campsite with 48 closely packed pitches, ripped out the small area hedge divisions, opened it up and installed only 6 luxury yurts. These are the large and semi-permanent tent things in the photo above. They are beautifully equipped. And you have an acre of land and forest all to yourself. They have hit a really nice balance between isolation and social interaction. And because of its style, price, method and location it only attracts likeminded people. If you fancy glamorous camping – glamping – then this might be an option.
Here endeth our first visit into some great gites in France. We look at some more at a later date, but thats all the gites you’re getting for now!