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French Gites in Perpignan, South of France
Sue and Den have two very different holiday gites to rent out in the south of france. Holiday villa in the Languedoc-Roussillon, Pyrenees-Orientales France. Mediterranean Villa in busy

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Great French Gites – Laplechade a cottage in Gascony
Welcome to Laplechade. An exquisite fermette, or small farm house, to rent in the French countryside, with a private swimming pool and sleeping accommodation for up to nine people.

Burgundy gites, self catering holidays in France – Inghams Travel
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Gites, Rentals And Holiday Cottages In France – Booking Directly With The Owners Can Avoid Surprises

Hiring a cottage in the country, in another country, can be a perfect way to ensure a calm and relaxing holiday that is really a break from the hassle of everyday life; and there is no country more suited to this than France.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of families or groups of friends flee the cities or even just the climate of northern Europe, and head for a cottage or a country retreat in the relaxing environment of rural France. Some of them have their own place to go to, but the majority do not. For them, it is a matter of choosing a place that has been recommended to them, or just of taking a chance and booking a country cottage somewhere south of the English Channel, in a place that they hope will turn out to be all that it claims. Yet before booking a gite, it is best to know a little bit about the system, and how to get the best results.

In France, country cottages are commonly referred to as “gites”; the old French word literally means just a place to lie down, and the first French “gites” were more or less just that; fairly basic accommodation, where you cand get a roof over your head for a few nights, for a very reasonable price.

In recent years, with the arrival of second-home owners from other parts of France and Europe – led by the British and the Dutch – the gite concept has gone up-market; and as a result, today there is actually a double market for gites, on the one hand fairly cheap and quite simple rural accommodation, and on the other hand fairly elaborately restored country properties, belonging either to people who have retired to rural France, or to absentee owners who have their property managed by people living locally. There are also of course properties in the middle, reasonably priced but nicely restored and in attractive locations.

To manage and promote gites throughout France, there is a large organisation known as the “Gites de France”, which has about 45,000 properties on its registers, and runs a central booking service. However, contrary to popular belief, the “Gites de France” federation is neither “official” nor an obligatory partner for promoting gites on the market. On the contrary, the federation was condemned by the French Monopolies commission (Conseil de la Concurrence) in March 2006 to a fine of ten thousand euros for “abuse of dominant position” in the market.

Obviously therefore, there are plenty of other ways of finding a gite or country cottage in France, rather than working through the Gites de France – and one of the best ways to do this is to book directly with the owners.

In the age of Internet, where an increasing proportion of gite-owners have their own websites providing detailed information on their properties, booking directly has become far easier and less risky than it once was. Indeed, it might even be fair to say that in most cases booking a gite directly with the owner is liable to be one of the safest and surest ways of ensuring a successful holiday – especially when you have had the opportunity to thoroughly check out the property you have chosen.

Private owners renting out their property directly – be they French, British, Dutch or whatever – often live close by, and have their own personal reputations to defend if there should be a problem. Many, if not most, take pride in ensuring that their visitors get a great welcome, for if not, it is they, they owners, who are in the direct firing line. They have no anonymous travel agency, gites organisation or tour operator to hide behind. Remember, bad news travels much faster than good news, and gite owners have every interest in ensuring that no-one starts spreading bad news about their property.

Booking directly

There is a standard tradition in the world of cottage rentals in France. A deposit, usually between 20% and 40% of the rental cost, is required to secure the booking, and the balance is due either a month or so before arrival or on arrival. There is also a standard damage deposit requirement, called in French "la caution" – though there is no fixed rate. Between 200 and 500 Euros is normal. Usually the visitor must deposit this in the form of a cheque which will not be paid in unless required. In some cases a deposit in cash may be easier.


Few gite owners accept online payment, and those who do, especially if they use online systems, often ask the customer to pay the transaction charges. Some owners will accept cheques in sterling on a UK bank or in Euros on a French bank. When payment is required in Euros, this is no big problem even if – as is probable – you do not have a French chequebook in Euros. European banks have now all adopted the IBAN system, and every bank account in France now has its IBAN number.

Gite owners who do not accept payment in British pounds should be able to provide an IBAN number; it is then a simple matter to instruct your bank to make payment of the required sum to the account indicated. Bank charges on IBAN transfers are low, and even – for transfers between countries in the Euro zone, which includes the Republic of Ireland – normally free.

Most owners will ask visitors to sign a rental contract; this is normal practice, and is generally in the interest of both the owner and the visitor. Clauses in the contract may cover such things as arrival and departure dates, damage liability and cancellation; they may also require the holidaymaker to be personally insured for civil liability – which is something any sensible traveller will have anyway.

There are plenty of ways to find gites directly on the Internet. One is just to key in the word “gites” into Google; another is to go through directories like the Gitelink gites and cottage directory which will lead you directly to individual websites where properties are presented in detail by their owners. Many of the properties in the Gitelink directory are run by British or English-speaking owners; flags in the directory indicate the languages in which they have put up their website.

Whatever part of France you are looking for – or even if you just want to choose an area that is totally unknown to you, you can be sure that there will be plenty of gites or country cottages available. In some areas, such as the Dordogne and Brittany, there is even a glut of properties available to rent, and as long as you are not limited just to the very busiest weeks in August, you should have a good choice. However, France is not limited to just the best known regions of Brittany, the Dordogne and Provence; there are lots of other attractive regions with plenty to offer. What better way to discover them than by booking a gite in the heart of the country, and discovering France from the inside.

By: Alexia Granville

Alexia Granville has lived and worked in France for over twenty years, where she has for a long time lectured on the history and economics of tourism. She has contributed to academic journals on environmental issues and now writes for magazines and websites including the gite and cottage directory.

Seguinet French Holiday and Gites.

At "Seguinet" you can relax and enjoy the enchanting views in a peaceful and natural environment.

The 18th century 16acre estate possesses  many buildings with character built around a large courtyard. There are several outbuildings, among them a water mill with its own canal, a games room, B&B rooms and in the heart of the estate is the beautiful Millers house with breathtaking views of the swimming lake with beach. For those who like to practice golf we also have a 250yard driving range and areas to practice pitching.photo_886.jpg

If you enjoy fishing then Seguinet is the place for you, the estate has many areas to fish, the canal, river, pond  and the trout fishing lake, all are well stocked with trout and many other species of fish, we can even loan you rods to catch a trout for tea.

Thanks to its varied landscapes, the Lot area is a favourite of walkers, riders, cyclists, mountain bikers and canoeists (the Lot-region offers 2,950 km of signposted paths accessible to all of you). Moreover, do not forget all the wine yards, little valleys, the château’s and all the forty picturesque villages.

The "Seguinet" estate is located at the entrance of Saint Front sur Lémance, very close to the Dordogne river and the Lot river, in the south of the well-known French gastronomically area "Perigord". Know for its nuts, sweet chestnuts, truffles, foie gras and other duck-specialties.

From a tourist point of view, it is a very interesting place. On one side, there is the Dordogne river with its most known sites such as the castles, the prehistoric caves and fortresses.

It is a splendid area for walkers, riders and mountain-bikers and for everyone who loves nature. there are the vineyards. Visit the most know vineyards of Bordeaux, such as Saint Emilion, Pomerol, Bergerac etc.

The miller’s house is a detached house at a distance of approximately 80 meters from the main building. In former days, it was the house of the miller. The house is entirely renovated, and comfortably sleeps 5 + cot.

All the rooms are on the ground floor.

You will find a living room with a wood stove and satellite TV and a dining corner.

The good sized kitchen is entirely equipped for your comfort: a cooker (4 hobs with oven), microwave oven, dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator with deep-freezer compartment and other domestic machines.

There are two bedrooms, master bedroom with cast iron double bed with breathtaking views of the lake.  The very large triple bedroom easily sleeps 3. Both bedrooms are fully furnished with wardrobes chest’s of drawers and are tastefully decorated.

A bathroom with shower, toilet and washstand.

The house is equipped with a wood stove and electrical heating.

Outside the house:

The east and south side of the house has a terrace with veranda, at the west side there is a spacious terrace with outdoor furniture and BBQ and views of the fishing lake.