A gite holiday in France refers to self-catering holiday accommodation. The accommodation (the gite) is supplied, but you need to make your own travel arrangements. Normally you will find that gites are located in a rural setting although the term can also be used for self-catering accommodation in towns.
Gites will usually include all the equipment you will need for your holiday. You should check whether bed linen and towels are provided. We provide them as part of the price but many gite owners will ask for an extra payment. You should also check the arrangements for paying for electricity. We also also inlude this in our prices but many gite owners will take a meter reading at the beginning and end of your stay and will ask for a payment to cover used electricity. This can also sometimes be the case for water usage.
A gite can often be a good alternative to a hotel, even for short periods. Our gite is competitively priced so as to be an attractive alternative to hotels in Lavaur.
A gite is usually a typical home of the region, and can be a anything from a small cottage to a farmhouse or even a chateau. Gites are available that sleep any number of people, so are suitable for both smaller and larger groups. Most commonly the term 'villa' is used for more modern properties, although not always.
On a gite holiday you will be staying in a self-contained property, usually with a garden, where you can 'faire comme chez vous' (act as if you were at home). Gites are sometimes independent of other properties, and sometimes form part of a small group of properties at the same location. The owners, sometimes French, sometimes expatriates, will often be English speaking and may also live on the same site as the gite. They will then be on hand to offer invaluable advice about the most interesting things in the region, or to help if any problems arise.
There are several advantages to a gite or self-catering holiday. First, there is the freedom it supplies to do your own thing. No fixed meal times, no need to dress for dinner, eat and drink what you like, and usually you will be closer to the countryside and beauty of France, giving you a better feel for 'the real France'. You can do things at your own pace, travel as far afield as you like, or do nothing at all.
A separate benefit is that a gite will almost always cost less per person than a stay in a hotel. But that doesn't mean you are missing out on luxury
It is usually advisable to book your gite holiday early. Gites are usually available, even at short notice, but the choice of gites available will then be much more restricted. Although there is a chance of a last-minute bargain, it is generally better to choose from the wider range available earlier on - there will be bargains in these also, if you look hard. In general you are advised to try and book a gite for the July - August period by the end of February, if possible.
How to find a gite? In France there are many thousands of gites, and tens if not hundreds of gite listing sites, and the task of choosing one can be a challenge. More so if you are booking late, because many of the enquiries you send will be returned as 'sorry, property already booked'. To avoid this, you can select a property from one of the sites which maintains availability schedules for all the properties.
You can also book gites or self-catering holidays in France through travel agents. These may provide you with some assurance, although you will usually pay a significant amount extra for this assurance.