French Gîtes: 2011
The French countryside is particularly easy to enjoy when bathing in the hospitality of a rural farmhouse. What is your experience staying at gîtes in rural France? What is your favorite and why? Please include the REGION in the subject line.
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Avoid the Domaine Mas Auroux, languedoc-roussillon
I have had so many wonderful experiences staying in gites in the region of Languedoc. Unfortunately I have to advise not to stay at this one! We rented the entire mas for our wedding and although it was a fabulous weekend it was tainted by the owner of the domaine, Fabrice Baur. He was inclined to tell us one thing then do another. For example, he told us he wouldn't be there for the weekend we rented, as it turns out he lives on location (half the time with his kids). The day after the wedding we found Fabrice and his kids playing amongst broken glass in the wedding salon that we had paid extra for.
He advertises the place as a 5 star but it's far from it, it reeks of bad DIY. Nails protruding out of walls, doors that don't shut etc, the entire 'tree house' looks like something I would make (not a complement). A guest of ours found her kid playing with a giant piece of rusted metal which was in the children's playground.
The location is absolutely amazing, the stone gites themselves are also incredible. A real shame that he has clearly cut corners and tells tall tales. He was also deceiving with the rates that are advertised on his website, so be warned.
Anyway, I love the languedoc-roussillon (that's why I moved here) and I can't recommend the region highly enough (especially the Parc National des Cévennes).
The location is absolutely amazing, the stone gites themselves are also incredible. A real shame that he has clearly cut corners and tells tall tales. Be warned of his internet rates also. One week for him is not Monday to Sunday as one would expect. He charges Monday to Friday then you must add the weekend rate on top... A little deceiving if you ask me.
Anyway, love the languedoc-roussillon (that's why I moved here) and I can't recommend highly enough the region (especially the Parc National des Cévennes).
Montpellier, France Mon 11/14/2011
Paris hotel. What a disappointment the Hotel Leveque in Rue Cler was. Really run down, dark, peeling paint, just a sub-par hotel with a not-very friendly staff. It was our first stay on our journey and not the best start. I understand it is meant to be semi-low budget but too low for our taste. Lots of negative comments about this hotel on the internet!
bloomington, mn USA Thu 11/10/2011
We stayed at the Relais de L'Aure and were so pleased. Rene treated us like family, picked us up at the train station, helped us rent a car and gave great restaurant advice. Very nice and quiet.
Costa Mesa, CA USA Mon 09/12/2011
Loire Valley B&B
Just returned from our first visit to France and wanted to recommend La Pillebourdiere as an excellent choice for lodging. Located in small village between Chenenceau and Chambord--a good base for visiting many chateaus. Hosts Sue and Edouard Noverraz could not have been more welcoming and helpful. Rooms were large, comfortable and tastefully appointed. Great place to stay. www.lapillebourdiere.fr
Carmel, In USA Thu 09/08/2011
Normandy B&B - near Bayeux
Just came back from 2 weeks in France. We stayed two wonderful nights at La Ferme du Pressoir near Villers-Bocage in Normandy. Fantastic place - gorgeous farm, amazing breakfast and wonderful Odile (the proprietress). It was recommended by Rick Steves - and it was perfect. Highly recommend it!
Boston, MA USA Wed 08/24/2011
Cranky Chambre D'Hote Owner in Amboise
I would like to warn people traveling to Amboise in the Loire Valley about a Chambre d'Hote in Amboise recommended in Rick Steves France. The name is Le Petit Clos, and the unfortunate event was that even though we called ahead of time in the afternoon to let them know we would be a few minutes after six p.m. when we arrived 1/2 hour late, Mme. Roullet ripped us up one side and down the other, scolding us for making her wait and ridiculing us for our use of time, maps, GPS etc. One comment wasn't enough...she had to keep on haranguing us 'til we realized we would not feel comfortable staying in the 'dog house' at her chambre d'hote. I realize everybody has a bad day once in awhile, but I feel this went far beyond what is acceptable for someone in the hospitality business!
McMinnville, OR USA Thu 08/11/2011
We stayed in the Saule cottage at Les Limornieres in July 2011. Our 3 daughters (ages 11, 13, 13) really enjoyed all the books and toys - trampoline, tether ball, bikes - as well as watching the bunnies and chickens. My husband and I found it the perfect place to relax after 5 days in Paris. We all wished we booked more than 4 nights!
North Vancouver, BC USA Wed 08/03/2011
My introduction to Can Rigall was staring almost straight up a mountain slope at a tiny wind turbine on the tree-lined horizon from the tiny village of Arles-sur-Tech. It was hard to imagine being up there. And I was right; the feeling of being on top of the world when one gets there, cannot be imagined.
I just spent a month attending language school and seeing the sites in the southern region of France. Since my daughter is working at Can Rigall for the summer, I had the privilege of staying a night at this amazing resort. I was struck with the awareness of the ancient and the modern so evident all around. You can be in a stone building of a Catalan farm 300 years ago looking out into a meadow on top of a Pyrenean mountain with a breath-taking view on all sides, but a modern swimming pool and luxurous surroundings bring you back to the present. The food, also, comes from the "old" organic way of growing without pesticides and harmful chemicals but served with the flair of modern day recipes. While I was there, salad included Rose petals harvested from the front garden. I found the staff to be supportive and friendly with the added bonus of speaking French or English. Activity choices are nearby and abundant including hiking trails, local outdoor markets, horseback riding, mountain biking, visiting the Mediterranean Sea within a 40 minute drive, and sightseeing of historic and local interests.
A unique feature of Can Rigall is its emphasis on ecology. It strives to be environmentally friendly; from the use of chemical free cleaning supplies to landscaping with only indigenous flowers and trees. You will see solar panels and, of course, a wind turbine.
Anyone who wants to experience France off-the-beaten-path should consider this hidden treasure and paradise.
Arles-sur-Tech, France Tue 07/26/2011
I stayed at Mas Sainte Antoine, Rognonas, Provence(outside Avignon) for 3 months this past winter and it was great -- highly recommend it - and prices were soooo much lower in the winter!
Taos, NM USA Sat 04/09/2011
Bayeux/Normandy Beaches Gite and B&B
A great place to stay if you're visiting Normandy. We've stayed here twice, for a total of 6 weeks (May 2007 and May 2009).
The Relais de L'Aure has B&B accommodations (several large rooms with private baths) in the main house AND also a very spacious 3-bedroom detached cottage across the courtyard from the main house. The cottage was quite roomy and private. The owners - Rene and Christine - live on-site so are available as needed. They are extremely friendly and accommodating. The cost is quite reasonable - less than a hotel - and about 1 mile - easy walk- from supermarket. About 2 miles to center of Bayeux - with many restaurants and shops. Also a very nice farmers market in Bayeux on Weds and Saturdays.
Their website is: http://www.relaisdelaure.com/
Click on the American/British flag for Englsh version. If you are interested in the detached cottage, click on the upper left "Country Gite".
A couple of good day trips from Bayeux: Honfleur (picturesque harbor with lots of shops and cafes); Balleroy Chateau & Hot Air Balloon Museum (owned by the late Malcolm Forbes); & city of St Lo (has an excellent art museum).
There's a Hertz car rental in a gas station closeby - about 1.25 mi walk - or maybe you can catch a ride from Rene.
Terry & George
Austin, TX USA Thu 02/17/2011