Gîtes were at once time a simple place to stay with few amenities for people on a tight budget. These days they can also be decidedly luxurious family destinations with facilities such as swimming pools. In addition to this, there are thousands of them to be found all over the country.
A gîte is basically a small country holiday cottage where the owner usually lives nearby to provide a warm welcome to their guests and accommodate them in the best and most helpful way they can offer.
Gîtes are like annexes, old farm cottages or converted barns on the owner’s land. Although they used to be very basic places with just a place to sleep and tiny bathrooms, most gîtes these days are well looked after and some of them even have full kitchens, en-suite bathrooms and many other home comforts.
Some gîtes have access to a swimming pool and other outdoor activities offering a great opportunity for a fun family holiday.
These days there are certain standards that gite owners have to abide by and the French tourism industry has been encouraging investment into this kind of tourism.
The organization ‘Gîtes de France’ has long since made sure that the quality of this type of accommodation has risen and that they are better equipped and prepared for foreign visitors and investors who have purchased property in France to renovate. It is not likely these days that you will come across a gîte like they used to be.
In addition, gîtes are graded in a number of different classes as ordered by the Gîtes de France, which will help you decide on what sort of place you want to stay in.
Gîte Rural are countryside self-catering places which are completely equipped with at least one bedroom, a lounge and a proper kitchen and bathroom. These are the types of gites that have become particularly good in recent years, and the most popular too.
Gîtes d’Enfants are specially designed for children and are geared towards school holidays and are especially well regulated in offering a safe and enjoyable place you the children to stay.
Gites d’Etape are the basic type and are often geared towards groups of cyclists. They are similar to a youth hostel and not ideal for family holidays.