When our family heads to France we have done all the preparation work before hand- rented our car (previous blog), packed all the essentials for Mini-Lili (another previous blog) and have booked our accommodation. We often will rent a gîte for 1, 2 or even 3 weeks.
A gîte is a specific type of holiday accommodation. A gîte is a holiday home which is available for rent. Gîtes are usually fully furnished and equipped for self-catering. Many owners choose to handle their own rentals, and one can find these by searching online on the multitude of listing sites or by checking with the local tourist information office.
We have found gîtes on http://www.gite.com/holiday-homes/index.php or http://www.gites.fr/ or just googling an area we want to explore and finding private gîtes to rent.
One of the best things about renting a gîte is the experience it provides. You can meet the neighbours, get into the "pulse" of village life if the gîte is in a small village, attend the local fête in that village or a village close by. But the main reason we love renting a gîte is it allows us to cook like the French! We love going to the markets (another previous blog) and coming back to the gîte with the purchases and trying our hand at cooking like the French. We have many great memories of homemade pizza cooked on the outdoor pizza oven, barbecued duck, roasted chicken, fresh salads and of course serving everything with fresh baguettes.
We have rented gîtes in rural France, in small villages, on farms, with pools, on a vineyard, in a hamlet of 11 people and in every occasion we have come back with amazing memories.