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gite etiquette


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I hope this is the logical place to ask my question even though I don't own any gites!

I have stayed many times in French-owned hotels and chambres d'hotes but never in a French-owned gite.  TBH, I have only ever stayed in 2 gites, both British owned because we were house-hunting and the British immo recommended one and we chanced upon the other when we wanted to use British money to pay.

Now I am off soon to stay with some French friends in a French-owned gite.  I looked at the website and it said that les draps  and les serviettes were extra.  I HAVE heard of taking your own sheets and I don't mind paying for them.

What I want to know is does "les draps" mean what it says literally?  Just sheets, or does the term mean bedding in a more general sense, that is, with a duvet, or blankets and will there be pillows?

I realise I could ask the friends I am going with and indeed I have found a solution in that I shall take my sleeping bag.

I feel a bit embarrassed to ask because we will be doing covoiturage and someone or other amongst the group will be taking me as I don't think anyone trusts my driving (too slow and careful for them![:D])  Now most of them have small cars and I, naturally, don't want to take bedding, towels, pillows etc taking up all the room in someone's boot.  There will be my back-pack, my boots, my sticks, etc and there might be more than 2 persons per car.

Naturally, I will pare down the packing but I am by this time also curious to know what exactly people do about this matter when they stay in these gites that do not provide bedding and towels? 

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Jeez, mint, what sort of gite is this? I admit to LOL when I read your post. Having spent so long reading posts on here and elsewhere by gite customers as well as owners, I had come to assume that these days, any gite which doesn't provide a 42" HDTV in every room, high speed Wifi, jacuzzi bath and a kitchen worthy of Paul Bocuse would be shunned by all but the SDF...and now, here you are, telling me that there are gites who don't even provide sheets and towels, and people use them! ??
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In the past we have taken the sheets, top and bottom and pillow case covers, never bedding, or as wooly suggested, sometimes sleeping bags. Sometimes we take our own pillows too.  Remember that gites could have square pillows or traversins, rather than oblong which are favoured in the UK.

 And we always take our own towels and tea towels too.

These days, I'd probably just pay to have them there.

Incidentally we have had to provide such things in appartment holidays too, the likes of VVF in a club residence.

And last time we were in a french gite with english friends, we had said we would clean it before leaving. Asked a friend to go and get the mop and they assured me that there was nothing to clean the floors. There was, a serpilliere and broom and I had to show friends how to use them as the french do, as I had never seen the like before moving to France.[Www] No wonder they did not realise what they were for.

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Well, here it is:


As I have said, I don't mind paying and I shall take the sleeping bag PLUS silk liner that saw me through the Compostelle.  I was just intrigued as to whether "les draps" would include pillows and a duvet or blankets?

Hey, ho, I am steadying myself for a culture shock[:)]

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I have stayed in French-owned gîtes and paid extra for sheets. I am sure there were pillows, blankets/duvets. Can,t remember about towels and tea towels, but I think I took my own in case those provided were on the thin side.

The thing I most remember was that, although both places were 2- or 3-épis with GdF, they each had showers where there was no longer any way of hooking the shower-rose to the wall. It was a nightmare juggling soap, flannel, shampoo and shower-head. It was just because something was broken - the sort of thing that I would have fixed immediately in the days when I rented out a holiday cottage.

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Ask yourself this question Mint, if you took up the option of paying for them to supply les draps would you still expect to have to bring a quilt and pillows?


The problem arises because there is no explicit way to say bedding in French, I say linge fourni, others say linge de maison, most places round here expect you to bring your own and most French that I know pack their vehicles out with pillows, quilts, towels the whole 9 yards and given the dirty and stained state of what I have seen in the gîtes around here I cannot blame them, the first thing that I would do is to turf it all outside. 

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"the first thing that I would do is to turf it all outside. "

That's OK in the summer, but a bit cold at this time of the year C [:-))]

It sounds like you are going with your walking group Mint? Ours does at least one trip comme ça each year. We missed the last one to Rocamador and it sounded a goodun!

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Thanks all and especially to Chance because, yes, well, if you can't say "bedding", I see how you would say les draps.

No, Jonz, it's not a walking group as such, just a few of us enthusiasts of nordic walking arranging to go away together, take a whole gite between about 10 of us and get out into the mountains.

My neighbours regularly go away with their walking club and I have been invited although not a member of their club but I have always declined as I wouldn't like to go with a whole group of people in a coach.  A day trip maybe but certainly not over a long weekend.  All those French people speaking rapidly and unreservedly all at once for 3 whole days would do my head in, as they say[:-))]  

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Years ago when we had small children and rented gîtes we always had to take linen. I can remember having a suitcase with sheets and towels for four people (plus two non-feather pillows for my daughter and I who have allergies).

The only time we have ever been caught out was with a fly-and-rent holiday (for two) near Cannes which said in the English brochure "linen provided". This seemed sensible for a holiday by air.  When we got there we did indeed have sheets but no towels.  When we complained they gave us one very thin towel for the night and we bought towels the next day. Having to take back home in our one suitcase two wet towels was horrible,  These days I would carry one of the sports towels as sold in Decathlon which take up little room and dry quickly.

Have a good time Mint.

Mrs H

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This is from the web link you gave mint and is quite clear. Sheets and towels are available for hire and I would say, that included with the 'draps' were taille d'oreiller. The rest seems rather expensive really. Years ago we used to rent gites near ski stations and we never had all those extra payments to 'heat' in winter........ should surely be included!


22 €/   et 6 €/jour


Linge de toilette

Location des Draps



10 €





50 € le stére

Ménage en fin de Séjour

85 €  et   / 35 €

Taxe de séjour

(Applicable àpartir de 13 ans)

0.70 €/pers/jour


Electricité depassee 8Kwh/jour

0.08 €/Kwh

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When we stayed at a Scottish man's gite, the cost for one stere of wood was 40 euros.  But when he saw how clean the insert was, he didn't charge us for the wood!  OH was doing nothing more than what he would do at home (previous house) clean out the fire, clean the glass with the wood ash and lay ready for the next use.

Then we stayed at an English woman's gite because the exchange rate was about parity and she gave prices in sterling so we just gave her a UK cheque.  We had our dog but, as is our practice when not staying in our own house, I had a throw for the armchairs and the settee and kept her on a lead until she was in the car for going out.


A few months after we got home, she emailed to say she was going on holiday and would we like to stay in the gite for free and feed her cat whilst she was away.  Alas, the purchase of that house fell through (owner withdrew the property) and we had no reason to go back there.

So, it's not as though I didn't have a good experience the twice we stayed in a gite[:D]

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Mint, most times we've rented a gite we've taken our own sheets, pillowcases etc. that follows one gite where we had nylon sheets and pillowcases - dreadfully sweaty, and not back in the 1980s!

I always take my own pillow, as I need good neck support and some gites have appalling pillows (some hotels too!).

Your trip sounds good fun.

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Thanks for all the tips, everybody!

So, shall get out my sleeping bag on the next warm day and put it out in the sun.  It's not been used since the Compostelle (2010), just washed and put away.  Also my lovely, comfy pillow (I think it's called a funny word like ergonomic and I think recommended to me by Teapot!) and I shall buy one of those towels that dry in a jiffy as recommended by Hereford.

What lovely people you all are, always full of information and helpful tips.  I do hope the forum can carry on despite the drop in the number of posts.

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