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Just thought I'd post a line or two about signing up with Gites de France. We had our inspection today, following a week of frantically tracking down the little bits and pieces needed to fulfill their criteria and double cleaning the house top to bottom. Two very nice ladies from the GdF bureau arrived, 45 minutes early, so we slipped into panic mode and tried to lay out a typical breakfast like we knew what we were doing. I'd already filled the coffee machine with water but my wife, thinking I hadn't, filled it again. I could see out of the corner of my eye, while trying to make small talk with the nice ladies, that the machine was about to overflow onto the floor and managed to sidle over and switch it off just in time. Also as they turned up early, I hadn't time to change and was in my "cleaning" clothes which includes a tee shirt with a rather risque slogan on the back. Fortunately it's in english and I don't think the nice ladies understood it. Still, I kept my back to them as much as possible just in case.

After the grand tour of the house the nice ladies said pas problem, tres joli maison etc and graded us with 3 epis. We were over the moon as we thought we'd only get two.

Anyway, the point of this post is to say if anyone is thinking of doing it, if our experience is anything to go by, the process is pretty painless. Despite the nerve racking experience of the inspection being conducted entirely in french. (Our french is not that good but we understood them and vice versa without resorting to the dictionary so it can't be all that bad). The good news also is that because we have joined late in the year, they will only charge us the one-off joining fee this year and not the cotisation annuel. The bad news of course is we won't be in the brochure until 2006, but we will be on the GdF website and have the 3 epis rating which we can use on our advertising material.
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Good luck and well done!

I'm about to contact the Normandy GdF people and was interested to know how long there tends to be between  contact and inspection.  Do you get a list of requirements or is it as general as the GdF brochure you get sent when you make your first enquiry?  That just seems to make general comments like the need for a table, chairs, bedside lamps, but no comment about things like waterproof mattress protectors and shower doors rather than curtains, example breakfasts etc, as I have read on here.  BTW do they actually eat the breakfast or just look at it?


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Hi, we only waited about 10 days for a visit but I guess it depends where you are and how busy they are.

At the first contact at their offices we were given a pack containing the criteria for 3 and 4 epis ratings amongst other things, which went into detail about the house, rooms, equipment, environment, geniality of the hosts etc etc.

Our inspectors looked at and photographed the breakfast! We did offer them a pain au raisin but they gracefully declined. Out of courtesy I suspect, as one of them looked like she was salivating during furtive glances at the fair on offer. They enjoyed the coffee though.

I would think the inspections vary from one region/department to another. For example here in the Creuse the tourist season is a lot shorter than, say, the Dordoigne or Brittany and so the number of B&B's is fewer so GdF seem keen to promote the area more and may be a bit more relaxed about some things. I could be wrong, I'm a new boy and no expert.

I think joining some organisation or other is worthwhile as it opens up other oportunities like advertising at the local tourist office etc.

Anyway good luck with your inspection.

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hi davlin

I was interested in your experience with gdf as   we are in the process of buying an old farm property in lower Normandy which is on the edge of a small town, it has a nice stable, another farmhouse style cottage [needs a lot of work]and some other barns and outbuildings, it also has a good sized attached barn which should provide us with three en suite bedrooms on  the top and a big sitting room at ground level. I have read that its possible to get grants for some of the work when renovating ,did you have any dealings in this regard or anyone else for that matter.

I have also read that some b+b owners find gdf not worth the bother, but everyones situation will be slightly  different  i,m sure ,if anyone has any opinons or thoughts re this whole subject we would like to hear them. good luck


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Well you had it easy then. The stripped two beds and turned the mattresses over to see if there were any stains on the other side. Checked under the beds, removed pillow cases, labels on sheets to see what they were made of, all the draws opened OK and counted the hangers in the wardrobes. As I said they only striped two rooms the other two they left the beds.

They then walked round the garden to see what vegetables we grow and told us that if we do Table D'Hote we have to use our own vegetables where possible. The kitchen had all the pots and pans checked as were all fridges and freezers, they measured the temperatures in both. They then inspected the serviettes to make sure they were clean and told us that they no longer required us to use linen ones for breakfast, only for dinner.

They then went and checked all the knives and forks followed by all the plates, cups, saucers etc for chips. As I said in another post the only thing we got caught out on was not having plastic coated mattress protectors. I did have my revenge by dragging out writing the cheque till they told me my epis rating then said they can have the cheque when they go back and make the beds they had stripped and they did but not as good as we make them.

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[quote]hi davlin I was interested in your experience with gdf as we are in the process of buying an old farm property in lower Normandy which is on the edge of a small town, it has a nice stable, another...[/quote]

No we didn't get involved with the grants. Mainly because I did all the work myself and I believe you need builders/plumbers etc factures and warranties to obtain grants. I may be wrong here and if anyone knows differently let me know.

We decided to go with GdF as it was fairly reasonable at 174 euros for the first years signup plus 159 for the annual cotisation. They let me off the 159 euros as we joined too late in the year for the brochure. You can't buy a lot of advertising for 174 euros these days so we thought it good value. Particularly as our local Office de Tourisme will take our brochures now we are GdF registered. Fees do vary from one departement to another I am told so perhaps others will pay more than we did.

Good luck with your project

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