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Gites de France

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We are making plans to turn our house into a Chambre d'hote. We have received the information through from Gites de France, and are trying to decide whether to sign up with them or go completely independently. We understand that they have certain criteria that you must confirm to etc.

Can anyone advise from experience the pros and cons regarding Gites de France.

Many Thanks
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LAST EDITED ON 28-Aug-03 AT 03:23 PM (GMT)

I don't have any first-hand experience but I do know that they set the prices. Every other chambre d'hotes around here is with gites de France and is at least 10 euros a night cheaper than us and we have still managed to be pretty much booked up since we started in July.

Gites de France also insist that you speak fluent French and that if you serve evening meals they must be regional specialities.

We stayed with a French couple in the Loire in June who have been running a chambres d'hotes for the last 14 years. The lady has actually been on the local Board of Gites de France but next year they intend to go independant. They feel that Gites de France have lost the plot a bit and have forgotten who is supposed to be working for whom. ie they are becoming very demanding in what they expect their clients to provide.

She said they were happier to be in a couple of other publications, ie Alistair Sawday and FLeurs du Soleil.

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Having read the rest of the replies I though I would add my bit.

We arrived in France last October, took ownership of our house in January, had the builders in for 4 weeks and opened in May with two out of three chambers up and running.

I decided to do a bit of research on advertising and because when we were house hunting we stayed in a Gite de France registered B&B thought I would look here first. Our local office is in Carcassonne and I sent them a e-mail in both English and French, part of which explained I didn't speak much French if any. The reply was that (roughly) "If you don't speak fluent French we are not interested" end of subject. It took 3 weeks to get a reply.

During the 3 weeks I went on the GDF and Fleur de Soleil website. The latter had approached us as they had found our (rather poorly put together at the time) website. I selected 10 advertisers from each website taking care not to solicite ones in my area so i would not be in conflict with them. To cut it short 8 GTF members gave various reasons for not continuing their membership. Seven Fleur de Soleil members also were not going to renew.

The main reasons were lack of support and mainly lack of clients and none of them had recouped there initial advertising costs which after all is the real reason you join.

Me, well I pay to be on one site and have been poached by others who advertise me (without asking) free of charge. I always come within the first 1 to 4 pages of any search engine. By far the best form of gaining clients has been my 'panels' or road signs the cost of which I have had back plus more. Bookings, well we are booked till end of November. We don't take children under 25 but we take anybody else for 1 to 14 days. We have been so busy that for one weekend we actually put our 'Complet' sign up just to have a couple of days to ourselves.

Final word, don't take my word (or anyone elses for that matter) do some market research of your own. Have a look at the sites and give people a call, don't be shy I only had one person who wouldn't talk to me and that was because they were really p*ssed off with one of the above agencies.

Anyway, I wish you the very best of luck in your new venture and enjoy.




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  • 5 months later...
Some time has passed since this posting was made and everyone has moved on as it were. I for one have spent most of the winter sorting my B&B out ready for the coming season and in doing so learn't so much including a bit of humility and manners.
Looking back on some of my postings in this thread I now see I was very rude and thought I knew it all which I didn't then and I still don't now (but I know a tiny bit more).

So Miki please accept this as a public appology for my rudeness.


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