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French house rental suggestions

Queensland Australia
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French house rental suggestions

Having rented houses in all parts of France since the 1970's and just organised this years stay of 12 weeks in Burgundy I came across great differences in the pricing of houses. This year 2012 we are paying 1200 Euros for the 12 weeks, fully inclusive of all services. At the moment 1200 Euros is about 1500 Australian dollars.

I am not saying you can all get such low prices but you should be able to get really nice and clean houses for no more than 200-300 Euros a week. Chateaux will be a little dearer!

I always wander the numerous websites looking at prices and am always amazed at the differences and values. I came across one local site whose prices started at about 1800 dollars a week! And rising to over 2300 dollars a week for quite ordinary houses. And that was the starting price, just for two people, extra people were 200 per person or more on top. If you could afford four weeks at these prices then you might get a 10% discount!

Always shop around!

Our 12 weeks dropped from 175 Euros for one week and zoomed down to 100 Euros a week for the 3 months.

So it pays to look at many sites and spend as long as it takes to get the best price with good value and facillities included.

I have always looked at UK, Australian and USA house rental sites but have never in all my years ever rented anything from one of them. They rarely offer good value for money and often your large deposit is their commision.

A few simple ideas for getting a better deal.

Go onto a French search engine site and type in "location vacances"

and this will bring up numerous suggestions. Don't worry about the French language as most sites have English versions to click on.

A couple of things to look for on a particular house site that you chose is to look closely at the photos shown and the location map at to where the house is located. The French have many good map sites and if you have an address for the house you like then you can type it in and go flying over 'your house' and maybe even see it from the roadside in photo form.

Often where the rental rates are printed there might be a simple little sentence "selon duree degressif" or similar. This simple means they are offering discounts for longer stays. Even three weeks might give you a suprising discount.

Another word is 'arrhes 20%' which means the deposit you must pay on acceptence of the rental. They will give you a bank account in which to pay this into. When you first write mention that you will send the deposit by draft and pay the rest in cash on arrival, the French just love cash money. There will be a "caution" mentioned on the site and that is the security or bond you must pay on arrival. This might be about 100-200 Euros and will be returned the day you leave as long as the house is in the same top condition as when you arrived. A cleaning fee might range from 20-50 Euros.

In Winter or early Spring there might be a charge for wood or a fee for the central heating if oil fired.

May I suggest you chose a particular region of France to explore and and spend your whole visit there and not go racing all over the country trying to do the lot in one hit.

Where it has the name of the owner, and this is why I use French sites, you will be dealing with the actual house owner of the house you might be choosing. They often just pay a single yearly advertising fee to be on the site of about 50 Euros and do not have to pay any high commision fees on every week they rent out.The owners often live next door or in the same village so any on the spot problems can be sorted instantly.

If the owner speaks another language other than French there will be flags or words denoting which.

If you really like the look of a house but the language is only French contact them anyway. They often have friends or children that speak English. Another way is to write out your request for dates and discounts in English and then go to a 'translation' site and turn it into French.

From the French point of view this is a big plus for you because it shows you are trying your French out. When you get there big grins and the waving of arms will cover most situations.

If the owners reply in French then just go to the translation site and reverse it into English.

Once you are offered a discount, don't quibble, either accept or say no thanks this time. Have three or four houses as favourites and pick the best deal.

Know you holiday dates and don't chop and change them once committed.

Once you have booked the house in question, get to know the region you will be in by buying maps and a book or two. On some French maps you can actually see the black dot that represents your house.

That would need to be a 1/25000 scale series type map. A hikers map of which France has hundreds.

Quality Supermarkets and Hypermarkets abound in France and you will never be too far from one of them. If you are lucky your house might be in or near a village with a small supermarket for the always forgotten milk or bread.

Try not to be too gobbed smatched at the quality of food in France and the lower prices of almost everything.

Buy an icebox for the car and simple picnic chairs that fold up and pop in the boot. Allow an amount of money for this and happily leave them at the house or with the lease car when you return it.

If you plan to go to another country in Europe rather than France then all the above can apply just as easily.

MD
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1. Re: French house rental suggestions

Very nice summary, Kenny. I hope you'll post a trip report when you return. Have a great time.

Oakland, California
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2. Re: French house rental suggestions

Some good suggestions. But, I take issue with the costs of a house rental. Granted you get a discount for longer term stays, but, at 100 euros a week, I wonder what you are getting. We just returned from two weeks in a villa outside of Paimpol. The rate was 250 euros per week. This was low season. During high season the rate goes up to 650 per week. That is during August when all of France is on vacation. Still not bad for an attractive 2 bedroom that sleeps 6.

If you have an interest in Brittany, I highly recommend the villas offered by Jean-Pierre and Annie Hegarat. They can be reached at: a.lehegarat@wanadoo.fr.

For more information on their properties google "Coat Frity." In addition to superior lodging, their farm is home to champion Arabian race horses. They also raise vine ripened tomatoes and a tour of the farm greenhouse is not to be missed. Most importantly, they are warm and gracious hosts.

Tampa, Florida
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3. Re: French house rental suggestions

If you tried to rent a house (a REAL house, not a caravan or cabin) for 100E a week in Provence or the Dordogne, the owner would have great difficulty not laughing at you long enough to say no...and it wouldn't be something you'd want to actually stay in.

In over a decade of renting houses (again -- REAL houses) all across France, those numbers are not representative of anything I have ever seen, and certainly not anything I've rented.

***********

Otherwise, you give really good advice...but you need to point out that the properties you're renting for €100 a week aren't *real* houses.

Bedoin, France
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4. Re: French house rental suggestions

I have to agree with Sunshine. And I would include apt. rentals in Provence too.

Destination Expert
for Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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5. Re: French house rental suggestions

I have to agree with Sunshine and toutou - there is NO WAY that you can rent a house, or even an apartment in Provence for 100E per week! Not even in mid-WInter, since the price would factor in the price of heating.

Maybe they are renting out tents ...

I am thinking that you may have mis-read the offer, and it is really 1000E / per week. Please check it out, so you don't get a really surprising credit-card charge.

Queensland Australia
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6. Re: French house rental suggestions

Hate to upset some people but I am talking a real house, never mentioned tents or the like. This one is a two bedroom one. The previous house was 3 bedrooms also costing 100 Euro a week.

And where did I mention Provence?

Knowing how and where to look is the secret.

Oakland, California
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7. Re: French house rental suggestions

Kenny:

Hate to upset you, but, for 100 euros a week, the only houses you will find will be in neighborhoods most would steer clear of.

Berkshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Avignon
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8. Re: French house rental suggestions

Even at the full original price of €175, it's incredibly low; even on Gites de France I've not noticed anything that low.

However, looking at their site in Bourgogne, where the OP is visiting, I noticed a 1-bedroom gite for 2 people on page 2 (didn't go any further!) going from €200 in low season, rising to €330. Quite surprising. I wouldn't want to stay in it, as it's a new development, and I prefer a bit of character. but cheap. But a 2-bedroomed house for €100 per week is astounding.

Maybe the OP will return after the holiday to let us know how it went; obviously an incredible bargain!

Bedoin, France
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9. Re: French house rental suggestions

Kenny - you haven't upset me in the slightest. I am always looking for a bargain.

A few links to these incredible bargains would be most helpful. If you are going to advise people that bargains can be had, and give descriptions of the places you have found, with the prices to boot, links would be great. Otherwise, it is hard to believe you.

You do imply (from my take on your OP) that such bargains can be had all over France, so that is why I made my comment about Provence.

I've lived in Provence for 12 years now - and no, that does NOT make me an expert, however, the only rentals I have seen under 200 euros per week were way back around 2001 and 2002 and even then, the ones I stayed in were FAR from nice.

Either way, enjoy your bargain finds and since you seem to want to share, do give us some links please.

Tampa, Florida
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10. Re: French house rental suggestions

Skeptical poster is skeptical.