Joli Canard, Dordogne
Tucked away in the hills south of Limoges, this beautiful little place is the very image of a gîte in the south of France. Its rough walls and wonky roof surround a small courtyard where you can sit with the delicious produce of the village boulangerie or the breakfast you arranged with owners Joni and Ross.
Around you is the perfect setting to make you feel like a true Perigordian. Wander among the walnut trees, take in the summer night markets, visit the two local restaurants where you can be almost guaranteed to find no other travellers, and time your life by the ringing of the church bells.
La Borde Basse, Lot
This has to be one of the best gîtes in the south of France if you’re looking for a family adventure. It’s got a pool and games room for those times when you’d rather have a day in but need to keep the kids entertained and there’s a beautiful terrace that looks out over the hills, for a spectacular backdrop to mealtimes.
When you do venture out, the extraordinary village of Rocamadour, the second most-visited site of pilgrimage in all of France, sits perched on the edge of a ravine nearby. On the way there, try something different with a boat trip on the underground river in the Gouffre de Padirac caves.
Le Fournil, Brittany
A gorgeous little gite in Brittany that lets you disappear into the countryside and while away a few days among the deer, kingfishers, bats owls and wild boar that call the area home. The décor is rustic but stylish and the gardens are a haven of peace.
There are some stunning sights around, from Fougeres and Mont St Michel to the walled city of Saint Malo, but the beauty of being here is the chance to take long walks, idle over coffee in sleepy Trans-la-Forêt and sample the famous local cheeses and ciders.
La Daby, Var
Two sloping-roofed cottages on a hillside, linked by paths through the trees, put a cool white-walled spin on the classic French Gîte. The spaces are clear and calming, stuffed with books for lazy afternoons reading on the sofa or on the woodland platform outside.
There are some wonderful restaurants nearby if the chefs fancy a night off and the coast isn’t far off either, so you can spend the day at the beach and then wander down the hill for wood-fired pizza or some great local specialties.
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Experience simple country charm and a feeling of timeless beauty in the cool stone walls, kitchen gardens and tiled roofs of a classic French gite.
Romantic French gites
France wrote the book on romantic places to stay. Wander through vineyards or countryside as the sun sets on your private romantic gite.
What is a gîte?
For some, the word gîte conjours a slightly hazy image. It’s definitely a self-catering thing in France, it has an air of simplicity to it, perhaps, but what does it really mean?