Booking Vacation Accommodations in France: 3 sites that aren't Airbnb!
I heard a rumor that Paris is Airbnb’s #1 market for bookings — and I believe it. There is no shortage of adorable, typically Parisian apartments on Airbnb you can book any time of year, for a pretty decent price. And I love Airbnb for city stays! The quickest way to feel like a local is to live where the locals live, and Airbnb nails that.
But, when venturing out of the city (say, to Provence or Normandy) I like to get off the obvious booking sites to find more unique accommodations — like treehouses in Provence, B&Bs in Burgundy, or stone cottages near St Tropez (I’m not making this stuff up!)
Here’s 3 essential websites that the French use to book their (many, frequent) vacations. Consider these your secret weapon for booking super cool stays outside the city.
1) Gîtes de France (Vacation Homes)
Gitesdefrance.com is great for booking group stays, or extended vacations. “Gîte” roughly translates to “vacation home”, usually in more rural areas of France. The French government introduced the gîte system in the 50s and still oversees it to this day. Hosts need to apply for the "Gîtes de France" label and are granted a star rating (1-5) based on the level of comfort. It’s all very well-regulated, as the French love to do.
Unlike a chambre d’hote (B&B), gîtes are for self-catering travelers. The owners will be nearby to welcome you, but there won’t be anyone on site to bring you breakfast or change your sheets. Which is fine by me if I’m staying somewhere like this hilltop home in Corsica:
2) Chambres d’Hotes (B&Bs)
Chambresdhotes.org is what many of the small-town B&Bs use to advertise & manage their bookings. Here, you can search guest rooms in private homes with a full breakfast provided. The site has been around forever, and is admittedly not very aesthetically-pleasing. But! If you’re traveling to a more remote area of France — like small wine country villages — it’s worth checking out their listings, which usually aren’t on other sites. I found one of my now-favorite chambres d’hôtes is in Essoyes, Champagne on this site.
3) Glamping Hub
If all the most unique Airbnb rentals were on one site, Glamping Hub would be it. The name makes it sound like a backpackers site, and while they do have plenty of yurts and tents for rent around the world, they also have some seriously magical rentals that put the “glam” in glamping, like this cabin in the countryside near Toulouse:
Where have you found incredible accommodations in France? I’d love to hear!