Category Archives: Vacation Rentals R’ Us


No, I didn’t forget the “e”.

I’m talking about ParadisFrench style. When Spring springs here in Southern Burgundy, it really springs.

Paradis is my deck here at La Maison des Chaumes at the moment, which is South-facing and with a current temperature of well over 20 degrees Celsius.

I just finished my after-lunch coffee, accompanied by a chapter of an epic novel about Kate – a feisty redhead caught between two very different men – that was kindly bequeathed by one of my recent guests (merci, by the way).

It was a welcome break to my morning of getting bitten on the legs by Clem, and watching her stamp all over my cake pans.

Grape News 15 – Your Doorway to Authentic France

The latest issue of our online newsletter, “The Grape News” about all things Burgundian has been sent out. You can read a copy by clicking here;

If you didn’t receive a link to The Grape News in your email in-box and you think you should have, please let us know at and we’ll make sure you’re on the mailing list.

A Sneak Peek At Grape Trips

If you are on our mailing list you will have already heard about Franck’s first ever “Grape Trip” planned for the week of March 28th to April 4th. If you are interested but these dates don’t work for you, there is also the possibility of organizing other Grape Trips during any week where there is availability at one of our properties between now and July 15th.

On his Grape Trips Franck will be taking guests staying in either La Maison des Deux Clochers or La Maison de la Vieille Vigne on three half-day guided bike rides through the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. The week will also be punctuated with wonderful meals and many delectable surprises such as a very special winetasting in the vineyard below.

This isn’t any vineyard. It is the Premier Cru appellation Clos de la Rougeotte in the famed winemaking village of Volnay.

Our friend Marco (who is the one wearing shorts, I always berate him for not wearing something warmer on his legs when the trois amigos go for their Sunday morning bikes rides) manages the Domaine that has the monopoly for this very wonderful Volnay terroir.

That’s right, Domaine Buffet, Marco’s family Domaine since the 16th Century, is the only one in the world who grows and produces this particular wine.

Franck will take his Grape Trip guests to taste some of this exclusive wine in the vineyard you see in the photos. This is of course where the actual grapes are grown, and Marco will be on hand to give his thoughts and to answer any questions.

See that cherry tree by the stone wall? It is apparently what gives Clos de la Rougeotte its rich and unique flavour of red berries. Marco (not at all biased, of course) says is the very best Volnay in existence.

We’ll be sending out more information about Franck’s Grape Trips in our next Grape News which I’ll be posting here. But if you have any questions before then you can always find my email address at

La Maison des Chaumes – LIVE!

In preparation for our move across the pond this July, I am now starting to take bookings for rentals in our house here in Burgundy – La Maison des Chaumes – where much of the fun and frolic recounted on this blog takes place.

The house will be available for rent as of August 1st and I have to say it is a pretty ideal place to stay if you are coming to Burgundy. Hey, it is the place we created for ourselves to stay in when we come to Burgundy; that says it all.

To check out our new La Maison des Chaumes page on our lovely new website, just click on the link below;

The photos are a bit of a motley assortment at the moment as it is very hard to take photos without our personal flotsam and jetsam in the frame. As a consequence there are a lot of family and candid shots, but I figured these gave a pretty accurate idea of what the house is like to live in.

You can always email me any questions you may have, and you can find my email on our website .

Desolée, But No Friendly Asses at Grape Rentals

Merci to Roxanne Black who sent me the below property description that she found when looking for lodgings in Burgundy:

“Gite (7 persons) and B&B (suite of 4 pers) in the borders of Morvan near Beaune and its vineyards. Table d’hotes. An ideal of holidays and romanticism for the amateurs of forests, of lake and waterfalls. Our asses and horses shall welcome you as a friend.

I’m all for giving suberb value to our guests at Grape Rentals, but I draw the line at providing friendly asses.

Authentic France Travel Tip#11: Vacation Rentals, Holiday Lets, Gites, and All That Jazz

Authentic France Travel Tip #11: Vacation Rentals, Holiday Lets, Gites, and All That Jazz

I realized yesterday when debating which tip to highlight this week that I have not yet doled out my most important Authentic France Travel Tip: stay in a vacation rental if at all possible.

Tis true that vacation rentals happen to be our livelihood (or part of it) over here in France, but aside from that our family are also frequent clients of European vacation rentals. Every time we travel we try to stay in a vacation rental if we possibly can because;

1. Being able to shop locally and cook at our temporary “home” saves us a huge amount of money compared to eating out three meals a day.

2. We love being able to have a place to kick back during moments when we simply want to hang out and do nothing – this is especially valuable when travelling with kidlets.

3. We find there’s nothing that gives us the flavour of a new place and a new way of life than living like a local, which is impossible to do when staying in a hotel.

To begin your search for a vacation rental, I recommend first of all asking for recommendations from friends and family. If nothing turns up, then consider searching one or more of the following websites as a starting point;

You can also do a simple Google search for the area you are looking for; type in something like “Burgundy vacation rentals.” Trust me, you will find hours of entertainment / procrastination as a result.

There are all different sorts of vacation rentals. Here’s a rule of thumb, North Americans tend to call them “vacation rentals” or “holiday rentals” like I do, the Brits often refer to them as “Holiday Lets”, and the French generally refer to them as “gites.”

I will give you my rule of thumb when choosing a European vacation rental. First of all, although this is changing somewhat, in my experience vacation rentals owned by North American or British owners tend to be more fully equipped than French owned “gites“. We equip and furnish our vacation rentals based on what we would like to find when we rent a vacation rental ourselves i.e. lovely linens and made up beds, fluffy white towels, DVDs, wireless Internet, a washer and a dryer, an unblocked phone line, a bottle of local wine, and as for me, tons and tons of books to read!

Gites , on the other hand, originally catered to clients who were fellow Europeans and coming by car. Gites were traditionally inexpensive and bare-boned, meaning that guests brought their own bed linens and towels, or paid to rent them on the spot, and wouldn’t expect laundry facilities, nor a phone line.

French gites have evolved quite a bit, and the more luxurious ones often boast just as many bells and whistles as the Anglo-owned ones. However, do be aware that the bare bones ones still exist to cater to a European clientele who is looking for exactly that.

With this in mind, here are the questions I always ask before booking a vacation rental in Europe;

1. Are bed linens and towels provided? If not, how much do they cost to rent?

2. Is there a phone available? If so, is the phone line unblocked?

3. Is wireless Internet access included in the price?

4. Is there a washer AND a dryer (indispensable with kids – I am not spending my vacation in a laundromat!)

5. What is the situation for parking? Is it easily available nearby? Is there an extra cost?

6. Is the kitchen fully equipped (i.e. with pots and pans, a regular sized stove, etc.) to cook meals?

7. What is the security deposit (the large majority of European vacation rentals charge this)? What is the policy for its refund?

Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me directly if you have any further questions (even if you have no intention whatsoever of staying in one of our places). I ever-so-modestly consider myself something of a vacation rental mentor nowadays, and like nothing better than an opportunity to spew forth all the vacation rental-esque knowledge I have stored up over these past eight years.

Happy Hunting!

*”Authentic France Travel Tips” are posted every Tuesday and give ideas for savvy travellers who want to experience the authentic side of France.