• Villa in the Vines with Pool & Spa
  • What is there to do in France ?

    Posted on 12th September 2014
    Luxurygite.comPart 1 Thinking of a holiday to France and wondering what there is to do ?  Well, a self-catering holiday in France definitely gives you plenty of freedom to go off and explore.  The Bordeaux/Dordogne region in the South West of France is certainly the place to come to if you are a fan of wine and good food 🙂   There are literally hundreds of chateaux, many who offer free wine-tasting, or some who will even come to the gîte and bring the wine to you !  We know of one local château who do a 7 course meal, or a more informal picnic – so you can eat surrounded by vineyards and of course, wash it all down with some fabulous local Bordeaux wine. This area of France is famed for its fantastic local markets.  In fact, our local market has won the award for being the best market in France 2014.  This is definitely the place to go to if you are wanting the very best of local, fresh produce, or just enjoy a potter about in the sunshine, wandering along the narrow streets admiring the architecture of this old bastide town.  villeneuve market Sticking with the food and wine theme, St Emilion is under half an hour away and really is not to be missed.  The world’s finest châteaux are here, along with wine shops, wine schools and restaurants.  Your wine purchases can be sent home for you, so you don’t have to worry about fitting them in your luggage. Bordeaux is a gorgeous small city.  Very accessible, thanks to its new tram system.  It’s as easy as driving up to one of its Park and Ride car parks, and hopping on a tram into the centre.  All for a bargain price of €3.50, for the car parking and tram tickets for all the car’s occupants.  Lots of shops – both chain (Galeries Lafeyette, H & M etc) and smaller independent boutiques.  Of course there are plenty of pavements cafés, brasseries and restaurants which are just perfect for doing a spot of people-watching.  A personal favourite is Le Grand Café opposite Louis Vuitton 🙂 Part 2 (sports, stuff for children to do etc) coming soon…  

    The French Paradox

    Posted on 29th May 2014
    stressYou’re probably thinking about that whole Mediterranean thing of eating lots of lovely fresh local food, washed down with copious quantities of equally delicious and local wine…but I am referring to the far more prevalent, yet less well-known paradox.  One which the majority of Anglophones seem to have no knowledge of. So, there you are, enjoying the aforementioned long leisurely lunch – the true French lifestyle – that is the envy of the rest of the world.  Imagine, your cooker breaks.  So you phone to arrange a repair and the conversation goes something like this: Him: “Yes, we will contact your local repair centre asap.  However, they have already service non stopclosed for the day today.  They are not open tomorrow as it is a jour ferié (Bank Holiday) & then on Friday they are also closed as they are taking le pont (literally “the bridge”).  It is then the weekend and they never open on Mondays…” True story. Update:  Cooker finally fixed 20th August.  You couldn’t make it up.  Welcome to the French Paradox 🙂

    Bordeaux vineyards

    Posted on 21st May 2014
    Bordeaux vineyards Evening dog walk around the neighbouring vineyards….always struck by their beauty, the tranquility and the quality of the light.

    Moving to France

    Posted on 9th May 2014

    Debs-hubbard-gite-le-verger-main

    Seven years ago, Francophile Debs Hubbard and her husband Richard bought a property in Bordeaux and moved there with their two children. Today they run a luxury gite, offering self-catering holidays for families. We found out what life is really like as an expat gite-owner in France.

    What did you do before you had children?

    Ah, back in the day, when I had time… I’m not quite sure what I did with all that time exactly! Seriously though, I had my children in my 20s, so my career hadn’t really taken off before their arrival. I went to university and then was a full-time army wife, dutifully following my husband around the globe. read more

    Rules of driving in France, part 1

    Posted on 20th March 2014

    Rules of driving in France (part 1)

    Citroen 2 CV france

  • You must drive a Renault, Peugeot or, at a push, Citroën.
  • It must be a hatchback.
  • Silver, white or black are the only acceptable colours.
  • Rules 1 – 3 are excused if you drive a blue 2CV.  What could be more French than that ?
  • Under no circumstances must you drive a blingy German 4×4 (do you want the taxman after you ??)
  • You must give way to the right.  This means that as you happily drive along a road and spot a small road on your rhs – you must stop dead and let this traffic join your road, in front of you. Yes, really.  (It’s called Priorité à droite).
  • However, if you are on a roundabout, give way to the left.
  • No. 7 is a relatively new rule and causes problems with those who were only brought up with No. 6.
  • In bastide towns with a grid-like layout, only ever attempt to drive through once you have mastered No. 6, but also be mindful of No. 8.
  • On narrow country roads, drive roughly in the middle of the road and only swerve, to avoid oncoming traffic, at the last second.
  • Remember to cheerily wave, stop & chat with absolutely everyone you know, however inconvenient this is to other road users.
  • Following on from No. 11, always pause to chat with joggers you may know because they naturally appreciate a little chat mid-way through their run.
  • Picking up stray children and returning them home is the done thing.
  • Road rage is not la norme or de rigueur in provincial France.  A little tolerance and patience goes a long way.  So, if you can’t keep your toys in your pram, please don’t get in your car 🙂
  • read more

    Bordeaux rosé for people on the go

    Posted on
    Thank goodness for that – rosé in cans…was wondering what to put in the kids’ lunchboxes 😉 rosé in cans  

    France & hairdressers

    Posted on 19th March 2014
    So what is a trip to the hairdresser’s like in France, I hear you say…..well, of course, firstly there is the obvious difference of being able to adequately describe what you’d like – and more importantly, don’t want…in French. I find explaining to a hairdresser what I’m hoping for enough of a challenge in English, because what I’d really like is to leave the hairdresser looking about 20 years younger.  (Oh, As I don’t have any hairdressing photos, I am shamelessly adding some lovely random photos of France !) CollageFrance Luckily my coiffeuse knows me well enough now that visits are no longer an ordeal.  In fact, I am coming to the conclusion that my trips to the hairdresser coincide less with a need to have a haircut, and more with the fact I would just really like a guilt-free rest in the middle of the afternoon.  I just love reading the French chav-mags.  They have all the same celebrity rubbish, and it’s all written in a bizarre franglais.  Vast swathes of French are now English – but just said with a French accent.  It’s très chic, you know. Still,  discussions commence regarding layers (dégradé – pronounced ‘day-grad-ay’);  split being an expat in france isn't all sitting by the pool !ends (fourche –  literally ‘forks’);  length (longueur – pronounced ‘long-eeeerrrrr’);  volume (volume – pronounced ‘vol-ooooooom‘‘); and lightness (légèreté  pronounced ‘lay-jair-tay’) – of weight – yes, some of us really do believe that our hair is heavy. Please bear in mind that I love my adopted pays and anything I say is most definitely tongue-in-cheek, particularly if my lovely French neighbours are reading this 😉  However, one thing that I did wish to avoid at all costs was adopting the local hair colour of choice.  This is not just a colour for ladies of a certain age, but is apparently age-indiscriminate.  If you live in South West France you will almost certainly have come across this.  Yes, it’s red.  Not in red as a nice natural shade of auburn, but bright vivid red/orange (think Sharon Osbourne/Rihanna).   Eek.  Fortunately, my hairdresser understands my anxieties, and thus far, I am untouched by the red hair craze.   There is time yet, though….I may still go native…  

    Challenges of being an expat in France

    Posted on 14th March 2014
    Whilst many would like to think that being an expat in France mainly consists of sitting around drinking wine and eating cheebeing an expat in france isn't all sitting by the pool !se, sadly, I can confirm that this isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong – France is a fabulous place to live, but being an expat does have its challenges, and especially when there is a different language thrown in the equation.  In order to speak French well, it is essential that one tries one’s best to mimic Inspector Clouseau.  Think of saying “hamburger” as “am-boorg-eeeeeeerrrrrrrrrr” and you’re starting to get the hang of it.  It is essential that you use your most ridiculous French accent when using automated telephone systems as they won’t understand you otherwise.  Many a time my OH has been collapsed laughing whilst I’m shouting at the phone down my nose and contorting my mouth to make French sounds convincingly. So, if you were to ask most expats as to what is the very best thing about France ?  “The lifestyle” is always a popular answer, followed up with, “Everyone is so laid back and they have 3 hour lunches and spend time with their families.” Of course this leads neatly onto, “What is the worst thing about France ?” this is invariably service non stopanswered with, “Everywhere is always closed as everyone is having 3 hour lunches and spending time with their families.”   We have actually been to restaurants that have been closed for lunch – you couldn’t make it up.  However, this new-fangled concept of being open over the lunch period has finally made it to France and is often proudly displayed (this was spotted at a restaurant in Bordeaux. So that is the real French paradox  😉 Fancy a holiday to France ?  We offer a large (7 bedroom, sleeps 14) country house amongst the vineyards of Bordeaux with its own private heated pool, swim spa and hot tub (and vineyard views, of course).  We’re cheaper than Center Parcs and even a Premier Inn ! (Our high season prices work out about £80 / room / night).  Or maybe think of visiting France this year for an Easter break (from £46 / night / room, based on a 7 night break).
    Family friendly holidays in france

    Self catering holiday home Dordogne, Bordeaux vineyards, France, Aquitaine

    where can I stay near Chateau Rigaud?

    Posted on 11th March 2014
    Where to stay near Chateau Rigaud?  If you are a wedding guest at Chateau Rigaud and looking for accommodation nearby, we can offer a large (7 bedroom) house with private heated pool, swim spa and jacuzzi, large private grounds with vineyard views – and it all is child friendly, too.
    large child friendly self catering accommodation in france

    Child Friendly Villa with Private Pool in South West France, Europe

    If you fancy making the most of your trip to France, we offer flexible stays so you can rent the gite for just a couple of days, a long weekend or by the week. The property is perfect for a group of friends to rent (whether wedding guests or not !) and is just a 15 minute drive (on quiet country roads) from Chateau Rigaud.

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