• Villa in the Vines with Pool & Spa
  • French language survival guide

    Posted on 30th November 2015

    French false friends

    Or faux amis in French.  Often, translating from English to French you can have a good stab at what a word may be by trying to use the English one, (ensuring you adopt an Inspector Cluseau-style accent).  However, it’s not always the case. Monnaie :  Not money (argent), but change – as in loose change. Envie : Not envy, but the desire/wish to do something, as in j’ai envie de… Librarie : Not a library (bibliothèque), but a book shop. Location : Not location, but rental, ie location voiture = car rental. Préservatif : This probably requires more care than most.  It absolutely does not mean preservatives.  If you were in a restaurant/shop and tried to politely enquire whether the food contained any préservatifs the response would likely be shock/double take/hysterical laughter….let me explain.  Un préservatif translates as condom!  You have been warned. Why do French people keep wishing you a “bon journey”?  What they are actually saying is, Bonne journée which means have a nice day.  Bon voyage would be have a good journey!    

    French language tips

    Posted on 29th November 2015

    How to get served in a French shop/restaurant!

    So, you wish to attract the attention of the shop worker who is stacking shelves…..and chatting away to a co-worker.  Hmmmm.  Of course in English the best way would be to start with a loud, “Excuse me….”.  However, that would be considered quite rude in France!

    The most practical French language tip you will learn

    Always, always, always start with, “Bonjour”.  To be extra-polite, add in “Monsieur/Madame”.  You can then go on with your request.  The whole excuse-me thing is just superfluous, as “Bonjour” translates as “Sorry to interrupt your little chat but can you serve me please”? If your French is rusty to say the least, forget trying to conjugate tricky sentences.  It is perfectly acceptable to say just (after the “bonjour” of course) “ketchup/bananes/fromage s’il vous plaît”?  When finished a “Merci et bonne journée” will do nicely 🙂 bordeaux vineyards france holiday rental

    France : Life à la crème anglaise…

    Posted on 24th November 2015
    Living in France as an anglaise… Today, sitting in front of my roaring log fire, feeling rather smug with ma vie (my life) when I went to fetch the post.  (Post is delivered to a box at the end of our drive, so a round trip of some 300 metres!  The post box locks with a key, so parcels can be safely locked in.  However, when we moved in several years ago, we quickly figured out that the local population of voleurs (burglars) seem to be on permanent holidays, so the key is left in the lock of the box for our convenience.  Anyway, I digress)… First letter was a request from the world-famous French fonctionnaires (civil servants) requesting that I fill in a long form and furnish them with several attestations (certificates, usually of rights to a particular service).  Any newcomers to France will very quickly hear and learn the word “attestation” as every civil servant in France is specially trained to demand them at every turn.  There is seemingly no limit as to the number of attestations that can be required.  As I am already registered with this particular branch of French government, managed to jump through the administrative hoops without too much effort. Letter 2….hmmm…an invitation (oh really?) to register with a new branch of bureaucracy for the business.  Oh joy.  Not only the prospect of a form of several pages of miniscule writing with vocabulary so obscure that after 8 years here have never heard (nor am likely to again)…..but also the guarantee of another tax bill to follow swiftly on its heels! Still, it’s 18h (or 6 o’clock in normal speak) so a glass of Bordeaux seems to be calling.  Well it would be rude not to…..am just supporting the local economy 😉 wine for dinner!

    Last minute holiday rentals

    Posted on 30th June 2015
    Looking to pick up a last minute holiday rental?  Why not head over to France?  We have a couple of special offer periods still available, including the school summer holidays 2015. bordeaux vineyards france holiday rentalWouldn’t it be fabulous to find a place that was beautifully furnished…..that the OH loved…and the kids adored?   You’ve found it! Your own fabulous villa with a private heated, fenced swimming pool…..and its very own spa!    Just imagine whilst you are relaxing here, the kids are out unicorn hunting amongst the villa’s acres of private grounds or splashing in the pool…dressing up at your holiday accommodation   fenced heated private poolPrices start at just £1199 for a 5 day break in July! £1649 for a week or just £2950 for the last remaining August week.  You better be quick!  Collage spa

    It’s all the little things…

    Posted on 1st April 2015

    Owners Direct France

    owners direct france beautiful gardensHere at Le Verger, we like to take real pride in looking after the property and grounds (usually to the detriment of our own house!)  When you rent a holiday property, it can often be disappointing to find disinterested/unavailable managers, absent (equally disinterested) owners and a general lack of care and investment in the property.  Renting direct from the owners, who live in France, can be a real bonus – including renting at the lowest prices – as you are renting direct without costly middlemen. Every year, we invest heavily in keeping Le Verger bright and fresh, be it replacing rugs, quality hotel bedlinenbedlinen, towels and sofa covers to keep them fabulous and new looking, or bigger items like the new blingy American fridge freezer. Lots of little details can also make a difference:
    • Freshly-planted flowers on the terrace
    • Herb garden for fabulous home-grown flavours
    • Coffee filters ready in the coffee machine for you
    • Salt & pepper pots refilled
    • Rinse aid/salt refilled in the dishwasher (doesn’t that drive you mad, when it isn’t?!) + supply of dishwasher tablets
    • Kitchen roll, cling film, foil, bin bags, spices etc ready in the kitchen
    • Even a loo roll in each bathroom
      tree-lined gravelled driveway Of course, living locally in France, means we can personally oversee the property.  However, don’t think you will be spotting us over the garden fence.  We are out of sight/earshot, giving you total privacy.  (We are often unobtrusively available should an emergency arise). Debs chooses the cotton percale bedlinen (both new and some fabulous antique sheets) and launders it with a passion, along with the super-size fluffy towels.  Let’s face it – nobody wants to be wasting space bringing towels on holiday with them! Richard works hard in the grounds, expertly mowing and strimming and generally tryingbig holiday rental in france to tame nature!   Of course, we try and remain as unobtrusive as possible, and will always aim to mow, wherever possible, when guests are out. We hope when you stay here, you will enjoy the benefit of our efforts.  Bonnes vacances 🙂

    Driving Licence Changes

    Posted on 17th March 2015

    UK Driving Licence Changes

    If you’re planning on hiring a car this summer, make sure you don’t get caught out by the UK driving licence changes.

    Just imagine – you’ve planned the holiday meticulously –  time off work, flights, great accommodation, things to do… only to land and find out that you are unable to hire your booked hire car.  Eek.  Don’t get caught out by the UK’s driving licence changes – read our handy guide. read more

    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.

    Looking for guest blogger for family holidays

    Posted on 6th March 2014

    If you offer a product or service that may be of interest to our guests, then we would love to hear from you for a guest interview / blog.  We are a large luxury gite in France and our guests are discerning families looking to have a fabulous family holiday.

    Maybe you offer travel packs to make the journey easier, or provide temporary nannies ? If you would like to be featured as our guest blogger, then please just drop us a line 🙂