A gîte, (masculine gender, pronounced IPA|/ʒɪt/) is a French holiday home that is available for rent. Gîtes are usually fully-furnished and equipped for self-catering. Many owners choose to handle their own rentals and you can find these by searching online on the multitude of gite listing sites or by checking with the local tourist information office.

Technically speaking to be called a gîte the owner must live close by in order to provide help, assistance and a warm welcome to guests. Gîtes are generally old farmworkers' cottages or converted outbuildings and barns within the proximity of the owners' principal residence. This type of holiday accommodation is sometimes regarded as 'basic' in terms of facilities, however most gîtes are generally very well kept and a growing number will have excellent facilities such as fully fitted kitchens, en-suite bathrooms, TV, DVD and access to a swimming pool or other sporting activities. The term gîte nowadays encompasses most forms of holiday cottage and even holiday flats or apartments.

The original term Gite means quite simply a form of shelter. Gites today vary from being luxury holiday homes to very very basic apartments. Some Gites don't provide linen as standard, so many gite holiday makers take their linen with them. However many gite owners do include linen or at least the option of linen.

Gîtes are encouraged by the local tourist board and planning authorities as they attract investment and tourism.

All gîte owners are required to ensure that their gites are safe and comply with the necessary rules, regulations and insurance requirements.

Gîte classes

A number of classes of 'gîte' are defined and graded by "Gîtes de France". These are:; "Gîte Rural":Offers self-catering accommodation located in the countryside, by the sea, or in the mountains. The gite is completely self contained with one or more bedrooms, a lounge or dining room, a kitchen and bathroom facilities.;"Chambres d'Hôtes":Bed and Breakfast (B&B) the French way. Stay as a guest in a private home with a full breakfast provided. Some hosts offer "Table d'Hôtes" which provide either full or half-board. If "Table d'Hôtes" is not available there is usually a local restaurant available for evening meals. ;"Gîtes d'Enfants":Holidays for children. During the school holidays host families provide lodging for children of various ages with a wide variety of activities. Children's gîtes are regulated and inspected to ensure a safe and secure environment for each child.;"Gîtes d'Etape":Stopover and holiday getaways off the beaten track for groups of walkers or cyclists. The English equivalent is most probably a youth hostel.;"Chalets-Loisirs":A complex of wooden cottages set in the countryside providing various activities, such as, fishing, horse-riding, archery, cycling.;"Gîte equestre":A staging post for people or groups travelling across France on horseback; or gite offering normal gite facilities, plus stabling for horses

External links

Comments removed and link re-added, see talk page (discussion link above) for more info.

* [http://wikitravel.org/en/France#G.C3.AEtes_de_France Gîtes de France - France - Wikitravel]
* [http://www.simplygites.com Gîtes - France]

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