The terms "chambre d'hôtes" (or guest house) and "gîte" are often confused, as if they were the same thing.
And the confusion is reinforced by the fact that many owners offer both bed and breakfast and gîtes.
The Guest House
The bed and breakfast is a room in a person's own home, and its main characteristics are
- A breakfast included
- Short stays (from one night)
- A "hotel" service (bed made, no cleaning to do)
- Suitable for couples or small families
- May or may not offer a table d'hôtes
In short, it is what our English friends call a Bed & Breakfast. There are about 60,000 B&Bs in France, but there is no official classification, hence the success of the various "épis", keys, flowers and other reassuring labels.
A gîte, also called seasonal rental or furnished accommodation - which is a lot of names for one reality - is an independent accommodation for people who want to be independent. Among its main differences from a bed and breakfast, the gîte will include :
- A kitchen in addition to bedrooms and bathrooms
- More generally, all the amenities of a holiday home to make you feel at home
- A rental agreement
- A minimum number of nights (generally, a seasonal rental is rented by the week, but often for shorter periods out of season)
- Suitable for families with children or groups of friends
- The owners may or may not live on the premises, welcoming you as friends or as tenants, it depends!
Our British friends call it "self-catering", in other words you are autonomous, which does not prevent you from talking to the owners if you have the opportunity.
There are approximately 100,000 gîtes available for seasonal rental in France.
Furnished tourist accommodation can be approved from 1 to 5 stars by the official classification body in France which is Atout France. Our gîte Dordogne has been awarded 3 stars, and our other two gîtes (which we have not had rated) have strictly the same level of facilities and comfort.