Authentic French Living

April 7, 2017

France is rich with a culture that penetrates every aspect of the country from gastronomy, to domiciles, to simply the way they live their lives. Their relaxed approach to life warms you as you settle in, taking pleasure in the little things, from the scent of a bakery on an early Sunday morning, to the sound of a popping cork echoing through the neck of a bottle of provincial wine.

An honest way to begin your immersion into this inviting culture is to enjoy a taste of authentic French living in a traditional gîte. These holiday homes give you the freedom of self-catering. So if you find a quiet market selling fresh baguettes, local cheese and ripe grapes, you can buy them with the change in your pocket, head back to your gîte and sit in serenity, feasting on your spoils. The privacy and cosiness that comes from these gîtes is something one can only experience when living authentically Gallic.

These gîtes ensure, just as the French do, that everyone is attended to. When filtering through the 60,000 available gîtes across France, you’ll find anything and everything from quaint establishments on the outskirts of untouched villages, to gîtes with remarkably modern and chic décor. The problem won’t be finding one that you love, it will be choosing from the hundreds that steal your heart.

 

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Let us find but 3 of these, open their doors and take a timid step inside as we look to explore them for ourselves…

Château de Montabert is a breath-taking 1862 manor set deep in the Champagne-Ardennes, recently renovated to accommodate up to 10 guests. The vast garden is beautifully landscaped, boasting an outdoor pool and even an orangery. Naturists will adore this haven, on the doorsteps of the Forest of Orient where dense woodland occasionally breaks to make room for serene lakes. Historians will also thrive here, as it is a short drive from the medieval town of Troyes, where timbered, and often multi-coloured, buildings colour the streets, as if you’ve been transported in time.

The pristine and aesthetic interior is superb. White, mink and shades of grey colour the manor, well lit by the countless tall windows and intricate chandeliers.

Allow the spiral staircase to lead you up to the 5 double rooms, each of which have their own bathroom, outstandingly decorated entirely in marble. The breakfast buffet is served each morning in a vast dining space with a grand piano and number of circular tables, as if each morning may bring a party of aristocrats expecting croissants and a concerto.

 

Pot de Lèbe is our next spot. It appears to be borne directly out of the mind of the brothers Grimm. This enchanting abode lives true to the stereotype of a fairy tale cottage, existing on the outskirts of the bewitching Landes Forest.

The 3 bed cottage is equipped with everything a locked away princess, a scheming witch or a darling bunch of fairies may ever need, from a real wood fire, to a rustic copper bath resting on terracotta tiles. The veranda and terrace both look onto the private outdoor pool and, as the cottage is set in Bordeaux, are perfect for a bottle of the region’s famous wine.

The gîte has a fantastic thatched roof and timbered exterior, the latter of which continues indoors. The walls and windows are lined with this antique woodwork and against the white walls they stand out even stronger. Horse riding, fishing, canoeing and kayaking are all available nearby, making it ideal for adventurists.

 

Though a lot of these French gîtes are in a more traditional design, if you’re looking for something modern, you are still spoilt for choice.

In Nord Pas De Calais you’ll find the unassuming Gîte de Herbes Folles, 2km from the nearest town of Steenwerck. Effortlessly cool yet maintaining a homely atmosphere, luxe grey and oak wood are the dominant colours throughout the establishment. The curved furnishings and lighting, in a modern baroque design, contrast other angular accessories. The exposed brickwork in the kitchen is painted black, instantly bringing this rustic feature into the 21st century.

Breakfast, local produce from the surrounding farms, is included. Enjoy it in the kitchen, admiring the beautiful views, or take it al fresco to the extensive gardens with plush greenery and grey outdoor furniture that remains in keeping with the interior.

Deep in the countryside, there is a hiking trail just steps from the front door, making it ideal if you’re looking for a rejuvenating retreat. However, you could also spend a day discovering the Flemish architecture of Lille or Ypres, both just a short drive from the eclectic hidden getaway.

 

 

All images provided by: gites-de-france.com

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