Gites vs B&Bs – What’s the difference?

Barns in France

A question we often see in discussions around gites is around the key differences between a gite and what we know as a B&B, bed and breakfast.

At face value, the two are similar. Rented accommodation in a given area you can book for one or more nights.

It’s only when you look further that you can see the main differences.

That’s what we’re going to cover today.

What is a gite?

A gite is a cottage or other characterful property you can rent in France. They are most often self-catering with off-site owners. Think holiday cottage and you won’t go far wrong.

For the owner, a gite is a largely hands-off experience while it is rented out. Most of the work happens on changeover day as we have to clean and prepare the gite for the next guests.

During your stay, you will often see very little of the gite owner unless there are opportunities to socialise and you want to spend time with them.

Some gite owners like to be more hands-on. They may offer to show you the local area, recommend places to eat or visit and participate in activities with you. These kind of gite owners usually make their openness known in the advert or early on but will leave the decision to you.

What is a B&B?

A B&B, bed and breakfast offers rooms within the owner’s property or an annex property. These are usually accompanied by breakfast and perhaps an evening meal as an option known as ‘table d’hôte’.

B&B owners are usually onsite and working around the property. They may change your sheets or toiletries daily and they may offer extra services such as shuttle to the airport.

Some B&B owners like to be more hands on and may offer to take you around the town, show you the sights or socialise. This is purely optional but can be a great way to see the area.

Holidays in France

Not that long ago, there was a very definite difference between a gite and B&B. Now the two are much closer and there are crossovers in some of the facilities and services of the two.

Holidays in France are now a much more organic affair with homeowners much more open to going their own way and offering their own version of hospitality.

As long as you choose the right gite and the right host for your needs, you should know exactly what to expect. Most gite owners are experienced enough to leave you alone unless you say otherwise.

Never be afraid to think that the owner will be hovering around waiting for you to invite them to dinner. That almost never happens!

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