France is by far the most popular tourist destination in the world, with almost 80 million visitors each year. Some of those visitors are travelers on a whirlwind tour of Europe who spend two nights in Paris, but those who want to really experience the country stay in one of the many villas in France.
Even before Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence popularized staying in one of the many villas south of
France has available, Brits and other foreigners were
flocking to France for lengthy stays. There are now a
many agencies specializing in luxury villas south of France.
The most popular areas for luxury villas south of France
are Côte d'Azur (the French
Riviera), Provence, and Languedoc Roussillon, but
beautiful properties are available in almost every area
of the country.
Staying in a villa in France can provide a unique glimpse at the rural culture and community life of France. Foreigners who rent or buy one of the many villas in France are generally well received by the surrounding French community. Often, the available residences are in small towns or villages that would otherwise be depopulated by young people moving to big cities. Visiting English or American families ensure that the properties do not become abandoned or poorly maintained.
Such a fate is unlikely for most of the luxury villas south of France is dotted with. Some of the best mansions in the big Côte d'Azur towns cost over $10,000 a night and require a minimum stay of a week or more. Smaller villas south of France are available for a much more reasonable rate, although most require minimum stays of two to fourteen days, especially in the summer months.
For cheap villas in France look to stay in one of the less popular areas — there are not many affordable chateaux in the Loire Valley or cheap five-bedroom villas in Biarritz. Nonetheless, cheap villas in France are sometimes available in the off-season, even in the most popular parts of the country.
If you're interested in looking for villas in France, it's best not to book the first house you see. Cheap villas in France are out there, but it may take some searching. Villas in France are often known as gites, and many French and British newspapers advertise available residences under this name. There are also hundreds of websites and agencies listing villas in France. Choose a company that specializes in the area in which you want to stay and the type of residence that interests you. It is best to visit France before you book a villa, but this is not always possible. Make sure you see lots of photos of the villa and try to call the owners before you book, especially if you have special needs (like disabled access or child-friendly facilities).
Renting a villa in France can be a rewarding and even life-altering experience; many people find themselves looking into buying a French house after spending one summer in France. Life is good when you are staying near a charming French village, relaxing by a pool in a hot French summer, and playing a lazy games of petanque before settling down to a traditional French meal.