Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Sweet Gite - Comme a La Maison

So the Paradis family were "vraiment en panne".....with a flight to Europe the next morning  but nowhere to stay. Even though we had been planning our holiday for a full year and had spent a month of Sundays clicking through accommodation listings in Switzerland to find just the right place....Our rental on-lake-amid-vineyards* fell through at the last minute in a very messy way.

So there I was in L.A. in a bit of a panic and where did I turn:  to les Gites de France!**

And miracle of miracles, some things are just meant to be, and I am SO glad of that:  here's what I found in no time flat:

A proper French country gite 40 minutes south of Geneva, complete with it's own.......yes, nain!  And more miracles: fully booked on either side of our arrival time but - for the week of our visit - FREE!!!!!!  Within only hours of my email, we'd had a response from the lovely property owners and the rest is a blissful history.

"Comme a la Maison" is how the gite is called and it is impeccable.  Do go to the website, it will show you more and tidier pictures. 

This gite really is "like home" complete with every convenience you might want but set right in the middle of a farm hamlet i.e., in gorgeous peaceful surroundings.  (And we were welcomed with a wheel of reblochon in the frigo and a jar of insanely delicious homemade apricot jam.)

The Paradis family are longtime gite holiday makers, we have stayed in Gites in Normandy, the Loire, the Herault, on vineyards near Bandol, les Deux-Sevres and dairy farms outside of Paris......(Gites are extremely affordable because they are part of a French government programme to shore up economies in remote places in France and to make vacationing in those places accessible to average people.  Over time some of those places have become less remote, and more popular/expensive but the gites system still provides a competitive, if not always cut-rate, alternative.)

But this might have been the sweetest gite so far (sorry all les Madames Henry of gites past!)  The owners went out of their way to make us welcome and to make sure we enjoyed all the best that the region had to offer during our too short stay.

And this time, instead of staying IN the four a pain (which has twice been the case) we were staying across the street from it.  (And dreaming of....... pizza!  This communal oven is still operational.)

Americans, and some English people, think that I am a bit unreasonably nutty-dingue-folle about France.  But: I am never disappointed when I visit there.  I know that you, proper French people, have a different experience of it but can I just say?

You are so terribly terribly lucky.  (Your countryside: its variety and richness.  Your food, culture, and traditions.  Your holidays, your sense of community and solidarity with each other.  Your civility towards each other, even if sometimes its only a veneer.  Your infrastructure - yes, I mean trains, highways and securite social!)  Nothing in the world is perfect but you have something that comes very close a lot of the time.  Hold on to it, work at keeping at it.  It may seem creaky and old-fashioned and doubtful sometimes to you all, but it is very much worth all your care and pride and fidelity.   

*  If you are planning a holiday in Switzerland/Europe and would like a heads up about the booking agency that let me down, - which I found on the official Swiss Tourism site,  drop me an email and I will fill you in.  I would hate for someone else to have my experience.

**  For an excellent experience I can only recommend the official government-operated Gites de France - recognizable by their mostly green and yellow logo and not the many private imitators.


  1. What a beautiful place. :-) It looks so fresh and light and clean and wonderful. :-)

  2. Une adresse de gîte à retenir et tu as raison, c'est beau la France ;)

  3. aw, happy for you that you found such a relaxing place accompanying all that rolling landscape... i'm late to discover all this, but i'm glad you spent a wonderful time! n♥