Choosing accommodation in France can be tricky. Like really tricky.
In fact, tricky might not be the right word – especially for first time travellers. Downright challenging might be better. Or perhaps even outright difficult.
You see, there are so many choices. Do you opt for a hotel or a short stay apartment? Which part of town should you stay in? Do you go upmarket, or are you better to stretch your vacation budget?
And once you’ve made those choices, then you have to actually make a decision on where to stay. You can’t always rely on the reviews you see online and sometimes accommodation photography can be completely misleading.
This is especially true when it comes to finding the perfect French short stay apartment. The reviews are often very subjective and the photos creative. I know many travellers who have been very disappointed by their choice of holiday apartment. And when this occurs, it generally casts a shadow over their hard earned vacation. Some of them go so far as to find alternative accommodation, which naturally adds to the cost of their stay.
We really like staying in apartments when we are visiting a French village or town for five days or more. (It seems that I can’t go much longer than that without a washing machine). And someone commented recently that Scotty and I are super lucky with our apartment choices. But seriously, luck has very little to do with it. I actually have a strategy that works brilliantly and ensures I always find the perfect French short stay apartment for our needs. And today, I’d like to share that strategy with you.
How To Find A Perfect French Short Stay Apartment
So what’s this strategy I hear you ask? Get active on social media. That’s it. It’s as simple as that.
You see, the accommodation owners who put a whole lot of love and care into their rental apartments tend to document their renovations on blogs, Instagram or Facebook. And I am often there following along. I look on with interest as walls are knocked out, tiles are chosen and decorator items are discovered in local brocantes. I feel like I get to know the properties in a way that a few photos and a couple of reviews can never facilitate. And because the properties are usually a labour of love for their owners, they are maintained to impressive and immaculate standards.
This strategy has led to us staying in three apartments that I can only describe as spectacular. The first was Vicki Archer’s Le Petit Bijou in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Vicki’s book, My French Life was a favourite of mine, and I’d had Le Petit Bijou on my must visit list for a long time, after I’d watched the apartment come to life on her blog. I have to tell you, staying there was definitely worth the wait. We loved every second of our 2015 stay in the appropriately named apartment.
Our second success story came thanks to Catherine who runs the blog Taste of France. I’d followed along as Catherine had documented the renovation two Carcassonne apartments on her blog. I remember telling Scott that if we ever made it to Carcassonne, we would be staying in one of those apartments. And that’s exactly what we did. We stayed in La Suite Barbès, which boasts huge ceilings, ornate mirrors and a floor that needs to be seen to be believed. I’d happily go back for all of those things, and for the cassoulet that you can buy from the butcher just downstairs from the first floor apartment. If you are keen to learn more about Catherine shared so much information on a recent episode of The Franco-Files.
The third of these spectacular apartments is a large and lovely ground floor studio apartment which goes by the name of Châtel Rose. After watching Châtel Rose come to life on Instagram, I reached out to Rosemary, the owner, before she had even started taking bookings. That’s how keen I was to see if the apartment might be ready for guests when we were planning to visit the Loire Valley. Thankfully, it was and it seems likely I made the first booking for this beautiful apartment in Blois.
I’d never heard of Blois before I started following Rosemary but I seriously can’t imagine why you’d stay anywhere else in the Loire Valley. Blois itself has so much to offer. And makes a perfect base for exploring the many châteaux in the Loire region. As for the apartment, Rosemary has thought of everything to make your stay as comfortable as possible. We’ve never encountered an apartment where everything you could ever want for was provided – until we visited Châtel Rose. You can definitely tell that Rosemary travels widely herself. You can find out more about Rosemary, Châtel Rose and the attractions of the Loire Valley here.
Apart from being beautifully appointed, all three of those apartments had the added advantage of being ideally located in their towns. I love being able to duck in and out through the day, whether that be to drop off a bit of shopping or to give our feet a rest.
My social media strategy has also allowed me to discover another French short stay apartment I just love – Casa Lavineira in the French village of La Livinière. The owners Chris and Jackie who we met in France last year, have created a welcoming haven in a picturesque village. We will definitely be checking that one out at some point soon.
And right now, I’m following along with the renovation of two more properties. My friend (and another former guest on The Franco-Files) Graham Welch and his partner are currently creating a cheese-and-wine bar in Belvès in the Dordogne region of France. You can find out more on Graham’s blog, A new life in Lille. It’s very safe to say that we will definitely be frequenting that particular bar once it’s open. And I’m also curiously watching vacation accommodation emerging via the blog At home in Correze. I’m particularly loving Sharon’s vision boards for the various rooms in their project. I’m sure it is going to just lovely when it is finished.
Have you ever found a perfect French short stay apartment via social media? If you have, please take a moment to share the details in the comments section below.
And until next time – au revoir.
Please note: This is an unsolicited post and no compensation has been received from any of the accommodation providers named in this post.