Subject: Re: Self-catering in France
Hi Doug We have just booked our August holiday to Southwest France. We have been to France many times (at least 30!)and have stayed in most types of accomodation from rented tents when the children were small and money was tight to mobile homes to very rural gites with few facilities to bed and breakfast (chambres d'hotes)to better quality gites to hotels!Phew! Anyway this year we have gone for a hotel holiday as it costs little more than a decent gite and we are reduced to one 14 year old daughter! Coming from the UK our biggest problem is the ferries/tunnel of course. I could ramble on for hours about short crossings versus longer crossings so I'll just tell you exactly what we have booked and consider good value!

We have booked the whole trip through Brittany Ferries using their The French Collection brochure that you can get from any travel agent - or phone them. Website is:

Having looked at doing this individually I found that it was cheaper to do the whole thing through them. We cross Portsmouth-Caen, overnight hotel in Caen and then drive down to Poitiers for 3 days. This is so we can visit Futoroscope and probably Limoges (dinner service anyone?). Then on to one of our favourite areas - the Gorges du Tarn for 10 days. Dramatic scenery with the gorge itself, cliffs, the river, forests, fabulous medieval villages, wonderful food - and not heaving with tourists. We leave there for an overnight stop in Blois on the Loire before going back to Uk. The price is almost the same as we were going to pay for a gite - and we're quite happy to eat out (and not wash-up!) A couple of years ago we stayed near Souillac on the Lot/Dordogne border and have been to the Ardeche a few times. if you want a rural gite there are thousands on the net - we booked Souillac via the net - just type in 'gites dordogne' for example and up they'll come! of course Brittany Ferries have lots of gites but they do get booked up quickly - as do the ferry crossings especially for weekend sailings. they are very efficient on the phone and its easy to check availability.

I requested a brochure from the French Holiday Service for Midi-Pyrenees region and it arrived in 5 days!

Sally Somerset UK