Explore medieval hilltop villages, hone your French in bustling food markets, cram your bags with smelly cheeses, peppery salami, crusty bread and local wine. Over 20 years ago, Alastair Sawday was spending his time doing exactly that.
What started out as a simple passion for real food, sublime wine and interesting company, grew into a deep desire to preserve the simple life in the hurly burly of the modern world.
And because he wanted to share his finds, those first friendships have grown into a big family of Places to Stay.
Our collection of French holiday gîtes and cottages are a dazzling reflection of our determination to find the people and places (and cheeses) that make France so endearing. Here’s a pick of some of our favourites…
Relax with friends in a southern French coastal home, where cypress trees fringe manicured lawns and the pool gazes on the distant sea.
La Villa at Le Courty, Charente-Maritime
Designed with style and comfort, peaceful, sophisticated and serene with countryside views. And you have your own lovely pool.
Overlooking the vast lagoon of Bages-Sigean, the all-white studio feels calm and serene. Think, dream, paint, write, sail…
Chill out on the rooftop sundeck, snuggle by an open fireplace. Fun for all the family in this relaxed house with garden and watery views.
Refresh in the pool, nibble olives from the market, gaze over Provence. Inside Edwardian English meets classic French. Fabulous for families.
Charming, simple, inviting – a love nest for 2 in a small hilltop Vézénobres. Gaze over Languedoc vistas, splash in the shared pool.
Mas d’Arvieux, Bouches-du-Rhône
Among the very stones of Roman Provence, an easy-going cottage for 2-5; walk, ride, visit Roman treasures, the Pont du Gard, the Camargue…
In one of the sunniest regions in France, a simple, stylish farmhouse in a heaven-sent setting with pool and an apartment for 4.
Gite Regrunel, Lot-et-Garonne
Soak up the peace, enjoy the hill views, sample the vineyards. Families and groups love the open-plan living and outdoor space
Make memories across the channel with our handy new French Gîtes & Holiday Cottages page.