The focus of the Travel-Quest site is on activity and special interest holidays, our accommodation sections are there to help you find all types of accommodation to complete your activity holiday when it's not provided as part of a package or when you want to create your own DIY activity break. This section looks at self-catering villas in France for this sort of holiday.
Cultural, activity and special interest holidays
France satisfies historical, artistic and architectural interests with its many castles and chateaux, fascinating cities (Paris should be visited at least once in a lifetime), ancient and religious monuments, museums, art galleries and numerous World Heritage Sites.
Nature lovers will enjoy its two main mountain ranges (the Alps and the Pyrenees), its rural landscapes, its islands, beaches, national parks, rivers and canals. While sporty types can indulge in climbing, mountain biking, hiking and winter sports in the mountains; take walking tours in its abundant rolling countryside; fish its many rivers, cycle its extensive network of cycle paths; or play golf on top quality courses such as those at Le Touquet and Hardelot.
More relaxed holidays will involve motor tours, garden visits, wine tasting and enjoying great French food – or simply enjoying the sandy beaches of Northern France or soaking up the sun at a villa in the South.
Self-catering winter sport accommodation in France
With their extensive piste networks, high altitude resorts and reliable snow, it's easy to see why the French Alps are the most popular ski holiday destination for British skiers and boarders.
French resorts offer a lot of self-catering ski accommodation, be it in chalets or apartments. Much of it is excellent, but check the floor area, particularly of older apartments, before you book as some can be small and cramped. Most accommodation is purpose-built and near the slopes, sometimes with direct ski-in/ski-out access, a great plus point. Don't forget the Pyrenees in the South of the country, there's some good skiing to be had there too, and its much less crowded than the Alps. The same winter sports accommodation can often be rented during the rest of the year too, usually at much lower rates, and is ideal for activity holidays like mountain biking, hiking or climbing.
What is a Gite? A gite is a rural property, perhaps a barn conversion or village cottage, that's been converted into a holiday home. The original idea was for inexpensive, no-frills accommodation, but these days gites come in a variety of sizes and a range of qualities. Gites are typically cheaper than hotels or Chateaux. Strictly speaking, to be called a gite, the owner must live nearby so they're on hand to welcome guests and deal with any problems.
Chateaux: a chateau (castle or manor house) is another typically French rental property often let out for self-catering. There are chateaux in all regions of France. Their size makes them ideal for groups; but for smaller rentals you will also occasionally find them divided into smaller lets, perhaps the wing of a building, or converted to apartments.
Special, unique and unusual self-catering in France
Our self-catering search pages list a lot of unique and unusual self-catering properties, ideal for a romantic trip, a special celebration, or just because you fancy trying something different! Properties include things like windmills, watermills, converted chapels, yurts, boats and barges, eco-builds and renovated chateaux. And if you're really taken with the idea, try our dedicated section which includes all types of holiday accommodation, not just the self-catering options.
This sort of accommodation can be great fun! But don't get so carried away with it that you forget possible drawbacks. Consider hazards like steep stairs; low beams; lakes, millponds and rivers – particularly if you're travelling with young children or the elderly. Also possible inconveniences like remote locations or fewer facilities.
For a fast search try our booking engines for self-catering accommodation in France. But we've also got reviews and links to privately owned villas, apartments, cottages and holiday houses that can be booked direct with the owner.