10 October 2011

About the Bouzy gîte

I shouldn't be too negative about the gîte we rented in Bouzy. It's hard not to be negative, however, when you're told in writing that the rental house has wifi for Internet access, only to be told in person that there's no Internet access there and there never has been.
The rental house from the street side

Madame G, the owner, said she couldn't understand why Gîtes de France made the claim that the house had Internet access in the first place. She washed her hands of any responsibility. The Gîtes de France organization in the Marne département sent me an evaluation form to fill out after our stay, and I'm definitely going to send it in.

The house from the courtyard side

It's amazing how people who aren't on the 'net perceive the whole thing. When Madame G. said what she did about there being no Internet, I told her I was disappointed. I might not have rented the gîte if I had known beforehand that we'd be cut off. Her reaction: Well, now you'll be on a real vacation for a few days. I guess she didn't understand that we are all three retired, and that we don't use the Internet as a work tool.

Living room with TV and radio

The day we arrived, Madame G left to go on what she called "a pilgimage." She said she was going to the Pyrenees, so I assume her destination was Lourdes. We never saw her again after that first afternoon. We did see her husband and her son, and they were helpful and accommodating.

The house in Bouzy was not nearly as well equipped with kitchen implements, serving platters, glasses, and dishes as the one in the Perche was back in August. The furniture was flimsier in all the rooms. The shower was not nearly as nice and spacious. And there was only one full bathroom, compared to two in the other house.

La cuisine — the control knobs on the stove had been scrubbed clean
of all markings, so it was impossible to know the temperature of the oven.

The setting was completely different. In the Perche, we were way out in the country. In Bouzy, we could walk around the town and buy bread and champagne. Unfortunately, the grocery store in Bouzy was temporarily closed for remodeling. There was a supermarket in the town of Tours-sur-Marne, seven or eight miles away. If there was an open-air market in Bouzy, we didn't find out about it.

The back end of the courtyard, with garages

Bouzy is not really what I could call a picturesque or charming village. It's a working town, with trucks and tractors rumbling through the narrow streets all day. There's very little greenery in the town. The sounds you hear are loud motors, and of course bottles rattling in big metal crates as they are trucked in to be filled with bubbly wine and then trucked back out.

In October we didn't have the kind of weather that would have
made sitting out in the garden for long periods of time pleasant and relaxing.

It's surprising how agricultural, rural, and working class a town like Bouzy, where some of the most prestigious champagnes are made, can feel. Moët & Chandon, Heidsieck, Mumm, and other big houses have facilities there — they are all warehouses and pressoirs for extracting the juice of grapes grown on the surrounding land. I saw Georges Vesselle, who owns the champagne house closest to Madame G's and sells bottles for high prices in Japan and all over the world, driving down the street on a forklift one morning.

The house we stayed in was over-decorated in a chintzy style. I guess there's no accounting for taste. There were so many artificial flowers and plants inside the house that I had to go outside to check if the flowers in the window boxes and flower beds were actually real. They were. Oh, I should mention the price: 274 euros for four nights, for three people and the dog. Plus a forty euro cleaning fee. For those prices, I guess you can't expect great luxury. Gîtes are really just a step up from camping, but they are also very affordable.


  1. I used to work in Tourist Offices here in France. Some gîte or chambre d'hôtes owners in rural France are finally understanding the interest in providing WiFi and having their own website to promote their rooms. But it's taken a lot of prodding. Many foreign tourists want Internet connection and I sometimes had a hard time finding them that in a room.

  2. Most older people don't understand the "new" necessity of being connected to the world through the Internet [high-speed or dial-up]. Probably, to begin with, they don't understand what is the Internet. Rare are people like my brother who bought his first computer ever at the young age of 89 years old!

  3. CHM, I know you are right, but the Gîtes de France - Marne organization does false advertising. Oh well.

    Meredith, I know that is the reality. Too bad owners don't understand, but it's a minor investment now.

  4. Ken

    That's why I don't use Gîte de France- no way to know whether the gîte is good or not since there are no reviews (or appréciations). I tend to use arbitel.fr or home away.com to look for gîtes and sometimes some customers do call a spade a spade and one tends to exclude such rentals.

    For Paris I use two agencies to compare prices and locations.

  5. Wifi is now the first thing I check on when we're looking for a B&B, but even places that offer it can have problems, which may mean wifi is out for a while, even weeks. Our experience with wifi was spotty this year. In that situation, it's such a thrill when you're finally able to connect.

  6. This sounds awful and will not go on my list of places to visit. I'm glad you at least had good company. We rented a large vacation apartment here. It was spread over four floors with narrow (miniscule), steep, winding staircases that were difficult for two healthy and fit people to negotiate. The landlord listed the place as disability accessible!

  7. I wonder if there would be a market for Gites a step down from Four Seasons quality, versus one step up from camping.

    Would there be clients who pay for the luxury of top amenities and comfort, yet have to cook their own breakfast and meals?

    We rented a Gite for 4 month starting November, the price was just irresistable. I am starting to have doubts now.....

  8. CH, don't have doubts. Be resourceful. That's the secret. I have no regrets about the gîte in Bouzy.

  9. On our trip to Europe this summer, lack of wi-fi in our hotels was our biggest complaint. In Rome and Florence, no access or access at great cost. In Venice, access only on the first floor of the hotel and for only an hour at a time. In Paris, at the Novotel, access only on the lobby level (our rooms were on the 29th floor!). Finally, in London, full wi-fi access from our hotel room. And, of course, when we stayed with you, it was not a problem at all!

    In the US, you often have to pay dearly in a hotel for internet access. I can't understand it when, as you say, it's a relatively inexpensive service to provide.

  10. I am currently in France and have stayed at two gites in Brittany. Both superbly fitted out but neither with Internet access. I found the nearby bar tabac helpful with wifi. My preferred sites for gites are Home Holidays and Chez Nous. Coming from Australia I found them efficient as I had direct access to the owners.

  11. Into each life, some duds must fall.

  12. Well,, at least,now you know which companies to avoid in the future.

  13. All terrific information for my next sojourn to France. I'm impressed with your comment, Ken. I would have been disappointed - but then, who knows? Perhaps there were resources that you didn't mention in your post?

    Mary in Oregon

  14. All terrific information for my next sojourn to France. I'm impressed with your comment, Ken. I would have been disappointed - but then, who knows? Perhaps there were resources that you didn't mention in your post?

    Mary in Oregon


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