Welcome back again to the 3rd part of why I think you should take a self-catering gîte holiday, and not just any self-catering holiday, but one here at Lou Messugo on the Côte d’Azur. If you haven’t already read Parts 1 and 2, where I talked about the large amounts of outdoor and indoor space available and the value this provides, I suggest you do by clicking on the links.
Self-catering, is it really a holiday?
Many people I speak to who haven’t taken a self-catering holiday before mention that being on holiday they don’t like the idea of having to cook and clean up. My answer to this is that you are on holiday, there’s no need to slave over complicated meals but make the most of the local markets and speciality shops (as well as supermarkets) which France is so good at. You’ll all know about France’s wonderful boulangeries but do you know about its “traiteurs”? A traiteur literally translated is a caterer but don’t think big events, think everyday meals, think more along the lines of a deli counter.
Most butchers are also traiteurs where you can find freshly prepared meals and dishes varying from salads to lasagna, local specialities and favourites like paëlla. The choice changes daily and everything is made on the premises, these are not packaged ready-meals high in evil additives. In the markets you’ll also find grilled chickens, charcuterie (pork cold cuts), cheese, bread, dips, nibbles etc. Personally I adore going to foreign shops and markets when on holiday, in fact it’s one of the first things I do; it gives you a great insight into what’s important to the local population. Choosing and buying foreign products is never the same chore as doing the weekly shop at home, believe me!
Eating out or eating in
So there really is no need to spend much time cooking if you don’t want to and of course there’s nothing stopping you from eating out. In our local town there are about 10 different restaurants, all walking distance, offering fine French dining, pizza, burgers, bistro-style dining, crêpes, sushi and even Thai food. (And more choice than you could possibly ever need in the surrounding area). What you do get with self-catering however, which to my mind is the crunch factor, is the choice to not have to eat out every meal which particularly with kids makes for a cheaper and often less stressful holiday. You know you can feed your children on food they’ll eat without having to battle the minefield of unfamiliar menus and flavours.
Remember that wine bought in the supermarket is massively cheaper than restaurants meaning either that you can drink superior quality or just plain more – quality or quantity, ideal really! At Lou Messugo we provide a large barbecue which our guests love using, making most of the quiet balmy evenings in the comfort of their own place. The children can run around and play while the adults linger, something not often possible in restaurants. As for clearing up, well there is a dish washer, and it’s a small price to pay for the many advantages of eating in.
The personal touch of hosts on site
So we come to the “personal touch”: let’s look at the benefits of staying in a gîte with hosts on site. We are able to advise on the best places to visit, eat, shop, walk, ski, sail, cycle…whatever. We are a very active family and have lived in the area since 2007 so we know it well. When we arrived we had a toddler, now we have a teenager (not the same child!) which means we’ve covered activities and places to go with pretty much all ages of children. We are bilingual and are happy to help with any language issues whether it’s a simple restaurant, taxi or activity reservation or an emergency situation. We are immediately on hand for any problems should they arise. But despite being around for help, don’t worry we are very discreet. We are here if you want/need us, but won’t impact on your holiday if you don’t. You get all the benefits of holidaying in a private home without any of the inconveniences.
We have travelled plenty with our kids, staying in all sorts of accommodation but preferring by far the self-catering option. We can understand your needs and offer personalised and personal advice from a local perspective. If you have a special occasion to celebrate, just let us know and we’ll make sure it’s memorable (for all the right reasons!) Over the years we’ve had honeymooners, a silver wedding anniversary, 60th, 70th and 80th birthdays and plenty of other important dates. We also know of one baby conceived here!
For plenty of ideas for what to do in the area now that you know more about the gîte itself do have a good look through the blog, especially the categories Provence-Côte d’Azur, Annual Local Events, and Activities, Walks, Beaches & Day Trips. You’ll also find information on my Pinterest boards and Facebook page. I hope I’ve convinced you to get in touch for a quote. We are open all year and have a minimum stay of 3 nights except for July and August when it’s a week, Saturday to Saturday. We sleep up to 4 people but if you want to holiday here in a big group of up to 11 we rent out the whole house (our home) every summer for a few weeks mid July to mid August. But that’s a subject for another post!
What do you think about self-catering gîtes? Come and give us a go!
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