Where to go on vacation this summer and on which site to book

This summer, the French will be able to go on vacation! But between the hundreds of rental announcements and attractive stay offers, it's difficult to know on which site to book your holidays in France safely. Here are our tips for choosing your stay in France and the best vacation booking sites:

The French will be able to go on vacation to France in July-August: after two months of confinement, the Prime Minister's announcement is a sign of rush on the reservation sites!
The revival of the tourism sector has become the priority, good news also for all holidaymakers who already dream of a view of the azure and the gîte in the back country!
It remains to be determined where to go on vacation this summer, and on which booking site to choose your rental …

In the midst of announcements of lodgings and offers of stays by the thousands, how do you know on which site to book your holidays safely?
At a private individual, in a club, gite, apartment, hotel? All inclusive or independent?
Here are our tips and the best vacation booking sites that we trust, provided you pay attention to scams and good deals that are not!

Where to go to France this summer?

If you want to book your vacation, it is better to bet on quiet and less frequented regions for this summer, because “localized restrictions ” have not yet been specified by the government.

Restrictive measures are likely to be maintained for tourist places with a high attendance and coastal regions (beaches near Saint Tropez, French Riviera, Costa Brava, Corsica, big cities, etc.)

Fortunately, France has an incredible cultural heritage and a diversity of regions that are often forgotten, this is an opportunity to discover our country!

Our favorite destinations:

– The sunny valleys of the Occitanie region (Tarn, Causses du Quercy National Park, Aveyron…)
– Mountain hikes (Alps, central massif, black mountain, Pyrenees)
– The hinterland of Provence (Luberon, Aix en Provence)
– The castles of the Loire

Summer holidays 2020: explore France, explore secret regions, and be surprised!

Locasun: discovering the regions

Locasun is a travel agency specializing in vacation rentals and campsites since 2001, and now has more than 120,000 offers for stays. Its objective: to facilitate the connection of accommodation providers and holidaymakers, and to guarantee quality places at the best price.

> Characteristics : the search tool for Locasun allows you to select the type of accommodation and the topics you are looking for. The distinction by “experience”De vacances makes the site intuitive and the results refined. From small ports on the French side to the vineyards of the Tarn, France has varied horizons and a rich heritage. House, villa, gîte, room, hotel, club, center, mobile home, tent or bungalow, there is something for everyone.

> Prices and cancellation conditions: The administration fees are 20 € (15 € in case of online payment by credit card.) For all cancellations, send a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt or an email. The cancellation date taken into account is the one on which Locasun is informed of the request:

  • More than 60 days before arrival, reimbursement of 70% of the total amount
  • Between 59 and 35 days before arrival, reimbursement of 50% of the total amount
  • Less than 35 days before arrival, no refund

> Why do we like it? The themes offered by the site make it easy to find the offers that best meet expectations and the filter by "type of accommodation" and number of nights is practical. It is the ideal site if you are looking for a spacious gite with swimming pool (heated or not!)

> Find a rental on Locasun

Booking: the full range of last minute reservations

Booking is one of the world leaders in the tourism sector, and offers a wide range of accommodation reservations.

> Characteristics : the types of housing on Booking are very varied, and adapted to local traditions. Most classic (hotel, apartment, villa, chalet, aparthotel, luxury campsite, holiday hostel, gite, guest house) to the most original (riads, homestay, boat, mobile home), authentic or luxurious.
Booking is THE site for instant last minute reservations. It also offers flight and car rental offers through partner sites.

> Prices and cancellation conditions: each establishment manages the cancellation conditions and the costs in the event of cancellation. Booking is to be clear, and almost all announcements allow free cancellation, even a few nights before the arrival date.

> Why do we like it? Booking updates ad prices in real time by comparing with what is usually practiced over the same period (avg for the same number of pers. and nights). This allows you to see the most attractive offers at a glance.

> Find a reservation on Booking for this summer

Abritel: leader in holiday bookings

Abritel, the number 1 platform for booking holiday rentals, belongs to the HomeAway group, which is present worldwide. This site puts the owners of holiday accommodation and real estate agencies in touch with holidaymakers. With nearly a million vacation rental listings in 190 countries, Abritel provides the "experience" of unforgettable vacation experiences.

> Features: The Abritel site relies on advice and a feeling of confidence. Like its competitor Airbnb, it is possible to consult the opinions of travelers, to verify the identity of the owner and to consult at a glance all the rental services. The site offers a "travel diary" tool ", with which you can save places or cities, and thus plan your stay from A to Z. At the reservation level, it can be instantaneous or with the owner's approval, after discussion by private messaging. The accommodation is by category: villa, gîte, cabin, chalet, apartment, center …

> Prices and cancellation conditions : owners can choose several options. The most flexible mode of cancellation allows travelers to be reimbursed 100% in case of cancellation at least 14 days before the start of the stay.
Canceled reservations at least 7 days before the start of the stay can be reimbursed up to 50%.

> Why do we like it? The advice of destinations and the variety of regions represented allow you to discover places often forgotten by holidaymakers. The travel diary allows you to save the location identified and organize your vacation (especially if you are doing several stages of travel)

> Find your vacation rental on Abritel

Pierre & Vacances: family-style "holiday experiences"

The French group Pierre & Vacances has existed since 1967: it remains the flagship group of holiday villages and tourist residences. Based on the “experience” aspect and the authenticity of its centers, it has nearly 50,000 apartments and houses, in nearly 300 sites in Europe.

> Characteristics : the site offers a large choice of different accommodation and services included. From the home page, the traveler can choose the type of place desired: residence, campsite, holiday village, premium places, aparthotels and private lodgings (via the Maeva site)

> Prices and cancellation conditions : Pierre & Vacances regularly offers discounts and low-price offers, as well as low season rates. Given the situation linked to the covid-19 epidemic, big discounts are already online. The group has set flexible conditions for all reservations between June 5 and August 31, 2020: Cancellation will be free and unconditional in France until 3 days before arrival from June 5 to July 31 and up to 8 days before arrival from August 1 to August 25.

> Why do we like it? Favorite for all inclusive stays, the group's villages all offer a children's club with activities, aquatic areas with heated swimming pool and half-board options. Please note, the catering services are closed until July 3, 2020.

> Choose a village on Pierre & Vacances

Center Parcs: outdoor adventures

Center Parc is part of the Pierre & Vacances group, and is a major player in tourism “Surrounded by nature”. The offer is family oriented, and has offered many themed stays since 2015.

> Characteristics : Center Parcs, these are 24 domains in the most beautiful regions of Europe, including 5 in France. The centers are surrounded by nature, in the heart of the forests, or at the foot of the mountain for example.
The concepts of housing range from the most classic to the most unusual: chalets, tree houses, improved campsites, bungalows. Very focused “nature”, The domains offer activities for everyone: climbing, mountain biking, hiking, wave pool, tree climbing, and many services included.

> Prices and cancellation conditions: The prices displayed do not take into account the booking costs (€ 29.50), tourist taxes and optional insurance taken out. In case of cancellation, the membership fees are not refunded. The reimbursement of the reservation varies according to the date of the request:

  • More than 41 days before arrival, reimbursement of € 150 per accommodation per day
  • Between 40 and 21 days before arrival, reimbursement of 70% of the total amount
  • Between 20 and 8 days before arrival, 40% refund of the total amount
  • Less than 7 days before arrival, no refund

> Why do we like it? The centers are guaranteed without a car (left in the center parking lot), you can get there on foot, by bike or in a cart. The areas are accessible, and the prices for stays for the 2020 holidays are already very attractive. Services included : unlimited access to the Aqua Mundo aquatic area, free entertainment, access to spaces for children, indoor and outdoor activities, cleaning at the end of the stay, unlimited access to WiFi. Additional activities are to be booked directly once on the domain.

> Book a 100% natural stay at Center Parcs

Reservation: the criteria for leaving with confidence

  • Compare prices on other similar ads
  • If the advertisement is present on other sites, check that the information is the same
  • Consult the notices left under the ad and on Google Map
  • Opt for cancellation insurance / read carefully the general conditions of sale of the booking site
  • Contact the owner by phone, an oral exchange is always more reassuring!
  • Ask all the necessary questions: services included, additional options, presence of certain equipment (wi-fi, cot, accessible washing machine, bikes, etc.)
  • For payment: check that it is a secure transaction (padlock in the browser bar), with the exact name of the booking site

Mistrust: the elements that should alert you

  • The host offers you a discount if you pay immediately
  • Phone is wrong or never reachable
  • The lessor requires payment on an account based abroad, or on another website
  • Ads between multiple sites are not the same
  • Services included / not included are not precise
  • Cancellation conditions are unclear

Hygiene measures imposed on tourism stakeholders

Tourism stakeholders have received instructions from the government and regional authorities regarding the hygiene measures to be followed.
This is the case for all private owners of lodges and guest rooms for example, who must follow a certain number of strict instructions (distribution of masks, ventilation between customer arrivals, full disinfection of all surfaces, …)
On the side of those involved in tourism and booking sites, guides and information will be sent to the accommodation providers in order to comply with government instructions. The hotel industry prepares for summer so that all those involved in tourism follow the same health charter.

Where to go on vacation in France this summer?

Our favorites destinations: the Occitanie region (Tarn and Ariège), the Atlantic coast (Arcachon basin, the sands of Olonnes) Provence (Camargue) and the central massif (Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Natural Park)

To avoid unpleasant surprises, avoid very touristy places and risk areas. Bet on more isolated and calm places, smaller cities and less touristy, which turn out to be nuggets often forgotten!

What are the criteria to check on the stay offers?

To avoid the pitfalls and be received by a trusted host, you must check, among other things:
– Compare prices on similar ads
– Look at the reviews left under the ad and Google Map
– Read the general conditions of sale of the reservation and cancellation site (see details in our article)
– Contact the owner directly by phone
– Payment: check that it is a secure transaction
– The host offers you a discount if you pay immediately
– The phone indicated is correct and the exchange is fast
– The included services are clear

What are the cancellation and refund conditions for holiday bookings?

Unless otherwise stated, booking sites will apply the usual cancellation conditions this summer.
However, each site has very different conditions:

– In the case of independent owners, the cancellation conditions are generally set according to the terms of the booking site (see our article), but may vary depending on the ads.

– Holiday centers that offer entire residences and all-inclusive services have much stricter cancellation conditions, such as Center Parc.

What hygiene measures are planned for 2020 vacation rentals?

Tourism stakeholders have received instructions from the government and regional authorities regarding the hygiene measures to be followed.
This is the case for all private owners of lodgings and guesthouses, (distribution of masks, ventilation between customer arrivals, full disinfection of all surfaces, …)

Reservation sites have therefore sent guides to accommodation providers to comply with government instructions. )