Getting Your Gite Ready for Spring: Our Top Tips



Getting Your Gite Ready for Spring: Our Top Tips

The magical Cognac vines are awakening, the grass is shooting up, the cherry trees are in blossom, and thoughts are turning to gite preparation for our main tourist season. Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to ‘giting’, this article could be a handy check-list to prepare your property for the summer rush.

Outdoor jobs

Prioritise all outside jobs and crack on with those as soon as the weather permits. We have found that jobs such as repainting metal gates, posts, metal parasol bases and any metal furniture require an annual ‘touch-up’ and a once-every-two-years full ‘re-do.’ The same goes for wooden shutters, wooden window frames and the staining of wooden fencing and gates. Decking, as ours is in full sun, is an annual job to clean and re-stain. Wooden furniture is again an annual job – we sand and oil every year. Painted walls are generally an annual touch-up and a two-yearly re-do-the-whole-thing, too.

Keeping a list can help you keep track. When it comes to prioritising, stand back and have a good look around to assess what needs doing first – often, it is what is dropping to bits and simply will not last (!) or ask yourself what guests ‘see’ first and what impression do you want to make?

Some other essential outdoor tasks include:


We go to our local garden centre at Aizet, just outside of Aigre 16140 and see Madame Bris at Le Clos Feuri for all our summer bedding. Gite courtyards are brightened with splashes of summer colour. We can often keep geraniums from the previous season, which have over-wintered in our barn and, in total, we generally have over a hundred plants to pot across three gites, two open barns, and a pool area. We water them regularly from our water butts.


Weeding is often a daily task here once the weather warms up. We do all our weeding by hand at our gites to reduce our environmental impact.

Grass cutting

Once you start in Spring, this is a weekly task here in the Charente until the summer sun scorches the grass into submission. We are always looking for ways to reduce this task. We set a section of our games field for wildflowers last year, and we are considering a pétanque pitch. Rewilding a section of your land with some educational notices could be appreciated by guests as well as your local eco-system.

Hedge trimming and tree pollarding

Avoid cutting hedges from March to August, as this is nesting season. Our large boundary hedge to our games field has an annual cut, and so does the hedge bordering the pool. Pollarding must take place when the tree is dormant.

Swimming Pool

When temperatures permit, it’s time to think about your pool. This year, we overwintered without emptying our pool in order to save water. It is a case of fishing out the debris and leaves, vacuuming several times and adjusting the chemicals depending on the readings. The surrounding terrace benefits from a power wash as do the plastic sunbeds.

Inside jobs

We generally begin with a thorough ‘deep clean’ of each property. Cupboards are emptied, and no nook and cranny is left unturned. We also check our inventories and all our equipment. Curtains are washed and changed for summer. Winter quilts are exchanged for summer quilts, and the winter bed throws are washed and stored away.

It is at this time of year that we replace, restock and update. For example, teaspoons seem to have a life of their own – they up and leave unexpectedly! Glasses are counted, and matching sets are replenished, as well as crockery. We buy ours from our local recycling depots for environmental reasons, as we want to reduce our consumption. We keep to themed colours so that mix-and-match works, and it is also easy to distinguish crockery between each gite.

Chopping boards are re-sanded and (food-grade) reoiled, and new batteries are placed in remote controls, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, etc, which are regularly checked in between guest stays, and they are re-checked at this time, too. Again, keeping a list can help.

Some other important indoor jobs to consider include:

Fire Extinguishers

We engage the services of a professional company to perform an annual check and update to our fire extinguishers, which they supply. This can be arranged any time during the year – we prefer it to be done in Spring ahead of the main season.

Annual boiler and electricity checks

It is worth noting that we schedule an annual check of our central heating boiler in our larger gite and of all the electricity and plumbing in each property by a Professional company – we use Sylvestre in Aigre, 16. We schedule our annual check before our winter season as we are open all year round. However, if you open for the summer period only, you may want to schedule yours in Spring?

Major works

We like to identify and budget for this at the end of the year for action the following Spring; then, we can schedule and block off time in the rental calendar. This year, for example, the larger gite was insulated downstairs. Last year, we replaced ovens and hobs in two gites. The year before, the roof was replaced on the Games Barn etc etc

However you decide to organise your Spring clean, remember to be creative – improvements and updates need not cost the earth!

Bon courage!

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Carol, a teacher from Hurworth in Darlington, lives in Charente in South-West France, where she runs La Grue Gites with her family.

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  •  Michele
    2024-05-14 06:05:09
    Thanks Carol! We are embarking on having a rental in the states for traveling nurses. I am excited to decorate it and add nice amenities for their personal use. One day we hope to have a home and gites in France as my family lives there. Appreciate all your tips! Have a wonderful season!!