Jim & Gail’s Story
Jim and Gail moved to the Charente-Maritime in April 2003. Usual story; they wanted to get out of the rat race in South-East England, and bought a property with a tumble-down wreck attached. Now the wreck is a beautiful gîte, and the couple have the recipe for success with holiday lettings.
The couple escaped the UK, with their two young children, in search of a better lifestyle. It sounds like they’ve found it. Jim and Gail swapped their ‘over-priced’ house in England, and hectic jobs for a small pension and a three-acre property in France. They now live twenty minutes from the stunning sandy beaches of the west coast, an hour from Bordeaux, and an hour from La Rochelle.
But they needed to make ends meet, even if money making takes a back seat in rural France. The gîte attached to their house – the ex-wreck – tops up the pension, and was carefully designed with their guests in mind; “We’ve been coming to France as gîte holidaymakers for the last twenty years, and made sure that all the things that were missing from places we’d stayed in were not missing from our own gîte. We wanted to create a holiday home that we would have liked to have stayed in ourselves. We were also careful to make sure that the guest accommodation is not overlooked by us, and we aren’t overlooked by guests!” Jim and Gail’s own experiences as holidaymakers seem to have been crucial in making their gîte a success.
What do they enjoy most about their new home? “Space and peace!“, enthuses Jim. “It’s very different from the South-East of England. It’s a very agricultural area, and we are surrounded by vines, sunflowers and orchards.” Gail grows her own vegetables now, too, and guests are sometimes treated to gifts of fruit or veg, when there is a glut. “We’ve got loads of raspberries at the moment.”
Jim and Gail, who advertise their property, Les Cerisiers, on the FrenchEntrée Accommodation Database, have already rented out twenty-three weeks this year, which proves they are doing something right. “Yes, the gîte market is saturated, which is good for competition, but if you have a good product, sensibly priced, then it should sell. One of our biggest assets is that the property appeals to both small families and couples alike.”
“Having subscribed to numerous free listing websites and never getting any enquiries, I was naturally sceptical when someone recommended FrenchEntrée. I have, however, been more than impressed by the number of enquiries I have received since listing my property on the site. I would be very happy to recommend them to fellow holiday rental owners”
Any other secrets to maintaining the reputation of a high-quality gîte? “We won’t ever rest on our laurels, and are always keen to improve.“