This information is provided as a courtesy to our visitors and should not be considered official advice. Information given here is subject to change, so you should check the relevant official authority on the subjects discussed below to verify the information.
Vacation & Holiday Rentals - General
Semur-en-Auxois, Burgundy, and France
The French use the word gite (actually gîte) to refer to a furnished vacation rental house available for weekly stays. Gites range in price from modest to luxurious, and are available all over France. Our house is a two-bedroom vacation rental in the town of Semur-en-Auxois, in the Burgundy region of France.
Some of the differences between vacation rentals and hotel rooms are significant, while others are relatively minor. In general, hotel rooms are much smaller than holiday rentals at the same price point. Our house works out to approximately €180 per night during peak season, which is comparable to the price of a room with two double beds in a three-star hotel in the area. In the hotel, both the beds would be in the same room, likely less than 1 meter from one another, and aside from a bathroom there would be very little additional private space. In our house, there are two separate bedrooms (each with en-suite bathrooms) as well as a fully-equipped kitchen, large salon/living room, and a third bathroom. (Click here to see floor plans of the house.) In a hotel, outdoor space is shared with all other guests, whereas our balcony, garden and patio is all yours for the duration of your stay. We also include amenities such as wireless internet, English-speaking satellite TV, and free telephone calls to land lines in Europe and North America, which may not be available at a local hotel.
Of course, a hotel also has some features that a holiday rental does not typically have. At our house, there is no room service to provide meals or clear your dishes at the end of a meal (though there is a dishwasher and detergent is provided). We do not provide daily housekeeping services. If you are staying for several weeks, we are happy to arrange for a mid-stay tidy-up to change your linens and provide you with fresh towels at no extra cost. In between, however, the house is self-catering, which means that you are responsible for laundering sheets and towels if you want them changed more frequently. We do provide laundry detergent and fabric softener, so the only cost to you is the time it takes to load and unload the machines, and you can also use the facilities to wash your clothes, which means you have the option of carrying fewer/lighter suitcases on your trip.
Also, although we do employ a dedicated team of local property managers who are nearby to help you with anything you might need, there is no on-site concierge at our house the way there might be at a hotel. This means that you will have to make your own restaurant and tour reservations.
It has been our experience that the vast majority of people are glad they chose to stay at our house over a hotel. We choose vacation rentals over hotels whenever possible in our own travels, because each experience is unique, and the quality of experience can be exemplary with a caring rental owner. However, we realize that self-catering holidays are not for everyone. If you have questions about this issue, or would like us to recommend a hotel in the area, please feel free to contact us. We would of course love to have you stay at our house, but it is more important to us that you have a wonderful holiday, wherever you stay.
Availability of the house depends on both the season and the specific week in which you want to make a reservation. Generally, we recommend that you contact us at least two months in advance; however, this is not a firm rule. We do require a deposit at the time of your reservation, generally 25% of the total rental price. For more details, see our rates and availability page.
There are two bedrooms in the house, each with the capacity to comfortably sleep 2 people. In addition, there are two couches, one of which can convert to a bed if necessary. Therefore, the house can accommodate up to 6 people, but anything over four people requires that the Salon also be used as a third bedroom. We provide privacy curtains across the Salon doorway for this purpose.
It is also important to note that the second bedroom is only accessible from a separate entrance (on the lower patio, at river level) than the rest of the house. This makes the house perfect for two couples or a family with one or two teenagers, but the second bedroom is not usually suitable for smaller children who prefer to have easy access to their parents during the night. Many of our clients do find that their small child can sleep on the sofa bed in the salon without any problems, but this depends on the individual family and their needs. If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can also get a sense of our layout using our virtual tour.
Definitely! We can do one better: an interactive floor-plan-based virtual tour. We want you to have as much information as possible before you decide to book your vacation rental with us. And, of course, if you have any questions, you can always contact us and ask us directly.
The house is run like a self-service gite. When you arrive, the house will be freshly cleaned and you will have fresh linens provided for you. During your stay, however, there is no daily maid service, and we currently do not offer this for an extra price. For those wishing to stay for longer periods of time, please contact us to discuss the possibility of occasional cleaning service weekly or bi-weekly during your stay.
We try to keep the house furnished with all the little details that transform a house into a comfortable home. As such, we not only provide all linens and towels (even bathrobes), extra pillows and blankets, a kitchen fully stocked with plenty of dishes, utensils, and cookware, but also the following appliances and services:
- Large kitchen appliances:
- Full-sized refrigerator and freezer
- Four-ring stove/hob and multi-function oven
- Extra-quiet Dishwasher (washing tablets provided)
- Small kitchen appliances:
- Electric kettle
- Press coffee/tea maker
- Filter coffee maker
- Moka (espresso) coffee maker
- Utility Appliances:
- Washing Machine (detergent provided)
- Dryer (fabric softener provided)
- Iron and Ironing Board
- Hair Dryer
- TV with French and English channels
- VCR: European/North American compatible
- DVD player: region-free, also records DVDs, includes USB port
- Stereo/CD player, also plays mp3-CDs
- Internet Service:
- High-speed wired/wireless internet
Yes, absolutely. We provide a telephone as a service to our guests. There is no charge for local calls, and international phone calls will be charged at cost. Once you have made a reservation at the house, we will send you a list of the phone company's toll charges, but generally rates for calls to Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand are very reasonable. In fact, calls to land lines in the E.U. and North America are free.
If you plan to use phones outside the house (such as pay phones in neighboring towns), inexpensive calling cards may be purchased at local convenience stores and used at any phone in France.
The house is not equipped with a computer, but we do have high-speed internet access at the house through Orange, which is the local DSL service. If you would like to use your computer to connect to the internet at the house (wired or wirelessly), there is no additional charge; please just let us know so that we can send you the connection instructions when you make your final payment. Our internet service is very reliable, but it is of course subject to technical availability.
If you prefer to use your own internet service and you have a laptop, you can use the phone to connect to your ISP via either a local call or a calling card. Additionally, the local hotel in Semur allows people to rent time on their internet-enabled computers, and there is an internet cafe next to Le Sagittaire in town that offers web access in 30 minute increments at a reasonable price.
Absolutely. The house's parking is in a large courtyard-like space and is shared with two neighbors. We have space for one or two cars, but we prefer that you only bring one car if possible to ensure that the neighbors (who are permanent Semur residents and lovely people) have adequate parking space.
Semur-en-Auxois is about 1 hour from the Dijon airport, an airport which is currently only open to charter and private planes. If you are flying a commercial airline, the house is approximately equal distance from eight international airports in six cities. The following travel times and itineraries are approximate. Once you make a reservation with us, we will provide you with fully-detailed directions from your arrival airport to the house in Semur.
By Car: From any of the above airports, you can rent a car (it is advisable to reserve a rental car before you leave for your vacation) and drive straight to Semur-en-Auxois. Driving time varies depending on your arrival airport as well as whether you opt to drive via expressways or via more scenic minor routes. Taking the autoroutes and not traversing the cities during rush hour, we estimate the following travel times (in order of shortest to longest drive):
- Paris - Orly (ORY): 2 hours
- Paris - Charles de Gaulle (CDG): 2.5 hours
- Lyon - St-Exupéry (LYS): 2.5 hours
- Geneva (GVA): 3 hours
- Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (BSL): 3 hours
- Tours (TUF): 3 hours
- Grenoble (GNB): 3 hours
- Paris - Beauvais (BVA): 3.5 hours
By train: The nearest train station to Semur is in the neighboring town of Montbard. There are train stations in each airport city, and it is possible to take either a regular or high-speed train to your destination. As an example: the train station inside Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport has at least one departure per day from the airport straight to Montbard. If you miss that train, you can get to Montbard by connecting through Paris' Gare de Lyon station.
Once you are in Montbard, you can either rent a car there and drive to Semur or take a taxi or bus to Semur (the bus ride is free with a train ticket, Monday-Saturday). The TGV ride from Paris to Montbard is approximately 1 hour long, and the ride from Montbard to Semur-en-Auxois is approximately 15 minutes.
We would be happy to help you plan a detailed itinerary, in part using various online resources such as Google Maps, to help you navigate from your ferry port to the house. Some estimated travel times are:
- Le Havre: 4.25 hours
- Dieppe: 4.5 hours
- Calais: 5 hours.
Of course, these travel times can vary with the day and time of day, and they also depend on which route you take. Most of our clients who take the ferry drive straight from their port to the house, breaking only to eat and use restrooms, but some make the most of the trip by stopping at several tourist destinations on the way!
This question is best answered by your local French embassy or consulate, as the answers vary from country to country. Residents of any country can determine whether they need a visa by visiting France-Diplomatie. This information may change at any time, however, so contact your local embassy or consulate for the most updated information.
It is possible to enjoy France on any budget, from shoestring to lavish. However, the exact prices will vary based on the exchange rate between your currency and the French currency. France's currency is the European Unit (the Euro/€). We recommend that you check with your bank or an exchange office to determine the exchange rate you can expect.
Our prices are in Euros, which is the same currency you should expect to use in France for your transactions. Within France you can exchange currency at the airport, or at local exchange offices and banks: exchange rates and fees vary slightly within France by location. You can usually use your ATM card or credit card to withdraw money from an ATM in France (although you should ask your bank whether you need to obtain an international PIN before you leave your home country), and additionally most places in France accept major credit cards for purchases. Often you can get a better exchange rate by using your credit card instead of exchanging cash or traveler's checks, although you should contact your credit card issuer before you leave to find out whether there are surcharges for foreign purchases. Even if you decide to use your credit card or bank check-card with a credit card logo on your trip, it is still advisable to carry at least a small amount of cash with you in case you come across a place that only accepts cash.
Also, be aware that just as many businesses in the U.S. and Canada no longer accept $100 bills, some businesses in Europe are refusing the higher-denomination Euro bills, due to increases in counterfeiting and the difficulty of making change.
Semur-en-Auxois is located in the world-famous Cote d'Or department of the Burgundy (Bourgogne) region of France, about halfway between Paris and Geneva. It is also almost exactly midway between the wine centers of Chablis and Beaune. Burgundy is a region rich in culture and history, and famous for its food and wine. Semur-en-Auxois is itself a town filled with fascinating historical sights as well as more modern amenities, the perfect blend of quaint French-countryside living and up-to-date resources. For more information, see our pages about Semur-en-Auxois and about the Burgundy region.
Although it is extremely helpful to know at least some of the more common French words and phrases, it is not necessary to be fluent in the French language to experience all Semur-en-Auxois has to offer. There is a tourist bureau in the centre-ville (the oldest and most central part of the town), where there is usually at least one person who speaks English. In addition, many of the locals speak at least partial English. In our experience the people of Semur have always been extremely friendly and willing to help foreigners, whether they speak French or not, but they certainly appreciate it when you try!
Here are some basic French phrases to get you started:
|Hello||Bonjour||bohn-joor (soft "J")|
|Goodbye||Au revoir||au reh-vwoir|
|Please||S'il vous plait||see-voo-play|
|Excuse Me||Excusez-moi||ex-skyuz-ay mwah|
|Do you speak English?||Parlez-vous anglais?||par-lay voo anglay|
|I want||Je voudrais||juh voo-dray (soft "J")|
|How much?||C'est combien?||say kohm-byen|
|Where is...||Oú est...||ooh ay...|
|the restaurant||le restaurant||leuh rest-oh-rohn|
|the train station||la gare||lah garr|
|the bathroom||les toilettes||lay twah-lette|
|a taxi||Un taxi||uhn taxi|
|I don't know||Je ne sais pas||juh nuh say pa (soft "J")|
|Help me||Aidez-moi||ay-day mwah|
While most people prefer to rent a car either at the airport or in a neighboring town for their visit to Semur-en-Auxois, a car is not required to fully experience Semur-en-Auxois. Semur is approximately a 2.5 hour drive from Paris, but it is also quite easy to take France's high-speed train (the TGV) to a neighboring town and then take a shuttle or taxi from the train station into Semur-en-Auxois. Once you have settled into the house, you will find that it is within walking distance of the historical centre-ville, as well as several bakeries, restaurants, and local grocery and convenience stores. In fact, the entire town of Semur-en-Auxois is explorable by day-walks from the house.
Additionally, while it is certainly possible to visit local sights of Burgundy by car, it is also possible to do so by walking, by bicycle, or by horse ride, the latter two of which may be rented locally. If you plan to do a lot of exploring outside of Semur, however, we do recommend that you rent a car. This can be done at your arrival airport, and there are also rental car offices in Semur and the nearby town of Montbard.
If you do decide to drive in France, we recommend that you make your reservation before you leave your home country to avoid high prices and lack of availability during busy periods. Additionally, we recommend that you become familiar with French driving rules and road signs. Resources for this are available online, such as these sites about Driving Tips and Road Signs, but as always, this information is subject to change and you should check France's official travel bureau for the most up-to-date information.
The electrical outlets in France take a 220-Volt E-type plug with three round prongs arranged in a triangle. Most of Europe uses the same voltage for its electricity as France, but their plugs are not the same shape. If you live in North America, you will need to not only adapt to the different shape of plug but also to convert to a different voltage. Therefore, no matter where you are from, it is likely that you will need an adapter to use the electrical outlets in France. You should purchase your adapters before you leave your home country, and ask a representative at your local travel store to make sure that whatever you purchase will protect your portable appliances. A list of resources on electrical adapters for different countries is available from the website Electricity in Europe: Converters, adapters, voltages.
Semur-en-Auxois is simultaneously a town rich in history dating back to the 7th century B.C.E. and a modern, self-sufficient community. The amenities available in the town include three large grocery stores, half a dozen bakeries, a pharmacy, and a hospital, as well as museums, theatres, and many restaurants serving all types of food from traditional French fare to Italian and even Californian. Please note that some stores in France are closed on Sundays, Mondays, and major holidays, so it is advisable to determine whether your trip coincides with any French holidays, since during those days some amenities might not be available.
Whether your intent during your vacation is to sit back and relax or to fill your days and nights with activities, Semur-en-Auxois and the surrounding villages have all you'll need. Along with the many chateaus, vineyards, and sites of historical interest within short distances from Semur, you can also explore the countryside via:
Activities at nearby Lac du Pont (freshwater lake)
Once you have made a reservation with us, we will provide you with information on activities such as these that are available to you from Semur-en-Auxois and in the Burgundy region in general.
Rosemary, Andrew & Abby