Autumn demand high for gîtes, Airbnb’s and overseas trips from France

Domestic and international travel is back on the agenda for many in France with rural locations and short-haul flights popular for half-term and November bank holiday breaks

21 October 2021

Gîte bookings for October are highest in countryside and coastal areas Gîtes de France said Pic: Alexander Sorokopud / Shutterstock

By Joanna York

Gîtes de France has reported strong bookings for the October half-term holidays, with 41% of properties already reserved (up 10% on 2019 et and 6% on 2020) and 15% reserved in November (up 6% on 2019 et 8% on 2020).

The Toussaint holidays begin on October 23 in France, with schools going back on November 8.

Workers also have two November bank holidays to look forward to, on Monday 1 (La Toussaint) and Thursday 11 (Armistice 1918).

The majority of gîte bookings have been reserved in coastal and countryside areas, with the top five most popular regions being Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Brittany, Occitanie, Normandy and Nouvelle Aquitaine.

Most reservations are for family groups with four or more people for one week, but bookings for the long weekends on November 1 and 11 are also popular.

Airbnb also reported that domestic holidays are proving popular among people in France this autumn, with unusual rentals with access to water among the most sought after.

This includes boats, barges and properties with sea, lake and river views.

The top five most popular departments for Airbnb bookings in France for the November 1 weekend are:

  1. Lot-et-Garonne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine 

  2. Indre, Centre-Val de Loire

  3. Ardennes, Grand Est

  4. Cantal, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes

  5. Aisne, Hauts-de-France

Demand for international travel growing

People in France have also been booking more domestic and international flights for travel this autumn compared with 2020, travel tech company Amadeus has reported.

For November 2021, demand for domestic flights is up by 44% and international flights by 200% compared with 12 months ago, with the most popular international destinations being Spain, Italy, Morocco, Greece and the UAE.

Compared with last year, searches for flights from Paris to Milan increased by 200%, and Paris to Rome by 166%.

There is also renewed interest in flights to the US, as borders are set to reopen in November, with searches for flights between Paris and New York up 140%.

Read more: US announces border opening date for vaccinated EU and UK visitors 

Commercial Director for Amadeus France, Bertrand Poey, said: “People’s love of travel is still there. With restrictions lessening, we are seeing a rise in international journeys with twice as many bookings this September than last year.”

Last minute bookings popular

Hotel bookings in France for the Toussaint holidays are currently at just 33% occupancy, but industry insiders are taking this as a sign that people are waiting to make last-minute bookings.

Director of eDreams Odigeo France, part of Opodo, Benoît Crespin, told Le Progrès: “Throughout 2021, 35% or reservations have been made in the 15 days before travel. Two or three weeks beforehand, people have visibility on the health situation.”

Conditions are also now easier for booking last minute trips, he said. “Covid has brought about a lot of flexibility: You can exchange tickets, change the name on the reservation. Airlines  are much more flexible than before.”

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