Home exchanges in France are rising in popularity for this Christmas break with one of the leading companies in the field reporting 48,737 nights booked for the December holidays – almost 50% more than last year and over 5% more than in 2019.
HomeExchange travel platform allows people in 159 countries across the world to exchange homes for a set amount of time.
It provides a cheaper alternative to a hotel or many other accommodation options. “People in France are estimated to save about €500 through home exchange,” said HomeExchange press contact Jessica Cambou.
She said accommodation is considered to represent 30% of the French vacation budget (SOFINCO barometer, Les Français et leur budget pour les vacances d'été, June 2020) [and] last summer, the French planned to spend an average of €1,505 on their vacations (Harris Interactive survey for the Cetelem Observatory published in June).
This year, almost three quarters (73%) of French people using their services have chosen to stay in France for the December holidays, with the majority of the remainder opting for neighbouring countries such as Spain, Italy and Switzerland, the company said.
France represents HomeExchange’s top market, with 200,000 out of the 450,000 homes on the platform located in France. They also have the most bookings this Christmas, followed by the United States (16,330 expected nights) and Spain (13,749 nights).
For the French users willing to travel further, the US and French overseas territories such as Guadeloupe have proven “very attractive,” according to the platform.
In France, the most popular Christmas destination is Paris, followed by Lyon and Strasbourg.
Paris “is returning - slowly but surely - to the level of popularity it enjoyed in the pre-Christmas period. With nearly 12,190 expected overnight stays, the capital is up 217% from last Christmas, and down only 4% from Christmas 2019” says the platform.
Both Lyon and Strasbourg are more popular this year than they were in pre-Covid times.
Lyon has seen 1,940 nights of exchange booked for the Christmas holidays, 123% more than last year and 13% more than in 2019.
Strasbourg has received 1,640 nights booked, 119% more than last year and 8% more than in 2019.
Jessica Cambou explained that the pandemic plays a strong role in the French population’s decision to holiday in their own country.
She said: “Since the beginning of the health crisis, we can say that home exchanges are almost twice as ‘local’ as usual. To compare, domestic exchanges accounted for about 45% of exchanges in 2019. This shows that Covid has had a clear impact on the destinations chosen”.
How it works
To organise a home exchange, users first create an account, specifying their ideal destinations and presenting their own home.
They can then search for a home that matches their needs and contact the owners via a messaging service to see if they would be interested in an exchange.
They can then organise details such as dates and key pick-ups.
You can advertise as a host for free but in order to finalise an exchange, users must have the yearly subscription, which costs €130 and comprises unlimited exchanges throughout the year.
The platform currently counts 450,000 homes across 159 countries and an exchange is finalised every four minutes.
Options are varied, ranging from a 17th-century stone country home in Provence to a converted barn near Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park.
Homesharing schemes in France bridge divide between the generations
Student aims to visit all France's 101 prefectures: 45 visited already
Did you know? Strasbourg was France’s first Christmas market