Jetting off to the world's most far-flung regions
and braving the wilderness
may be trending, but if all that travel isn't really your speed or in your budget, how about your own DIY trip to a charming cottage or two in one of the many beautiful countryside regions of France? And while it might seem like nothing more than a Beauty and the Beast
-inspired dream, it may not be as hard (or expensive!) as you think. Airfares to Europe are usually low in the late winter (and they've been low lately in general
) and Airbnb
has a wealth of charming options in off-the-beaten-path towns and villages across the country. If you're looking for something different, these one-of-a-kind accommodations make the ideal home base for discovering the local culture through guided tours, local markets, and charming cafes. And in many regions, getting to know your host — and even dining together — may be part of the experience. The best part is that most are well under the typical cost of a hotel room per night. Check out some of our favorites and get booking tout suite
Le Pla, France:
With enough room for up to 15 people, this old "village house
" ($149/night) in the heart of the French Pyrenees is perfect for ski-loving groups. Bonus: This little known spot also has hot springs and two castles in the township nearby!
Booking a trip to Paris? You may want to consider a few nights in this countryside farm house
($242/night) located on an organic dairy and horse farm. It's southeast of Paris and only 20 minutes from EuroDisney, but there's plenty to do on the property, including mushroom hunting and creekside picnicking by a waterfall. And just down the road is Vaux-le-Vicomte, a beautiful 18th-century castle.
Known for its fragrant lavender fields, the Luberon in Provence is one of the most charming regions of France. This eco-friendly cottage
($55/night) has just enough room for a couple ready to explore the region's many food markets, festivals, and local culture. The owners even offer French lessons.
Near glamorous beach town Biarritz in the south of France on the Atlantic coast, this cool, modern cottage
($180/night) makes for a great getaway with friends. Explore the area's pine forest, go surfing, or stay in by the private pool and grill out on its plancha.
Just 15 minutes by train to the center of Paris, this cozy, chic studio
($69/night), has its own kitchenette, pool, and even ducks and chickens running around in the garden. For a real taste of French living, the owners will even cook for you, if you like.
This three-bedroom cottage
($570/night) was actually built by Paul and Julia Child in the 1960s on the homestead of Simone Beck, one of the other original collaborators of the famed cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking
. It's now home to a popular cooking school in the summer months, but it is available to rent in the off-season. Bon appétit!
For a truly relaxed and enjoyable way to explore the Bordeaux wine region and nearby beach town of Arcachon, this little cabin
($58/night) is right near the beach and offers its own private terrace. The owners even provide fresh bread, butter, jam, coffee, and orange juice each morning before you set out exploring the area's vineyards.
You'll get a glimpse of the traditional way of life in this classic Breton cottage
($91/night) with exposed beams and stone walls. Plus, it's only a few miles away from the famous medieval monastery Mont-Saint-Michel.
Located in another one of France's famed wine regions, this peaceful farm cottage
($52/night) is surrounded by olive farms and vineyards. Explore the nearby medieval city of Carcassonne and even arrange for a private tour of the area and local market with your host.
Lined with century-old oaks, this ancient stone cottage
($38/night) in the heart of Provence has all you need to explore the surrounding area's rich natural beauty. From truffle hunting to sipping local wines to old abbeys, there's a ton to see and do.
This thatched-roof cottage
($46/night) is only 40 minutes from Monet's Giverny gardens and 40 minutes from the Gothic city of Rouen, and it offers plenty of creative inspiration and calm. (The nearby town has only 180 inhabitants.) For a small fee, the owners will even make sure you're stocked with locally sourced breakfast pastries and aperitif
(afternoon drinks and bites).
Stay in the heart of some pretty Insta-worthy sunflower fields in this classic longere
or farm house ($127/night) in France's Charente Maritime region. This area is more under the radar than some other regions, but it's full of beautiful sights and experiences, like partaking in a vintner's breakfast
with a local.
Stéphane, a ceramics artisan, will pick you up and even cook dinner with you at his home in a converted old barn
($71/night) in the center of France, about two and a half hours from Paris. In the summer, there are deck chairs for enjoying the river with some rosé, and in winter, the stone fireplace is perfect for cocooning with a good book and glass of red.
This entire cottage
($63/night) is yours in the quiet region of Pays de la Loire, in the center of France. It's located in a hamlet with just four other houses in the heart of the French countryside. Book a French farmhouse cooking experience
, or just walk in nature for a low-fi vacay.
On the grounds of an old wine merchant, this chic two-bedroom cottage
($160/night) near the Champagne/Burgundy border is the perfect spot to enjoy a trip to the famed region known for some of the best wines in the world. Relax in the stunning garden, take a dip in the large pool, or drive to the historic cities of Dijon, Troyes, and Beaune for culture and wine tasting.
This 17th century farmhouse
($231/night) is located near the city of Limoges, famous for its porcelain and gothic cathedral, Saint-Étienne. The owners live in the same little hamlet and offer cooking classes, guided walks, and other personalized ideas on exploring the region.
This romantic and stylishly decorated cottage
($69/night) in Brittany is well situated for exploring all of the little maritime towns and beautiful coastline. (This is the region where those famous navy-and-white striped shirts come from.) It even has its own wooden hot tub, perfect for taking in the gorgeous night sky.
Perfect for group ski trips, this huge mountainside chalet
($436/night) in the French part of the Alps can sleep up to 22 people. It's right at the foot of the Tarentaise, one of the largest ski slopes in the region, so you can ski or snowshoe by day and then cozy up in front of the huge stone fireplace.
The owner's chickens, ducks, goats, bunnies, or kitties may greet you when you arrive at this clean and cozy small cottage
($63/night) located in a quiet row of cottages in Brittany. After taking in the coast, you can also see many historic towns built in the Gallo-Roman era.
In the quiet corner of the Dordogne region, this cozy retreat
($52/night) has been restored from an ancient bread-baking kitchen. It's located on a fully functioning farm, and you can breakfast on jam from the property's own fruit trees before venturing out to explore the area's incredible culinary delights, such as foie gras — only one of the highlights from an area known as one of the most important food regions of France.
Near the famous castles of Fontainebleau, Vaux le Vicomte, and Blandy les Tours, this vine-covered cottage
($115/night) has room for up to six people and sits in the heart of a lovely old village, complete with restaurants, bakeries, and markets. As it's only about an hour from Paris, you can get into the city easily. Or spend your time enjoying the area's highlights, like the village of painters in Barbizon.
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(Photos via Airbnb)
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