Your Holiday Home in the South of France
MAPS AND GETTING AROUND:
France has a good system of signage, but a map will help you get around more directly and without getting lost. Our favorite is the Michelin Provence Camargue Zoom Map, #113. It has all of the local roads, and includes Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon. It can be purchased on Amazon through our Links page, or at local stores in Uzès.
Using maps on your mobile device should work, although you may be directed toward larger roads rather than the most direct route.
When using GPS, note that the village is Sanilhac-Sagriès to avoid being directed to the wrong Sanilhac.
It is wise to have some euros on hand when arriving in France. Be aware that, with the arrival of the common currency, most currency exchanges have disappeared. It is easy to get cash from ATMs at a reasonable exchange rate; remember your password. It is also possible to exchange currency at banks. However, French banks are not as easy to deal with, and English is rarely spoken. We recommend that you exchange some of what you will need at home, and when you need more, use an ATM.
Most shops, stores and restaurants accept Visa and MasterCard, but American Express and Discover may not be accepted. Some shops and restaurants do not take any credit cards, and venders in the markets rarely do.
US credit cards with magentic strips are not accepted in some automated machines, such as unattended gas stations and public telephones. Credit cards with a chip and four digit password are the norm in Europe, and are recommended for easy use.
MAKING YOUR DEPOSIT AND PAYMENT:
When you book a stay at La Trouvaille, we will send you information so that you can make a payment by bank transfer or with a credit card through PayPal. The booking deposit is usually non-refundable.
The security deposit is best paid through PayPal, so that it can be easily returned to you after your stay.
The house is equipped with wireless internet, so we recommend keeping in touch using Skype, either from a laptop computer or a mobile device. A land-line telephone is available for local calls and to receive calls, but cannot be used for long distance calls except for emergencies. (You may be charged for calls.)
Check with your mobile provider for information on using your device in France. Mobile phones for France can be bought/rented online before you go and be delivered to you home address. Mobile coverage in Sanilhac is only fair. Please use the telephone at the house if you need to contact us directly and email is not an option, or for urgent calls.
French phone numbers are ten digits, the first two being the area code. When calling overseas from the United States to your France cellular phone, callers will need to dial 011 followed by the country code 33 and then your France cell phone number, omitting the first 0 (zero). To call abroad from a phone in France simply dial 00 followed by the country code and phone number.
For your reference, the emergency numbers while in France are: 17 for Police, 15 for medical emergency, 18 for Fire. The European general emergency number, from a mobile phone, is 112, and you can be connected to an English speaking operator.
French pay phones do not usually take coins or US credit cards, but phone cards are available at many stores.
Most stores and businesses are open Monday through Saturday, and the hours vary. However, most close between 12 and 2 for lunch. This can be true even if you have been waiting in line. Lunch is served in restaurants during the same hours, and dinner is usually served starting at 6 PM. Less formal restaurants may be more flexible. Schedules are usually listed in 24 hour (military) time, so lunch would be served between 12-14 hours.
Public parking is often free during lunch.
English is not widely spoken in Languedoc, except in places which cater to tourists. However, with just a little effort you will find it is not usually difficult to communicate. Patience and courtesy, as well as a few French words, will make things easier. Remember that the French often expect a higher level of formality than Americans are used to. Do say 'Bonjour' when entering a shop, and 'Au revoir' when leaving, and don't forget the 'S'il vous plait.' People are generally quite friendly. If you have a problem, email us, call our representatives for help, or stop in at the Tourist Office in Uzès.
There are several ways to get to La Trouvaille. From overseas, we have found it convenient fly into Montpellier, which is about an hour away by car, or Marseilles, about two hours away. Or, take a flight to Paris, arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in the morning, then take the TGV from CDG (there is a station, 'gare' in French, in the airport) to Avignon or Nîmes. Having a car is recommended when staying at La Trobairitz. Car rental is available at the TGV stations and airports, but check to make sure the rental agency is open when you arrive (especially in Nîmes). There is a regoonal bus service, Edgard, (https://www.edgard-transport.fr), which stops in Sanilhac.
We recommend making use of local Tourist Offices. Free maps and walking tours are available from the Tourist Office in most cities and large villages. Uzès has a wonderful walking tour of the historic sights of the village, including ancient Greek ruins and the source of the water for the Roman aqueduct. Bookstores and tabacs also have a selection of maps and guide books in French and other languages.
Buying fuel is not difficult, but there are a few things to know. Fuel is usually available at the large supermarkets or service stations. Automated, unattended pumps may not accept US credit cards. Gazole is diesel fuel. Remember that fuel is sold in liters, aboout a quarter of a gallon. Multiply the price by four to get the cost per gallon, and be thankful for the higher fuel economy most European cars are capable of.
TAXES, TIPS, AND FOOD:
French prices include tax (VAT is 19.5%); no additional tax is added at the cashier. The price you see is the price you will pay.
Most restaurants list prices including tip; you can leave a small amount on the table if you wish.
In restaurants, look for the 'Plat du Jour,' 'Menu du Jour' or 'Formula' for the best prices, and often the best dishes. Expect to have to ask for your check; the waiter will not want to appear to rush you by bringing it without a request. "L'addition, s'il vous plait" will get you your check.
There are several large and small grocery stores within minutes of Sanilhac. Some items are available at the local boulangerie, as well. The Wendnesday and Saturday markets in Uzès, as well as other local markets, feature lots of fresh food as well as other items. The Saturday market in summer is sometimes very crowded.
Self-catering vacation homes are fully furnished and have the basic equipment necessary for a traveler to stay and care for themselves. At La Trouvaille, the kitchen is fully equipped with an electric cooktop and oven, refrigerator with freezer, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, and coffeemaker, as well as a full array of dishes, cooking pots and utensils. There is also a clothes washer, TV with DVD player, and an MP3 player. We hope that we have included all of the things one would need to make an enjoyable and stress-free stay. We try to keep some supplies, such as spices, trash bags, and toilet tissue, for instance, but these need to be replenished by the guests as they are used.
Maid service is not provided, but final cleaning is included in the rental fee. Final cleaning includes laundering the linens, making the beds, and doing general cleaning that a homeowner might do before receiving guests. The self-catering scheme assumes that guests maintain the property as if it was home. Dishes need to be cleaned and put away, or clean in the dishwasher. Spills are to be cleaned up, trash properly disposed of and taken to the street on trash day, and recycling collected and deposited in the village recycling bins. The property should be left in the condition it was found.
Each rental property has its own policies. Some charge for electricity, final cleaning, linens and other normal expenses, while others, like La Trouvaille, do not. Keep this in mind when comparing prices and properties to rent.