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In France, Possibly the Best Deal Ever

At Moulin de Rabion, an 18th-century chateau nestled in France’s castle-dusted Loire Valley, travelers can live like a lord—but pay like a pauper—this winter. For 350 pounds (about $556; check for the latest conversion rates), you get a seven-night stay for two people in a private converted farmhouse, called a gite, with a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, and even a working fireplace. The gite has two bathrooms, one of which includes a deep, luxurious copper tub.

The property is set on 18 acres of idyllic farmland, with resident pigs, goats, donkeys, and cats, and one sweet-as-French-pastry Burmese mountain dog. Bikes are available (for free) for those who wish to explore the surrounding countryside. Oh, and you’ll also receive a free three-course meal for two.

This offer is valid for stays in November and December, the low season for travel to the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Still, for what you get, the rates are nothing to sneeze at. You’re paying budget-hotel prices—about $80 a night—for a stay at a very luxurious, historical property with lots of character. (For more information, email

Prices are so low that a smart traveler’s figurative red flag might rise. But it’s not a scam. I’ve stayed here, and I can confirm that it’s simply a great property at an incredible price point. The gite also gets high praise on TripAdvisor.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: There are loads of beautiful properties like Moulin de Rabion in France. But you probably won’t find such unique places on, Expedia, or any major booking site. Start your search with Gites de France, a network of lodging that features B&Bs and rentals, from charming country cottages to elegant chateaus.

The gite system is an off-the-beaten-path kind of way to stay in France, and it’s also a fantastic source for finding lavish accommodations at budget prices. And many gites are anything but boring. For example, we found a log cabin surrounded by flowers and farmland starting at 310 euros a week, a room in a river barge for 70 euros a night, and a gypsy caravan rental starting at 510 euros a week.

Have you stayed in a gite in France? Tell us about it!

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