Accessible Accommodation

Hi All,

This is a message to all of you with accessible gîtes and chambres d’hôte in France.

We have a wheelchair-friendly gîte in the Dordogne and setting this up has proved to be quite successful.

We have been asked a few times for a 2-week booking when we have only a one week slot. If they book the one week, we then try to help in finding an alternative for the 1st or 2nd week.

As you will no doubt be aware, this isn’t easy as there aren’t too many around.

I have not found the Offices de Tourisme too proactive in offering this information and not all booking agencies have great search facilities.

So I wonder if anyone is interested in sharing their details?

Before I work out the best mechanism for this, I would like to ascertain if enough people are interested.

I know there are different levels of accessibility and France is a big country but I have found that with the shortage of accommodation, people are quite prepared to visit 2 entirely different areas in search of a gîte that can meet their requirements.

Let me know what you think.


Hi Neill & thanks.

We have a couple of developers working on nothing but meta tags and a whole host of other issues to optimise search engine performance as we speak, ready for a rollout in about 10 days.

Sounds like you may be heading down the rabbit hole of web development yourself...hope you come out unscathed ;)

Your thoughts are much appreciated.

"Search engines are remarkably coy about how they rank a web site. They don't want people fiddling their sites so that they always comes up on page one. However, they do take notice of the title (what you see across the top of a listed site in Google)
and "meta" words." This was the advice I was given by someone who knows a bit more than me about the web. For more info on "meta" words, or HTML Meta Tags to give them their more geeky title, see:

You no know as much as I do.


Hi Sue, the 1st problem is this message when I tried to access the site: "The website you have requested is currently not available". I'll have a look round it if you can sort that one out. I'm not an expert but have done a bit of research.

Hi Neill & everyone else.

Interested to read all the comments here. I'd appreciate any comments on how our site could better promote accessibility as it's certainly a number 1 search criteria for anyone wanting a break in France but who has limited mobility (we rented a place a few years ago - my dad can't do stairs - and they failed to mention the flight leading down to the gîte).


Hi Neill

I'm afraid Dominic has a lot of family and work commitments and has lost interest in the house here, so I am trying to rescue it but am not very computer literate and dont know how to promote it. His website is The house is called Deux Puits.

Hi Sue,

I've only visited the are once, maybe 10 years ago, near Lion d'Angers, anywhere near you? I seem to remember it being a very nice area. I would have thought the river, vineyards and chateaux would draw a lot of visitors but I don't know how" tuned in" to tourism the authorities are over there.

We may be in the Dordogne, always popular and reliant on tourism but our gite isn't in one of the more fashionable areas, an hour or more away from most of the real tourist hotspots.

Maybe your own (your son's) website could do with an overhaul, I haven't managed to find it yet using the usual search criteria - Cher/gite/wheelchair/disabled etc., just a thought?

Our gite is our main source of income so we've spent quite a lot of time trying to optimise our website, I'm going to build a new one this year as I think it's starting to look a bit tired.

Hi Sue,

My gites are in Haute Vienne and I advertise with 'Love to Escape' and 'French Entree'. I have a website which was very easy to set up via vistaprint. I have done very well with my bookings through the two advertising sites in the past and am getting a steady lot of enquiries/bookings this year. Maybe it would be worth your while having a look at these sites. Good luck with your bookings.


Hi Neill

Thanks for your reply. I am already with Owners Direct. I only had one booking from them last year. Maybe I am in the wrong area for holiday makers!

This is actually my son's house though he lives in the UK and he did set up his own website but I have never had any enquiries via that.

If you want a medical bed we got this one from a shop in Nevers which supplies medical equipment. It was second hand but in good condition.

Hi Sue, first of all you will need plenty of photos as whoever you use to advertise will ask for these.

Who to choose? Depends on your budget to a certain extent and then, which agents offer "disabled" or "accessible" as search criteria, not a lot of use without that, especially for the more expensive ones.

I get most of my bookings from our own website and Owners Direct, who cost around £170 p.a. but we have found to be worth it. Do you have your own website yet? I'm about to set up a new one, never tried it before but I'll let you know how I get on if you're interested in going down that route.

Yes, times are hard but setting up accessible accommodation was the best idea we could have had, around 70% of our bookings come from that. Our wet room goes down really well and your medical bed is an added bonus, something we don't provide.

Any help I can give, please feel free to ask. I don't consider you (or anyone else on this thread) as competitors, demand far outstrips supply and the more people we can attract to France, the fuller our beds will be.

I'm trying to tell that to the local Offices de Tourisme, so far without success.

Bon courage,


Hi Jennifer, don't be amazed, your Tourist Office is not alone in France. Proactive? Generally, they're not particularly reactive either in my experience. I have been trying to change this at a local level but that is another story.

I know Rocamadour, the lift between levels was a nice surprise, I never expected it to take wheelchairs. Because of the lack of publicity, wheelchair users may have limited expectations but I'm sure that you and Rocamadour will get more visitors once word is spread.

I too am creating a new website, with lots more links to other properties and places to visit, hopefully containing the kind of information that is so difficult to find out here.

I'll certainly include you when I'm done, not sure when that will be, maybe too late for this summer's bookings. In the meantime, for this summer at least, any replies to this thread gives us all some contacts that we may find useful.



Hi Neil

I too have a place for disabled people with a medical bed and wet room on the ground floor and with its own garden, but dont know where to advertise.

I used to work with people with spinal injuries and brought them to this area from the UK as there is a clinic that treats this problem, but times are hard and not so many can afford to come here now so very few customers.

I am in the Cher (18) just the other side of the Loire near La Charite sur Loire (58)

Hi Taunya, do you have a website, or photos/measurements?

It gets quite involved, door widths, electrical socket heights, shower/wet rooms etc.

We had a blank canvas to work with, a totally empty space so we didn't have to do any conversions as such, just had to work out where everything should go. Older buildings pose much more difficult problems, particularly when you have thick walls and narrow doorways.

There is also a difference between official measurements and acceptable ones. To be officially classified of course you need to comply but the rarity of accessible gites means that sometimes a "best effort" is appreciated.

You are also right about the levels of disability and their requirements. It is not always black and white and this is where information is so difficult to find on the internet.

Sorry if I've answered your question with even more questions but I can be more specific if you give me a bit more info about your gites.

To you and anyone else reading this, I do not profess to be an expert in the field, nor do I have any qualifications to back up what I say, I have merely been through all this fairly recently and made some mistakes too.



Hi Neill,

I was very interested to read your post, just how wheelchair friendly is your place. Our gites are all on one level but I'm not sure about doorways etc, I guess that the facilities required would depend on the person's disability? We are in the Haute Vienne not, too far from you, maybe you could give me a rough idea of what is needed?

Very interesting idea.