French Country Vacation Rentals & Paris Apartments

Renters Ask


Have a question about exactly how a vacation rental works?
Chances are, someone else has already asked it.
Here's a list of some of the most-asked questions from our clients:


Are there any limitations when the telephone is on unrestricted service?

When the telephone service is unrestricted, you can receive and make all types of calls, the way you would at home. Keep in mind that there are no local calling plans offering a set fee for unlimited local calling. In France, you are charged for all calls, whether local or long distance. Local calls are not very expensive. Charges for all phone calls are based on calling units. The number of calling units per call depends on the length, distance and time of day the call is made.

For properties with unrestricted service, telephone charges will be deducted from your security deposit and the balance refunded.

How do we find out about weekly markets close to the property, good restaurants, nearby shops and services and the most interesting tourist attractions?

Approximately 6 weeks before your scheduled arrival, At Home in France will send you a departure packet which includes local market days and restaurant suggestions for many of our properties. In addition, most of the properties have "house books," loose leaf notebooks with a variety of practical and tourist information. You'll usually find the open air market days for neighboring towns and villages, emergency telephone numbers for doctors and pharmacies, recommended bakeries, restaurants, and information about many tourist sights and points of interest.

Once you arrive, you can also visit the local Syndicat d'initiative/Tourist Office for tourist maps and brochures.

What are other telephone options to consider?

To bypass the property's telephone service, it may be easiest to rent a cell phone during your trip.

Can I access my email from the property?

More and more properties have high-speed internet access, either Wi Fi or DSL. Most Paris apartments are equipped with high-speed access. Internet access is usually available at superior and luxury properties in the provinces as well. Review the property description to confirm if high-speed access is available at your preferred property. Or contact us for specific details.

Most laptop computers automatically adapt to French 240V current, but check with your computer manufacturer. You will also need an electric outlet adapter, and a surge protector is recommended.

Please note: due to variables beyond our control, At Home in France cannot guarantee that internet connections will function with your computer.

What is the dialing procedure from the United States to France?

Callers in the United States can call you at the property in France using the following dialing procedure:
- Dial 011 33 (the international calling code followed by the country code for France)
- Omit the first 0 from the 10 digit French number
- Dial the remaining 9 digit French telephone number
For example: if the property telephone number is 05 56 54 32 01, from the United States you would dial 011 33 5 56 54 32 01.

Can we rent bicycles during our stay?

Most of our properties are within 30 minutes driving of larger villages and towns with bicycle rental shops. If you're renting a property in low or mid season, you can go directly to a bicycle shop, try out the bikes and rent them on the spot.

If you're renting a property in high season, it may be best to reserve the bicycles in advance. At Home in France can work with you to make the arrangements. Or we can supply the necessary information so you can arrange the rental yourself.

Can special services such as extra cleaning, cooking and babysitting be arranged?

At many of our properties, special services can be arranged, always at an additional charge. If you require these types of services, please ask us about them before you reserve a property. Personnel are limited, so arrangements for cleaning, cooking and babysitting should be confirmed 2-3 months before your arrival at the property.

Does the property have to be spotless when we leave?

The property is cleaned before you arrive and again when you leave. At departure, you are responsible for leaving it in an orderly fashion. Dishes should be washed and put away and all trash and bottles removed and deposited in the designated receptacles. If more than average cleaning is required to prepare for the next renter, charges for extra cleaning will be deducted from your security deposit.

What do we do if there are problems at the property?

If there are problems with the house upon your arrival or during your stay, be sure to speak up. Call the owner/keyholder or local representative and tell them what's wrong. Usually, problems can be remedied easily and will make your stay that much more enjoyable. We regret that complaints cannot be reviewed after your return if the keyholder/local representative has not been notified and allowed to resolve the problem while you are in residence.

If the problem is not resolved by the owner/keyholder or local representative, you can contact At Home in France in the US. Be aware that there is a 9-hour time difference between France and the west coast. We will respond as quickly as possible.


If we use the house phone, how much should we expect to pay for telephone service?

Telephone charges vary according to the type of service available. Properties on restricted telephone service allow incoming and local outgoing calls only. At houses with restricted service, there is no additional charge. Houses with unrestricted service provide the convenience of full service including use of your telephone credit card. However, there may be additional charges: a fee for unrestricted service and/or charges for calls. In France, you pay for all calls, including local ones.

To bypass the property's telephone service, consider renting a cell phone during your trip (click here). Or you can purchase a ticket de téléphone, a prepaid calling card you can use at any phone - public or private. It can be used at the property with both types of service, restricted or unrestricted. At public telephones, for non-credit card calls, you can use a ticket de téléphone or a télécarte. These are available at airports, train stations, tabacs and other small stores and ranging in cost from 7-50€.

What types of household and food items will be supplied?

Although the renters before you may have left a few things, you are expected to supply your own provisions. You should stock up on all food, including condiments and spices, and household items such as soap, toilet paper, detergent, etc.

Services and shops in most villages and small towns are closed on Sunday and some on Monday morning. Since most rentals start and end on a Saturday, we suggest you stop at a local market on your way to the house for provisions to last until Monday.

In Paris, some food shops are open on Sunday mornings and there are a few open-air markets that take place on Sunday. Supermarkets are closed.

Will the sheets and towels be similar to those we have at home?

Probably not. French towels are usually not as large or as thick as ours and may seem flimsy to you. The French also don't use as many towels as Americans do and find it quite normal to have just a couple of what we would consider smaller towels. Feel free to ask for more towels, which will be provided at an additional charge. Or you may want to bring along a bath towel and wash cloth from home.

How do we find our way to the property and how do we get in?

Approximately 6 weeks before your scheduled arrival, At Home in France will send you a departure packet with complete information about your stay at the property. It includes exact directions, the property address and telephone number, and the keyholder/property manager/ owner's name and telephone number. The packet also includes general information about your rental and stay in France.

In most instances, you will be met at the property by the owner or keyholder who will show you around and give you the keys. For some properties, you may go to the nearby property manager's office to pick up the keys.

To best follow the directions, we suggest buying a Michelin map of the area. In our opinion, they're the best maps available. We can tell you the specific map number you will require. Michelin maps can be ordered from specialty book and travel stores. Or, you can buy a map immediately on your arrival in France. They are readily available in bookstores and newsstands at about half the price charged at home.

How will the property be furnished and equipped?

Your house or apartment will be completely furnished and equipped with blankets, pillows, dishes, glassware, utensils, pots, pans, small appliances, etc. At many properties, sheets and towels are included. If they are not included, you can arrange to rent them at a supplementary charge.

Can we rent a cell phone for use in France?

Yes, you can rent a "vacation" cell phone quickly and easily, before you leave home.

How much should we expect to pay for utilities?

At most properties, utilities are included in the rental fee in mid and high seasons (June through September). Electricity in particular is much more expensive in France than in the U.S. and may not be included in the rental price. It's a good idea to confirm whether electricity and other utilities are included or an additional charge at the time of reservation.

In low season (October - May), heating and electricity are usually additional charges. Charges depend on the size of the house and the time of year and can range from $25 to more than $100 per week. Houses with central gas heat are more economical than those with electric radiators.

In Paris apartments, utilities, including electricity, are included.

What about major appliances like washing machines?

Most of our properties have washing machines and dishwashers. European appliances function quite differently from those in the States, and operation may not be evident. There are usually English-language instructions for you to follow. You can also ask the owner/keyholder to give you a demonstration. Or if there is a local representative, you can call and ask questions about appliance operation.

What time can we arrive at the property and what time do we have to leave?

In most cases you are asked to arrive late in the afternoon on the day your rental starts, between 4-6 pm. You need to leave no later than 10 am on your departure date. We appreciate your respecting these times to allow adequate preparation for your arrival and for those who follow you. If you know in advance that you will not be able to arrive by 6 pm, please let us know your arrival time so we can make alternate arrangements. If you are delayed en route and will not be able to arrive by 6 pm, please call the keyholder or local representative to advise them of your new arrival time.

For Paris apartment rentals, arrivals can generally be arranged from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday. We try to arrange your arrival at the apartment around your scheduled arrival time in Paris. Most flights from the US arrive in Paris in the morning. If the apartment is not rented the day before, you can go directly to the apartment and settle in. In the event that the apartment is rented right before your arrival, we can usually arrange for you to go to the apartment (after 10:30 am) and drop off your luggage. You can then go out and explore the neighborhood for a while until cleaning is completed and the apartment is ready for you.