A couple of months ago we thought we might have to close our Gites for the season due to the Corona-19 pandemic. Many countries have since lifted travel restrictions. Most of our originally booked guests have chosen to move their holidays to next year, and we have been lucky to receive some last minute bookings from the U.K., France and the Netherlands to fill those gaps. Even so, things change and only today, as we start writing this newsletter the UK has once again closed its borders to Spain due to a spike in Corona virus cases. It is a difficult time for everyone, travellers and accommodation owners alike.
New measures are in place in all types of accommodation to help prevent the transfer of the virus. We are trying to leave at least 24 hours between guests, although that’s not always possible, and we have introduced new cleaning a disinfecting regimes.
Out and about, it is essential in France to wear a mask in public settings, supermarkets, restaurants and bars, and Tourist Attractions are changing the way their visitors are received. As an example, we visited Chateau Chaumont recently. We bought our tickets on-line, the day before, and presented them to an official who was behind a perspex screen. He scanned and activated our tickets through the screen! Once we had entered the grounds of the Chateau there were welcome guides, complete with perspex masks, who explained about the new one-way system through the gardens and the through the Chateau.
We were asked to wear our masks when in close confinement with other visitors, but we were free to remove them in the more open areas of the grounds. Fortunately, there was direct access to the cafes and restaurants where there were well-spaced tables. The gardens are fascinating and every corner reveals something new. In the first picture here the garden artist has created a dining table. The plates have holes in order to let the salad grow through! The video from our last visit is still available on YouTube. Please take a look.
Whilst we’ve been on lock-down and experiencing quieter times here at La Richardière we have taken the opportunity to improve some of our facilities. The gardens behind the Gites L’Hirondelle and Le Martinet have seating and barbecues, but have only had gravel patio areas. As we mentioned in last month’s newsletter we decided to improve L’Hirondelle’s back garden with a paved area. We showed our readers a picture of that new patio.
Well, flushed with the success of this new installation, we decided to add a new patio area behind Le Martinet, and here it is! This has made both gardens, in a strange sort of way, look much bigger. It’s certainly easier to move chairs around on the new surfaces!
Digital Guide Book and House Manual:
As we mentioned in June’s Newsletter, as part of our Covid-19 arrangements, we have removed all the Tourist Literature from our Gites along with the book of instructions about how the Gites work and replaced it with a Digital Gite Manual and Guide Book. This has now grown in size and scope and is even being used by some people to take a virtual holiday from home when they can’t actually travel to France. Please take a look at what this region has to offer by CLICKING HERE. Guests receive the link to the Gite Manual in the week before they arrive. It’s very eco-friendly as we can update this resource at any time without using paper or printer ink!
Thank you to everyone who reads what we write; to those who respond, and those who forward this newsletter to their friends and family. It is all much appreciated.
Best wishes and keep safe everyone,
Dave and Patience