Semur-en-Auxois Vacation Holiday Rental Gite House in Charming Burgundy, France
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Charming Vacation Home with Vineyard Garden

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I have to speak French to enjoy my visit to small towns like Semur-en-Auxois, France?

Do I need to change my cash into Euros before I arrive in France?

Do I need to buy a phone card?

Can I buy a SIM card for my cell phone in Semur-en-Auxois?

Can you provide some basic foods for us to use until we can get to a grocery store?

Do you require a deposit?

How far in advance do we need to make a reservation?

How many people can the house sleep?

What amenities come with the house?

Is there maid service available?

Can I access the internet from the house?

Does the house have a telephone from which I can make long-distance or international calls?

Is the tap water safe to drink?

Can I swim in the river?

How do I get there from the airport?

Where do I park my car?

Do I really need a car?

Can I rent a bicycle in town?

Do I need electrical adapters to plug in my hairdryer, electric razor, etc.?

What amenities are available in town?

What kinds of activities are available locally?


Do I have to speak French to enjoy my visit to small towns like Semur-en-Auxois, France?

Like most places, you will find it is useful to know at least some of the more common words and phrases in the native tongue, but it is not necessary to be fluent in French to enjoy your stay or get around. Many of the local residents and store owners of Semur speak some English and are always more than willing to help visitors. The town prides itself for its hospitality.

If you need help with planning your day trips locally or in the Burgundy area, visit the Tourist Bureau by the old city gates (not far from the bus stop). There is always at least one person who speaks English on duty, and they have plenty of updated printed information in English.

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Do I need to change my cash into Euros before I arrive in France?

There are many bank branches in Semur-en-Auxois where you can change money. Nevertheless, we do find that changing some money before getting on your plane to France makes things a lot easier when you arrive. It is helpful to have at least 50 Euros for each person in your group when you arrive at the airport just in case you can't find a money exchange open. Credit cards are good for most purchases but you will need cash to get a cab, get on public transportation, or pay tolls if you rent a car. The French rely on credit cards with advanced security smart chips embedded that American Cards don’t have so your foreign credit card may not work in the automatic tellers and machines where the French purchase metro tickets and pay tolls. So having a little cash is really helpful.

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Do I need to buy a phone card?

We found the phone cards sold at local French news stands un-useable if you are a non-native speaker. They require input of long complicated codes plus an ability to understand and execute complex instructions spoken rapidly in French by phone.

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Can I buy a SIM card for my cell phone in Semur-en-Auxois?

You can not buy a French SIM card for your phone if you wait until you are in Semur. You can recharge your SIM card if you have purchased a French SIM at any of the local tobacco shops. If you want to use your cell phone during your stay first check with your provider. You may be able to upgrade your plan. However, if you can't get good rates with your carrier, you can buy a SIM card for your unlocked cell phone at the FNAC store in Paris and other large cities in France, as long as you provide a French address (ours is OK). If you plan to buy a SIM then be sure to bring an unlocked cell phone with you. If you aren't sure whether your phone is locked or unlocked go to your local cell phone outlet before traveling and find out. If your phone is locked you will not be able to use a SIM you buy here.

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Can you provide some basic foods for us to use until we can get to a grocery store?

Yes. If you let us know in advance we can have our local manager leave some supplies for you at cost. We will provide you with his phone number as the date of your arrival approaches and he is usually available to greet you, show you around the house, garage and garden and answer any questions you might have.

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Do you require a deposit?

Yes. We do require 50% of the rental fee as a deposit to confirm your reservation. For more details, see Terms & Conditions.

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How far in advance do we need to make a reservation?

We recommend that you contact us at least two months in advance during high season and one month in advance during low season. For specific dates, see our availability page.

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How many people can the house sleep?

The house can accommodate up to 5-6 people, but it is most comfortable if there are no more than two couples or a family. There are two bedrooms upstairs with a full size (slightly smaller than queen) bed in each that can comfortably sleep two people each. There is a screened off sleeping nook with a day bed in the second floor landing just outside the bedrooms. Also, in the Master Bedroom there is a couch with a fold out bed, which many of our clients find is convenient for their younger children who might need to be close by at night. The mattress from the fold out can also be removed and used as a third full size in the salon if you are three couples traveling together. A portable crib and high chair are also available on site.

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What amenities come with the house?

The house is furnished with everything you need to make your stay comfortable and home-like.

We not only provide all linens and towels, but extra pillows and blankets, and a kitchen fully stocked with plenty of dishes, utensils, and cookware, including the following appliances and services:

Large kitchen appliances:
Full-sized refrigerator and freezer
Four element electric stove and oven
Dishwasher (soap provided)

Small kitchen appliances:
Toaster
Microwave
Coffee Maker

Utility Appliances:
Washing Machine (detergent provided)
Dryer
Iron and Ironing Board
Fold Out Drying Rack
Hair Dryer
Towel Warmer

Audio/Visual:
TV with French and English channels
VCR: European/North American compatible
DVD player
Stereo/CD player

Internet Service:
WiFi and cable internet

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Is there maid service available?

No, there is no daily maid service. The house is equipped as a self-service, self-catering vacation rental or gite. Expect the house to be freshly cleaned and stocked with fresh linens when you arrive. You may use the washer and dryer in the closet next to the bathroom, if you wish. For those staying longer periods of time, please contact us to discuss a weekly or bi-weekly cleaning service at an extra charge.

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Can I access the internet from the house?

We have both cable and wireless, WI-FI high-speed internet access at the house at no additional charge, but the house is not equipped with a computer. If you do not travel with a laptop, there is an internet-cyber cafe in town (next to Sagittaire restaurant) near the bus stop that offers web access in 30 minute increments at a reasonable price.

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Does the house have a telephone from which I can make long-distance or international calls?

Yes. We provide free local, long distance, and international phone service to land-line phones in most countries, including the United States, England, Australia, and Canada.

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Is the tap water safe to drink?

Yes, visitors from around the world drink the municipally treated water on tap supplied by the house's modern plumbing, although if you prefer, bottled water is readily available for sale in town.

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Can I swim in the river?

Some people do but the locals do not recommend it. The river is neither deep enough to swim in nor dive into from the bridge near our house; the locals prefer to swim from the sandy beaches of the nearby freshwater Lac du Pont.

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How do I get there from the airport?

There is a high speed TGV (train that goes directly from the airport to the neighboring town, Montbard, every day. Semur-en-Auxois is about 45 minutes - 1 hour from the Dijon airport, and is also approximately equidistant from the four nearby major international airports: Geneva (Swiss), Lyon, and both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris (although Orly is the closer of the two). Thus the following travel times and routes are approximate.

By train: There are train stations in each airport city, and we recommend taking the high-speed train which is non-stop service. One option is to take an Air France Express bus (not free) which shuttles passengers arriving on any airline from Charles de Gaulle in Paris to Gare de Lyon. From there you can take a train to Montbard and then either pick up your rental car and drive to Semur or take a taxi or convenient bus at the Montbard train station to Semur (the bus ride is discounted with a train ticket, Monday-Saturday). The TGV ride from Paris to Montbard takes approximately 1 hour, and the bus ride from Montbard to Semur-en-Auxois is approximately 20 minutes. From the bus stop, our house is a short walk through the town center.

By Car: From any of the above airports, you can rent a car with any valid driver's license (it is advisable to reserve your rental car before you leave for your vacation) and drive straight to Semur-en-Auxois. Driving time varies depending on your arrival airport as well as whether you opt to drive via expressways or via more scenic minor routes. Taking the autoroutes from Paris, for example, takes an average of 2 - 2.5 hours, depending on your airport of choice and the traffic conditions. Signage out of Paris is notoriously poor so bring a detailed map including surface streets with you if you don't have your bearings yet. Please note that only credit cards with embedded "smart chips" are accepted at gas stations after hours. For driving tips in France click here.

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Where do I park my car?

There is space for you or visitors to park right in front of the house and we have modern enclosed locked garage adjacent to the vineyard/garden a few meters away.

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Do I really need a car?

For centuries people have been enjoying all that this quaint little town has to offer without one. After settling into the house, you will find that the entire town is within easy walking distance of your front doorstep, including several bakeries, banks, pharmacies, restaurants, cafés, a local grocery and convenience store, as well as flowered paths that lead to the lush countryside.

Additionally, while it is certainly possible to visit local sights of Burgundy by car, it is also possible to do so by walking, by bicycle, or by bus.

If you prefer, most people rent cars either at the airport or in the neighboring town of Montbard. A limited number of rental cars are available at the local Renault dealership in Semur.

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Can I rent a bicycle in town?

The nearest bike rental shops are in the nearby town of Venarey les Laumes, which is about 12.6 km away. It takes about 15 minutes to get there by car on the D954. Here are the phone numbers:

Branchy: 09 61 54 41 38
Drop BMX 06 74 47 29 74
Venarey Cycles: 06 13 02 92 53

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Do I need electrical adapters to plug in my hairdryer, electric razor, etc.?

Yes, if you are traveling from another country, you will need an adapter to use the electrical outlets in France. If your personal appliances are manufactured for use in North America, then you will not only have to adapt to the different shape of plug but also convert to a different voltage.

The electrical outlets in France take a 220-Volt E-type plug with three round prongs arranged in a triangle.

Check out your local travel store before you leave, and make sure to verify with them that the adapter you intend to purchase will work for you specifically in France.

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What amenities are available in town?

Aside from the Tourist Bureau by the town gate, there is a large grocery/general store and smaller convenience market, several bakeries, a standard and a homeopathic pharmacy, and a hospital in town, as well as a hardware store, a bookstore, a toy store, clothing stores, museums, a live theatre and movie theatre, a pub, a weekend farmer's market, and many restaurants serving all types of food from traditional French fare to Italian and North African.

Be advised that in France many stores are closed on Sundays, Mondays, major and minor holidays, (as well as daily from noon to 2:00 for lunch). Refer to your travel guide to find out if you will be staying during any French holidays and plan accordingly.

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What kinds of activities are available locally?

Whether you intend to rest and relax in our sunny garden during your vacation or fill your days and evenings with activities, Semur-en-Auxois and the surrounding area has much to offer. At the house we provide you with informational brochures from the Travel Bureau on the many activities that are available to you. Just a short drive from town are many chateaus to visit, vineyards for wine tasting, and sites of historical interest to explore. Why not take in the countryside and canal pathways at a slower pace via hiking and bicycling? You can also enjoy golfing, fishing, swimming, boating, horseback riding, rock climbing, art lessons and other aquatic activities such as water skiing at nearby Lac du Pont (a large freshwater lake a few kilometers away).

Whatever you decide to do, you'll enjoy returning to your peaceful rental home in Semur after your busy day of sight seeing and recreation.

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