Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dreaming of France -- Vacation Differences

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

As our trip draws closer, it gets me thinking about previous vacations we have taken in France, and that's when I realized a big difference between places we stay in the U.S. and some places we have stayed in France. No, it isn't the size of the rooms.
Nearly 20 years ago, we traveled to France with our children. We didn't have definitive plans about where we would stay, which worried our French friends. So they called ahead for an apartment near the Mediterranean. The apartment was inexpensive and had a kitchen, so it ended up being a decent place to stay.

As you can imagine, we tracked in some sand after going to the beach and the place got a little dirty with five people staying there a few days. As we checked out, we were told that we needed to have the apartment checked before we'd get our deposit back.
That's cool. We thought they'd be counting silverware, making sure we hadn't stolen anything, which they did.
But that's when they told us that we needed to clean the apartment. In order to get our deposit back, we had to clean.
The problem was, we had left the United States without bringing cleaning supplies. We pulled the kids out of the car and their car seats, because we had been planning to leave, and began washing everything, including the refrigerator, the bathroom floor. I can still picture Earl on his hands and knees with a towel, trying to wipe up every grain of sand.
Mostly, I remember the shock that another family might be moving into this apartment based on the cleaning job we did without the benefit of any Windex or 409.
I hadn't thought about that for years, until we signed up to stay in an AirBnB in France when we go in a few weeks. In the details, the "house rules," it explains that we were responsible for taking out the trash (no big deal) along with lots of other cleaning.

Comme vous le savez, le ménage n'est pas compris dans le tarif.
A l'arrivée, une caution ménage de 40€ sera à fournir.
Elle sera détruite lorsqu'en fin de séjour, les lieux seront rendus dans l'état où ils ont été trouvés à l'arrivée.
Si le nettoyage du matériel et des locaux n'est pas fait ou de façon insatisfaisante, le ménage nécessaire à la remise en état sera systématiquement facturée selon le barème noté sur le contrat, soit 40€, et la caution ménage ne sera donc pas rendue.
This just warns that there's a 40 Euro cleaning fee that will be returned after an apartment inspection.
So, I'd already booked the B&B when I read that. But it gets worse.
Here are the cleaning instructions:
Comme vous le savez, un gîte n'est pas un hôtel, le ménage n'est par conséquent pas compris dans le tarif.
En fin de séjour, les lieux doivent être rendus dans l'état équivalent à celui de l'arrivée. En cas contraire, sachez que, si le nettoyage du matériel et des locaux n'est pas fait ou de façon insatisfaisante, le ménage nécessaire à la remise en état sera systématiquement facturé selon le barème noté sur le contrat, soit 40€, et la caution ménage ne sera pas rendue.
Prendre la prestation ménage ne dispense pas de faire la vaisselle, de nettoyer les tables, de vider et emporter les poubelles et bouteilles consommées.
Si vous ne prenez pas la prestation ménage et souhaitez faire le ménage vous-même, sachez ce qui est nécessaire de faire avant le départ :
Chambre : Disposer les couvertures pliées et les oreillers correctement sur chaque lit après avoir secoué les alèses. Laver les lavabos et accessoires, les tablettes, la robinetterie et la faïence si besoin. Nettoyer le sol (sans oublier les coins, le dessous des lits et armoires) puis passer la serpillière.
Sanitaires : Nettoyer la douche, le lavabo et faïence avec produit adéquat (ne pas oublier les cheveux dans les bondes). Laver le sol.
WC : Nettoyer et désinfecter avec produits adéquats les cuvettes, les rebords et les chasses d'eau. Laver la faïence sur les côtés du WC et nettoyer le sol. Vider la poubelle, les nettoyer ainsi que les brosses.
Cuisine : Nettoyer le matériel de cuisson, fours, cuisinière et plans de travail sur toutes les faces, intérieures et extérieures. Nettoyer le réfrigérateur (intérieur et extérieur), qui doit être vidé de son contenu. Nettoyer l'évier, les faïences et les robinetteries et enfin bien nettoyer les sols.

You can see that the cleaning instructions are fairly complex. Taking the trash out and washing the dishes, sure. We can clean up after ourselves, but cleaning the bathrooms, while we're on vacation?
Here are the translated instructions for cleaning the bathroom:
Clean and disinfect the toilet bowls, flanges and flushes with suitable products. Wash the faience on the sides of the toilet and clean the floor. Empty the trash, clean them and brushes.
Ummm. I'm not carrying toilet bowl cleaner with me to France. And I don't use brushes to clean out my trash can at home.
Luckily, I realized in time what was required, and I asked the hostess if we could just pay for the cleaning. 40 Euros seemed fair to avoid cleaning toilets on vacation.
Has anyone else run into this issue in France?
I don't think it happens in hotels, only in gites or rental apartments.
Now, we get to enjoy this lovely Airbnb

without worrying about cleaning to the hostess's satisfaction.
Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France.
I appreciate you sharing your love for France, along with any food, books, movies, stories and pictures about France, too. Please visit the blogs of others who play along so we can share the love.


Sim Carter said...

Non. Non. Non! I suppose you could have gone out and bought cleaning supplies but all that money for the supplies and all that effort definitely takes the fun out of things. I can understand leaving the place clean and tidy—some people are slobs in hotel rooms, leaving their mess for others to clean up, but disinfecting the toilet??? That's not in my vacation description at all. Paying the fee is the only way to go but 40 euros for a short stay seems a little stiff.
On the other hand, I know how much you love France and the pleasure you get from being in Paris will chase any bad feelings away!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I have stayed in rentals ..and all that was required was ...all bins emptied ..left clean ... I can manage that. I think many airbnbs differ. .some are stricter than others . They must make good money from it .. they would have to clean it for next guests anyway .. !!!

On different subject ..books ..gave link to guest in bed and breakfast last week . Trail mix ..lady is from New England ..she loved the concept of the book. 💟

Anonymous said...

We don't expect guests to clean our vacation rentals. They have stocks of cleaning supplies, including a vacuum, but that's more so that if somebody spills or breaks something, they can clean it up and not be stuck with a mess during their stay. But even when the apartments look perfectly clean, we clean again before the next guest.
As for the trash, well, if it gets full (and apartments don't tend to have room for gigantic trash bins), of course one would take it out, and the collection bin is just across the street--no big deal. But again, we wouldn't charge people who didn't take out the trash as long as the place wasn't left disgusting.
The cleaning fee is just a way to nickel and dime renters.

Anonymous said...

I have never come across such an extensive cleaning list of requirements, but we have often been charged a compulsory cleaning fee. We always leave somewhere nice and tidy but I don't expect to have to wash the floors and clean the bathrooms, as you say, it's a holiday! With our own gite, we don't have a list of cleaning rules at all and we have never had any visitors who didn't leave the house in a totally normal clean state after a week or two. There have never been any problems. We allow six hours in between guests on changeover day and we clean from head to toe, extremely thoroughly, even with two of us and a small gite it takes hours, but it is part of the job of renting out a gite and it is part of the pleasure knowing that when our new guests arrive it will be spotless and we can take great pride in showing guests around. However, one must realise many French do things differently, quite often for a French owned rental you will be asked to take along your own bed linen and towels, if you don't want to hike these you have to pay to rent them! I try to avoid these rentals too, I simply don't want the hassle of having to hike endless bedlinen and then having to wash six sets as soon as I get home!

Paulita said...

Sim and Anne, I see you agree with me!
Frenchtaste and OurFrenchOasis, You both give me so much insight, actually living in France and offering properties for rent. I should stipulate that we are staying for a week at this place and the price for the Airbnb is very inexpensive, so we don't mind the 40Euro price tag for cleaning.
Thanks for commenting.

Jeanie said...

What a great story, Paulita (and lots of good info to bear in mind, too. I've never stayed in a spot with a cleaning fee unless you simply don't! Pretty much every place I've stayed (here) was leave it as you found it -- dump the trash, clean up any spills, sweep the floor, vacuum if there is one, that sort of thing.

Does DOFrance post every Monday? Next week I have a post to join along with. Finally!

Working Girl said...

Ha! Funny! I have never seen such detailed instructions for cleaning, though I've had similar experiences with landlords in France. Maybe it's just a way to get you to pay the 40 euros. Seems like a lot of trouble though. They could just charge 40 euros more and include the cleaning automatically.

em ci said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. It is good to know.
EmCi @ Prê

Paulita said...

Jeanie, Yes, every Monday. I'll look forward to your post next week.
Working Girl, I think the French expect to have to clean up after themselves, otherwise, she might have translated the cleaning instructions into English! The price for staying a week is very low, around 250 Euros, so the 40 Euro cleaning fee doesn't hurt too much.
Em Ci, Glad you joined us.

martinealison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
martinealison said...


Je suis triste que vous ayez rencontré un tel souci et surtout que vous n'en soyez pas avisée à l'avance !
Je pense que parfois nous rencontrons des déboires avec certaines locations et propriétaires mais ce, partout.
Je suis propriétaire à Paris d'un petit appartement à Montmartre. Je ne vis pas à Paris mais j'adore y passer du temps lorsque je peux.
Entre temps, je le confie à Lodgis pour la location :,location-meublee/appartement/LPA17382-boulevard-rochechouart-appartement-paris-18.mod.html

Chaque fois que les personnes qui ont occupé l'appartement partent, je charge une dame de ménage pour remettre tout en ordre. De toutes façons je ne pourrais pas confier l'appartement à de nouvelles personnes sans qu'un grand ménage soit fait même si l'appartement paraît correct.
Si des personnes désirent qu'une personne entretienne l'appartement durant leur séjour, je peux leur proposer la dame de ménage. Elles s'arrangent alors directement avec elle pour ce service, je n'interviens pas. Très souvent les personnes optent pour cette solution pour un long séjour.

J'espère que ce déboire ne vous découragera pas de revenir en France !

Gros bisous 🌸

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