Questions and Answers
WHAT IF I HAVE A PROBLEM?
As this is not a commercial rental, we have no paid back up. Nevertheless the local Farmer across the river or the French couple who live next door, would all offer assistance to you. If you do have a problem and need advice, ‘phone us at home on 00 44 1873 851178.
WHAT IF I HAVE AN EMERGENCY?
The Pan-European emergency telephone number 112 works in any EU country (including the UK and France) from any telephone, and its also the number to call for any emergency services from your mobile ‘phone. In France the red emergency ambulance is manned by the fire service. The white ambulances you see about are little more than taxis. French Emergency Services: Medical (Samu) dial 15; Police (Gendarmerie) dial 17; Fire (Pompier) dial 18; Water (sea and lake) dial 1616.
WHAT IF I NEED A HOSPITAL TO SEE A DOCTOR?
Only the new European Health Insurance Card is valid from 1st January 2006, so if you have an old E111 form you need to replace it. Apply for a card at or by calling 0845 606 2030. It covers emergency treatment but not prescribed medicines, specialist treatment, dental treatment or X-rays. The nearest Accident & Emergency Hospital – Centre Hospitalier De Cournouaille in Quimper. From whichever direction you enter the town of Quimper, just follow the red cross signs. The nearest doctor is in Dinéault; Lucas Yves (médecin), 9 Place Eglise, Dinéault.
CAN I USE MY MOBILE ‘PHONE?
The cottage is deep in the forest, at the bottom of the valley and next to a river. So unfortunately you are unlikely to get any reception whatever network you use. Please tell your family to call you in an emergency on the cottage ‘phone, 00 33 2 98 26 00 43.
DO YOU HAVE WI-FI?
Yes, WiFi is available in the cottage, free for you to use.
CAN I TELEPHONE HOME?
If you want to use your mobile ‘phone, you will have to climb the nearest hill. Otherwise you are quite welcome to use the ‘phone in the cottage. Dial 00 44 for Britain. International calls cost €0.22 (that’s about 15p) per minute peak hours and €0.12 off peak.
WHAT IF SOMEONE CALLS WHILST I AM OUT?
The cottage ‘phone is programmed for the France Telecom answer service. Dial 3103 for messages. It’s all in French but anyone should understand what to do after the beep!
HOW DO I GET MONEY FRANCE?
Most cash dispenser machines accept most British debit and credit cards, and the machines recognise it is a British card and give instructions in English. The exchange rate is usually as good, if not better, than buying Euros at home.
CAN I USE MY CREDIT CARD IN FRANCE?
Most retail outlets accept credit cards. Chip and Pin for UK cards is slowly being introduced in France. In some shops, however, you will still need to sign the slip. Generally Mastercards are more readily accepted than Visa cards.
IS IT A BRITISH TOILET?
Yes, no problem, its not a hole in the ground! As we are in an isolated location, however, the toilet system has small bore piping leading to a septic tank. You must therefore only put toilet paper (and anything you have previously eaten) down the toilet. No sanitary towels and no anti-biotics or other medicines. They block the system or kill the good bacteria in the septic tank. Thanks and sorry we have to get basic.
DRIVING IN FRANCE!
Drive on the right (obviously). It’s compulsory to wear a seat belt and for children under 10 to sit in the back in a seat belt or child seat. Mobile ‘phones can only be used whilst driving with a hands free system; but don't use headphones whilst driving for whatever reason or you'll get a £100+ instant fine. It’s compulsory to carry your driving licence, car registration papers and insurance certificate.
Speed limits: Autoroutes - 130km/h (110km/h when raining); Dual carriageways - 110km/h (100km/h when raining); Other roads - 80km/h (70km/h when raining); Built up areas - 50km/h; Anytime visibility is less than 50metres - 50km/h.
Priorité à droite. In a city, town or village, unless there is a stop or give way sign and road markings, the right of way at a cross roads is always given to the vehicle on the right. This applies even in the case of a small side road entering a major main road. The vehicle travelling on the main road must give way to the vehicle entering on the right. The yellow diamond sign means you have priority and the “priorité à droite” does not apply.
There are severe penalties for drink driving and the limit is 0.5 grams of alcohol per litre (far lower than in the UK).
IS THERE CAR PARKING?
Yes, the parking area is grass on gravel, immediately inside the main entrance. It's recommended to reverse in and drive out.
CAN I DRINK THE WATER?
Tap water is now perfectly safe in France. Bottled water probably has more bacteria!
HOW DO I OPERATE THE OVEN / FRIDGE / TUMBLE DRIER AND SO ON?
When you arrive, check the cottage manual, there is a handbook for every item of equipment.
HOW DO I GET THE KEYS AND WHERE DO I LEAVE THEM WHEN I GO?
We will send you a set of keys well in advance and ask for you to post them back on your return. We will also let you have full details of how to turn on the water and electricity when you arrive and remind you to switch it off when you leave.
ARE TOWELS AND BED LINEN PROVIDED?
IS THERE ANY HEATING IF I HOLIDAY EARLY OR LATE?
Yes, a wood burning stove with plenty of free wood; the wood store is beneath the house. If that's too much effort, there is an electric heater with fan boost as well. Its a small cottage which doesn't take much to keep warm.
DO YOU HAVE A CLEANER?
Sorry, no we don’t. We hope that (at this price) you will be prepared to tidy up and clean the cottage before you leave. This tends to be a standard request for self catering properties in France, mainly because of the bureaucracy involved in employing casual staff.
WILL I MISS MY FAVOURITE TV PROGRAMME?
No. As the cottage is surrounded by trees, the only available TV system is satellite. The system receives UK satellite freesat channels, that’s all the BBC channels and some ITV and other Sky channels.
WHAT’S THE WEATHER LIKE?
Just like Cornwall only a couple of degrees warmer. Being close to the coast, however, we tend to get more sunshine than inland. This wooded valley sometimes has early morning mist but at least we are protected from the wind.