We are renting apartments, no rooms. What is the difference?
There is no typical French definition of an apartment but a European one. It is not only a matter of vocabulary. It involves a precise legal status as well as different types of responsibility for both the owner and the client / tenant.
- Furnished apartment / house: It is rented by the week or by the month. It is up to the owner to be more flexible. When somebody is renting an apartment he is at home and has the same responsibilities as at home. But the owner who rents that flat is obliged to provide, apart from the bed, some cooking facilities and a bathroom. Being as at home, the tenant needs to be completely independent.
- Rooms: A bed and breakfast or a hotel is renting rooms. No cooking facilities are required and bathroom can be shared with others (although this is the case only in very cheap places). The client is under the responsibility of the hotelier.
At Les Remparts de Riquewihr we are renting apartments with a minimum stay of 3 nights.
Our Check in procedure
Our apartments are available earliest at 4:00 pm, latest 6:30 pm unless otherwise agreed.
A meeting time should be agreed with us at least the day before arrival. Call our house manager on +33670089783 in order to agree about a meeting time in Riquewihr.
Driving instructions inside Riquewihr
Once you will arrive in Riquewihr, continue to the medieval city. You will face an old gate (city hall) giving way to the main street. DO NOT ENTER THE OLD CITY. Take right (without passing the gate). Remain outside the old city with the car. If you have a GPS, enter STECKGRABEN as the street and drive up to our meeting point.
Check your personal booking file for precise and personalized check in / meeting procedure.
How many people can we accommodate?
The standard capacity of each apartment is specified on its description page.
When extra persons are possible, a supplement applies. When you insert the number of persons (including children and babies if any), the booking engine will calculate automatically the best rate. In case the number of participants in your party exceeds the maximum capacity of one apartment you may consider the possibility to rent one or several other apartments. In this case, kindly book each apartment separately and mention it in the remarks field when booking. All our apartments in Riquewihr are within short walking distance (50 to 250 meters only).
How can I see the availabilities?
The best way to see the availabilities is to choose one of the apartments (see home page) and from there you will see the calendars. Occupancy is up to date. Dates shown as available may have been requested but with a stay not yet confirmed (A booking is confirmed only after payment of a deposit of 30% of the total amount).
Select your dates and the system will return the best rate available according to the period of the year and the length of the stay you selected. Then, you can make a booking request.
How can I see the costs?
Kindly use our online system and follow step by step what is explained on the website: go to the dedicated page of your selected apartment, select your nights (do not select the day of departure since that night will not be part of your stay) and continue. The system will come up with the best offer considering the length of stay and period of the year.
About stairs and levels...
Our apartments are in medieval houses, part of the French National Heritage. We had therefore to keep intact the original structure with its different levels. Please note that, although the staircases are fully practicable, our apartments are unfortunately hardly suitable for people having mobility problems or for very big people.
Remark: The studio 'Refuge of the Imp' and the 'Little Bear' apartment are at street level.
Do I need a car when travelling to Alsace and staying in Riquewihr?
No, you do not absolutely need a car when staying in Riquewihr. Actually the answer depends on how long you will be staying, in which season and whether you want to discover larger areas (Alsace, nearby Germany and Swizerland are easily accessible from Riquewihr) or only the nearby vineyards and cities.
There are buses from Riquewihr to Ribeauvillé and Colmar. From Colmar train station, you have high speed trains (TGV) to Paris and even Zurich, as well as many fast regional trains to Strasbourg and Basel. Visit the dedicated website for public transportation in Alsace (English version available).
What about parking?
A genuine medieval city is not very well adapted to modern cars as everybody can imagine. But this will add charm and romance to your stay and make it unique. After check in, it is usually possible to drive to the house and unload the luggage (except during holidays when streets are crowded with pedestrians, then it will be necessary to roll your lugguage from the parking to the apartment).
After unloading, it is necessary to park the car on one of the public parkings 50 / 200 meters away (depending in which of our apartments you are staying). There are plenty of public parking places (none free of charge) around the medieval city but no place is specially reserved for us or anyone else.
We can get you a special parking pass for the duration of your stay at a privileged rate. Although such a parking pass is not a place holder, you have unlimited parking access on public spaces for EUR 3 / day. If you have a car, we do recommend to book at least this option for its high flexibility and low cost and because there is no free public parking available in Riquewihr.
We are now able to offer a limited number of parking places inside the old city of Riquewihr. An optional secluded parking facility is now available upon request when you make an online booking (EUR 8 / day). This parking is in the open air but behind a locked gate. Please note that the secluded parking is NOT AVAILABLE during the Christmas markets and holidays.
Select the parking option when booking.
ABOUT mobile TELEPHONES in FRANCE
Important: Please note that - as we are renting our private holiday apartments - we are not a hotel or a bed and breakfast and we do not have any permanent reception desk. In order to manage your check-in in a smooth and stressless way for you, we need to be in touch with you - and you with us - by telephone or sms. During your stay we also might need to get in touch with you.
Years of experience taught us that carying a mobile phone when travelling is not a gadget but definitely a helpful tool.
When you arrive in France, a good idea is to take some time to buy a package including a mobile phone + a pre-paid sim card with a private phone number. This is available from any telephone shop in airports, major train stations and cities for approx EUR 30 only. Prefer Orange or SFR since they have an extended network. (Bouygues may have some difficulties to cover the country side).
If your stay in France exceeds 3-4 days or if you travel to France frequently, it is worthwile taking some time for this since it is MUCH cheaper than using your own phone contract on a roaming basis.
About heating in Winter and air conditioning in the Summer
When we designed and built our apartments we did it in an environment friendly way. We spent almost double of the regular costs to use natural products - for the insulation materials, timber and wood treatment, paint, etc - in order to offer our guests a healthy and comfortable stay in an environmently responsible attitude.
We do appreciate when our guests share the same responsible attitude.
Saving energy is a key matter. Energy is expensive. Almost 4 times more expensive in Europe than in North America.
In fact the concern is not the heating itself or air conditioning but the behavior of some travellers. In most of the places for rent during the Winter, heating is not included and comes on top of the rental amount. This is an easy way to oblige the tenant to feel responsible.
We have chosen - for the comfort of our guests - to include a "reasonable heating" or airconditioning concept.
This can be a big risk for us since, unfortunately, some people have no idea about heating and cost management, especially nowadays when energy is getting so expensive. Some people will push the temperature up to 25°C in Winter while wearing only a T-shirt. Such a behavior does not have the same impact on costs as leaving the temperature on 21°C (which is also the healthiest attitude) and wearing a sweater.
We also found out that some people go out for the whole day and leave the heating / air conditioning at full power! One day we found the heating of the Dove's Nest house switched to 31°C after all people had departed... We have invested a lot of efforts and money in the restoration of that places in order to offer some of the nicest places available in Alsace at a very reasonable rental rate. We wish to maintain that level of rates as low as possible. To achieve that, we need to make sure that our guests understand this correctly, share and agree with our approach and behave accordingly.
Room and baggage service
As we are renting private self catering apartments we are unfortunately unable to provide any usual hotel services such as room or baggage service. Our house manager who will greet you and show you to the apartment is a thin lady unable to cary our tenants luggage. Should you be unable to cary your luggage by yourself, we could find some special help to cary them. This would be an extra fee / tip for you to be given directly to the person. Should you need such a service, kindly advise when booking.
We are happy to welcome well behaved children under the full responsability of the parents in our Winemaker's property. A credit card print is requested upon arrival to cover damages if any.
Remark: some apartments are not suitable for children. See description page of each apartment.
Are pets allowed?
Want to come with your doggie? It is possible in some apartments. The option to be selected is then offered during the booking process.
A supplement and conditions apply: The dog has to be clean (strictly no puppy allowed, sorry for that), not aggressive and must not disturb the neighbors. You need to bring the basket, plates and supplies for your dog. The dog must not sleep on the bed or couch and must never stay alone in the apartment.
Puppies and cats are NOT allowed.
How big is the city?
There are only 1200 inhabitants in Riquewihr, but an incredible number of places to visit, restaurants and coffee shops and places where to eat cakes or taste great wines! Riquewihr is indeed one of the most prettiest villages in France, it is not only a slogan. Some 12 kilometres away only (10-15 minutes) is the town of Colmar (approx 90 000 inhabitants) where you will find even more boutiques and all kinds of lovely things to eat or to buy...
What about bikes?
It is possible to rent bikes. We have an agreement with a nearby bike rental company. Should you wish to rent bikes, we will be pleased to get in touch with the bike rental people once you will be with us. Our previous experiences taught us not to take any commitment in advance. We suggest that you first see the environment, the weather and your mood of the day, then decide about what you like to do and when. Our vineyard area is hilly and sometimes even mountainous so that only well-trained cyclists will be at their ease. Car traffic might also be a problem for cyclists, especially on weekends.
But biking is not the only option: the visit of the village of Riquewihr is pedestrian anyway. Nearby typical villages are connected by bus. It is easy and pleasant to walk from one village to the other through the vineyards and come back by bus.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about the Sales Conditions
1. Question - Why such a long and precise Sales and Conditions page?
1. Answer - Having the conditions on our site is mandatory by law. If you came accross sites or places without this, it only means that they are not complying with French and European rules and regulations. A lot of people offering accommodation are not always aware of the legal aspects. If a problem occurs, they will be in trouble and will put their guests into trouble. The content of our sales conditions is what is provided by the French administration and professional organizations. We did not write them ourselves. This is explained in the first paragraph. When a tourist is renting an apartment or a house, his legal status is not different from a family or anyone renting a furnished flat for any other personal reason. The main philosophy is very simple and easy to understand: the renter must take good care of what he rents.
2. Question - What is "taking good care"?
2. Answer - The answer is very simple: not being careless! Let us take some examples: breaking a glass can happen to anybody. Unless it is thrown against the wall in a moment of anger, it is an accident. During more than 6 years of activity, we had to change quite a few wine glasses. We never asked anybody for a single penny because of a glass.
But a renter thinking that because he is paying a rent entitles him to be unbehaved should be charged for the damages. We believe that a renter having his black shoes shining with some costly bath towel should be given the towel to take home and be charged for it. A renter not caring for removing his shoes full of mud when he comes back from a walk and crossing the house and the sleeping room carpet with them is an unbehaved person and should be charged for the extra cleaning. All this has more to do with behaving and education than with real risk.
3. Question - In the sales conditions it states "the tenant promises to take out insurance against tenancy risks" and below it states "the landlord promises to insure the accommodation against tenancy risks on the tenants behalf". Does that mean I do not have to take out the insurance?
3. Answer - It is mandatory to have a personal insurance here around. Most of the personal insurances cover the risks when travelling and renting another place for a short period of time. But since in some countries it is not mandatory to have a personal insurance, we are obliged to mention this and make sure the traveller takes this into consideration. As an owner we have an insurance for majors risks. But this does not cover the damages our guests might create. Kindly check with your personal / home insurance if unsure.
4. Question - The sales conditions state that the credit card print taken as a security deposit will be valid for a 1 week period after departure of the traveller. I would have thought it would be cancelled when we leave, if we left the place as we found it?
4. Answer - The reason is very simple to understand: it is impossible to inspect in detail the place when people leave. Most of the problems are often discovered much later. Take our Dove's Nest house in Riquewihr. It is quite large and full of antiques and a lot of sophisticated equipment. Some of them are used only from time to time. Other owners say such a problem is sometimes discovered by the following guest only and not by the house maid. Should a place remain empty for some days, you see that a week delay is quite reasonable.
5. About our cancellation policy - Deposits paid to us are not refundable. Why?
5. Answer - More about the legal aspect of deposits.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued July 18, 2007 an important decision (Case No. 277/05) about deposits. This decision applies in the 27 countries of the European Union.
The ECJ (18 July 2007) held that Articles 2(1) and 6(1) of the Sixth Directive meant that a sum paid as a deposit was to be regarded, where the hotelier retained the amount as a result of the guest canceling, as compensation for the loss suffered as a result of the cancellation. It had no direct connection with the supply of any service for consideration.
Before the decision of the ECJ, it was possible to read a lot of different opinions about deposits and refund of deposits. Someones said that deposits should be refunded when the cancellation occurred a long time before the date of the stay, others also said that if the room / apartment was rebooked, the deposit had to be refunded.
None of this has then to be taken into consideration: ECJ says clearly that deposits have "no direct connection with the supply of any service for consideration".
In principle, the decision concerns all agreements whereby parties agree upon cancellation charges in advance, which a party cancelling the agreement owed the counterparty.
Actually a "refundable deposit" makes no sense: every professional is free to require a deposit or not. A large hotel may have a very flexible cancellation policy.
We have a limited number of apartments and each one is unique - it means it cannot be replaced by any other one - and each reservation is for a precise apartment.
Vacations rentals, especially for longer stays, are booked a long time in advance.
Many of our guests are preparing their trip several months, if not a year or more, in advance. This means sometimes planning a complex circuit with accommodation, events and transportation... To satisfy guests planning a long time ahead, we need absolutely to work on a reliable planning. We cannot afford taking the risk of blocking our vacation rentals, turn down a lot of requests and end up with somebody who changes his mind when the stay gets nearer.
Of course, we understand that daily life might be subject to unforeseen circumstances. Therefore we strongly recommend a travel / cancellation insurance. But no insurance will cover a change of mind of the client. In this case, and as the law says (Article L 114-1 of the last paragraph of the Consumer Code) : "each contractor may reverse its commitment, the consumer losing the deposit, the business returning the double."
A cancellation insurance can be obtained from most of the banks, can also be subscribed online and is rather cheap.
To learn more about travel / cancellation insurance, see further down.
Should you have any other question, do not hesitate to ask.
Since we published our guidelines about travel insurance the UK government also published a very complete file about the subject. It starts like this: "Your credit card accident cover, home insurance, European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or private health cover is not always sufficient."
Very useful information indeed. Here is the link: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-insurance
On our side, we have no special agreement with any particular insurance company, however, every year we are facing situations where little foresight travelers are obliged to cancel their trip but had not taken the precaution (despite our insistent recommendations) to subscribe a cancellation insurance. For trying to save a few dollars, they lose their deposit. As deposits are not refundable, we strongly recommend that you take out cancellation insurance (see our terms & conditions).
Here is some information collected on the website of the insurer Mondial Assistance ...
"You spend plenty of time and money planning your holiday. Cover from Mondial helps protect that investment. Think of all the things that can affect your trip: a medical emergency, a weather delay, lost luggage, and more."
Some situations that can happen not only to others ...
- Missing his plane
- Getting sick
- Losing luggage
- Theft or loss of passport before flying
- Losing a job
- Being transferred
- Being summoned to an examination
- Illness, Accident, Death of a family member
- Worsening of health
Because travelling abroad requires a minimum of precautions before departure, we recommend that you purchase a travel / cancellation insurance.
Example of cost for a cancellation insurance for
- 7 nights for 4 people in Colombier: Approximately 50 to 60 €
- 7 nights for 2 persons in the Sentinel: Approximately € 40
Insurance companies often offer several levels of insurance, you choose one that covers you best.
Skip the travel insurance is a false saving!
If you were obliged to cancel your stay with us for a reason covered by your cancellation insurance then the amount you have paid will be refunded by your insurance.
And what if we travel with friends?
It is easy: all your tour participants should be registered on the same insurance policy.
If for any reason covered by the insurance, one or some participants cancel their trip, others have the right to cancel if and only if the number of remaining participants is less than or equal to 2 participants.
Check with your insurance to see how they manage group travel.
Note that the cost of insurance depends on the cost of the trip (and not the number of participants).
We advise you to ensure your accommodation but also for the rest of your trip, including the transport part.
Few cases recently encountered at Les Remparts de Riquewihr
- Loss of baggage
- Loss of employment
- Relocation of employment abroad
- Worsening of health
- Illness of a close relative
Where subscribe a cancellation insurance? Here are some links listed depending on your country of residence
Your country is not in the list? Try this company: http://www.travelexinsurance.com
Rmk: The above information is given for guidance only and can not be considered contractual.
Any insurance must be purchased directly from the insurer of your choice.