Ville et Village - European Vacation Rentals
France Information
Fall 2010 
In This Issue:
To see where Jessie stayed in Arles and visit our other Arles properties click below:
To visit properties in the countryside very close to Arles click here:
Book early
If you're looking for any of the following, now's the time to get the best choice:
Any rental in June
Large houses with a bathroom for each bedroom.
Charming houses that are priced inexpensively(they book up fast).
Paris rentals in the spring.
Country houses that are walking distance to a village.
Email or call us to start your search now.
Now open for weekly rentals PA064
This lovely one-bedroom apartment in the popular 6th arr. in Paris now accepts weekly rentals. Previously, the owner only accepted monthly rentals. Take a look and get in your request now.
Top Villa Agent Again Ville et Village's owner Carolyn Grote is praised once again in the most important US travel magazines. Top Villa Agent for France from Condé Nast Traveler in 2010 for the 5th straight year! All Star Villa Agent for France from Travel + Leisure in 2010 and also listed in 2008 its only other recent such listing.

(I've been in the business of vacation rentals in France for 17 years and during that time my family and I have spent many wonderful vacations in France. This year, my daughter, Jessie, reserved her own summer rental in Provence at one of my properties. It was her first time as an adult in Arles. Here are her impressions. Carolyn)

It was well after sunset when I finally arrived in Arles. The train station was dark except for a few dim orange lights. The platform was empty. Standing near the entrance, Julia, the owner of my apartment stood patiently waiting for me to disembark from my 45 minute-late-train. Tired, sticky from the already heavy humidity, and disoriented, I followed her to the car and we were off. Within a minute we were deep in the small narrow streets of the medieval town of Arles, winding our way to the apartment where I would stay for two weeks.

The streets were silent and dark in a pleasant and calm sort of way. I could feel the town sleeping and was eager to climb into my own bed. Julia gave me the code to the building while she parked the car. I let myself in, climbed the stairs to the studio where I would spend my first week and opened the door to the 18th century: soft yellow walls with framed molding, vintage furniture with romantic inlay, marble counter tops, tassled lamps, an old mirror with soft corrosion along the edges, tapestries on the wall and floor, draped fabric crowning the bed, and gorgeous vintage linens. The studio was lit for my entry and a bowl of perfectly ripe cherries placed on the entry table.

In the morning I woke ready to explore. I spent the first few days ambling around town, café hopping, poking in every shop window, checking out the museums and monuments, and of course most important - visiting bakeries to choose the best baguette, the best fougasse and the best croissant. A fougasse is a savory pastry filled with cheese, or thin strips of creamy roast chicken, or ratatouille and sometimes it is a savory pastry that isn't filled at all but rather infused with something delicious like oil-cured olives or fresh herbs. My favorite bakery ended up being a stone's throw away from my apartment right off Place de la République. Try their fougasse au poulet.a wonderful lunch on the go!

I came to Arles quite randomly. When my grandfather passed away he left me a small amount of money and I decided to treat myself to a plane ticket to France to rediscover the region that had so beautifully colored my childhood. As a young girl I spent many summers in Provence with my parents. My memories of these summers, which started when I was 7, have inspired me since. I asked my mom to help me find a place to stay, I didn't care where, as long as it was Provence. One thing led to another and I landed in Arles. Happenstance smiled upon me. Arles is a remarkably rich town, full of art, music and photography. The festivals for which the town is so famous not only fill it with a vibrant energy during the summer months, but attract and sustain a local population of creatively engaged people that make every day in Arles rich and interesting.

Of all of the monuments/museums I checked out there were two I would recommend. The first is, Alyscamps, which is just a short and pretty walk outside the medieval city alongside a little river. The Alyscamps is a burial site from Roman times and makes for a beautiful stroll on a hot day as the path lined with tombs is well shaded by large poplars. At the end of the processional of tombs you arrive at two beautiful small churches with rather romantic old stained glass. I also really enjoyed Le Musée Réattu, a sweet and simple collection of beautiful classical and impressionist art as well as a few small additional exhibitions. The museum itself is a lovely building with gorgeous old red terracotta tiled floors and a fantastic view of the Rhône.

Arles is a romantic town and you can't help but feel it wherever you walk. The streets are narrow and maze-like, opening often into small and welcoming little squares. When you walk out on weekend mornings the streets are littered with white, pink and red paper hearts. It is in the Provencal tradition to shower new brides with hearts in place of rice as they exit the church. The hearts linger over the course of the week, slowly decreasing in numbers until the next weekend of weddings when they become abundant again.

I passed two weeks in simple ritual. Every Wednesday and Saturday I went to the market where I spent several hours roaming the aisles filled with tomatoes, cheese, roast chickens, sweet ripe cherries, pans of fried tellines (a tiny mollusk) , wooden bowls filled to the brim with cured olives, abundantly hung Provencal fabric, and on and on. On Wednesday the market wraps around about half the perimeter of Arles and on Saturdays it wraps the entire city, spilling into every extra space along the main street with wonderful little additions like vintage lace and linen, stalls of old French glass and artisanal crafts. I walked the town in rhythmic circles stopping for un demi (a small beer) at Le Bar au Marché to watch the Saturday market, a Crystal (a local pastis) at Le Bar in Place de la Republique at the end of the day, un café at Cafes de la Major or a glass of wine at Chez Marianne. In the mid afternoon I languished at my beautiful apartment, fixed myself a late lunch from my market-stocked fridge and leaned out the window to listen and watch the people pass by below.

Arles captured my was a two week long walk through memories of Provencal summers as a child with my parents, and a fresh new love affair with a village that felt for a moment, all my own.


All the years I've been in business we've offered listings from 2 different sources. I contract directly with owners and those properties have all been online since 2001. They are the core of our website with full color photos, detailed descriptions and map links. These properties are situated in our most popular regions in France (Provence, Paris, Riviera, Loire Valley, Ile de Re and the Pyrenees) and in Italy (Florence and Rome).

However, our loyal customers know that we have long offered properties in other regions in France (the Dordogne, Brittany, Normandy, etc) and in most regions in Italy (Tuscany, Umbria, the Lakes, Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, etc.). In these areas, we have worked with two major catalog listings and each year we mailed catalogs to interested clients. Now all the properties will be visible through a link on our website. There are no more printed catalogs! We've gone entirely digital.

We have online links to our 2 great catalog listings. So what does this mean for our clients?

Ville et Village is still happy to make recommendations, but it will be easier for you to see full information on the properties we've recommended. Or you can scroll through them yourself. These are the same listings we've worked with for years. We know the properties and the regions. But now you can easily see more color photos, more detailed location maps, and full properties details.

Looking for a rental in Tuscany? Go to our "Online Catalog" page. If you seek a freestanding house for 8 with pool, you can click on the link for the Salogi listings and scroll through their offerings at your convenience. Want an apartment for 2 on the Amalfi Coast? Go to the "Online Catalog" page and click on the link for Cottages4You. Here you can put in your party size, dates and desired location and find just the rental you seek.

So visit our Online Catalog page and enjoy seeing properties through France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, in addition to our own special selection on our main website


Sometimes, even some of our seasoned travelers can be surprised by Tuscany. They follow the directions to their rented Tuscan farmhouse driving through rolling hills lined with cypress trees and past vineyards stretching out in the distance. Then they take the last turn past the village and suddenly see before them kilometers of unpaved roads. They have encountered Tuscany's strade bianche, or white roads. These are unpaved roads that lead from the edge of the village to the farmhouses set in the folds of the meadows and hills. It's time to slow down and really enter the Tuscan countryside.

My husband and I encountered this when we rented Apartment L'Oca (TTM021), a pleasant apartment in a restored farmhouse 5 km outside famous Montepulciano in southern Tuscany. The house was pleasant and comfortable with 360 degree views of unspoiled countryside. And the reason the view was so spectacular was because the house was only accessible by a white gravel road. The setting was unspoiled by highways or roads even though we had unlimited views. Sure, it meant that we had to drive carefully and even cross a tiny stream to go into the village. Sure, it meant our car was covered in white dust. But it was part of being in the Tuscan countryside and definitely enhanced our experience. Montepulciano is a beautiful village famous for its Brunello wine. It is an ideal base for a trip in southern Tuscany where you can enjoy famous wine, delicious food, hot water mineral springs, ancient villages, and terrific hiking or biking. And white gravel roads!

See the The New York Times' Oct. 2 article about the L'Eroica, a yearly bike race in Tuscany which takes place on the white gravel roads. In its 10th year, it draws participants from around the world. The race celebrates an older time when bikes were made of steel and riders slowly crossed gravel roads. You too can enjoy the nostalgia of days past by renting a restored farmhouse on a white gravel road in Tuscany. To visit the house we rented and its sister apartment click here: TTM020 or TTM021


(Erin Eaton-Zaleski has been an important member of our staff since 2009. Fluent in French, she is knowledgeable, helpful, patient and friendly---all the qualities we value here at Ville et Village. Erin particularly loves Paris and before coming on staff here, spent a year living in the 7th arr. Here are her memories of her favorite part of Paris.)

"Ah, le beau quartier!" was the typical refrain after I would reveal that I lived in Paris' 7th arrondissement. Home to the city's emblematic Eiffel Tower, as well as the Rodin and D'Orsay museums, the district is so typically Parisian that it is not unusual to see well-coiffed elderly ladies strolling by with their lap dogs in tow, or stylish celebs ducking into the city's chicest department store, Le Bon Marché, for an impromptu shopping spree. Although I have gone on to explore and enjoy many other Parisian neighborhoods over the years, the 7th will always hold a special sway over me. Which is why I was delighted when Ville et Village added another property in the area earlier this year. Located on the tranquil Rue Barbet de Jouy, PA079 is a cozy studio with a garden view and is ideal for a romantic retreat. Better still, it is within walking distance to some of the best museums, monuments and shopping the 7th has to offer-perfect for experiencing the neighborhood at its most authentic.

Since the 7th is Paris at its most "Parisian," I often recommend it as a base for both Paris first-timers and those more familiar with the city. Brave the trek up the Eiffel Tower, gawk at the squat size of Napoleon's horse on display at the Invalides museum and marvel at the Monets at the Musée D'Orsay. Many of the city's most famous sites and monuments are situated here.

The neighborhood also offers pleasures most often enjoyed by locals, and during my own year in the 7th I frequently took long walks. There is no better way to discover a Paris neighborhood, particularly one as pretty as the 7th. Begin at the St. Francois Xavier, Assemblée Nationale, Sevres Babylone or Ecole Militaire metro stations and just wander through the residential neighborhoods. You will find wide, tree-lined avenues, impressive town homes and elegant Haussmanian apartment buildings complete with wrought iron balconies and flower boxes exploding with brightly colored blooms. Stroll down a picturesque side street - Rue Oudinot off Boulevard des Invalides one of my favorites - and settle into a bistro or café for a quick snack.

For film or architecture buffs, a stop at La Pagode is a must. Originally a wedding gift from the original owner of Le Bon Marché to his wife, the authentic Japanese pagoda and tea gardens are the ideal spot to spend an afternoon drinking in an independent film inside and sipping a cup of tea outdoors afterwards.

Still, no 7th district séjour is complete without a stop at the Rue Cler pedestrian market street. Like many of the city's cobbled pedestrian walkways, Rue Cler offers a veritable feast for the senses. Queue up outside the Boulangerie Artisanale (it's worth the wait!) for some of the best baguette and pain au chocolat in Paris. Their freshly baked bread is often still warm, and you won't be able to resist sampling a piece as you stroll. For a leisurely lunch, head to the Café du Marché for delicious (and reasonably priced) duck confit, salad and vin rouge. A local favorite, the restaurant is lively, crowded and perfect for people watching-a favorite Parisian pastime.

I often shopped at Rue Cler when planning a dinner in. The Quatre Saisons market offers fresh fruit and produce displayed in neat, colorful rows and the local fromagerie boasts an impressive selection of cheese-everything from pungent slices of brie to small crocks of St. Marcellin. Even if you do not have room for desert, a peek into Lenôtre is highly recommended. One of the city's most famous bakeries, Lenôtre is renowned for its ornate (and stratospherically priced) sweets. Lenôtre's cakes are edible works of art that are almost too pretty to eat.

The 7th arrondissement is a true Parisian gem, and I feel privileged to have counted myself among its residents. Stay in the beau quartier yourself and you will likely do the same.

Other Ville et Village properties in the 7th Arrondissement: PA070, PA074 & PA077


More and more clients are asking about the availability of internet access in the properties they are renting in France and Italy. As you research the properties, remember that unless an amenity is specifically listed, it is not offered. So if a property description doesn't list internet access, there is none. Digital communications in France and Italy are improving and changing rapidly. Here is the latest information.

In Paris, owners now have the possibility of getting a package of high tech services. Thus most of our Paris properties offer wireless internet access, cable television and telephone service with free international calls. This means if you bring your own computer, there is free internet service. And yes, you can call for free to telephones in North America. This wonderful package is also available in a very few of our properties in Provence and the Riviera and would be so noted in the description. In general, most French country properties do not have high speed internet or wireless access. And with the prevalence of cell or mobile phones that work in any county, some owners are no longer offering telephones in their properties. They feel that many clients bring their own mobile phones.

In Florence and Barcelona, our rentals do offer wireless internet access on request.

Elsewhere in our accommodations in France and Italy internet access is rare. However, it is much easier to find internet cafes in most towns and villages.

Regarding television with access to international stations, such properties show an amenity of "satellite television". This means the owner has purchased a package of stations and typically it will include some British channels and possibly CNN. If a property shows an amenity of "television", it means it has a television with local service only.

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