Ville et Village - European Vacation Rentals
France Information
Summer 2012 
In This Issue:
Dialing telephone numbers in France

French telephone numbers have 10 digits starting with a zero.
The first 2 digits show where the line is located:
01 55 55 55 55 (Paris)
02 55 55 55 55 (Northwest Fr)
03 (NE) e.g. Reims
04(SE) e.g. Provence
05 (SW) e.g. Biarritz
06 and 07 mobile numbers
08 free #'s (numéro vert)
09 nongeographic numbers

Dialing into France from the US:
dial 011 33 and drop the first zero

Dialing from France to another country:
dial 00 country code and the number. Thus for the US dial 00 1 510 559 8080. The number “1” is the country code for the US.

Dialing inside France from a French phone or from your mobile (using French services ) dial 04 55 55 55 55. On your mobile with French service you dial as if it were a French phone.

If you are using a house line that offers free calls locally or to the US, remember French mobile numbers are usually NOT free. Those are numbers starting with 06…. You may have to pay for such calls.
Dialing telephone numbers in Italy

Most landline numbers in Italy start with a zero.
06 xxxx xxxx number in Rome

To dial the number from the US dial
011 39 06 xxxx xxxx.

To dial from Italy to another country do as in France: dial 00 country code and the number. Thus for the US dial 00 1 510 559 8080. The number “1” is the country code for the US.

Dialing inside Italy from an Italian phone or from your mobile (using Italian services): dial 06 xxxx xxxx. On your mobile with Italian service you dial as if it were an Italian phone. You don’t drop the zero.

Dialing a mobile phone in Itay. Mobiles in Italy start with 3(no zero). So if you are dialing a mobile phone IN Italy you dial 3 282 8902222 (3 digits for the prefix, 7 digits for the subscriber). Thus a total of 10 digits. But some phones are only 9 digits long. And some are 11 digits long. So Don’t worry if the number you are using seems to have a different number of digits than you expect!
We have excellent availability for Paris in August. Call or email us your dates.
Plan now for Christmas in Paris! Paris books up very early for Christmas and New Year's. So if you want to spend the holidays in the City of Light, call or email us soon with your dates.
Wanting something special for 2013? Early planning can be very helpful. We can take reservations NOW for 2013.

As many of you know, Marianne Antic is my new employee and brings a wonderful French accent (literally) to our office. As she grew up in the Alpes Maritimes, I asked her to share some of her favorite "things to do" with you all. Carolyn

It is a pleasure to introduce myself. I have been at Ville et Village since March of this year. I really look forward to assisting you with your future travel arrangements.

I was born in Paris but I grew up on the French Riviera, in Mougins, a very picturesque medieval village 6kms from Cannes.

I visit my family and friends every year, and rediscover the beauty of my home each time: the vibrant colors (nowhere do I find a sky that deep of a blue - I do admit, I am a little biased), the fragrant essence of pine trees in the air, the ever-present song of the cicadas…those are my madeleines as Proust would say.

There are many things I enjoy doing each summer such as taking the train to Italy, visiting the perfume factories in Grasse, "canyoning" the rivers of the Southern Alps. But, I believe my favorite and most relaxing escape from the excitement of Cannes would be to spend a day on the Isles de Lérins, in the Bay of Cannes.

The islands, Sainte Marguerite and Saint Honorat, are worth a day's visit and are very accessible. Spending a day on the islands, where vehicles are prohibited and residency is limited, provides me the peaceful break that I sometimes need when visiting my relatives.

It is inexpensive to plan a day trip to "Les Iles" as we French say. Ferry boats from the port of Cannes cost just a few euros and leave every half hour during the high season. It's only a thirty minute cruise to the first and largest island, Sainte Marguerite. If you wish to visit both islands you can do so by visiting the first one, then catching the next ferry for the second, Saint Honorat later.

There are no sandy beaches on the islands, but there are many places to climb down the rocks and enter the sea. The water, especially between the two islands, is incredibly beautiful…very clear and different shades of blue, sometimes deep purple. It is like lagoon. Bring a mask and snorkel if you can so you can discover the rich sea flora of the Mediterranean. Also, make sure you have good walking shoes as there are many wonderful trails to explore.

Sainte Marguerite is best known for its fortress where the famous "Man in The Iron Mask" was held captive for many years. There are so many theories about the identity of this poor mysterious prisoner but my favorite one is probably the most unlikely yet the most romantic. I like to think he was the twin brother of Louis XIV. In order to eliminate a potential opponent to his throne, Le Roi Soleil had him jailed incognito in the fortress. Today you can visit the infamous cell and also tour le Musée de la Mer, a museum which houses archeological discoveries from shipwrecks.

I also love the food on Sainte Marguerite. It is a great place to taste the well known pan bagnat, my favorite sandwich of all time. This is literally a salade niçoise between two slices of bread soaked in olive oil. You can buy one for a few euros at one of the kiosks. But to enjoy a relaxing lunch in a restaurant, I really enjoy La Guérite , a charming place with its own access to the water. In addition to having their petite friture (fried small fish) or a bouillabaisse, you can also enjoy the comfort of their chaise lounges by the sea.

St. Honorat, the second, smaller island, has been inhabited by the Cistercian monks since 410 AD. The medieval church and parts of the 11th century monastery are open to the public. When not devoting their time to prayer, the monks produce red wine, honey, lavender oil and liquor which are all available for purchase. Or you can have a meal and taste the wine at La Tonnelle , the island restaurant which offers a very nice, traditional Provencal menu.

So a day on the islands is very serene which is a surprising and welcome contrast from the excitement of Cannes, with its Croisette, movie festival, clubs and casino.

Follow these links to visit some properties we offer in the region. RV045A Cannes, RV045B Cannes, RV046 Cannes, RV053 Grasse, RV050 Grasse, RV077 Grasse.

Marianne’s recipe for Pan Bagnat

Ingredients (for 2 sandwiches):
- 1 focaccia
- 1 tomato
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 1 can of tuna fish in oil
- 6 anchovy filets
- 4 lettuce leaves
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1 onion
- 1 stalk of celery
- 4 radishes
- 10 black olives
- a few fresh basil leaves

For the vinaigrette, mix together:
- ½ a glass of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 table spoons of red wine vinegar
- 1 table spoon of Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper

Cut open the focaccia.
Arrange lettuce leaves, tomato, hard boiled egg, cucumber, bell pepper, radishes and onion slices. Top with tuna fish, olives and anchovies. Dice celery and add on top. Garnish with a few basil leaves. Add the vinaigrette just before serving.

Bon appétit!

FOCUS ON PARIS: Place des Vosges

Paris is such a popular destination for our clients these days that I’ve decided to have a regular article on a particular street or square. This issue’s article is on the Place des Vosges often called the most beautiful square in Paris. It is possible that some of you readers might never have seen this square even if you’ve been to Paris because it is tucked in the Marais arrondissement and has no major streets or avenues that cross it. Therefore, it is rare that a taxi ride would cross this charming spot. You have to plan to go there.

The square’s history goes back to 1604 when Henri IV built a royal pavilion on the southern end of the square and then ordered that 35 other buildings all be built in the same design. The pleasing result is a symmetrical square bordered on all sides by buildings with the same slate roofs, dorm windows over red brick and stone facades, and arcades underneath. In the center is a lovely landscaped park where the lawn was initially a favorite place for duels! It was originally called the Place Royale, but was renamed by Napoleon in 1800 to show his gratitude to the Vosges department, the first to pay taxes in France! Hence the name the Place des Vosges.

Nowadays you can sit on benches in the park and enjoy the sun or stroll under the arcades past elegant shops. Victor Hugo lived in an apartment at #21, and today the building is a museum in his honor. The tiny side streets which radiate out, are lined with a host of appealing shops. You’ll see bakeries where moms and children line up for after-school snacks. There are many small designer stores with one-of-a-kind items. And of course, you’ll find many corner cafés where you can have a glass of wine and watch the street scene. Within a few blocks’ walk there are two excellent museums. The Carnavalet is the Museum of the City of Paris and is housed in a beautiful architectural gem. The National Picasso Museum is also just a few blocks away, but is closed for renovation until 2013.

Follow these links to visit our apartments which are nearby. PA043 Rue de Turenne. PA046 Place des Vosges.


This year we’ve had many clients going to Rome and then wanting to spend a bit of time visiting the villages or countryside nearby. A visit to Umbria: The Green Heart of Italy is ideal. Whereas Umbria certainly has enough of interest to merit a stay of a full week or two, it also lends itself to a driving tour around the key areas which would give you a quick introduction to this beautiful region.

Umbria is an entirely landlocked region to the north of Rome. Although it has been visited for centuries by pilgrims since it is the homeland of St. Francis whose shrine is in Assisi, many Americans have not explored this beautiful region.

One could take a few days and make a circular tour of Umbria visiting the major towns starting with Spoleto in its southeast corner. I visited Spoleto during the famous Festival dei 2Mondi held each summer from the end of June to mid July. This lovely hilltop medieval town is filled with art, theater, dance and museum during these days, but is enticing at any time. Continuing north one passes several tiny hilltop villages, each worth a short visit. Eventually, though, you arrive at Assisi with its impressive basilica. Continuing around to the west is Perugia also the site of a famous festival..this one focusing on jazz and held for a week in early July. This might be the time for a short detour to Deruta, a small village nearby famous for its workshops with artists hand painting the beautiful pottery. Like many others, we looked around and selected a set of dishes and had them shipped home. The next major stop would be Castiglione del Lago, the town on the edge of Lake Trasimeno the largest lake in the Italian peninsula. If you have towels and swim suits in your car, you can stop here and enjoy the cool waters. Continuing south, Orvieto is the next town of major interest-- a town famous for its white wines and thus, perhaps an ideal place to have a meal. From here, you can drive on back to Rome.

There are many more places to visit in Umbria, but this driving tour covers around 300km and makes for an easy-to-follow circular route from Rome—an excellent introduction. Next time, why not rent a house nearby and spend more time?

To visit some of our houses in the Umbria area, visit our online catalog and search for Umbria. Or call us with your party size and dates, and we’re glad to help with suggestions.


A common question clients ask as they prepare for their vacation in France or Italy is what to do about getting money? Here’s what I tell them:

Getting cash:

Use a card: The best way to get euros is to use your ATM card or credit card at an ATM machine in the country where you’re going. Because banks and credit card companies purchase so much foreign money daily, they get the best exchange rates for themselves and for you. In order to use your ATM card, it must be also a credit card. You can call your bank if you aren’t sure. In order to use any card for cash, you do need to have a PIN number. Whereas you will already have one for your bank card, you may not have one for your credit card. Be sure to request a PIN well in advance of your departure since many companies will only mail you the PIN and that can take a few days.

The cost to you: Taking money out of an ATM with a credit card is considered a “cash advance”. It is charged differently than a regular credit card purchase. You can contact your card company to verify if they apply extra charges. My credit card company charges an additional 3% fee for cash advances. Nonetheless, this is still the cheapest way to get foreign currency overseas.

Test it. I often do a test before I leave. I simply go to any ATM and withdraw US money to be sure my PIN number works. It will give you confidence that you can rely on that card for cash while travelling overseas.

Paying for purchases:

Use a card if possible. The least expensive way to pay for items oversea is with your credit card. Whereas a “cash advance” is charged a special fee, a card purchase … like at a restaurant or store… is not. So it will cost you less to use your credit card at a restaurant, than to withdraw euros and then use that to pay for your restaurant bill. Naturally, you need cash to pay for small purchases or to buy items at an outdoor market, but otherwise, if the merchant accepts it, credit cards will be your best bet.

Foreign transaction fees:

Lastly, when you get your bill after your return, you might notice that each time you have used your card, the credit card company will itemize the amount in euros, the conversion rate, and a foreign transaction fee. The foreign transaction fee will be a percentage of the value and will be applied to all foreign purchases. This is not necessarily a new fee. It is however, now required by law to itemize that charge so consumers can see it. For my Mastercard, the fee is 1%. For my American Express card it is 2.7%. So you can see it is worthwhile to find out what your card charges before you leave. Then you can decide which card to use when overseas. Still… this remains the least expensive way to make foreign purchases.

Some final tips:

-Have more than one card with you. This is your backup in case something happens to one card. We once had a card “eaten” by an ATM at a bank in France on a Sunday. We were able to return to the bank on a weekday and retrieve our card, but in the meantime, it was very reassuring to have another card to use.

-In France an ATM is called a “distributeur automatique”.In Italy an ATM is called a “ Bancomat”.

-American credit cards are processed differently than the Italian cards or French “cartes bleues”. On a recent trip to France, the sales person at my hotel was ready to give up on the use of my card, until I showed her how to run the card down the side of the machine and wait for the receipt So, knowing how the card is used, can be very helpful. The French salesperson brings the small machine to where you are. For the French, he inserts the card into the foot of the machine and then the client punches in their PIN. For us Americans , the card is slid down the side of the machine and then a receipt is printed which we sign. We don’t use our PIN for purchases. Often you’ll notice sales people looking at your card to decide how to process it. I often say, “Oui, on signe.” Indicating that they need to print out a receipt for me to sign.

Recommended Reading:

The International Traveler’s Guide to Avoiding Infections by Charles Davis, MD

My longtime client Charles Davis, just sent me a copy of his new book, “The International Traveler’s Guide to Avoiding Infections.” Charles is a specialist in microbiology and infectious diseases and is director emeritus of microbiology at the UCSD medical center. The book is written primarily for travelers to developing countries. Many of our clients may possibly travel to such areas so for them this book will be very useful. In addition, the book also has excellent information of use to any world traveler.

For our clients visiting France or Italy, I was particularly interested in the chapters dealing with immunizations, travel clinics, medical trip insurance, personal protection and travel medical kits. Those sections apply very well to any traveler to Europe.

However, for travelers to developing countries, I do feel the book has major importance. In today’s world, we, our children or grandchildren may well venture to Africa, Asia, etc. and tour in undeveloped regions. It is vital to be informed about how to stay healthy. In the preface, Charles discusses examples of preventable infections that travelers acquire because they fail to obtain and follow adequate advice. He writes “of the nearly 1300 Americans who imported malaria in 2008, 72% failed to take any anti-malaria drug, deviated from the recommended schedule, or took ineffective drugs.” My own daughter spent a semester in Ghana in college and thus had exposure to malaria. And as our family has a personal example of someone she knew who did not take the prescribed anti-malaria medication with dire results, I can only stress the importance of learning how to avoid infections while traveling the world.

The book is available through Amazon and you can follow this link to learn more about it.

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