Ville et Village - European Vacation Rentals
France Information
Winter 2012 
In This Issue:
Read Carolyn's latest article about Lucca on the Slow Travel-- Italy website

  Before you leave:

Buy an international calling plan for the country you're going to. This will reduce your costs for the times when you must use your own phone for a call.

Purchase an international data plan for the country you're going to-even if you think you won't use your phone. You never know when you might need it, and the costs w/o a plan are so high, it isn't worth the risk. Include an international texting plan, too, if you think you'll use it. This will cut down on telephone calls.

Turn OFF "data roaming". Go to Settings .. General.Network and turn it off. Even if you don't check your email or search, if your iPhone is on, it will periodically search all by itself just to update your phone.

  On your trip:

Buy a phone card at a local store for the country you're in. Use it at local telephones to make calls. It will be MUCH cheaper. Only use your iPhone or cell phone for calls when you really can't use a local phone.

Only use your iPhone to search the web or check your email when you have access to free WiFi. Go into Settings.WiFi and select a local, free server.


After my last article in the Fall 2011 newsletter about The Steins Collect art exhibit at SF MOMA, quite a few clients wrote in to recommend I see Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris. Though I love Woody Allen, I thought, "Oh no. Not another romantic, feel-good film that's a travelogue of Paris." But boy was I wrong! I saw it and proudly join in the chorus of admirers. It is truly a delight of a film not just for francophiles, but for anyone who enjoys an insightful exploration into the risks one takes on the journey to personal and creative fulfillment. And it appeals to those of us who enjoy being reminded (or learning for the first time) about the influence of Parisian culture and art in the 1920s.

The film starts with softly tinted picture-postcard images of romantic Parisian scenes-a very appealing entrée for a Paris lover. Allen then introduces us to Owen Wilson as Gil, the young Hollywood screenwriter/aspiring novelist. Gil visits the sites in Paris with his practical fiancée Inez, as they accompany her parents on a business trip. As Gil later wanders the streets at night alone, he muses about the writers he admires most and actually steps back into the Paris of the 1920s meeting those very artists from whom he gleans inspiration.. Although the film captivates you with snipits of Paris --Stein's apartment (just like the photos in the museum exhibit); a café in the 18th, the cobblestoned streets of Montmartre--- its most profound impact is how it describes the ambiance. It reminds us that Paris was an incubator for creative artists and writers who came from all over the world. They sought and discovered a stimulating community within which to work. Woody Allen brings this history to life.

I highly recommend this movie. Go see it. And for fun, follow the links below and visit our properties that are located in the very areas (and sometimes on the very street) Allen shows in the film.

In the 6th (near Gertrude Stein's flat): PA064, PA068, PA062
In the 18th (in Montmartre) PA182, PA183, PA185
In the 7th (near the beautiful Pont de la Concorde) PA070, PA071, PA072


I'm happy to share with you information about PA068 on rue Jacob. This lovely 3 bedroom/2 bath apartment is in the heart of the 6th arrondissement, right around the corner from the famous Ladurée traiteur. The location is great for food, for shopping and for touring. The apartment has been renovated for the owners' own personal use when they are in Paris, thus it has all the comforts you'd want. It was just fully renovated and thus is fresh, clean and in perfect working order. It is furnished with select antiques, some original artwork and fine fabrics. On the 5th floor with elevator, it is has good light. Facing two spacious internal courtyards, it is quiet for Paris. The owners have offered a special pricing structure to our clients. It can be rented at the basic price with use of all bedrooms, but also has a reduced price listed for parties of 4 or fewer in 2 bedrooms. It is unusual to have this two-tiered pricing structure and gives smaller parties a welcome reduction in price. Our first client who visited in the fall had this to say: "Fabulous location; very well appointed flat with lovely extra exceptional property." Deborah D., Mill Valley, CA. Follow this link and visit it online: PA068.


Often when clients ask for properties in the "wine region" of France, they are thinking of the area near Bordeaux. Widely considered the best region in the world for fine wines, the area radiates out around Bordeaux, the beautiful city on the Garonne River in the southwest portion of France. To the north there is Médoc, to the northeast Pomerol, and further east St. Emilion, all famous wine appellations. South of Bordeaux is Graves and Sauternes both famous for their white wines. The area has over 8500 wine-producing "chateaux" and produces wine with over 60 controlled appellations.

In the nearly 20 years we've been in business, our rentals near this great wine region have largely been in the Dordogne an hour to the east. Because the Dordogne is relatively close by and has such a strong offering of characteristic properties set in beautiful hills and valleys, is home to the prehistoric cave paintings, and also has more castles than the Loire Valley, we hadn't previously developed our listings further east.

That has now changed. I'm happy to announce that our offering in the Aquitaine--the administrative region of these famous appellations-- has grown to include some truly beautiful large chateaux and manor houses all extremely well located for touring and tasting Bordeaux wines. This is ideal for groups of couples who want to stay in a beautiful accommodation on a wine producing estate. These properties are well situated to taste wine, visit historic towns, enjoy outdoor markets with their fresh produce, and take day-trips to the broad sandy Atlantic beaches. It's also great for special events including weddings. Several of the owners are happy to help with the planning.

Follow these links to visit the properties. They are all part of our Classified Listings which means we present the information in our typical, clear and descriptive format, and you get to contact the owners directly and benefit from reduced prices-a particular benefit as they are all large, luxury properties.

Le Pavillon Villemaurine at Saint Emilion F1124
La Pignarderie at Belvès de Castillon F1125
La Maison de Pradier at Pugnac F1126
Le Chateau Lardier at Ruch F1127


In August, my husband Ray went alone to Rome where he attended a one-week intensive language course to perfect his --already good-- Italian. (We're a team..he speaks Italian and I speak French! ) Here are his impressions of the city. Carolyn

Rome is far more beautiful than I was prepared for. Perhaps my focus in the past had been on the sights. This time, as I was there to study and had a regular daily routine, the simple daily act of walking to and from my program opened the city up to me in a new way.

It was cool and fresh in the mornings. The sound of the language was a lovely music that surrounded me.  The route to school took me through narrow streets cooled by the shade of the buildings on each side. One particular street opened up suddenly to the Piazza Navona, an elegant square with beautiful fountains by Bernini. A popular piazza, it is often filled with people. What a pleasure it was to walk through in the early morning. Workers were sweeping, chairs were being put out at the lovely cafes, and here-and-there a few Romans were drinking their morning caffè. On the way home in the evening, it was an entirely different scene. People admired the architecture in the warm evening air; mimes and musicians entertained the tourists. As it was late August, Romans are just returning from their vacations. Each day brought more people sitting at cafes, enjoying a drink or having a slow dinner.

Each day warmed up steadily but never became terribly hot. At the end of my "work" day I would wander around until quite late quietly looking for a restaurant to dine, seeing, hearing and feeling Rome. Others walked about doing much the same thing. One day after class and before dinner, I wandered into a beautiful old cigar store. Carolyn and I enjoy a good cigar once in a while so I stopped in to see what they had. The store was small with walls paneled in dark wood. On the ground floor middle-aged salesmen stood behind glass counters showing pipes and smoking tools. Upstairs was the elegant "merchandise". A large walk-in humidor was along one wall, and various glass cabinets stood around the room. A young woman speaking rapid Italian was in the process of buying a special gift for her husband. The salesman serving her was not only describing the cigars she was considering, but was also showing her rare whiskies that would be excellent to serve with each particular cigar. What a great opportunity for me to practice my Italian. I spent more than an hour there after the woman had left. With that same salesmen's help, I selected a few cigars that I thought-- or rather he thought I'd enjoy.  Ah Rome.... a city that knows how to enjoy life's little pleasures!

Later that evening, I stumbled across a charming restaurant with outdoor seating in the center of a tiny piazza. Tables and chairs were set on a raised stone platform surrounded by a low wrought iron fence covered with flowering vines. There were only a few tables. I sat, and ate and drank slowly as the evening grew darker. One after the other, the tables filled with couples and families. The service was attentive and discrete. Because it was still quiet, the waiters enjoyed talking and joking in both Italian and English with me and the other customers. The air was warm, I found myself lost in the environment, blissfully unaware that I dined outdoors.

After dinner I wandered towards the Piazza Venezia and then towards the Isola Tiberina. I had never seen the Jewish quarter before but came across it on this walk. The area was busy with Italian kosher restaurants. Bearded men in white aprons were standing out front encouraging people to read their menu and enjoy their food. The synagogue was near the river on the Lungotevere De'Cenci but was already closed as it was late and getting dark. I walked across the bridge to the Isola Tiberina then walked across another bridge from the Isola to Trastevere and to my home for the week. 

I made walks like this every evening after class. Even as I sit here writing this article, I can feel the warm air on my skin, the cobble stones underfoot and hear the sound of Italian as it rises and falls with musical cadence.

To see one of our apartments in Trastevere follow this link.

The language program: Scuola Leonardo da Vinci nella Piazza dell'Orologio 7, 00186 Roma, Italy.

The cigar store: La Casa Del Habano, Via A. Anfossi no. 28, 20135


Adapted from Bistrot Cooking by Patricia Wells

Faithful readers know that I greatly admire Patricia Wells, the famous food critic and author of many French cookbooks. Her farmhouse in Provence, Chanteduc, is located in the countryside outside Vaison la Romaine, one of my favorite towns in the Vaucluse. Ville et Village is listed on her website for our vacation rentals, and often people who attend her cooking classes stay at one of our nearby properties. One of my favorite recipes is her chocolate mousse. It is an easy recipe, which if followed carefully, produces an absolutely delicious classic French dessert, guaranteed to impress your guests.

8oz bittersweet chocolate broken into pieces (Lindt if possible)
3 TBSP red-fruit liqueur (Kirsch or Cassis)
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 TBP (4 oz) unsalted butter cut into small pieces
8 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
5 large egg whites

  • Place the chocolate, liqueur and vanilla in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir until melted. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter.
  • Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and beat until thick and pale yellow. Beat in the chocolate mixture while still lukewarm.
  • Place the egg whites in a medium-size mixing bowl. Beat until stiff but not dry.
  • Add one-third of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate batter; mix vigorously. Gently fold in the remaining whites. Do this slowly and patiently. Do not overmix, but be sure that the mixture is well blended with no streaks of white.
  • Pour the mixture into a large serving bowl. Cover securely with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.
  • Serve with a dollop of whipped cream on the size and some sliced berries.

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