Ville et Village - European Vacation Rentals

Newsletter Archive


In This Issue:

Paris for New Year’s Eve
Plan Early for 2005
Provence in the Fall
Recipe: Provencal Olives

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Client Comments from Paris:

PA13, “We loved everything! The size, the location, the layout.”
–Pam G., New Smyrna Beach, FL

PA16, “The apartment is superb. Location, ambiance, décor. Comfort. Near to everything, Métro, shops. Equipped with everything one would need. Faces garden of the Palais. Can even hear the birds singing.”
–Lee C., Mill Valley, CA

PA40, “Location, Location, Location! We loved the surroundings-two supermarchés around the corner, a Métro stop down the street, Notre Dame and the Seine a 5 minute walk, Hôtel de Ville and the Centre Pompidou right there. It was wonderful.”
–Patricia H., W. Lebanon, NH

PA45, “It was wonderful. I loved the charm of the décor and its centralized location for my research. The apartment manager was very helpful when one of the lights went out.”
–Danielle B., San Francisco, CA
What to Expect When Renting in the Countryside?

Meeting the locals.
Speaking French or Italian.
Bottled gas for stoves.
Slower washing machines.
Careful use of electricity.
Chickens and roosters nearby.
Having a wonderful adventure!

What NOT to Expect When Renting in the Countryside?

Window screens.
Heated swimming pools.
Air conditioning.
Life as you know it in the US!
Ville et Village has been written up in Travel and Leisure, The New York Times, The LA Times, Food and Wine, Consumer Report Travel Letter, Fortune Magazine, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, American Express Departures, The New York Post and many regional papers.
France Information
Paris for the New Year?

Paris is a favorite destination for spending New Year’s vacation. Imagine the City of Light on New Year’s eve -- there is nothing more romantic or beautiful. Each year we book many clients who take advantage of lower winter airfares and spend their New Year’s vacation in this beautiful city. A week’s minimum is required, and if you stay over a week, owners will prorate additional days. Call now to reserve. Those dates book up quickly.

How about New Year’s in Venice? Or Florence? We also have rentals in those city centers. Please inquire.


Plan Early for 2005

Each year we remind clients to plan early for the next year. We are now already starting to see a few houses book up for June 2005. June tends to be the first month that people plan for in advance. If you are looking for something special -- a bathroom for every bedroom -- an especially good value -- walking distance to a village -- then start your planning now. Reserving now gives you the best choice for rentals in 2005. Remember that by January, the Europeans are planning their vacations, and availability starts to change.

For catalog offerings through Salogi or the Individual Travellers Co. we can hold provisional reservations now with no financial obligation until later in the fall. So that is a win-win situation. Reserve the house and week you want, and pay later. With our Private Listings, we can confirm 2005 reservations currently.

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Historic Sicily

This summer, my husband and I visited Sicily for the first time and stayed in one of our rentals in Cefalù. We fell in love with the town and this remarkable island.

Sicily has a recorded history that dates to 3000 BC. It only became part of Italy in 1860 when Garibaldi landed at Palermo. So not only is Sicily a beautiful island to visit, but it has a rich history to explore. The coast has crystal clear blue water and mountains that sometimes drop to the sea. Inland, the mountains stretch endlessly, dotted with ancient cities perched high as a means of protection from enemies. I wasn’t surprised that the coastal towns and villages had a lot to offer. One can imagine how the Greeks and Romans inhabited protected coves or hilly spurs to improve their defense and give them access to sea travel. But it was the inland areas that surprised me. We drove through miles of quiet countryside through mountains covered with vineyards, olive trees and cacti. Then we’d arrive at a hilltop town like Modica with one hundred Baroque churches. Or we’d come across the ruins of the famous Roman villa, Villa Imperiale del Casale, whose ornate mosaic floors remain vibrant today. This was a constant reminder of the rich economy and society that inhabited these fragrant hills for thousands of years.

Today’s Sicilians are delighted to have tourists visit, and welcome them enthusiastically. At restaurants we heard waiters glibly slipping into English, French or German as needed! And as we looked around at our fellow diners, we found we were part of an international community: Italians visiting from the mainland, or Scandinavians or French. We saw few Americans or British. This was a pleasant change from other parts of Italy.

There is so much to do in Sicily. We spent two weeks and left feeling we still missed out on many of our planned itineraries. We hope to go back soon. Here is a quick list to entice you: swimming in the crystal clear water, exploring the many archeological sites, touring inland hilltop villages with their famous mosaics, visiting the capital Palermo, seeing a traditional puppet show, enjoying the opera performed in a real Greek theater, hiking Mt. Etna the tallest active volcano in Europe, exploring the many national parks.

The food is spectacular with lots of local specialties including fresh seafood, homemade pasta and vegetables. The desserts are wonderful -- in particular the delicious gelato in a warm brioche! Or the famous almond granite served with a dash of café, topped with whipped cream.

You, too, can enjoy this wonderful island while staying in your own comfortable rental. Here are a few of our offerings. In Cefalù we offer several one and two bedroom rentals right in the historic center, all of which look out on the sea. And for those who prefer a quiet country setting, but close to charming Cefalù, we’ve a spacious 3 bedroom/ 2 bath house with olive groves below and a stunning view of the sea.

Other locations for our rentals include Palermo, the capital; Siracusa with its famous archeological ruins and lovely seaside location; Messina or other country and seaside locations. Call or e-mail for information.

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Provence in the Fall

Autumn is a wonderful time to be in Provence. The leaves on the vines have turned a brilliant orange, and golden spheres of persimmon hang on bare branches like Christmas ornaments. On crisp, sunny afternoons, lunch at an outdoor café is especially pleasant. And as the days get shorter, it’s a pleasure to return to your cozy farmhouse and enjoy a homemade meal. In the fall, when the countryside is quieter and some restaurants open for one meal only, it’s best to be located near villages that still experience an active life. Here are some properties that are especially nice.

PR360 or 362 both in a very charming renovated farmhouse; each with an open fireplace. They’re in a country setting with pretty views, but are just a 5-minute drive into two charming villages, Maussane and Paradou. And they’re only 15 minutes to Arles.

PR73 is a delightful village apartment in Roussillon, with its ochre colored cliffs. In fall, the tourists have gone home, and you can take a quiet stroll down into the center of village. The apartment has lots of interesting artwork and thus, is a pleasure to spend time in. With windows facing the hills and a spacious terrace, you can enjoy a view even when you’re inside. At night, it’s a simple walk into the village below for dinner.

PR390 is a beautiful city apartment in the heart of Arles. The interior is elegant and comfortable for one couple or two. Located right across from the amphitheater, the location is ideal for exploring this beautiful city on foot. You could easily manage here without a car. However, if you have one, the location gives easy access to many famous villages. Both St. Remy and Les Baux are within a half hour.

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Provencal Recipe

Marinated olives are one of the local delights purchased at the Provencal markets. Here’s a recipe from Patricia Wells’ At Home in Provence cookbook. It will remind you of sunny afternoons in Provence. I often make this at home and it really impresses guests.
  • 2 cups green olives, drained
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves stemmed
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried leaf oregano
In a bowl combine the olives, bay leaves, thyme, fennel, cumin, garlic and oil and toss to blend. To intensify the flavor of the leaf oregano, rub it between the palms of your hands and let it fall into the olive mixture. Toss once more. Spoon the olive mixture into a jar and shake to blend again. Cover and store, refrigerated for at least 1 week and up to a month, shaking from time to time to insure even seasoning. Bring to room temperature and serve.

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