Ville et Village - European Vacation Rentals
France Information
Spring 2010 
In This Issue:
Car Rental Remember that you can book your car through us! Go to the box for AutoEurope on the home page. Or look at our Tips/Link page. We think AutoEurope has the best prices and services around. If you book through our website, we get a copy of your voucher and can act as a backup in case of billing problems.  
Amazon Link Visit our Tips/Link page for suggestions about books to buy to get you in the mood for your trip or to buy your maps. Each time you use our link to purchase items from Amazon, Ville et Village gets a commission. Thanks for supporting us.  
Tips for Bringing your Cell Phone
A 3-band or higher phone will work in Europe so long as you have approval for international calls. Check with your cellular provider before you go overseas to be sure. It is also wise to purchase an international plan. You can typically purchase this just for the month or so you’ll be away, then remove it after you return. The plan significantly lowers the price of your international calls. If you have access to a landline while overseas, you should also purchase a French or Italian calling card. For around €10, you’ll get an even cheaper rate than your cell phone provides. Then use the card from a landline when possible for international calls.
Paris, Je t’Aime?…Then Book Early Love Paris? So do we! In fact, people throughout the world are in love with the city of lights. Such a widespread affection for Paris is good to keep in mind when planning a trip, as many of our Paris rentals book up months in advance. While we have helped numerous clients with last-minute Paris getaways, booking as far in advance as you are able gives you access to a wider selection of our properties.
Medieval Times in Tuscany Heading to one of our Tuscan villas this summer? Why not time your trip around the famous Palio in Siena? Held on June 2 and August 16, the Palio features a racing competition between the town’s ancient rival districts. The race is preceded by three days of festivities and an impressive medieval parade. For more Tuscan festivals visit:
Air Conditioning in Provence? Often clients unfamiliar with France inquire about air conditioning in our Provence homes. While a few of our properties include air conditioning, most do not. Air conditioning, or climatisation, is rare in France. Fortunately, traditional Provençal houses have thick stone walls that do an impressive job of keeping the heat at bay. Locals close their shutters during the day and only open them again in the evening. The French also have developed practical habits to deal with summer temperatures. They do their errands in the morning and evening when the sun is less strong. In the middle of the day they have a long lunch, rest in the shade and just relax. So do as the French do and you’ll have a wonderful and authentic summer experience.

As you know, each year I go to Europe in the fall and visit prospective properties. Clients so often say to me, “I wish I had your job…. or “If you ever need an assistant, let me know.” So for the past several newsletters I’ve described a bit of what it’s like on my trips: what the weather is like that time of year… where I stay when I’m working… to share what it’s like. (Visit those newsletters to read about past trips.)

Here is this year’s update. In November I started my trip along the Riviera and stayed in a different village than my norm, Vence. I stayed at RV086A - a charming rental right outside the city walls.

I have long adored Vence as a favorite spot in the Alpes Maritimes (the true geographic name for this region). It’s located high in the mountains about 20 minutes inland from the sea and has retained its small town feeling even though it’s located in a region that can be somewhat cosmopolitan in places. Vence is bordered by two ravines and towered over by the last foothills of the Alpes. Thus it’s in a green basin with flowering trees and views of the mountains to the north and the sea to the south. And the town center has some level ground, Vence has a spacious town square with many open air cafes. There is also a walled vieux village dating from the 14th century with narrow cobblestoned streets, charming small plazas and a good selection of food shops, cafes, restaurants and retails stores. I also selected Vence as a location for accommodation during my business trip because it is reasonably central being midway between Nice and Antibes. Thus is well located for touring many of the famous sites in the area (or for driving to new houses to visit as I did!). The biggest treat of all is that Vence is the home of the Matisse Chapel. Matisse designed the Chappelle du Rosaire with its white walls and spectacular stained glass windows in yellow, green and sea blue. Not only can you walk to the chapel from the center of Vence, but you can see its sky-blue roof from the terrace outside the apartment.

RV086A is one of six apartments in a former soap factory that now offers one and two-bedroom apartments, all renovated in a pleasant and simple style, and all with either a patio or a balcony. It is located just outside the city walls and so was a short walk each morning to the town center to get my café au lait and croissant. I loved my stay and highly recommend this property to you. Visit it on the website to learn more. Also visit RV084 a new rental just outside Vence.

In Provence I stayed at PR066 in Les Imberts. This is a village I know well, having spent a past vacation nearby. It is right at the beginning of the Luberon Valley, just a 5-minute drive to Gordes one of the most famous perched villages in Provence. So it was a pleasure to enjoy this very comfortable village house with 3-bedrooms/3-baths and internet access, too! Although the house can sleep six, it is great for four, especially two couples. However, for parties of two, we offer PR067, a romantic garden house owned by the same family and just around the corner. Clients fall in love with it: “Beyond our expectations! Very romantic. Excellent cooking facility/utensils. Great privacy,” remarked one client in September. Click these links to visit PR066 and PR067.

In Paris, always a prime location for renting, I stayed at PA062, in the 6th arrondissement. The property is comfortable and quiet and extremely well-located. What a treat it was to walk out of the apartment and find Le Bon Marché food store just a two-block walk away! I also appreciated the open air food market that takes place twice each week on Boulevard Raspail.

Here are a few of the new properties that I discovered, which are now on the website for you to visit and consider for your next trip.

PA079. This Paris studio is located in the 7th arrondissement and is just a few blocks walk to the Rodin museum and Les Invalides. If you walk 10 minutes in the other direction, you reach all the exciting shops and restaurants of the 6th arrondissement. This is a great location. The studio is well designed to provide a calm environment (I value that in Paris), an attractive style, and excellent comfort. It is decorated all in white with accents of grey and orange. The sofas fold out into comfortable beds, the armchair folds out to a recliner, and even the table can fold out to provide additional table surface. The apartment windows open on a large grassy garden; thus the apartment is not only quiet, but has a verdant view. I think this is a great location, accommodation and price for a couple. Click here for a visit.

PR117. This really beautiful Provence farmhouse is located in a stunning setting in the Luberon mountains with 360 degree views of the hillside on which it is situated and of the Vaucluse mountains across. It is on a small road just a few kilometers from the charming hilltop village of Saignon. You can even walk to the local farmer who makes fresh goat cheese- how cool is that? The house has 6-bedrooms/5-baths and offers a sophisticated, yet country ambiance. The use of natural materials (concrete counters in the bathrooms), earth tones, and an open design (balconies that look down into the lower floors) juxtaposed with the serene and rural setting make this a really interesting and beautiful home- one that is particularly good for a large family. Click here for a visit.

PR392. In the heart of Arles, this romantic apartment is located in a hôtel particulier or private residence. This is a charming one-bedroom apartment at rooftop level. You can walk to your choice of restaurants in the evening. Although the location is perfect for managing without a car, the owner can provide a private garage for an extra fee. Thus the situation is ideal. My daughter is going to be staying here in June! Click here for a visit.


Although Paris, Provence and the Riviera are the top three choices for many of you, Ville et Village does offer rentals in most regions in France. Included in our online listings are rentals in the Ile de Ré, the Loire Valley, Dordogne, and even Brittany. And speaking of Brittany, we have a new listing there that just we just posted, BR017, a charming village house. It sleeps 4/5 in 3-bedrooms/2-baths and is in the seaside village of St. Suliac not far from St. Malo and Le Mont St. Michel.
Click here to visit this new property.

Remember, in addition to the regions which are highlighted on our home page map, we do have rentals in ALL the regions in France whose names are even written on the map. For the highlighted regions, just click on the map and get connected to the selection. For regions whose names are listed, but are not highlighted, we have catalog selections that we can send upon inquiry. So do check with us about staying in some of the other wonderful locations in France.


In Italy we book many people at our rentals in the cities of Florence, Rome and Venice. Be sure to visit the website to see our selections. City rentals have great flexibility in that rentals can start any day of the week and can have a minimum of four days.

For the countryside we now have a link to the same wonderful catalog selection we’ve offered for more than 10 years! You can click on the Luxury Italian Villas box on the home page and get connected with a full selection of over 200 houses in Tuscany, Umbria and a few other select areas. Here you can search based on location, party size, number of bedrooms and availability. Or contact us and we are glad to help you get started. As with all our properties, prices are listed in US dollars. This way you no longer have to wait to have a printed catalog mailed to you or pay for postage. And as always, we’re happy to help with suggestions.


How about a new idea for your next trip to Italy? This past summer, my husband and I took a trip to the Dolomites in northeast Italy. We were looking for a location in July where we could enjoy hiking and avoid the heat. The Dolomites was a perfect location. And although Ville et Village doesn’t offer rentals in the Dolomites, hotels were okay for us as we wanted to explore and move around. However, at the end of our trip we did spend a week in Venice, renting one of our offerings there. So we got the best of both worlds: feeling “at home” in Venice by renting, and exploring a new area during which short stays in hotels was ideal.

Here’s our itinerary: We flew into Venice, picked up our car (rented through our home page link to AutoEurope) and drove to Cortina d’Ampezzo. As Cortina is known for its winter skiing, summer is not high season. Therefore in July, prices are low, hotels are half empty, restaurants don’t require reservations and visitors are out enjoying the mountains and the activities they offer. We hiked well-marked trails, rented bikes and pedaled from village to village on paved trails, took a cable car to the mountain tops for the view and even spent a night at a refuge we hiked into. This is a beautiful area and well worth a visit. We then drove around to Trento where we enjoyed learning about the Treaty of Trent and walking the elegant ancient town center. From Trent, it is an easy day trip to Lake Garda, where we swam in the lake and enjoyed a summery afternoon. We continued our loop around and spent a night in Verona where we took in Turandot, Puccini’s opera performed at the Roman arena—a very special experience.

Finally we drove back to Venice and returned our car. Our trip ended with a rental in Venice. I think that renting in Venice is the best way to enjoy this spectacular city. Only by staying in an apartment in a neighborhood, shopping for food at the markets and eating at local restaurants, can you get away from the tourists and appreciate the special rhythm of life in this beautiful city. My husband and I have rented many times before in Venice. Each time our apartment offers something special and unique. I highly recommend renting here. Click here to visit The Garden, an apartment I stayed in on a tiny canal very near La Fenice.


If you’re planning a trip to Paris, why not read about it to get in the mood? The Elegance of the HedgeHog, by Muriel Barbery depicts the philosophical and social issues that play out via life in an elegant apartment building in the 6th arrondissement. The story focuses on 12-year-old Paloma who lives with her family on the 5th floor and the widowed 50-year-old Renée, who is the concierge of the building. Paloma, is so convinced that life in Paris in a family like hers is so based on superficialities that she is determined to commit suicide when she turns 13. Until then she will document the foolishness of the life around her. Renée, for her part, is so convinced that a concierge is only seen by her tenants as a superficial, dull individual who watches soap operas and walks around in slippers all the time, that she creates a persona to hide her truly complex and intelligent self from others in the building. When these two females cross paths and learn about each other, naturally ideas change. This is a very interesting book that addresses many established ideas about the French, all through the lens of the French philosopher Sartre.


Ville et Village continues to be recognized for our authentic properties, our knowledgeable staff and our excellent service. We will once again be included in articles about renting in France and Italy in Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Travel & Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler in the coming months. Look for us!  


In recent years we have gotten many inquiries from owners who would like to include their properties in our listings. However, as many of you know, we do have a policy of only offering properties that we personally know. So what to do about properties in regions I love, but where I can’t find the opportunity to visit and where our catalogs don’t have offerings? Our new CLASSIFIEDS selection is the answer.

CLASSIFIEDS properties are presented in the same format you, our clients, have told us you appreciate: the information is clear, easy to understand, and thorough. The description and photos are provided by the owner, and the prices are in whatever currency the owner prefers. Because we don’t add a commission for our services, prices should be excellent values. The properties have not been inspected by our staff and we don’t make “recommendations.” Such properties are clearly marked as “Classified” so there will be no confusion. They are provided as a service to our clients for regions we love, but can’t represent for practical reasons only. These properties will show up in the searches. If you want a property in Corsica, for example, click on the link here and visit this classified property. Many of you have already told us how much you appreciate this new service and we are excited to offer it.

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