Paris for the New Year?
Paris is a favorite destination for spending New Years
vacation. Imagine the City of Light on New Years 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 Years vacation in this beautiful city.
A weeks 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 Years in Venice? Or Florence? We also have
rentals in those city centers. Please inquire.
Plan Early for
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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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 wasnt
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 wed
arrive at a hilltop town like Modica with one hundred Baroque
churches. Or wed 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.
Todays 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.
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, weve 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
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Provence in the
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, its 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, its best to be located near villages that
still experience an active life. Here are some properties that
are especially nice.
or 362 both in a
very charming renovated farmhouse; each with an open fireplace.
Theyre in a country setting with pretty views, but are
just a 5-minute drive into two charming villages, Maussane and
Paradou. And theyre only 15 minutes to Arles.
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 youre inside.
At night, its a simple walk into the village below for
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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olives are one of the local delights purchased at the Provencal
markets. Heres 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
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
- 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
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