Tuesday, 25 March 2014

What makes a Family Villa Holiday in the South of France

The South of France is a great destination for family holidays and these days many tourists choose to rent a private villa rather than jostling for space beside the hotel pool and having to worry about noisy neighbours in the next door hotel bedroom.

But what makes a great family villa given that there are 1000's of seemingly equally wonderful properties available to you?

1. Safety - Especially around the swimming pool. Here in France there are strict pool safety laws and you should ensure that these have been met by any owner who is looking to rent their property. There can be a fence, a safety cover or an alarm system but having this is vital when you are traveling with children.

2. Outdoors - Having a great garden so that the children can play and the adults can enjoy the outdoors is essential. But choose a villa that has a flat garden, many here in the region are made hazardous by the steep slopes. Flat, green and perhaps with some outdoor play things for the children and everyone is happy.

3. Location - Being able to stroll into the village each afternoon or to let the teenagers stroll in on their own makes for a very relaxing holiday. And who doesn't want to wander into a lovely Provencal village each morning and pick up those delicious freshly baked croissants.

4. Helping Hand - Choose a reputable villa company, who are based in the region and are there if you have any issues with your villa or indeed need a helping hand if you don't speak French. The team at Cote d'Azur villas are all bi-lingual and can help with any problems or issues that come up during your holiday. Perhaps some inside knowledge about places to visit or a doctors appointment for a poorly child.

Cote d'Azur Villas are HERE for your holiday - with offices on the French Riviera and in Provence their team are never more than a call away.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

5 Tips for Surviving the Cannes Film Festival

The iconic Cannes Film Festival comes to town in May each year and Cannes is alive with celebrities, limousine and the world famous red carpet.

But how do you survive? It's busy, traffic is heavy and if you're in Cannes to do business then here are our top 5 tips for making the most of your visit to the South of France.

1. Accommodation - Hotels are busy and expensive but choosing a private Cannes villa to rent is a cost effective and altogether much more enjoyable way to visit the Film Festival.

2. Location - So you've decided to rent a villa but make sure it's in the right location. Honestly if you're not within a 10 minute walk then you're going to spend your time stuck in horrid Cannes traffic. A great solution is Villa Mystique, just a 10 minute walk to the heart of the action at the Palais des Festivals.

3. Parties - Lots! It's Cannes after all, but what about organising a party or a film launch? Why not make the most of your Cannes villa and organise your event in the same location? Easy, cost effective and much less hassle than trying to find a separate venue.

4. Be Selective - Days at the Film Festival are long and this year the prizes are being awarded a day earlier so we have even more to cram in. There is a schedule full on screenings from morning until late at night, but be selective, it's impossible to see or do everything. Plan before you arrive and stick to it.

5. Arrive Early - Stay Late. Mix a little business with pleasure and add a few days on at the beginning or end of your stay. Cannes is a wonderful location from which to explore the Cote d'Azur. Take the train into Monaco for the Grand Prix, hire a car and drive along the coast into St Tropez or just wander down to the beach and enjoy being in the heart of one of the most beautiful places in Europe.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Art in the South of France and Provence

The Cote d’Azur and Provence are synonymous with many famous artists and their globally famous works of art. This beautiful region in the South of France has exceptional light and of course the most amazing scenery which has been captured by some of the most renowned international artists.

RENOIR: Cagnes sur Mer, just a few miles to the west of Nice and 10 miles or so from Cannes was the home of Renoir.  His house is now a museum with some of the works from this master of Impressionism still on view.

PICASSO: Picasso also lived nearby in Vallauris for many years and it is where he first started experimenting in clay and bronze. Indeed there is a bronze statue of his still in the village called  "Man with Goat" which he donated to the village as a thank you for their support.

Picasso in Mougins 1968

VAN GOUGH: Vincent Van Gough is another who spent his life enjoying the luminosity of the area to create many of his world famous pieces.  He lived for many years at St Remy de Provence, sadly spending much of his time in the local asylum which is where he created some of his most stunning canvasses

Statue of Vincent Van Gough in St Remy de Provence

CEZANNE: Paul Cezanne spent most of his life on the eastern edge of Provence at Arles, an old Roman town, Cezanne’s house and studio are still in the town and open to the public, where one can see his brushes and easel seemingly awaiting his return to create again.  You can also see some of the figurines he used in his painting and Arles is close to Mount Victoire where many of his greatest works were painted.

Cezanne capturing the Colours of Provence

Visiting the South of France and Provence is the ideal opportunity to tour the locations that have been made famous by these artists and the team at Cote d’Azur Villas offer villas in stunning locations across the region.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Memories of Time Spent in the South of France

Our Thanks to Charles at Holiday Lets for Sale for this wonderful Guest Blog.

45 years ago I was sent to the small village of Juans les Pins, just west of St Tropez for two weeks on a summer exchange.  At 12 years old, the full pleasure of the area was a little lost on me.  It would have horrified my parents that, at the time, I would rather have spent a couple of weeks at Butlins or some other cheap and cheerful UK holiday camp.

The blast of warm air when I got off the aeroplane at Nice came as a shock to one who had not visited before.  The summer residence of the French family was delightful.  In the evening, fire flies blinked in small bushes between fragrant pine trees. They amazed me and the sunny days, that special light of the area, made the place seem even more exotic.  Several years of learning French at school began to come alive.  My exchange friend, who was later to die of cancer, took few prisoners but we got along quite well.  I remember how he laughed when I mispronounced ‘plaque minéralogique’.   Some years later, before he knew he knew he was dying… and a few hours before I found out, I got my own back with ‘Isle d’White’.

In amongst the self-centred short sightedness of early adolescence, the magic of the area crept in and left an indelible mark.  I began to appreciate that when you think in French, you tend to think a little differently and even humour changes a little.  My grammar was never that good but if I stuck to short sentences, dodged subjunctives and resorted to some pre-prepared remarks, observations and incidental humour, there were times I could pass myself off as other than a ‘roast beef’.  Once or twice I was asked, and there are few greater compliments, which part of France I came from.

Sadly, those days are long gone.  My French is a ruin held together with the creepers of a few memories.  Perhaps the magic of that part of the South has preserved and nourished them.  Although full of myself, all those years ago, having grown up a little since the magic, far from going away, is calling me back.

Such memories are potent and people buying holiday homes and holiday lets are massively influenced by them.  The trick is, of course, never to let them overcome economics; but it would be hugely dull to end this with a warning.  We only have one life and if we cannot indulge memories and discover new happiness revisiting places with strong remembrances then what is there left to do?  Such lack of appreciation could cause us to deny visits to the theatre on the basis that if you scaled it down to one person and put them on a pavement, some might call it begging.  Perspective and respect for the value of things that matter that have changed your life and respect for the feelings of the heart are immensely important.  Logic on its own is not enough.

If you can afford to find pleasure returning to places which once unawares entranced, assuming the sums add up, it seems a great shame that you do not, at least, play with the idea.  There, are of course, a thousand arguments one way or another, but if only to please myself, à la recherche du temps perdu, bring on the madeleines.

Thank you, Maria.  It has been a long time since my memories focused so clearly on those happy days.

Our Thanks to Charles at Holiday Lets for Sale for this wonderful Guest Blog.

Today we welcome a post from our Guest Blogger, Charles at Holiday Lets For Sale

Friday, 7 March 2014

Beach villas in St Tropez South of France

One of the key criteria for guests choosing a St Tropez villa to rent is how close they are to the beach. But which beach? Private beach club? Public beach? Or just a private strip of white sand at the end of the garden?

The beaches at Pampelonne at considered by most as the St Tropez beaches, but they are actually just over 5kms from the village of St Tropez. Only half of these beaches are owned by the village of St Tropez and give public access, the remainder of this glorious stretch of white sand is dedicated to some of the worlds most celebrated private beach clubs such as Club 55.

The Pampelonne beaches are divided into subsections such as Tahiti and Salins Beaches.

Booking a luxury St Tropez villa will include a private pool but, if for you being close to the Mediterranean and the white sands is part of your holiday then here are some of the key villas to rent where you can simply stroll to the beach:-

La Dolce Vita - With beautiful sea views and just 800m from Pampelonne Beach. 

Villa Americana - Stroll through the gardens and then open your private gate directly on to the beach

La Balandrine - between La Croix Valmer and St Tropez with private beach access

Villa Pampelonne- Just 100m from Club 55 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Celebrity Villas in the South of France

Glitz, Glamour, Blue Skies and Celebrity Homes...just a few of the things that make the South of France famous. Many world famous celebrities have chosen to buy a South of France villa and when you look at the azure waters of the Mediterranean and the South of France lifestyle then you can see why.

Brad and Angelina - possibly the most famous couple to own a villa in the South of France can be found at Chateau Miraval where they have started producing their very own local rose wine. Not strictly a Cote d'Azur Villa, Miraval is to be found up in Correns in the Var.

Bono front may for U2 owns a villa close to Monaco, overlooking the water at Eze sur Mer. Hoping for a truly private location, Bono was disappointed when playing new tracks that he had recorded, only to find a fan had come close enough to record the music and release it over the internet.

Elton John and his partner David Furnish own one of the most famous South of France celebrity villas in the sought after area of Mont Boron just above Nice. This could be the ideal place to relax with their children after visiting the Cannes Film Festival.

There are of course many other celebrities who own Cote d'Azur Villas including Tina Turner and the South of France is definitely the place to come if you want to spend your summer holiday rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. St Tropez and the private beach clubs such as Club 55 are some of the most frequented by famous faces although just renting a holiday villa in Cannes and wandering along La Croisette could see you come face to face with the likes of Johnny Depp.

Organise your holiday in a South of France villa with the team based in the region www.cotedazurvillarentals.com