South France Holiday Villas strangest requests of 2011

Some of the strangest requests South France Holiday Villas has experienced in 2011:

Last time we went on holiday, we saw Starlings being ripped apart by owls. Can you guarantee this won’t happen at your villa?

We only eat organic food that has been grown within a 50km distance from where we are staying. Is this possible?

Is there room to throw a bbq in the back yard?

Will your 3 bedroom property house 17 of us if we bring our own blow-up mattresses?

Will the weather be better in the first 2 weeks of July or the last 2 weeks of July?

Can you guarantee there will not be any dead birds in the garden during our stay?

The last villa we booked through you was gorgeous but the locals didn’t speak any English. Do you have a villa in an English-speaking town? We really enjoy the French culture.

Villas in the south of France for summer 2012

Well, it might not have been a white Christmas in this part of the world, but it was certainly a very good one! We hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas festivities.

I hardly have time to write any posts today because we have so many enquiries for villas in the south of France for summer 2012, so I will keep this short and sweet.

With the rain and wind and storms forecast for the next 7 days in the UK, it’s about time for those of you who haven’t to book your summer hols in the south of France for next year!

 

It was so warm, we sunbathed all week!

Go to www.southfranceholidayvillas.co.uk if you want to anticipate sun, sea, great food and possibly even some wine! Perhaps your New Year’s Resolution could even be to get your beach body back in time for your holiday!

A great month to step into a church

This article below was taken from www.blahblahblah.org and highlights some beautiful churches/cathedrals/abbeys to visit when you’re in the Languedoc region of the south of France.  Go to our website www.southfranceholidayvillas.co.uk to book a villa close to these beautiful old building.
A great month to step into a church
Why not take a day out and visit one or two of the magnificent Abbeys, Cathedrals or churches in this region. You don’t even have to be religious to appreciate their history and the magnificent, centuries old architecture. These are just a few examples but if you simply pop into a local village church on your way into town, you’ll probably be impressed.
A hole in the roof
Agde is one of the oldest towns in the Languedoc. Founded by Greek seamen about 500BC it became a trading port and was regularly raided by the Corsairs from the Barbarg Coast. It was against such raids that the 12th century Cathedral of St Etienne was gradually fortified. The building, which has walls up to ten feet thick, is constructed from volcanic stone from the nearby Mount St Loup giving it a rather worn, grey appearance unlike most old buildings here which were built with warm yellow stone. The cathedral has one curious feature – a hole in the roof! It was through this hole that defenders of the place up on the battlements could receive food and  munitions and from which the wounded could be lowered to safety.
Never quite finished
The Narbonne St Just Cathedral was built in the 13th century as the seat for the powerful Languedoc Roussillon Archbishop. It has classic Gothic architecture – flying buttresses and slim stained glass windows. Although the building was never actually finished it sits next to the Archbishop’s palace and both are worth a visit.
A money-maker
The Abbey Saint Guilhem-le-Desert is located in the town of that name near Montpellier. It was founded in 804 by Guilhem of Orange, the Duke of Aquitaine and became a stop-off point on a medieval pilgrimage route. The money made from this usage was considerable and by the 11th century there was enough cash in the bag to rebuild the Abbey in Romanesque style. The building suffered considerably during the War of Religion and the French Revolution but remains a worthwhile outing.
Abbaye de Fontfroide

Located in the town of that name near Montpellier, south of France

Founded in the 11th century this building has been beautifully restored. It houses a superb 13th century cloister of intricately formed gothic arches and columns. It can be seen only on a guided tour for a small fee but it’s worthwhile, especially if combined with lunch in Narbonne or in one of the many cafes on the Canal du Midi.

Visiting Arles, France

The following article is taken from http://www.heraultwhatson.info/days-out/ which is “The site for Anglophones who live, or would like to live, in the Herault region of France.”
So, WoW went for a delightful day in Arles.  It is a joy to visit and the old town is both very old and compact, and the arena backs onto the theatre.  Much mutilated over the years, neglected – converted into a fort -… it has been not so much restored and renovated in the manner of Carcassonne. means it can still be used for spectacles even if it is not completely authentic. It may not suit the purists but is spectacular and still used a great deal.
The theatre is “next door” and again much renovated – necessary as it has been used as a quarry, had monks and nuns build religious houses on it and finally a collection of houses were built over it. A great deal of work has made it both magical to visit and with modern stage equipment and lighting – it once again can function as a theatre. WoW learned on the visit that Roman theatres had front curtains but they were lowered to reveal rather than the other way around used now.
The Green Guide is not ecstatic about the town centre buildings but reserves the maximum stars to the Roman Cemetery. We agree – and so did Van Gogh who painted it and made a lyrical description in a letter to his brother The Roman tombs line the road which leads to a chapel on a route which led to the city.
A fine day out and we ate well at La Piazza des Thermes – fine food, good quality pichet wine and a rather good loo! – Find it at 6, rue du Sauvage The old town is also a joy to wander through and mostly car free – and no dog mess – which is as nice as it is rare.

Splendid sight to see and if you book a villa with us, you could do just that!

We reckon you could spend a few days enjoying the town, the Rhone and the Van Gogh museum – though we gather there are none of his paintings. However the place which “kept him” in one of his painful periods is open but we did not find it.

WoW readers – see if you can do better.

Life in the Languedoc

There’s something relaxing about living in the Languedoc at Christmas. Remember those frightening days of 24/7 shopping, panicking about who you’ve forgotten to send a card to… or worse… forgotten to buy a present for?  Well, calm down. Relax. You’re in the south of France. Christmas here is mostly about food – what a surprise! You’ve done your best to remember all and sundry. Now all you have to do is think about the dinner table. Well, supper table actually because the French start their celebrations with a healthy supper on Christmas eve. There’s a midnight mass of course, and then a feast of delights, including 13 desserts, that have more calories than you’ve had in the past 12 months!  Yum, yum, yum!!
Christmas day is all about family, close, not so close, in laws – it doesn’t matter. All are welcome. There will be enough food on offer to feed you for the next three months, little gifts for everyone and chocolates in abundance. These days there will even be Christmas crackers. Although they were invented by a Frenchman at the beginning of the last century they were banned in France for decades. By boxing day many will have sobered up and be back at work, exercising off all those calories of the past 24 hours!
There is something delightfully laid back about the way the French regard special occasions. It’s almost always a Gallic shrug and a more than decent spread on the dinner table. Even before the recent rugby world cup, which France, unexpectedly, came within one point of winning, L’Equipe sports writer, Erik Bielderman wrote, ‘We do not need them to be world champions, or to entertain to be French. We will always have the food, the wine and the flirting’.
So when it comes to this festive season why not do as the French do. Send a few cards to those who really matter to you. Scale down the present list. Invite the neighbours round for a few English treats like mince pies, which they love, and a glass of wine. Then put your feet up, maybe take a stroll on Christmas day, have a snooze, and enjoy a feast. Merry Christmas.
Article taken from www.blahblahblah.org

Is issime OTT? From Blah Blah Blah Magazine and South France Holiday Villas

This following article is hilarious and is taken from http://www.blablablah.org/ – please click on this link to take you to the Blah Blah Blah magazine that covers the Languedoc region in France to read many more excellent articles like this one.

Is issime OTT?

Are the French prone to exaggeration? Rapid-fire judgment? Highly excessive off-the-charts over-statements? It’s too soon to tell, but the impassioned use of the suffix issime (pronounced ee-seem) appears to be a first piece of evidence. Attach issime to the end of an already assertive adjective and an authoritative piece of opinionated wisdom follows without fail.

Example: a wealthy man is not merely riche à millions, idly rolling about in the midst of a few million pieces of shiny currency; non, a very rich man would be richissime, helplessly drowning in banknotes, wallowing in bling bling, perilously stooped under the weight of lustrous gold bullion. Get it? Issime is the suffix that goes the extra mile.

Or take the landscape: Un paysage sublime? How very pedestrian. Look again. There you see an expanse of tender, rolling hills. Fine. But with a little effort, you also discern far-off church spires, Fisher-Price sheep dotting the hillside as they graze in peaceful, oblivious contentment. Sublime, you said? I beg your pardon. Such a vista is nothing less than sublimissime (su-blee-me-seem). Go for it, tell it like it is.

Unfortunately, for some unknown linguistic reason, not all adjectives are comfortable with the issime addition. In this case, one can always resort to the three-time repetition, a conversational consolidation that will surprise no one in France. A rather nice man, therefore, is not just gentil. He is gentil gentil gentil. The latest heartthrob whose face and physique adorn all the movie magazines at the local kiosque is more than beau. He is actually beau beau beau. And the world we live in, suffice it to say, is not just crazy. Face the facts. It is frankly and forever fou fou fou.

But living in France, in addition to being culturally colourful (colourful colourful colourful!) and endlessly fascinating, also affords uncommon exposure to catastrophes. C’est unecatastrophe (kah-tah-strofe) is a common, everyday declaration in France. We are not referring to economic crises, natural disasters or
man-made creations of strife and struggle. Pas du tout. The French are inspired by run-of-the-mill catastrophes, examples of which abound in everyday life: My neighbour went on a three-day hunting expedition with four
other buddies and forgot to pack the pepper, depriving them all of a few precious savory grains on sizzling steaks. What are we really talking about? Une catastrophe.

My English learners fumble around with the present continuous tense, causing a communication breakdown for as many as thirty seconds. What’s really going on? C’est une catastrophe.

A young mother bemoans her son’s penmanship, noting with sombre consternation a couple of disobedient curlicues, some that droop too low, others that reach too high. Oh là là,c’est une catastrophe!

It’s a wonder we manage to get through the day with so many catastrophes hovering over our heads. And yet we do… everyday, day after day as well as the successive days that roll into weeks and months until… monDieu… here we are in December. C’est… c’est… what could it be?… C’est un miracle! At long last, thanks to the twelfth month of the year, we can change our tune even if it means managing without a catastrophe or two. The time has come for Yuletide joy, for peace and good will, for laying the table and inviting the guests. Already? Oui! C’est fou fou fou, but there you go. Joyeuses Fêtes!

By Meredith Escudier from Blah Blah Blah magazine

Excellent magazine covers many areas about the Languedoc.

Pont Royal Golf, Mallemort, Provence

The owners of the property at the following link share why they chose Pont Royale, Mallemort, Provence for their holiday home:

http://www.southfranceholidayvillas.co.uk/detail.php?ref=PONT103

I fell in love with this part of France some years ago. If you’ve read any of Peter Mayle’s books on Provence or seen the film “A Good Year” with Russell Crowe, then you know how magical the region is. I’m a keen golfer (though not very good). My favourite time to play is first thing in the morning when the sun is coming up and there’s still dew on the grass. You can’t beat it. I also enjoy wine and good food which is in bountiful supply with a whole host of local markets (and vineyards) selling everything you could wish for. Unusually for a man, I also like shopping (which pleases my wife no end). Our favourite places tend to be Aix or St.Remy but we also enjoy going to Avignon or Marseille. I hope you enjoy the place as much as we do. For me, it’s a little glimpse of heaven.

The sun shines for 300 days a year. The light is incredible – just ask Cezanne and Van Gogh! There are 3 fascinating and quite different cities within 60 minutes: Marseille, Avignon and Aix. The countryside is beautiful with the Luberon to the north, the Alpilles to the west, the Camargue to the south-west, the sea to the south and the Cote d’Azur to the south-east. Pont Royal is a special place: pretty, well-kept, clean, safe (one entrance with security), with an 18 hole championship golf course, tennis, swimming pools, shops and restaurants. There are plenty of local vineyards where the wine is surprisingly good. And plenty of fabulous villages to explore: Lourmarin, Roussillon, Menerbes, Lacoste, Gordes, Bonnieux and Curcoron – to name but a few. This is “real” Provence.

If you would like to stay in Provence summer 2012, you couldn't do much better than this idyllic villa!