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South France Villas Blog

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Béziers Flower Market

Béziers is a beautiful city and has the added advantage of being only 10 minutes from the beach! The new small airport serves most of Europe making Beziers and the surrounding areas very easily accessible. 

Beziers flower market
The Béziers flower market takes place every Friday, sunshine or rain. From 6am until 6pm the Allées Paul Riquet are filled with thousands of locally gardened flowers. The long tarmac walkway becomes a magical promenade. Pretty flowers and plants of all different colours are sold for very reasonable prices. 

If you are looking to brighten up your villas’ kitchen or living room, or even looking for a wee gift for a special someone, you can’t go wrong with flowers!

Beziers Market in the summer

We recommend a spring or summer stroll through the market followed by lunch or aperitif at “Le Chameau Ivre”. 
Situated towards the end of the walkway you will find the park; “le plateau des poètes” which is ideal for having picnics or going to watch the geese, ducks and fish in the ponds dotted around. 

Did you know? There is a reason the flower market is placed exactly where it is today. In the 19th century the backstreet brothels were placed just off the Allées Paul Riquet. Flower sellers saw the perfect opportunity to make money. Immediately after leaving the brothels men would buy their wives flowers that were conveniently being sold right in front of them!

We have a great range of beautiful holiday villas to rent near Beziers, in traditional wine making villages, towns and very near to the beaches just perfect for that summer holiday you have been thinking about!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Last Minute Holiday in a French Villa

Tips for your Last Minute Holiday in a French Villa

The summer holidays are nearly over, but maybe you’re still ready to visit sunnier skies? If you’re anything like the other 17 million Brits that choose to go to France every year, you won’t need convincing that France is the ideal last-minute holiday spot. Whether ‘‘last minute” for you means booking a week or a month in advance, the South of France is convenient to travel to, offers beautiful Mediterranean weather and more. Here are some of our suggestions for ideal last minute villa holidays in the South of France.

 Visit a less-popular French holiday destination

Collioure villa with hot-tub

The Languedoc region may not be as glamourous as some spots on the French Riviera, but this can work in your favour. Sacrificing locations that get more tourist attention can mean getting more for your money. In fact, the region of Languedoc on the south coast of France is often considered more authentically French because it’s filled with towns that breathe life long after the tourist season is over.

October in Collioure

This luxury villa in Collioure, Languedoc has a private pool, hot-tub and a short walk from the Mediterranean Sea,Collioure's restaurants, artisan shops and beach. Not to mention it’s an ideal last-minute deal since it is now offering discounts for 4 people in October.  You can evn pop over the border into Spain.

Head to the French countryside instead of the beach

Provence last minute holidayThe region of Provence is a favourite for the French and foreigners. Its spectacular food and colourful landscapes make it the perfect last-minute family holiday destination. In such a diverse region you also won’t be stuck for things to do, although we wouldn’t blame you if you just wanted to relax in your private villa and enjoy the local countryside. 
If Provence sounds right for you, this traditional countryside Provence villa is within walking distance of a local village, is five minutes from Aix-en-Provence and has a 20% discount on remaining weeks in 2016.

 Enjoy a last-minute classic French beach holiday

Special offer CannesWe’ve all heard of the crystal blue water of the Cote d’Azur, and it’s considered one of the most glamourous locations on the Mediterranean.  Cities like Cannes offer the perfect location for a last minute holiday with its wonderful mix of things to do. Slow down the pace by relaxing on a sandy beach, or traipse into town to enjoy some food and browse the shops. 
This luxury villa close to Cannes is now offering a discounted rate from early September until November 2016. Luxury Cote s'Azur near Cannes

For more deals please check our last minute and special offers on holiday villa rentals.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

September in the South of France

Our Top 5 reasons why September is an excellent time to visit the South of France.

Do you need a holiday after the summer holidays? September is a brilliant time to visit the South of France, Summer is coming to a close and Autumn is thinking about showing its colours.

South of France Villa

Here are our top 5 reasons to come to Languedoc (or Occitanie as it is now officially known), Cote D’Azur or Provence in September.

1-   Fewer crowds, the majority of the local French people have gone back to work & the French Tourists have gone home, Le Rentrée as it is fondly known. Less people means it is easier to get a table in the best restaurants, less traffic on the roads and easier to park!  

2-   The Weather, with average temperatures of around 25 degrees, perfect for an early morning hike, a lazy afternoon on the beach, or a day out and about sight-seeing. The evenings are very pleasant with some stunning sunsets, you may need a jacket if you are sitting outdoors.

3-   The Wine, Harvest time “Les vendanges” will be in full flow. It is truly spectacular to see how the grapes are picked, processed, stored and then bottled! The wine-makers will be busy, so wine-tasting may need to be prior arranged. Watch out for the cute little tractors setting off together in the mornings, almost like a grand prix in slow motion!

4-  Value for money,  many of our French holiday villas have excellent prices in September and the larger ones offer discounts for smaller groups. Flights and Ferry crossings are also much cheaper, giving you more to spend whilst in the South of France!

5-   Beaches, the Mediterranean is still warm following the high summer temperatures, many of the private beach bars are still open, no need to reserve your sunbed in advance! There will be plenty of space to spread your wings, and pre-school age children and babies can happily play without the intense heat.

Vineyards in the South of FranceHoliday villa on the beach

So if you fancy a trip to the South of France, let us plan your holiday the way you would plan your own! We are proud to be human and love to chat to our clients.

Contact us for all our special offers for Autumn 2016 and Spring 2017.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

A walk away: Things to do near your private holiday villa in Provence

Let’s face it, if you’ve taken the decision to rent a private villa in the south of France, then one of the main attractions is the freedom to get outside and explore Provence by foot.  To help you plan your trip we've put together some of our best tips to help you to make the most of your private villa’s surroundings, and all within walking distance.

Your Provencal holiday home away from home

Provence villa with poolTruthfully we wouldn’t blame you if you never want to leave your French villa. You can enjoy a swim in your private pool as you look over some of Provence’s famous landscapes, whether it be its rolling hills of Aix-en-Provence or the cliffy coastline of Cassis

Plus the beauty of a private holiday villa is that you can treat it like your home away from home; let the kids run free in the garden or splash in the private pool to their heart's content.

 Browse the local market and village shops

Villa in ProvenceOf course with so many local amenities it would be a shame not to make the most of it. Why not stroll into the local village? Not only will you pass beautiful scenery, but it will give you the chance to pick up something special to eat. Browse your local market or head to the boulangerie for some fresh bread.  French wine and cheese are never a bad idea!

Enjoy Provence’s famous cuisine

The freedom of a private holiday villa also gives you endless ways to enjoy your tasty treats. Cook up something special in the kitchen with your authentic Provencal ingredients. Or you could wander over to the local bistro and eat like the French, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Many Provencal markets, like the one in the town of Uzes , even offer food from street vendors that is simply to die for. Large holiday villa near Uzes 

Family Holiday Provence

Get active in the great outdoors

For those times when you want to really get your body moving, there’s so much to do within a short walk from the holiday villa. Get the family together for a walk around Provence’s spectacular hills that it’s so well known for. Or if you’re the sporty type, perhaps a private villa with a local tennis court would be more to your taste?

However you choose to enjoy your holiday in your private Provence holiday villa, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. With so much on your doorstep you can really live like a local and won’t even need to touch a guide book. Immerse yourself in the Provencal countryside and unwind in your home away from home.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Summer is coming and the South of France is getting ready for you!

South of France holiday

Summer holidays in France

Here in the South of France, we know when summer is nearly here, the locals have stopped wearing their winter boots, coats and scarves!  (The temperature needs to be at least 25 degrees for this to happen), ex-pats and holidaymakers have been wearing t-shirts, shorts and general summer gear for a couple of months!
Dining alfresco is back in the norm, and Rosé sales have increased!

Holidays in France
The village fetes have started, local orchestras touring from village to village along with many local groupies, we are still overwhelmed by the quality of these talented musicians.
The Vigneronnes are out nurturing their vines, and praying for some light rain in the evenings to help the vines through the hot summer (they call it raining money!) Our villa owners are sprucing up their holiday houses, cleaning the pools, gardens being tidied, wine cellars being stocked..

Beach chalet South of France
The beaches have been cleared of any winter debris, the wonderful private beach bars and restaurants have popped up again! (unbelievable how they pack them away each year). Sunloungers are laid out on the beaches, the sun is warming the Mediterranean sea….

The only thing missing is you!

So are you ready for your South of France villa holiday? 

Pezenas Luxury villa
If travelling by car, try not to bring too much! You can buy almost everything here in the South of France, if you are a little particular about your morning cup of tea, then maybe pack a packet of your favourite tea! You of course need a little room in the boot for French wine on your return journey! Do make sure you have plenty of water in the car and maybe a snack just in case you get stuck in any holiday traffic.

A great game to play for children and adults is to try and spot a car from each department in France, They are identified by a 2 digit number, for example the towns of Pezenas and Beziers are in Herault, Languedoc which is 34,  Aix-en –Provence, and Arles are in Bouche-du-Rhone which is 13, Nice and Cannes are in the Alpes-Maritimes 06 and Paris is 75 (so watch out for their driving!).  You can see the full list of France’s departments here.

Flights to South of FranceIf flying to the South of France, again try not to bring too much! Most of our villas have a washing machine, should you run out of clean clothes. It is a good idea to bring some Sun-cream with you, especially for the first day. You can order on-line from Boots and collect your delivery at the airport airside, this means you don’t have to worry about liquids going through security. This service is also great for families with young children or babies who need baby food or baby milk. 

Fortunately the flight to the South of France is only around 2 hours, as most of the flights are with budget airlines, do make sure you check-in early to ensure that you are all sat together, or pay the extra to book your seats. If travelling with the elderly or young children the back of the plane is much easier to access and baby-changing facilities are normally situated here. If you have hired a car and it is feasible, the driver should make a sharp exit from the plane and try to get to the car hire queue first!

HOneymoon south of FRance
Don’t forget the directions to your holiday Villa along with the keyholder's contact details. Of course make sure you have the all the Travel Essentials; Tickets, Passport, Driving Licence, Travel Insurance and EU health card, Cash, Bank/Credit card, Medication (good idea to have a copy of your prescription too), 

Travelling can be stressful especially with excited children, so try and keep calm if you get lost, have to queue at the airport, or forget your school French!

Holidays in the South of France are all about making happy memories, so make the most of your time away and enjoy!

If you have not yet booked your Summer holiday, then contact us and we can plan your holiday as you would plan your own.
We have some wonderful villas that have summer availability and check out our last minute special offers.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Languedoc Kids - Top 10 things to do

Thinking of a holiday in Languedoc-Roussillon, South of France with children? 

Languedc family villa holiday

The Languedoc-Roussillon area of France is a great place for family summer holidays. There are plenty of family friendly activities that will entice children away from computer games! Holidays are also about making memories, and what better way to remember your South of France holiday than, canoeing, zip wiring or having fun at the water park!

Here is South France Villas Top 10 list of things to do that kids (and adults!) will love.
Many of these activities are available all year round, and the indoor fun can be a respite from the warm South of France sunshine!

1.    Sigean African safari park-  This safari park is open 365 days of the year and has more than 3500 animals and is spread over 300 hectares, the park is committed to giving the animals a natural environment and to conserve threatened species.  Think of any animal and you will most likely see one  at this park, Cheetahs, Chimpanzee’s, Elephants, Lions and Bears to name but a few.
Part of the park is only accessible by a tour guide and it really is worth the extra cost, as you get to see so much more. 

2.     Acrobranching – A great way for children to get some exercise (and parents!)  Set in spacious woodlands, the courses are at various levels depending upon the age and experience of the child, even 3 or 4  year olds can now have a go! In the summer months they are open late into the evening. Try Beziers aventure and Azimut-aventure (near one of our villas at Portiragnes).

Languedoc Childrens activities   3. Waterparks - Enjoy a day out at one of the many water parks in Languedoc, Aqua-Land have parks in Cap d’Agde, Port Leucate which is near Narbonne, Saint Cyprien (handy if you are staying in one of our Collioure villas), there are lots of slides, wave machines, shops, restaurants, and many allow you to bring your own picnic (make sure you only have plastic bottles though).  
If you are visiting off season, this indoorwater centre in Grau d’agde is open all year round. There is a wonderful little children’s area with a small slide and fun water jets, a pool with massaging bubble chairs, Jacuzzi, 2 large slides, and for the serious swimmers there is a pool dedicated to lengths.**Many of the French water parks do not allow swimming shorts for boys and men, they must be speedos or the tighter fitting shorts.

4.     Beaches – Young children may be happy to play with their buckets and spades, however older ones may wish to have a go on the banana boat, or persuade someone to take them out on a Pedalo!  All the large Languedoc Beach resorts have water sports, beach bars, private beaches and restaurants during the summer months, Vias, Valras, Portiragnes, Leucante, Narbonne, Argeles sur Mer…

Languedoc children friendly
5.    Aquariums - Another activity suitable all year which does not rely in the weather.  There are 2 good aquariums in the Languedoc, one is Montpellier Aquarium, this is the largest in the area and has over 400 species of marine life including sharks, daily events including the staging of storms and hurricanes take place. The Cap d’Agde Aquarium is smaller but worth a visit if you are in the area. You could also go on a short boat trip from the port, there are plenty to choose from. Children will love the ice cream parlours along the port so many flavours to choose from!

6.    Underground Caves and St Guilhem le Désert – The Clamouse Caves offer a welcome break from the South of France sunshine! Spectacular caves with amazing stalactites and stalagmites, tunnels, although not recommended if you are claustrophobic! Children are fascinated as it is really is a unique experience.
St Guilhem itself is one of the busiest tourist attractions in the Herault area of Languedoc, check out the old tree in front of the church and ask your children to see if they can guess how old it is. The UNESCO registered Pont du Diable (translated means Devil’s bridge) is nearby, here you can swim in the river so why not take a picnic, if you are feeling sporty then you could hire a canoe. You will be pleased to know jumping off the bridge has at last been banned!

Languedoc water sports     7. Canoeing - Just 40 minutes inland from the South of France beaches, you can be in the Herault National Park, there are canoe stations in Roquebrun (one of the prettiest villages in Languedoc) and Cessenon sur Orb (Base Reals). Choose from 5km to 32 km depending on your level.  A choice of one or two seater canoes are available, safety equipment is provided, a helmet is not compulsory however it is recommended and are available free of charge.  There are no time restrictions so stop on the way and have a swim in the river or take a picnic (waterproof containers provided). Water and sunscreen are a must too.

8.     Horse-Riding - There are lots of places near to the beaches that have Horse Riding, especially Serignan. It is advisable to book in advance during July and August. Petit Sam Ranch has a good choice of horses and ponies, you can book a trek for an hour, or 2, with a guide and children are allowed from aged 9. For younger children there are pony rides available. During the summer the sand is too hot for the horses, so you will not be riding on the beach or into the sea!

Languedoc holiday with kids
9.     Go-Karting- Our favourite Go-Karting place is Caussiniojouls , 20 minutes north of Beziers, this course really is amazing one of the best we have seen, the staff take safety very seriously. The children’s go-karts are speed restricted and can also be remotely controlled.  For younger children there are 2 place go-karts so they can ride with an adult.  The track alternates between a session for Children and then one for Adults, therefore you do not need to worry about the children racing with fast adults. There is a snack bar, for drinks and Pizza’s, and next door there is a full restaurant

10.  Dinosaur Land – The largest park dedicated to Dinosaurs in Europe. Situated near to Meze and not too far from Pezenas, the park is great for young children especially if they have been learning about Dinosaurs at school.   There is a picnic area and a café onsite and souvenir shop.

We have a great collection of family holiday villas to rent in the Languedoc area of Southern France, if you are fed up with trawling through websites looking for the right villa, why not give us a call and let us plan your holiday as you would plan your own!

Languedoc beach holidayLanguedoc villa holiday

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Marrakech, Morocco.

Marrakech has recently been voted 3rd place in Trip Advisor's Top 25 destinations to visit in the world. Morocco really does offer something for everybody, Authenticity, Culture, Sunshine, Architecture, Shopping, Relaxation, Beaches, Mountains, Walking, Gastronomy…

Marrakech is now easily accessible and offers excellent value for money. Many of the low cost airlines are flying here from local airports around the UK and Europe. Easy-Jet have flights from just over £100 return from Gatwick in April 2016. With a flight time of around 3 and a half hours one could even fly to Morocco for a long weekend.

Luxury riad marrakech
Marrakech holiday villa
Holiday villas or Riads as they are called in Morocco offer the best experience for a trip to Marrakech. The majority of riads come with their own housekeeper included in the cost, a truly great way of experiencing traditional and authentic Moroccan food, freshly prepared for you after a day exploring or relaxing by the pool.  One may think it is a little extravagant having your own housekeeper, however it need not be expensive as you can rent a Moroccan villa from just over 1500 Euros per week and it can sleep 8 people!

Luxury Moroccan Villa

If you are thinking of renting a villa or riad in Morocco, you could choose to be near to the Medina (central Marrakech) on a development with a shared pool, or an exclusive, luxury designer villa, South France Villas has one that sleeps 10 people in the most beautiful suites, has an indoor/outdoor pool, own housekeeper, car included and costs only 500 euro each for a week!  Modern, Traditional we can find you the right holiday villa.

Moroccan villa break
Moroccan breakast served in your villa
Modern Morocco has been heavily influenced by 
European visitors, luxury boutiques, modern trendy restaurants and bars can now to found amongst the traditional Moroccan cafés. Here you can see the elders chatting, playing cards and smoking whilst drinking a strong coffee or a mint tea.  

On your last day sit outside the Café Poste and take a moment to relive your favourite memories of your stay in Marrakech.

Marrakech by night
On holiday in Marrakech one must visit the 
souks (enormous market) on arriving at the huge square you will find official guides who will show you around for a small cost, otherwise it is extremely likely that you will get lost, and hold your children's hand as many of the stalls look the same so it is not easy to find your way around, very good fun though as it is almost like being in a maze! The guides will take you to their friends stalls, but do always check the stalls next door, and you must haggle every time as they really do expect you to. Leather goods, kaftans, jewellery and of course a magic carpet are all excellent buys. Be prepared to sit down and drink some mint tea with the shop keeper and let them practice their English. The food market is not for the faint hearted with live chickens etc for sale.

marrakech holiday
Marjolle Gardens
A visit to the Jardin Marjolle should also be added to your agenda, It is one of the most visited places in Morocco. Yves Saint Laurent and his life partner Pierre Bergé bought the gardens and the villa in 1980 to save them from being sold and turned into a hotel. The gardens were transformed and they decided to move to Morocco and lived in the villa. Following Yves’s passing his ashes were scattered in the rose garden and a memorial was built in his honour. The exotic gardens cover over 2 acres, with ponds, streams and fountains that create a haven of serenity.

Atlas mountains marrakech
Walking in the Atlas mountains

The Atlas Mountains offer an escape from the heat should you be visiting Marrakech in the summer months, the scenery is breath-taking. If you don’t fancy driving there are plenty of excursions or your housekeeper will be able to arrange a driver for you. Many of the riads include a car or a driver and they can collect you from the airport so you don't have to worry about finding your way around when you first arrive in Marrakech.

The South France Villas' team have visited Marrakech, so please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information on renting a villa in Morocco, and let us plan your holiday as you would plan your own.

Authentic Marrakech
Not recommended!
marrakesh luxury villa
Super luxury villa in Marrakech

Marrakesh villa holiday
One of the food stalls