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South France Villas Blog

Friday 7 December 2012

Christmas Present List: Book a South of France Holiday in Languedoc

Traditional Festivities do, of course, vary from country to country and France is no exception, like some of its European counterparts the French have their main celebration on Christmas Eve - Le Réveillon de Noël - when the family gathers together for an evening of Gastronomic delights - often an enormous seafood platter to start, ending up with a Büche de Noël - followed by Midnight Mass.  

Expectant children leave their shoes in front of the fire for Père Noël!

Seafood Platter
Büche de Noel
Christmas Day too is a very important "foodie" event and will often include a more traditional menu perhaps rabbit or coq au vin.

Conversation throughout the day invariably turns to the memories of heady Summer Holidays spent on the coast and the planning of the next one, which for the French is usually in August.  So why not take advantage of this and come and enjoy the Mediterranean and its fabulous beaches in May and June when you can have them to yourself!

In particular, access to the undiscovered jewel of the south, the Languedoc region, around Beziers and Montpellier, has been made so much easier with the advent of No-Frills airlines. 

The airport at Beziers makes onward journey times short to get to South France Villas  rental properties near the beach where the sea is shallow, ideal for young families.  Starting from only £140 per person per week - great value for money - you can have the pick!

 Beachfront location (HE067A)
Room with a view

Right on the beach is Villa St Pierre (HE067A) in a family orientated resort, sleeps 8 and is as the French would say "pieds dans l'eau", with amazing views.

Or perhaps "la piece de resistance", the fantastic Les Rocailles (HE044A), which has the best of both worlds - direct access to the beach AND a heated pool!

HE044A Les Rocailles on the beach near Beziers

The Languedoc certainly has it all, sun, sea, sand 
and sensible prices - Happy Holidays!

Friday 16 November 2012

Summer Dreaming of Holidays in the South of France

Whilst it is lovely to curl up and get cosy by the fire during the winter evenings, thoughts of long Summer days with endless sunshine and blue skies are ever present and images of that swim in the sea, walk along the beach or topping up that tan come to mind.

Next year the South of France has even more to offer because Marseille is the European Capital City of Culture 2013 and there will be a mass of events and much more going on in the city - from Martigues to the lovely La Ciotat - and not too far away in the likes of Arles and Aix.

The Languedoc, Provence and the Cote d'Azur are all amazing locations for that perfect holiday, with history, culture, gastronomy and of course wine all at your finger tips - not forgetting the Mediterranean and the fantastic beaches!

To take full advantage of this area, why not stay at one of our properties and explore the region at your leisure. 

Villa Auriol (BR001)is only 20 minutes from Marseille - perfectly placed to enjoy all that is going on in the 2013 European Capital City of Culture.

 House and garden - BR001A
Just a stone's throw from Aix-en-Provence is the lovely "home from home" Villa du Jardin (BR002A), well placed to access this part of the world and ideal for a family of 6-7.  

The villa is very well equipped and has lots of added extras, such as bicycles, the possibility of fishing for trout in the nearby river and a boulodrome for that quintessential French pastime, a game of pétanque.

Villa du Jardin Facade

Don't miss the chance to visit  Aix and see it in all its glory - the Cathedral, famous works of art and the Mazarin quarter.

Alternatively, not far from quaint Sommières and the lovely town of Uzes, (both of which have fantastic Saturday markets),  the delightful Bastide Langlade (GR011A ), a stone building, combining original character features with contemporary decor and modern day living is perfect if you are a party of 10.

Conservatory and Garden
Fully Fenced Pool area

This coming Summer the South of France tops the list of destinations for diversity with a difference -  encompassing a myriad of activities and endless places to explore for people of all ages.  Come see for yourself!

Monday 8 October 2012

Autumn in the South of France - Orange Vineyards, Céret Cherries & Truffle Markets

The seasons are changing in the Languedoc and although we are reluctant to say goodbye to the glorious summer sun and long balmy evenings there is another delightful season approaching. Autumns in the South of France are dramatic. 

The vineyards that cover the rolling landscape turn to varying shades of vivid orange. Its a season of bright skies, fresh air and some tasty gastronomic delights...

With Halloween on the horizon, and Toussaint (All Saints day) to follow, the kids will soon be filling up on sugary treats. More exciting than boiled sweets and foil-wrapped chocolate are the sweet and natural treats that the Languedoc has to offer.

Cherries from Céret -The region around Céret in the Pyrénées-Orientales is a major fruit producer, well know for its cherries. It is a Local tradition that the first harvest of cherries be sent to the President of France. Céret hosts a cherry festival each year with such oddities as cherry beer and a cherry stone spitting competition. A delicious treat for an Autumn evening would be a Cherry clafoutis, a delicious, baked French dessert made with a thick flan-like batter.

Quinces - or in French 'Coings' These fruits flourish in the warm Mediterranean climate and are just coming in to season. They are a fruit not dissimilar to a pear can often have hard flesh and tough skin. They have a wonderful sweet flavour and are best made into jellies and compotes!

Chestnuts - the Fêtes du Marron or Fêtes du Châtaignes take place throughout the Languedoc. These sweet and nutty treats are eaten roasted, made into chestnut paste, delicious cakes or even fudge! Orlagues, in the Herault,  has a Fête du Marron and Vin Nouveau in October.

And it's not just the sugary delicacies that are worth tasting but the savoury produce too...Autumn and Winter see the return of the mushroom picking season so Ceps and Truffles will be abundant throughout the markets. Uzès, in the Gard department, is famous for its Truffle Markets! 

www.discover-uzes.com Mushroom pickers who go in search of the fragrant and highly sought after Cep can take their mushrooms into the pharmacy for checking to make sure that they are edible.The grape harvest of late summer means that it is nearly time for the 'Vin Primeur', the first wine of the new harvest.

In Provence the First Côtes du Rhône festival takes place in Avignon on the third Thursday of November.

Equally tasty - and the perfect locations for delving into the local delicacies - are South France Villas delightful holiday rentals. We have a handful of properties that are new on our site 

Les Combes HE082A is a beautiful, renovated old wine cave with stunning hillside view, close to the market town of Saint-Chinian - where you can buy fabulous local produce.

La Grange HE083A

La Grange  is an large, elegant Provençal farmhouse with stylish but traditional furnishings in the beautiful town of Roquebrun.

Villa St Jean VR010A is in between Fréjus and Cannes and has stunning views over the Esterel valley.

Autumnal Vineyards and the Carcassonne Cité

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Côte d'Azur - The Fabulous French Riviera

The Côte d'Azur, also known in English as the French Riviera has been as the playground of the rich and famous since the 18th century. In addition to the glitz and the glamour it is one of the most beautiful regions in France. This coastline has a wealth of culture and history that is so often overshadowed by the celebrity lifestyle and opulent society that has become synonymous with the Côte d’Azur.

 Despite not having any official borders, it is usually considered to be the coastal area that runs from the Italian border in the east to Toulon in the west and is part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region. The area was named Stéphen Liégeard in his book La Côte d’Azur, who adapted the name from the department of Côte d’Or and was making reference to the beautiful azure blue Mediterranean Sea.

The region has extraordinarily beautiful coastline with a backdrop of beautiful mountain ranges. It is an animated and lively region with glittering annual events such as the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix. The Côte d’Azur is a popular yachting and cruising area littered with impressive marinas filled with extravagant yachts.

Slightly more low-key towns that are worth a visit are Villefranche-sur-Mer and Roquebrune. These are beautiful communities with picturesque old towns that don’t have the garish wealth of Cannes and St Tropez but still maintain the beauty and luxury of the French Riviera.

cannes st tropez

Of course, the region is not all about beautiful fishing ports and glamorous seaside towns, 
the area is famous for being a meeting place for artists, such as Matisse and Picasso and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary art in Nice is well worth a visit www.mamac-nice.org

The Côte d'Azur's fascinating history stretches from Roman rulers to the fantasy and luxury of the Belle Époque architecture to the  20th century hollywoood lifestyle. The ancient forts and Chateaux that line the coast are breath-taking and popular tourist attractions, such as the grandiose Palace in Monaco or the 16th Century Saint Elme Citadel in Villefranche. For lists of the forts and castles in the Côte d’Azur visit www.frenchriviera-tourism.com

To explore this beautiful region South France Villas offers you beautiful properties to rent.

villla rental south france

Villa Chenet Provençal style house in Frejus, with beautiul gardens and only 10km form the sea. Sleeps 6-7

villla rental south france

Villa Les Maures Luxury villa, with sophisticated interiors , in the hills above St Tropez. Sleeps 12.
villla rental south france

Villa Allegra Large contemporary villla in Golfe Juan, with a beautiful view over Cannes. Sleeps 14.

villla rental south france

Villa Eze  Villa in Eze-sur-Mer between Nice and Monaco, with infinity pool and only 3 minutes walk from beach. Sleeps 6.

For more information and to check out our other properties in the Côte d’Azur please got to our website www.southfrancevillas.com

Monday 10 September 2012

The Magic of Morocco


Morocco is a country steeped in tradition and culture. It’s truly diverse landscape ranges from Atlantic shore line to snow-capped mountains to rolling dessert. The gate way to sub-Saharan Africa, the Arabic and Berber traditions make Morocco the perfect destination for an exotic getaway where you can discover a whole new world of sights and sounds all in absolute luxury.

The thriving city of Marrakech is an excellent holiday destination for all those who want to experience the magic and colour of Morocco.

Souks morroccan villas
The Place Djemaa el Fna

With its open-air markets known as Souks, the city is alive with colour and scents. Market stalls fill the bustling city centre square - Place Djemaa el Fna - where tradesmen sell a myriad of different foods and products, including leather goods, textiles and aromatic spices. The produce sold in the souks is a testament to the exceptional craftsman ship of the Moroccan artisans.

Spice Stall

Handmade carpets

Take some time out to relax in a Moroccan café and try some Moroccan mint tea. More than just your average hot drink, mint tea is a sign of hospitality, friendship and tradition. The tea is very sweet and is served in small decorated glasses. When served it is poured from a high height to allow air into the tea which cools it down and improves its flavour.
Moroccan Mint Tea

The are plenty of things to see and do Marrakech including a day trip to go trekking or walking in the stunning Atlas Mountains, or even spending a day visiting tourist attractions in the centre of Marrakech such as the Koutoubia Mosque.

There are also several beautiful golf courses on the outskirts of Marrakech.

Koutoubia Mosque

South France Villas now has a fabulous range of Moroccan villas that offer all the luxuries and amenities needed for a truly relaxing Moroccan holiday, including catering and spa facilities.

The villas range from traditional Moroccan style riads to stylish, contemporary style villas. Take a look at our website to browse these wonderful properties.

Villa Beyt Rim (MR029A) is a large contemporary style villa with an integral spa, perfect for family events or even weddings!

Villa Arfa MR014A is a stunning modern Moroccan style villa, near to Marrakech, with a fabulous roof top terrace that has stunning views of the Atlas mountains.


Villa Chamade )MR022A) is a stylish, beautifully decorated villa on the Amelkis Golf Course. Perfect for any keen golfers! 

For more information you can contact us via our website.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

LE VENDANGE – The grape harvest season is here!

The vineyards are buzzing with grape-pickers or vendangeurs as late August sees the harvesting season across France starting up. All the time and effort that has been put in throughout the year will finally prove worth their while. Of course, the warmer climate of the south of France means those jewel–like fruits have been swelling and ripening perfectly on the vine all summer, so that the Languedoc and Provence wine regions see the start of the Harvest season a little earlier than their northern counterparts. 
south france villas

south france villasVineyard workers spend long days in the balmy, late summer months collecting these wonderful fruits. A passion for the vines and the prospect of a wonderful new year of wines for the caves is what keeps the vignerons and vendangeurs going through this hard work. This treasured elixir is so much a part of the history, economy, lifestyle and culture that it is unsurprising that the whole region comes alive with excitement at this important time of year.
south france villas
The south of France is an area steeped in wine tradition. All throughout the Provence and Languedoc regions are scattered hundreds of caves, both small and large, with a myriad of different wines to be tasted. The most famous AOC regions in the Languedoc are Coteaux du Languedoc, Corbières, Faugères, Minervois, and Saint-Chinian and in Provence, celebrated of course for its rosé wines, the most well known regions are Coteaux Varois, Cassis, Bandol, Bellet and Côtes de Provence. There are plenty of family run caves that offer dégustations (wine-tasting) to the public, where you can go and sample these wonderful local  wines and buy bottles straight from the source. For more information on the wines of the Languedoc and Provence check out www.winetravelguides.com.

Fancy a wine-lovers holiday in the South of France where you can take some time to explore these vibrant wine growing regions? September is the perfect time to pay a visit to these areas. The warm late summer sun means that the weather is still perfect for that early evening glass of wine on the terrace. Everyone's idea of heaven!  To avail yourself of such opportunities, why not stay in comfort and luxury in one of South France Villas properties?

La Saisonnière
AM011A La Saisonnière is a beautifully decorated luxury villa in the Cote d'Azur. Close by is the Bellet wine-region that surounds Nice. It is one of the smallest AOC regions in France, but produces wines of excellent quality.  Wines from this area are difficult to come by outside of Nice so you are bound to discover something rare and original.


VU014A Saumane a large Provençale house with stunning views, near the Coteaux d'Aix en Provence region close to famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape, A wine lovers dream!

Domaine de Montarel

HE054A Domaine de Montarel a spacious stone house  in the Languedoc near to the Coteaux de Languedoc AOC region and with easy access to all the other excellent wines that the Languedoc has to offer. Its hill-top position affords panoramic views of rolling hillsides covered in vines

Villa du Jardin

BR002A Villa du Jardin, a charming Provençal style villla, close to Aix-en-Provence in the Bouches-du-Rhones. The Vins des Sables made from vines grown in the sandy ground that surrounds the Camargue are worthy of note.

Are your taste buds are tempted? Why wait to check out these, and our other fabulous holiday properties? Click on the blue links or go to our website www.southfrancevillas.com.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Corbieries - An underground adventure - Terra Vinéa

A reconverted gypsum mine would not usually be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of tourist attractions in the Languedoc region but Terra Vinéa in Corbières is definitely worth a visit.  

This quirky cultural activity centre boasts a (very French) twist. It’s a tourist centre dedicated to the history of wine! 

As luck would have it, the old mine, which is 80 metres below the ground, is the perfect temperature for storing the hundreds of casks of AOC Corbières wine from the Rocbère Caves.

languedoc villa rental

Adults and children alike can rejoice as this oenological attraction is suitable for the whole family!

 The visitor centre is equipped with 800 metres of interactive and informative galleries. A spectacle of light and sound, this multimedia experience takes you on a journey through the history of wine and Mediterranean culture – from the favourite tipple of the ancient civilisations to the modern day production of one of our most popular drinks. And the best bit…the free wine tasting at the end of the visit (a treat for the adults!).  

Situated at Portel des Corbières, Terra Vinéa is a short journey from our villas: Peyriac-de-Mer (A16) Maison Nadine (A22)  and La Platane (A2).

These beautiful villas provide the perfect base camp for visiting and exploring the Corbieres and Aude area.

languedoc holiday accomodation

Peyriac-de-Mer: A beautiful  stone ‘Bergerie’ with a large views across the valley.   

au016a villa rental

Maison (AU022A):Contemporary villa with a private pool on the edge of a typical wine producing village with striking vineyard views:

south france villas

 Le Moulin (AU009A): a very spacious hill top village house in the Corbières. Large Private garden with fenced swimming pool.

south france villas

When visiting the Aude departement don’t forget the amazing Medieval fortress at Carcassonne and the breathtaking cathedral in Narbonne. Drop by South France Villas website for our properties in the Aude and other departements in the Languedoc region.

french villa rental
Narbonne Cathedral
south france villas
Carcassonne Cité

Thursday 12 July 2012

Carcassonne - Largest fortified town Europe

CARCASSONNE –– The largest fortified medieval town in Europe and a World Heritage Site.

The Citadel

A former Cathar stronghold, Carcassonne (www.carcassonne-tourisme.com) is most famous for its stunning fortified ‘cite’. Situated on the equally famous Canal du Midi (also a World Heritage Site), it is rich in history and offers a wide range of cultural and music events.

To explore the region, why not stay in one of South France Villas properties:

AU026A Domaine de Marseillens and AU006A Chateau Aragon  are ideally situated for exploring both Carcassonne and the rich and diverse attractions of the Aude region.
 A6 Chateau Aragon
A26 Domaine de Marseillens

The walled city offers a range of restaurants and shops in a striking and historic setting, whilst the nearby lower town is alive with all kinds of entertainment, including theaters, music venues and cinemas. There are many bars and restaurants, giving the opportunity to sample the excellent local wines and cuisine - why not try Chez Fred

Like an oasis in the desert Lac du Cavayere nestles close to Carcassonne and offers a large lake with water activities and a beach!