Chateau de Loire

The handsome chateau dominates this estate.

Chateau de Loire + Coach House

Loire Valley, France

In the heart of the Loire Valley, inside the Loire-Anjou-Touraine National Park, you will find this jewel. Chateau de Loire dates back to the 15th century and has been fully restored, with elegant appointments and modern conveniences throughout, including en suite bathrooms, central heating, and DSL Internet service. The Chateau has everything you could ask for. The grounds are magnificent and include a spectacular rose garden, a grand fountain and a private lake surrounded by weeping willows.

Chaueau de Loire

The estate offers many options.

For weddings, christenings, concerts, or quiet reflection, a romantic and intimate chapel (with seating capacity for 60) sits just a few feet from the main house. On the grounds, there is a lovely, modern Coach House with a charming garden and views of the lake. It is located in a separate building which includes the garage, laundry facilities, and orangerie, next to the pool. The Coach House can be used in many different ways—as a private hideaway, additional living quarters, or accommodations for staff or extra guests.

A fabulous pool with an orangerie is the perfect place for parties or receptions. The handsome tofu stone building known as the Orangerie, oriented south so that it receives light all day long, is a 1,000 sq.ft. structure with high ceilings, limestone floors and exposed stone walls that lies along one side of the flagstone deck surrounding the 23' x 49' pool. Four arched glass doors open onto the pool deck, allowing guests to enjoy meals while taking in the outside breezes. There are many lounge chairs, a hammock and large parasols for relaxing around the pool. The concept underlying the orangerie, consistent with the theme of luxurious comfort at the chateau, is to provide every amenity one might need to spend an entire day poolside without having to return to the chateau. Amenities include a shower and WC, an exercise machine, table tennis, and a kitchen with granite counters and a two burner stove, microwave oven, dishwasher and refrigerator. For barbecuing there are two large gas grills that can be wheeled onto the pool deck.

Chateau de Loire

Dining here is an exquisite experience.

The Chateau offers plentiful on-site activities, with a new tennis court, heated pool, bocce court, and bicycles. Chateau de Loire is a spectacular, romantic venue for weddings and a luxurious, quiet venue for conferences, family holidays, or weeklong get-aways with friends. On arriving at the Chateau, one passes through the 40' high XVth century arch (listed as a national monument by the French government), with the escutcheons of the Valery family, which were partially chiseled off during the French Revolution in 1789. Chateau de Loire is located on the flat land between the rivers Loire and Vienne, which is in the center of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine National Park. The area is well known for its fine wines and agriculture and is frequently referred to as the "Garden of France".



Money Saving Travel Tips

No matter what your personal economic situation, most everyone wants to save a few dollars if they can. And of course we already know that you are part of the ever increasing family who love to travel, so we thought you would appreciate some money saving tips for those of you planning to travel to Europe.

To get to Europe, it's usually a better deal to purchase tickets months in advance, or the very last minute if your schedule is flexible. Some airlines advertise occasional sales, so keep your eyes open for such deals. If you can get to a major airport, you're going to be able to cut out the shuttles that eat up budget dollars. Be creative. If you don't have mass transit to help in your area, look into Greyhound or Amtrak to get you to the major airports. But once you get to Europe, you can find some great transportation deals.

There are some dizzy deals on both train and airplane, from city to city and even from country to country, once you're inside Europe. There are now a number of low cost airline companies that offer very competitive rates on fares within Europe. For instance, you can fly from Paris to Vienna on Air Berlin for as little as 44 euros (39 euros for a child, 2 euros for an infant). Here are some good websites to find such deals.

High speed train

The high-speed TGV trains connect over 150 cities and towns in France. Since 1981, TGV has served these cities and is rapidly expanding to neighboring countries as well. Holding the world speed record at 320 mph, the TGV wastes no time in getting you to your destination, such as Paris to Marseille in only 3 hours (749km). The TGV is the cornerstone of the European high-speed rail network connecting France to London, Brussels, Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich, Torino, Milan, and more. It is a safe, quick and comfortable way to travel. Note: All TGVs are now entirely NON-smoking. As to fares, the price on the TGV from Paris to Marseille, for instance, is only 101 USD. If you have a Eurail pass, recommended if you are visiting 2 or more countries, it's even less! Eurostar can get you from London to Paris in 2 hours and 15 minutes for 111 USD, and again a pass is recommended if you're visiting 2 or more countries. Check out or

Of course we are strong advocates of renting an apartment or house once you get to an area you want to explore. Just being able to prepare some of your own meals helps the budget greatly, and renting a residence by the week gives you a more comfortable and less costly accommodation than almost any hotel.

So don't let the tight household budget keep you from your travel dreams! With a little innovation and patience you can travel at a reasonable cost.



Emmanuel with family and friends<br /> 
      in Tuscany

Emmanuel with family and friends
in Tuscany

Dear Travelers,

Our goal is to make your villa rental experience more fun and enriching than ever. That's why, in collaboration with many owners, we can enhance your villa rental experience by providing not only the accomodation but also a number of extra services such as cooking classes, wine tasting, winery tours, language classes, massages etc. In fact, anything is possible. Just let us know what you want and we'll arrange it for you.

Christmas and winter vacations are coming quickly, and the best properties in Mexico and the Caribbean are now getting booked fast. So, for those of you who have not yet made arrangements, now is the time! We'll see you on Drop us a line via email or give us a call at (800) 964-1891. We love hearing from you!

On behalf of the staff I wish you a happy fall season!

All the Best,

Emmanuel de Ricard, President



Plan to tour Italy,
Part II

(Last month we ended with a tour of the city of Rome. We invite you to continue with us.)

Vatican City

Vatican City is the world capital of Catholicism and also the world's smallest state. It lies within Rome, to the northwest of the river, separated and adjoined by Trastevere. Completely encircled with high walls, it's where St. Peter was martyred and buried. The Pope lives in a papal palace, and visitors are shown his bedroom window where followers watch for his light to go out upon his nightly retiring. St. Peter's is the most famous church in the Christian world, and the Piazza San Pietro is the square that we've all seen on television where the people amass to wait for the Pope's blessing. We climbed the dome on ancient narrow stone steps that circle the interior (not recommended for those who are claustrophobic), and when we got to the top we were rewarded with a breathtaking balcony view of the entire city of Rome! Here you can also view the Sistine Chapel where you'll see the frescoed ceiling by Michelangelo. Today it is used by cardinals when electing a new pope. The vast Vatican Museums are also a must-see.

Liguria is one of the smallest regions of Italy. It runs along the northwestern coast, washed by the Mediterranean Sea. Mountains separate it from Piedmont to the north, while it joins Tuscany to the south. Genoa, the home of Christopher Columbus, is the northernmost city, and Lerici is the southernmost. This region is most famous for The Cinque Terre villages.

The Cinque Terre is isolated and unique. Because of high steep cliffs that slope rapidly to the deep sea, covered with terraced hills of vineyards, olive groves and clusters of gaily colored houses honeycombing the rocks, the villages are far removed from the hustle and bustle of the French Riviera and the many famous cities of Italy. Because of the severe terrain, the roads are pretty impassible, which accounts for the pristine unspoiled character of the area. Most visitors arrive either by train, ferry or footpath. The train stops in each of the five villages which are only 5 minutes apart from each other.

Grey Whales

Italian Lakes District
For 2,000 years the rich and sensitive have come to northern Italy to enjoy the beauty of the Italian Lakes District. Here they built castles and villas on the shores of the many lakes, enjoying the mild climate and typical Mediterranean vegetation against a marvelous mountain backdrop.

This region is mostly a huge valley called the Great Plain of Lombardy and the Po Plain that was carved out by vast glaciers between the Alps and the Apennines. It's actually bordered by five nations including France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. Historically the area has been under immense pressure for dominance. Being a rich region of resources, kings and rulers over many centuries fought endlessly for power and land here.

The 4 best known lakes in this region are Como, Garda, Lugano and Maggiore, but there are many more. Some are hidden like jewels in dense forest and others support bustling towns. These shores have been favorites of writers, musicians and artists such as Goethe, Hesse, Klee, Toscanini, Hemingway, and Byron. The beauty is truly inspirational!



Casa Mercatale

What a serene setting!

Casa Mercatale

Tuscany, Italy

Casa Mercatale has beautiful terracotta tiles and beamed ceilings. It has 530 square meters of living space divided into two floors. It's designed to sleep 10 guests in 5 bedrooms, but upon special request can sleep as many as 16 with use of extra beds at additional charge. All the upstairs bedrooms have air-conditioning. The fenced property consists of 10,000 square meters and includes the house (530 sqm), the pool (15 x 7,50 meters, open May 1 – Sept 30) with Jacuzzi, and a locked dependence (40 sqm) used for storage.

A typical rough dirt road (1200 meters) brings you to the home, through vineyards and olive groves. The house was built 1000 years ago. It was a small monastery at first, evolved into a country house some centuries later, and was totally restored in 2006. The location couldn't be better: a private, tranquil position on a hillside just 5 minutes (2 km) from Mercatale Val di Pesa, 15 minutes south of Florence, with easy access to the charming Chianti hill towns, 50 minutes from Siena, and 1 hour from Lucca.

"Fabulous property ! Picture postcard Italian setting with American style luxury very conveniently located"

- MS, Washington, DC




Goat Cheese and Roasted Pepper Panini

Tart goat cheese, aromatic herbs, and roasted sweet peppers are an irresistible taste combination. The chalk white goat cheese flecked with green herbs contrasts beautifully with the bright red peppers. If times permits, roast and marinate the peppers a few hours before using. These luscious peppers are also delicious served alongside panini.

5 1⁄2 oz goat cheese, softened at room temperature
3 green onions, trimmed of half of the green tops, finely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1 Tbsp chopped basil
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe red bell peppers
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp capers
small pinch hot red pepper flakes
4 michette, or round rolls, about 5 inches in diameter

Place the goat cheese in a bowl and combine with green onions, herbs, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. You can prepare cheese mixture several hours in advance. Refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before using.

Roast the peppers. Remove the blackened skin, core, seeds, and membranes. Cut into thick strips. Place on a plate and toss in olive oil, lemon juice, capers, and hot red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.

Split the rolls in half. Spread the goat cheese on the bottom half of the rolls. Top with strips of roasted peppers and capers. Drizzle the remaining juices over the inside of the top half of the rolls. Cover panini with the top halves.
Makes 4 panini.


For a Little Laugh


Jeez, I hope this phone doesn't
ring and wake me up!


bike jumper

This is what's called a nanosecond!


Newsletter Editor: Kathy Hayes

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