Apt. Vue St. Germain

Glass roofed Great room

Apartment Vue St. Germain

Paris, France

This great apartment with wonderful lantern windows, on the top floor of a classic Parisian building, is right in the center of St. Germain des Pres. Vue St. Germain is located on the Boulevard St. Germain, very near the St. Germain des Pres Church and the romantic artist's cafes of Deux Magots, Flore and the Brasserie Lipp. This is the elegant part of the Latin Quarter and is very well suited for walking and using city transportation. The nearest metro stations are St. Germain des Pres and Mabillon. This apartment is also ideal for its location near the Eiffel Tower on the banks of the Siene, and Notre Dame.

View of St, Germain

View of St. Germain

This is an astonishing 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment, that has been beautifully furnished and decorated. Accessed by elevator to a private entry, and then by stairway, the apartment opens directly to the large open plan living and dining room with bedrooms leading off. The kitchen is equipped with all modern appliances (oven, stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer/dryer, & microwave). The dining room directly adjacent provides an elegant environment beneath the partly glass roof area.


food and wine

Savor each course

Enjoy the Food!

Traveling is greatly enhanced by enjoying local cuisine. Just like smells and tastes bring back times and places in our past, you will make new aromatic memories to cherish as you associate with each area. I remember years ago hosting a young Danish family that was visiting the States for the very first time. I asked the wife what kind of food I could fix for them. She unhesitatingly said they wanted to try a typical American summer meal. So I fixed a hamburger, hotdog, baked beans and potato salad picnic. They dove headlong into American culture that day, and I always admired them for it.

My personal food experiences in Europe have been varied and rich. Europeans are in the habit of shopping daily for fresh produce and meats to take home and prepare, so you will find open markets in each local neighborhood in large cities such as Paris, Rome and Florence. Even in the little countryside villages they duplicate this at least twice a week. Bakeries are numerous, full of locals early in the morning drinking coffee, reading, and sharing news with their neighbors. It's customary to buy fresh bread every day so it's typical to see a child on a bicycle speeding along towards home with a couple of baguettes in hand.

There are so many food choices - everything from street vendors offering snacks and drinks (delicious, by the way!) to fine dinners served on white linen. Even in the farming areas of Provence and Tuscany you can find excellent local cuisine in farmhouses where there's a section of the home made into a restaurant. We've enjoyed some of our best meals in these places.

When you rent a villa or apartment with you will be welcomed by the owner, manager, or other designated local. These people are a wealth of knowledge about special things to see and do in the area, and especially where to find the best meals at prices that the local residents pay. Some of the villas even offer a welcome dinner that is included in the rental price. It's especially nice after a long journey to sit in the garden sipping wine while the cook puts the finishing touches on your meal.

Remember that food not only offers taste, texture, nutrition, and beauty, but it acts as a "people glue". This makes traveling all the more wonderful because eating greatly enhances your overall experience. In the last few years there has been a fresh emphasis on learning how to cook authentic cuisine. If you're one who knows your way around the kitchen and are soon headed for Europe, you may want to take some cooking classes while you're there. We can help you hire a local cook to come to your property to demonstrate the preparation of a meal and then serve the meal. Or we can help you enroll in a real cooking school.

We can also arrange for a cook to do the shopping and prepare your meal without you being involved. This can be a local housewife or a celebrated cook. The cost runs from $15 an hour up, plus groceries. Some villas come with a "welcome dinner" included in the price, such as Villa Magnifica. For more serious students, Villa Bernard near Lucca is a first rate cooking school with accommodation and classes included in the rental rate.

Since many of the areas are wine producing, you may want to consider an evening of wine tasting also. I remember arriving at the Piccolo Versailles near Lucca late one afternoon and noticing the setup of a formal wine tasting party for that evening. Staff in tuxedos were arranging silver platters of hors d'ouvres in a bedecked Limonaia (lemon house adjacent to the villa). Unfortunately I was not one of the honored guests! Most of our clients interested in wine production go on a self guided tour to visit several wineries in one general area. Maps are available from owners or in local villages. Many of our villas are actually located on wine producing estates, often with their own little "fruit stand" at the highway where they sell wine and olive oil. Whatever way you choose to enjoy the food and drink of the region you're visiting, some of your fondest memories will undoubtedly include local cuisine.


Emmanuel with family

Emmanuel with family in France

Dear Travelers and Friends,

Thanks for the wonderful feedback you send us when you return from your trips. Your comments help us maintain and improve the quality of our service and properties.

We are very excited to inform you that we just returned from Provence where we viewed a number of wonderful new properties that will be added to our website soon. Look for these new properties in the coming weeks.

We have added some new properties on the Amalfi coast, Barcelona and Sitges, Spain. And we'll add properties in Greece in the next couple of months!

On the European front, we are happy to see that many people are already booking for 2007, which promises to be a fabulous traveling year! As far as Mexico and the Caribbean, we still have some availability over Christmas and New Year's. So, hurry to snatch up those last availabilities before they're all gone.

Take Care,

Emmanuel de Ricard, President


Pieve Hamlet

Pieve Hamlet

Pieve Hamlet

Lucca, Italy

Pieve Hamlet is located in the beautiful rolling hills just outside Lucca. From the property there are stunning views of Lucca and Pisa nestled among the vineyards. This hamlet includes three newly renovated villas and is perfect for a large group of up to twenty guests. Each of the villas is independent with a living room, dining room, fully equipped kitchen and bedrooms. This allows for privacy if there are several families all staying together.

Large gatherings can be accommodated in Olivo which is a large meeting room which opens up to the pool area. It has a fully equipped kitchen for organizing dinners, parties or wine tastings. The room has seating for up to fifty guests and there is also a bar. Outside on the patio are tables and chairs next to the very inviting pool. In the lower level of Olivo is a gym with exercise equipment and a Turkish bath. From the gym you can look through the underground window and see into the pool!

"The villa was absolutely fantastic and the chef was over-the-top amazing!"

- DA, Belmont, California

Rooftops of Rome

Rooftops of Rome

Rome, Italy

I'm always delighted to steer travelers to Rome! What a dynamic, elegant, elaborately and richly structured city, stuffed full of history and art. The Roman people are perfect hosts, helpful and friendly. And you'll notice a distinctive confidence and pride not found elsewhere, perhaps stemming from their fierce loyalty to the long and illustrious legacy of the Roman way of life.

In the geographical center of Rome you will find reference to the meager village roots of the city. Palatine Hill is where Romulus founded the city in the 8th century B.C. He and his brother Remus were said to have been raised by a she-wolf who found them abandoned in the forest. Later Romulus rose to power after killing his brother. Here you find great museums and palaces including Palazzo Venezio, the Senatorio (the Renaissance seat of the city government), The Temple of Jupiter, Palazzo Nuovo, and much more. The Capitol and the facades of Piazza del Campidoglio were designed by Michelangelo in the 1500's. Below the capitol are the ruins of the Roman Forum, once the center of political, social, legal and commercial life. The Colosseum, Rome's greatest amphitheatre, was built in A.D.72. Deadly gladiator combats and wild animal fights were presented here by emperors and wealthy citizens for entertainment. The Colosseum could hold up to 55,000 people, who were seated by rank.

Monument of Vittorio Emmanuel

Monument of Vittorio Emmanuel

The Piazza Navona Area lies to the northwest of the ancient center, along the eastern banks of the River Tevere. The narrow streets are busy with cafes, restaurants, and coffee houses. This is also the city's financial and political district, home to Parliament, government offices and the stock exchange. Around the Piazza Navona are elegant palaces where throughout the Renaissance and Baroque eras princes, popes and cardinals lived. They commissioned the best artists and artisans to build and adorn their lavish palaces, churches, and fountains.

Piazza Navona itself is considered Rome's most beautiful Baroque Piazza. Its long and narrow shape is patterned after an early stadium used for athletic contests and chariot races. There are fountains at each end, but the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in the center of the piazza is Bernini's most magnificent.

The Pantheon is probably the oldest and best preserved building in Rome, dating from the first century. It was built as a temple to all the gods, and now the walls are lined with tombs, the burial place for Italian monarchs. Many ornate and beautiful churches such as Santa Maria sopra Minerva and Sant'Ignazio di Loyola are worth seeing, and a bustling morning market at Campo de Fiori is one of the largest in Rome. (See Part II in our July Newsletter)

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain

In the Northeast Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps offer Rome's most famous square. The narrow streets around Via Condotti are lined with the most exclusive shops and coffee houses in Rome. Those who want to see and be seen frequent this area, long being the haunt of movie stars, artists, writers, and composers. In this area you're going to want to see Trevi Fountain, the largest and most famous fountain in the city. Villa Medici is lovely, and many gorgeous churches including Santa Maria Maggiore and San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane feature architectural feats as well as art. The fresco detail in Palazzo Barberini is outstanding.

Vatican City is the world capital of Catholicism and also the world's smallest state. It lies on 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 all the Christian world, and the Piazza San Pietro is the square where the people amass to wait for the Pope's blessing. The dome can be climbed on ancient narrow stone steps that circle the interior (not recommended for those who are claustrophobic), and when you get to the top you're rewarded with a breathtaking balcony view of the entire city of Rome. The Sistine Chapel where you'll see the frescoed ceiling by Michelangelo is used by cardinals when electing a new pope. The vast Vatican Museums are also a must-see.

Trastevere is an old and picturesque quarter where the people consider themselves the only true Romans. The Botanical Gardens are a restful change for the busy tourist. The earliest Roman churches include Santa Maria and Santa Cecilia. Villa Farnesina is a fabulous house built by the famous banker Chigi. He designed it purely for lavish banquets, where artists, poets, cardinals, princes and the pope himself were entertained in magnificent style. You'll find many trendy restaurants, clubs and shops in this lively and young-at-heart area.

Be sure and plan to spend some time in Rome! With every visit I've wished I could stay longer. There's so much to do and see, but it's also delightful to relax at a sidewalk café or on your private veranda and enjoy the ambiance of the city. RentaVilla has been serving travelers here for over 20 years, and is very familiar with the city. We offer a wide variety of accommodations in whatever section meets your personality and needs.



Everybody loves muffins!

Yummy Carrot-Pecan Muffins

These healthy moist whole-grain muffins are sweetened with cider, currants, carrots, and just a touch of brown sugar. The low-fat yogurt is a healthy substitute for oil or butter found in other muffins.

You Will Need Nonstick cooking spray
1/3 cup golden raisins or currants
1/4 cup apple cider or orange juice
3/4 cup rye flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 medium-size carrots, peeled and shredded (1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

What to Do
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly coat twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or insert cupcake liners. In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the cider for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the rye flour, whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, sugar, egg, and egg white until blended. Stir in the carrots, raisins, and cider just until combined. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Do not overmix.

3. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup and sprinkle with the nuts. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes: 12 muffins

Per serving: calories 137; saturated fat 0.5 g; total fat 2 g; protein 5 g; carbohydrate 26 g; fiber 2 g; sodium 242 mg; cholesterol 19 mg


Over Africa

How you know you're flying over Africa

For a little laugh

If the shoe a pair in every color.

Junk is something you've kept for years
and throw away three weeks before
you need it.

Newsletter Editor: Kathy Hayes

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