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Image of street cafés in a Southern French town There’s nothing quite like enjoying a meal of fresh Provençal cuisine en plein air!

There is perhaps no national cuisine venerated more than that of France, and no French region more famous for its culinary prowess than the southeast, where the warm sun of the Mediterranean meets French savoir faire. One of the best parts about staying in a vacation rental on your trip to Provence, rather than in a hotel or resort, is that you’ll have a home with a full kitchen at your disposal to try your hand at the famous cuisine of Provence and the French Riviera. Keep reading through our gastronomic guide and get some ideas for ambitious cooking during your stay in a home-away-from-home in the South of France!

1. Herbes de Provence

Image of herbes de Provence, lemons, honey, and garlic on a rustic wood table Often packaged in small bundles, as seen above, herbes de Provence make a great souvenir.

Not so much a dish as a thread running through all the famous specialties of the region, herbes de Provence are as fundamental as they are simply beautiful. The bundle of seasonings, while not a fixed formula, is normally made up of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. For a dash of color, lavender is often included (see above), but doesn’t fit into the flavor palette. A special spice blend can make a great Provençal souvenir to commemorate your trip, bringing a bit of France home with you! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of bridge between buildings Experience everything DUMBO has to offer by living like a local!

Just across the bridge from Lower Manhattan, DUMBO offers plenty to do and see for the whole family! In case you weren’t familiar, DUMBO, short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is a neighborhood in the NYC borough of Brooklyn. Keep reading to discover more about this neighborhood and see how the locals live!

Before you start wandering around Brooklyn, get familiar with the area with our video tour of DUMBO, watch part 1 and part 2 now! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Notre Dame and the Seine River at night When it comes to things to do in Paris, Notre Dame is just the tip of the iceberg!

It’s no wonder that Paris is one of the most visited cities on the planet: between its legendary museums, mouth-watering cuisine and ambient charm, the city has lots to offer visitors and residents alike. So much so, in fact, that the choice of things to do can be overwhelming! Even with a long stay, it can be difficult to see everything that you’re hoping to, so we’ve put together a list of the 20 things you simply have to see and do in Paris. See if you can cross them all off before the end of your stay!

1. Buy a book from a bouquiniste

Image of a book seller, or bouquiniste, by his stall next to the Seine River Paris’s bouquinistes have been a fixture of the Seine’s quays for centuries.

An almost permanent fixture on Paris’s riverside quays, rain or shine, the bouquinistes, or antique book dealers, add an intellectual air to Paris’s flagstones. With old-fashioned wooden stalls and carefully hand-stacked assortments of books, pamphlets, postcards and more, the booksellers are a bibliophile’s delight! Not to mention, they can be a useful source for last-minute souvenirs. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Big Ben and Trafalgar Square London’s Big Ben is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great sightseeing!

Samuel Johnson, the great English writer, once claimed that to tire of London is to tire of life. One step on the city’s old cobblestone streets and his words immediately ring true. But what can be tiring is trying to choose between the many attractions and sights the city has to offer. Worry not—we’ve got you covered with this quick list of 20 things to do during your stay in London Town!

1. Stroll through St. James Park

Image of people walking towards St. James Palace in St. James Park The Park is home to many species of birds and includes a real swan lake.

London is known for its many parks, which adorn the city with greenery and nature and provide respite from the busy city life. None offers as much splendor as St. James Park, located just a short walk from Buckingham Palace (also a must-see London attraction). Peeking out from behind the trees and gardens (and even some swans) is a picturesque view of the Saint James Palace, right out of a fairytale. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of the New York skyline There’s nothing like enjoying a nice brunch in New York City!

New York City is known for its history, landmarks, shopping, and, of course, also for its food. On almost every corner you’ll find a variety of restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world. What better way to enjoy some fine NYC food then with a delicious brunch? We’ve rounded up our top 10 brunch spots; just keep reading to find out more! When you start planning your trip, consider staying in one of our furnished apartments or one of our vacation rentals and see what it’s like to live like a New Yorker!

1. Five Leaves

Head to Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a meal at this chill bistro, which offers New American fare with an Australian twist. Five Leaves is open daily from 8am to 1am, and serves brunch every day until 3:30pm! For brunch on the weekend there may be a line, but it will be well worth the wait! If you go during the warmer months you can eat outside, enjoy the weather and see how the locals live. A popular brunch item is the Moroccan Scramble, a thick slice of grilled sourdough topped with fluffy scrambled cooked eggs, spiced chickpeas, and crushed avocado! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Villa Cézanne from outside by the pool Villa Cézanne welcomes guests with a lit pool, candles, and a warm interior at dusk.

Named for the grandfather of Post-Impressionism, Paul Cézanne, this luxurious four bedroom villa outside Aix en Provence takes its design cues from the modern art that the painter’s work inspired. With unique modernist furniture, sleeping space for the whole family and a beautiful poolside terrace outside, this Provençal villa is a dream come true!

The Great Room

Image of the living-dining room of Villa Cézanne Villa Cézanne’s great room offers a fireplace, dining table, sitting room, and more!

The heart of any home is its hearth. Gathered around the sleek fireplace in the living room of this villa, you’ll find space for the whole family to come together and relax! Tasteful wooden and black cloth armchairs, a long contemporary-style sofa and a faux fur rug beneath it all create a unique common area at the core of the villa. An enormous flat-screen TV provides entertainment. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of a pyramid by a reflecting pool in front of the Musée du Louvre The Louvre offers the best of France’s art and architecture, historic and modern!

While some French deride Paris as a ville muséifiée, a “museified” city, in reality the variety of museums in the city is one of the big draws for its many visitors. And with scores of museums packed into the city’s small area, there are plenty of options to choose from! To help cut through the multitude of museums and help you prioritize, we’ve put together a list of the city’s top 10. Whether you’re an art lover, a history buff, or simply seeking shelter on a rainy day in Paris, our list of the city’s best museums is a great place to look to help plan your trip!

1. The Louvre

Image of the view from a furnished rental across from the Louvre on rue de Rivoli With our apartment across from the Louvre, you’ll enjoy great views of the historic museum.

The quintessential French museum, the Musée du Louvre, grew out of the French Royal family’s collections and was bolstered by Napoleon’s conquests across Europe. Nowadays the museum’s pieces are on display to more than 9 million visitors a year, more than any museum in the world! The museum itself is housed in a palace first built in the 12th century and added to by generations of French royalty over the centuries. Located in central Paris, the Louvre is a must-see destination on any tour of the city. It’s also an unbeatable view to wake up to – as our 1 Bedroom Rental right across the street shows! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of the London Eye in front of trees decorated with blue Christmas lights Christmas lights adorn the path to the London Eye.

Can you feel that—the chilly breezes grazing your cheeks, the crisp leaves crunching under your boots? There’s no denying it: the holiday season is upon us. That means it’s time to start planning your holiday vacation. Truly, there’s no better time to visit London; it is a city so rich in culture, history and diversion, there’s never a lack of sights to see and explore. If you’re wondering what the best winter holiday attractions, markets and activities are in one of Europe’s most exciting metropolitan areas, look no further than this holiday guide.

1. Take Part in Holiday Celebrations/Events

Image of the decorative Christmas lights on Regent Street during the winter season Iconic Christmas lights on Regent Street in London’s West End.

There’s nothing more synonymous with Winter in London than its annual carnival/theme park held in one of the city’s most iconic grounds: Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. This annual treat truly lives up to its name—you’ll find locals and tourists alike happily getting into the Christmas spirit. Ride the Giant Observation Wheel to get a picturesque view of the city, attend the family-friendly Christmas circus, or, for those adrenaline junkies seeking some thrill, ride some roller coasters. Admission to the park is free, and if you don’t feel like partaking in the games and rides available, simply grab some hot chocolate and sing along to your favorite Christmas songs blaring throughout the entire park. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of the Seine River and a Christmas tree in front of Notre Dame Cathedral Christmas lights blend nicely into the City of Lights during the holiday season.

Frozen in time with its medieval architecture and winding cobblestone streets, Paris feels like a fairytale at any time of the year. Even more so for visitors arriving around the holiday season, when the City of Lights feels more magical than ever! As the city’s sang froid gives way to friendly holiday cheer, you can head to Paris for the holidays and enjoy the best it has to offer.

1. Go Holiday Shopping

Image of a large Christmas tree and holiday decorations in Galeries Lafayette, Paris Galeries Lafayette does the holidays in style, with a stories-tall tree under its glass dome.

As one of the world’s fashion capitals, Paris has no shortage of high-class department stores for your holiday shopping needs. But more than just retail options, the city’s grands magasins offer window displays for the holidays that are works of art in their own right! Perhaps the most spectacular is Galeries Lafayette, a palatial store famous for the enormous Christmas tree that it hosts yearly under its stained glass dome. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Rockefeller Center Seeing the tree at Rockefeller Center is a must during your winter trip to NYC!

There is nothing more spectacular than a winter in New York City. There’s so much to see and do! Twinkling lights, holiday displays, ice skating in Rockefeller Center, and much more await you! Spending your holiday in New York will be magical, keep reading to find out what else you can do during your time in NYC! Before you pack your bags be sure to familiarize yourself with basic New York tips and etiquette for visitors.

1. Go Holiday Shopping

Image of a snowy street Start your holiday shopping off right in NYC!

  • Start your holiday shopping off right with Black Friday! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the popular shopping day, Black Friday takes place the day after Thanksgiving, which happens to be on November 27th this year. On this day, stores open early, and goods are heavily discounted. That’s one good reason to start your Christmas shopping early. Read the entire story here…»