Vacations may be fun but the same cannot always be said about preparing for one. From figuring out how to get there, where to stay and what to do, the freer and easier the holiday, the bigger the pre-holiday headache. Now, The Ascott Limited‘s new online booking engine on their three branded websites ( www.the-ascott.com, www.citadines.com, www.somerset.com ) can help ease your travel-planning load.
The revamped online booking system allows for a citywide search which lets you view a list of all the available properties in any city that Ascott has serviced residences in. There are also filters to help you narrow down the available apartments that meet your requirements during the booking process. Then, simply pick a place that fits your budget and itinerary. It could not be more fuss-free.
The enhanced system enables you to book a stay at multiple properties at one go. So, if you are visiting several cities or even cities in different countries, you can find accommodations for your entire trip in just one online transaction. Simply pick a property, key in the dates of your stay and the number of guests, check the availability, and pick your apartment. To book a stay at another property, add a unit to the one you have already selected and repeat the procedure. This allows you to see your whole holiday accommodation in a single page so you will not accidentally double book a night at two separate properties or miss out a night and end up with no place to stay.
City-hopping is one of the best ways to get to know any country. Sure, visiting the popular picks can give you the essence of the place. But to truly explore the full spectrum of what a country has to offer, visiting its different cities is the key.
In France alone, Ascott has 31 properties in 12 of its cities. Beyond the usual favourites like Paris, Nice and Bordeaux, France has plenty of other cities worthy dropping in on. The South of France is particularly delightful because of its gorgeous weather (long summers that stretch to as late as October), breathtaking coastal scenery with fantastic beaches, and rich history.
Day 1 to Day 4: Soak Up the History
Begin your French exploration from Montpellier, one of the most beautiful cities in southern France. Citadines Antigone Montpellier is right at the heart of the city’s urban centre, making for a perfect location from which to take in the city’s sights. Just 10 minutes’ walk from the serviced apartment is the Place de la Comédie, a giant square flanked by fabulous 17 th century buildings that is one of the biggest pedestrian-only squares in Europe. Stroll the length of the square beginning from the Berlioz opera house and soak in the historic atmosphere the neo-classical architecture affords. Street artists and sidewalk cafes add to the vibe of the place, so take your time. At the other end of the square is the tree-lined Esplanade Charles de Gauelle with its outdoor restaurants and tents selling clothing and snacks.
Close to the serviced apartment and Place de la Comédie is the Polygone Shopping centre. All the big names you get in the major French cities can be found here – Galeries Lafayette, Zara, Promod and Habitat.
Day 5 to Day 8: Make It Mediterranean
The second largest city after Paris, Marseilles is the place to go in France for a taste of the Mediterranean. Citadines Castellane Marseille is ideally located in the shopping and residential district of the Prado area and near the city’s old port and beaches.
You cannot be in Marseille without noticing Notre Dame de la Garde, the city’s highest point. Rising 500 feet at the peak of Marseille’s highest hill, the basilica is known as “la bonne mere” or the good mother by the locals because the gleaming statue of the Virgin and Child covered in gold leaf that crowns the building seems to keep watch over the city. Take the time to appreciate the coloured marbles, murals and mosaic that adorn the structure as you climb up the dome for a panoramic view of the city.
Then, get down to ground level and walk the kilometre-long La Canebière that forms the thoroughfare that cuts through the city. The boulevard is home to Beauvau Street, one of the first streets made in Marseille with pavements; and several little shops and restaurants. If you have the time, sample some Bouillabaisse, the seafood stew that Marseille is famous for. The hearty fish broth used to be the fare of fishermen in the region who prepared the dish with leftover fish. Now, the specialty is somewhat of a gourmet dish.
Day 9 to Day 11: Cruise Coastal Cannes
If Montpellier gives you historical France and Marseille is its Mediterranean face, then Cannes is its swinging beach side. Between April and September, your stay at Citadines Croisette Cannes gives you access to a private beach. Just ask the reception for your beach pass and you can have a slice of your own paradise, away from the tanned and oiled throng.
Go island-hopping to the Lérins Islands, a group of four Mediterranean islands off the French Riviera near Cannes. Île Sainte-Marguerite, one of the two largest islands, is where The Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned for 11 years. You can visit the cell of this nobleman whose true identity was never discovered. Finish your day with a stroll along the Cannes harbour and watch the sun set.
Day 12 to Day 14: Gourmet Cities
For a taste of France, the cities of Grenoble and Lyon are your choice destinations. The Citadines City Centre Grenoble is just by the city’s business area and right on the shopping street close to bakers, caterers, butchers and a supermarket.
Grenoble is known for its specialties from recipes handed down generations and prepared with fresh local produce. A local favourite is Gratin Dauphinois, a creamy potato gratin. Another Grenoble delight is Vercors-Sassenage blue, a mild cheese with a semi-soft rind made from cow’s milk. This cheese has been labeled Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée since 1997, a French certification granted to certain products like wines, cheeses and butter to authenticate its origin and quality.
Citadines Part-Dieu Lyon is near Saint-Jean district which is classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site with some of the finest architecture from the Renaissance and famous gastronomic venues.
Lyon has been known for many years as the French capital of gastronomy. Traditional dishes include Rosette de Lyon, a French pork sausage made from leg of pork and served in chunky slices; salade lyonnaise, which is lettuce with bacon, croutons and a poached egg; and Coussin de Lyon, a soft green sweet made of chocolate and marzipan.
Choosing the right place to stay, one that is conveniently located and that will take care of you while you take care of your holiday is vital to a stress-free time away from home. With The Ascott Limited’s latest e-booking system, you know your vacation will be well accommodated.
Stay with us:
|Citadines Antigone Montpellier|
588 boulevard d’Antigone
Tel: (33) 4 99 52 37 50
Fax: (33) 4 67 64 54 64
|Citadines Castellane Marseille|
60 rue du Rouet
Tel: 04 96 20 11 00
Fax: 04 91 80 20 83
|Citadines Croisette Cannes|
1 rue le Poussin
Tel: 04 97 06 92 00
Fax: 04 93 38 84 09
|Citadines City Centre Grenoble|
9-11 rue de Strasbourg
Tel: 04 76 15 02 00
Fax: 04 76 44 27 10
|Citadines Part-Dieu Lyon|
91-95 rue Moncey
Tel: 04 78 14 90 00
Fax: 04 78 60 50 74