Ditch the hotel. Rent a home instead.

I travel. I hate hotels. I personally find them stuffy, small and irrespective of what the stars say, inherently characterless. I chose to experience someones home instead, a room or the entire space.

I’ve used Airbnb to host travellers in Singapore for over 2 years [read all about it here] and consequently have been using this service to find homes to stay at over the holidays for even longer.

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Chartreuse & Fondue in the Capital of the Alps. Grenoble. France.

I remember looking out of the window of my sister’s bedroom in Grenoble, wondering if the scene outside had gone through a vintage wash before presenting itself to me. I saw snow lined mountains, faded yellow homes and an old banged up Volkswagen mini-van. Ordinarily beautiful, but for someone flying in from a tropical busy city like Singapore, it felt cold and desolate.

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Magnifique Provence! St Rémy de Provence & Avignon.

After our first day in Provence, driving to the idyllic village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie through the Gorges du Verdon from Aix [read here]; we decided to go west on the second day to the City of Popes, Avignon

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Magnifique Provence! Aix-en-Provence to Moustier-Ste-Marie.

In 2011 my sister and I spent the summer in France that included 5 glorious days in the South. We split out time between the Côte d’Azur and Provence with 3 nights in Nice with 2 in Aix en Provence (Read: Indulge in the quiet side of the Côte d”Azur).

We rented a car in Nice from Budget, which turned out to be the most harrowing car rental procedure ever thanks to the lady they had manning the desk that day. Rude and a tad scary with her pencil outlined eyebrows, she was by far the most unprofessional person we had encountered on our trip. She asked us to see her at noon, then made us wait for 2 hours while she had lunch only to ask us to return the next day to pick the car up! Needless to say, our day was wasted waiting and we had to swap itineraries  around.

Anyway, we woke up bright and early the next morning and drove to Aix en Provence, which we used as a base for the next 2 days to drive to the Gorges du Verdon and Avignon.

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Indulge in the quiet side of the Côte d’Azur. Plage d’Èze.

The tiny village of Eze on the Côte d’Azur boasts of a quiet sliver of a pebble beach, with clear, bright blue waters.

Eze, between Nice and Monaco is far from the glitzy beaches of the French Riviera like Saint-Tropez, Antibes and Cannes and is a great place to spend the afternoon. It extends from the Mediterranean Sea, Èze-sur-Mer, to the hilltop with a medieval village, Èze-Village.

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