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Blue Skies Thinking



elcome to our December Blue Skies Thinking.

Summer is but a distant memory with the weather sometimes more like Sherlock Holmes’ London than Marcel Pagnol’s Mediterranean. Happily, being the Midi, the sunny days vastly outnumber the grey, foggy ones.

H Juliana Forte, Director

ere at South France Holiday Villas we are gearing up for the 2013 season with new staff and a souped-up IT system . Enquiries are already up on the same time last year so we’re hoping for a bumper season. It’s a good time to introduce our team so you can put faces to names for when we next contact you. See pages 3-5 for our SFHV Rogues Gallery.

I In Vino Veritas

t’s also a good time to get to work on those DIY jobs that have built up over the summer; there are bound to be some! If you need any help with your DIY

projects, we have a number of specialist tradesmen we can personally recommend. Give us a call to discuss your requirements on 0844 2328583.


his month’s Newsletter talks about The Importance of Having A Good House Manual. The questionnaires we receive back from our clients are almost universally complimentary but the one topic that comes up time and again is the request for better information. Read our article on page 2 to learn more.


ou will have noticed that we have been sending out new Contracts. These are important documents which need to be signed and returned to us as soon as possible. Regrettably, if we don’t have a signed contract for you we shall be unable to accept bookings. If you have any queries or don’t seem to have received yours, don’t hesitate to contact us. Here’s wishing you a happy Winter.


‘As lovely to sit inside as outside,’ was the verdict of our reviewer on our recommendation this

month. The Vinauberge, situated right beside the Canal du Midi, has gardens burgeoning with flowers whereas the interior is lined, indeed crammed, with wine bottles reminding the diner that the Vinauberge used to be the Cave Cooperative. Nowadays, the restaurant is a temple to the art of wine-making with its stated aim being to bring buyers, sellers and makers of wine closer together. The delightful side-effect of this hymn to commercialism is a good restaurant for lesser mortals who just want to enjoy an excellent lunch or dinner with friends and family. Favourites include tapas and brochettes of duck, generously served and well-presented. And - extraordinarily! - wines are sold at exactly the same price as you would pay in the Vinauberge shop so you can enjoy a thoroughly decent bottle at your table for easily less than 8€. Vinauberge, 1 Cour de la Cave, 34310 Poilhes

Earth, Water and Fire

Eurowatch What’s in your pocket this month? November 30th, 2012 1£ = 1.2331€ 1€ = £.8219


r more precisely, rocks, sea and sun. These are the elements that persuaded David and Julia Moore-Kelly to buy their lovely house in Poilhes. Julia is a geologist and both are mad about watersports so there is more than enough to keep them busy when they come down to Hérault. According to David, the Languedoc is home to some of the most fascinating geological sites in the northern hemisphere.

W Entrance to the Moore-Kellys’ house in Poilhes

The Importance of Being House Manual-Aware We are pleased that nearly all the comments made in postrental questionnaires are positive and that by far the majority of clients praise the area, the property and the service they have received. However, we have noticed that there is a continuing demand for more and better information to be made available, not only about tourist attractions in the area, but also hard facts about the property itself; When do the dustbins get emptied? When is market day in the village? What is the caretaker’s phone number, just in case? Some of these points are so obvious as to be overlooked by the owners whereas for the clients, they are vital. Most of our owners do provide a House Manual but, more often than not, these tend to be rather dog-eared folders

stuffed with last year’s publicity materials and a few appliance manuals. We suggest you look anew at your manuals; start regarding them as a marketing tool in their own right and make them work harder for you. We have found that sending an electronic version of your House Manual just before departure is an excellent way of getting the holidaymakers ‘in the mood’ for their trip. SFHV can handle this for you – all we need is the information in electronic format – and we will ensure that your renters arrive better prepared and more excited about what their holiday has in store. Another innovation we are introducing for next year will be a centrallyproduced manual with additional information on your own town/village. These will be available to buy early in the New Year. Just call us on 08442328583 for further information on house manuals.

hen they first bought their Poilhes house ( villas/Maison-Enserune), they initially had no intention of renting it out but a conversation with Juliana Forte persuaded David of the ‘significant benefits’ to be gained from commissioning SFHV to advertise and manage the property. Juliana and her team are, according to David, ‘Supremely accessible’ and ‘Pay great attention to detail’. ‘Having SFHV managing my property gives me security and confidence,’ he continues. 2012 has been a good year for rentals and David feels there are too few properties available of the same quality. A spacious, airy house with a good-sized pool, Sky TV, WiFi, decent furnishings and a good kitchen make the house easy to rent out. Location is also important and Poilhes now offers some excellent bars and restaurants (see this month’s Resto Review); David wishes to keep the status quo for 2013 – no change in prices but nice clients and lots of opportunity for him and Julia to continue enjoying the delights of this amazing corner of France. (Property Ref: POIL102).

South France Holiday Villas has expanded rapidly so I thought that now would be a good time to introduce the full team to you. Next time you receive an e-mail or phone call from us, you will know who you are speaking to.

Meet the SFHV Team


Juliana Forte



Jake, Kaye, Caroline, Juliana, Sally, Jill, Andrew

uliana first came

proved highly successful; from an extremely

to the Languedoc

modest beginning of just six properties, the

11 years ago. The experience she gained from company now has nearly 500 villas, moving three generations of her family to the

chateaux, maisons de maitre, apartments and

region stood her in good stead for when she

mas on its books. Juliana’s main role, apart

started her own relocation company, Allez

from managing the business on a day-to-day

Languedoc. The company grew and

basis, is the development of Google

subsequently moved into property manage-

rankings. She aims to make SFHV the first

ment. Then, in January 2011, Juliana

all-round choice for holiday rentals in the

relaunched the company as an internet-based

south of France by offering the best possible

holiday rentals business and South France

service through in-depth knowledge of the

Holiday Villas was born. The rebranding has

area and the properties.



Enquiries and Bookings

New Business Development and IT

Jill will be probably the first person clients come into contact with. She

Sally’s remit is very wide: one day

deals with most of the thousands of

she will be searching out new

enquiries that come into SFHV

owners and properties to add to

through our website or referrals and is

our website. The next, she will be

renowned for her incredibly quick response

upgrading or repairing one of our

rate. She also liaises regularly with many

computers. A degree in computer science, a teaching

owners either by e-mail or phone ensuring that bookings are flowing smoothly. She moved to

qualification and

France 8 years ago and loves living in the Midi.

an HND in veterinary science make up her

Andrew, Book-keeper

eclectic CV. ‘I just

After many years at the head office of a major bank, Andrew decided to move to

like to study’, she says. Her main role at SFHV is currently search engine optimiza-

Languedoc for an improved quality

tion, to stay on page one of

of life and a more relaxed lifestyle.

Google. When not Googling, Sally

His vast experience in finance

will be at the gym, jogging or

enable him to assist Juliana in her


decision-making by producing clear and precise accounts. He is a keen gardener and DIY man.

Jake, Property Services He may be the youngest member of the team but he’s proved himself just as valuable. Jake is truly bi-lingual. He grew up and went to school in Beziers and can switch languages faster than most of us can say ‘Jacques Robinson’. He visits the properties that we manage, and oversees contractors that we have commissioned on behalf of our owners. Although he spends a lot of his time out and about, he still finds time to ‘hot-desk’ and keep up with the paperwork. In the summer you’ll find him on the tennis courts and in winter, on the football pitch.

Caroline, Marketing After selling her print and design business in London Docklands, Caroline moved to Languedoc 8 years ago with her family and other animals. She now writes and designs Blue Skies Thinking, our monthly newsletter, and is handler for the Garrigae luxury properties account. She also works with Jill on new enquiries so many of the e-mails you receive will be from her. When not working for SFHV, Caroline will be helping her kids with homework or mucking out, training or riding her horses and donkey.

Kaye Property and Database Management Kaye was previously a Team Leader with NatWest bank, based in Crawley. She moved to Languedoc 4 years ago and built a house between Beziers and Narbonne. Her personal experience of dealing with building contractors is a useful backstop when advising owners. She says that hindsight is a wonderful thing, but if she were to do it all again, she would use a smaller, local contractor not a multinational one. Her role with SFHV means that she often liaises with owners about their listing and the precise details required for their property

Annie French Liaison Annie is the only French person on the team and she speaks no English but her input has saved the bacon of many owners and clients who have found themselves with a problem. This could be anything from speaking direct to the cleaning companies we use, assisting someone with the horrors of French paperwork, or ringing up EDF to query a bill. An incredibly useful person to know!

Newsletter december 2012 final draft