Monthly Archives: August 2009

Car Rental Insurance: To Pay or Not To Pay?

Isn’t car rental insurance grossly overpriced, and can’t money be saved by booking with a credit card that provides insurance on vehicles rented with that card?

Yes and yes.

Sort of.

Car rental companies do make substantial profits by charging elevated rates for insurance, and it is possible to waive the insurance coverage when picking up your car (though some companies have stopped this practice), but I only recommend doing it in certain circumstances.

Vehicles rented in the United States should fall under your personal insurance policy.  Check with your insurance carrier before booking, and if you’re covered, then by all means decline the insurance offered by the rental car firm.  If you don’t you’ll simply be wasting money on useless coverage.

Many credit cards also offer primary insurance (if the card is used to book the vehicle) on cars rented in the United States.  Call your card company for details.

The rules change when you go to Europe. Continue reading

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Filed under Credit Cards, Driving, Tips

European Car Rental: The Bad News

It seems the recession is affecting everyone, even car rental companies.
A recent
BBC article reports that travelers are paying substantially higher fees for vehicles or, even worse, finding themselves with no car at all due to overbooking by the rental company.

Why?

Rental firms anticipated fewer travelers this year as a result of the recession and did not update their fleets (or could not update their fleets due to tighter financing restrictions).

The result?

During heavy travel periods demand is simply exceeding supply.
The countries hardest hit are
Spain, France, and Italy.  Prices are up 70% in some popular destinations.

My advice to avoid possible headaches?

As always, book early and do your homework.  Give yourself enough time to shop around and find the best deal. Also, it may be cheaper to book a larger vehicle instead of an economy car.  Smaller cars are much more in demand because everyone thinks they’ll be cheaper, so you may get a better deal if you upsize.

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Filed under Driving, Misc., Tips

To Catch A Thief: Take 2

Le Stuff’s Definitive Location Guide to Alfred Hitchcock’ s Classic Film

Series Post #4

At the end of post #3 several policemen had been dispatched to question John Robie at his villa in the hills above Nice.  As they drive into the countryside the village of Gourdon is visible in the distance.

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The Villa:
From Gourdon the scene fades and we see, for the first time, John Robie’s villa (pictured above). This is the villa that seems to generate so much interest.
The house is located Continue reading

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Filed under Films, To Catch A Thief

To Catch A Thief: Take 1

Le Stuff’s Definitive Location Guide to Alfred Hitchcock’ s Classic Film

Series Post #3

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The Movie Begins:
A woman screams as she discovers her jewelry has been stolen.
In a panic she runs onto her hotel room balcony where we, the viewers, are treated to an expansive shot of Nice’s world famous seafront boulevard, the Promenade des Anglais.

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And so begins Alfred Hitchcock’s light hearted thriller “To Catch A Thief”.

A rash of daring jewel thefts has the entire Riviera in an uproar.
An emergency meeting is held at the
Commissaire de Police in downtown Nice where several officers are quickly dispatched to question former jewel thief John Robie, the obvious suspect, at his villa in the hills above the Riviera.
As the officers leave Nice they are shown driving up a hill with a sweeping view of the city and the Mediterranean in the background.  The “hill” is actually Continue reading

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To Catch A Thief: Prelude

Le Stuff’s Definitive Location Guide to Alfred Hitchcock’ s Classic Film

Series Post #2

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Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, premiered in New York City in August of 1955.

It was an immediate hit.

Adapted from a novel by David Dodge, To Catch A Thief tells the story of ex- jewel thief John Robie (Grant), who is forced out of retirement by a mysterious string of burglaries in Nice and Cannes.  It seems the thief is using all of Robie’s old tricks and the police suspect him of committing the crimes.  In order to salvage his reputation, and his hide, Robie decides to track down the copy cat himself.  Along the way he becomes romantically involved with the icy, but very beautiful, Frances Stevens (Kelly).

Aside from the obvious star power of Grant and Kelly, the movie showcases the stunning scenery of the French Riviera and the villages just north of the coast. To Catch A Thief still stands, in my opinion, as one of the most visually captivating films ever made.

For those of you who are true To Catch A Thief addicts, I recommend Continue reading

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To Catch A Thief: The Definitive Location Guide To Alfred Hitchcock’s Classic Film

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Most cyber junkies are probably not aware that bloggers have the ability to track, among other things, the search word or words used to reach a particular blog or blog post.  For example, if someone enters “Tourrettes sur Loup” into the Google toolbar and that, in turn, leads them to my July 28 post on the Auberge de Tourrettes, then I know that the title and tags I’ve used have been effective.  Being aware of “blog stats” can be very helpful in driving traffic to a blog.
The reason for this explanation?
Since my first Le Stuff post on June 10, 2009, one subject has easily trumped all other searches by a country mile.
Here are a few examples:

john robies villa in the hills of nice
where exactly is john robies villa
john robie cours saleya flower market nice
flower market john robie

I think you get the idea.

I’m sure many of you are probably scratching your  heads at this very moment and wondering “Who is John Robie?”
Continue reading

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Filed under Films, To Catch A Thief

Quick Visit: Tourrettes sur Loup, France

I recently posted a few lines about one of my favorite places in the south of France, the Auberge de Tourrettes. One of the many things that makes the Auberge so special is that it’s located at the edge of one of the most picturesque villages in the area, Tourrettes sur Loup.
Listed below are a few helpful facts.

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Population: 3,921
Altitude: 400 meters

THE VILLAGE:
Tourrettes sur Loup is located five kilometers west of the town of Vence, and approximately forty minutes from the Nice airport.  Literally hanging off the side of a cliff, this beautiful village is well known for producing more violets than anywhere else in France.  A good place to start your tour is Continue reading

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Filed under Accommodations, Dining and Wine, Villages