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Best Villa Rental Agencies 2010

Merv Griffin estate, Palm Springs, CA

Photo: Courtesy of Palm Springs Rental Agency

France

Hosted Villas

Best For: Great values; local staff Each of the 125 properties comes with a host who will greet you and help tailor an itinerary as relaxed or intricate as you’d like. The company also has properties in Croatia, Italy, Scotland, and Spain.

What We Love: Booking promotions, such as a recent offer for $500 toward a chef’s services in an ivy-covered château in the Dordogne.

Standout: Le Grenier, a 19th-century estate with six bedrooms in Fontainebleau whose 45-foot-tall granary is now a living room ($11,700 a week). 800/374-6637; hostedvillas.com.

Ville et Village

Best For: Local connections

Carolyn Grote has a sleuth’s knowledge of both the 250 properties she offers and the towns they’re in (how long it takes to walk into town; how good the market is). Listings include Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

What We Love: Ville et Village is straight with clients, warning when authenticity means no window screens, no microwave, or a garden gone wild.

Great Value Standout: A restored three-bedroom farmhouse in the Vaucluse with its own lavender field and views of Mount Ventoux ($3,938 a week). 510/559-8080; villeetvillage.com.

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