David finds out how easy it is for one of our viewers to celebrate her 50th birthday with about 10 friends in Europe staying in a castle or stately manor.
They have brochures for each country, detailing accommodation and location of the properties they represent.
These can be rented weekly, fortnightly or longer, with prices ranging from around $600 for a modest property in the low season to several thousand dollars for a manor, chateau or castle in the European high season, July and August.
If you can't choose between a 13th century Norman chateau, a medieval village cottage or a villa on the Isle of Capri, the Monies will be able to steer you in the right direction for your taste and pocket.
Here are a few samples of what they have to offer:
Ile de France in Beauvais a 17th-century chateau in peaceful grounds, 75km from Paris and close to Monet's garden at Giverny. It has eight bedrooms and five bathrooms.
The Chateau du Plessis in the Loire Valley is a rambling residence of several architectural styles, beginning in the 17th century, set in 10 hectares. It has six bedrooms and three bathrooms and is within 35km of Blois, Chambord, Cheverny, Chenonceaux, Chaumont and Amboise.
Meung-sur-Loire is a converted 18th-century mill in tranquil countryside in the heart of the Loire chateaux region. It has three bedrooms and an alfresco dining terrace over the mill.
Archipettoli near Florence sleeps six adults and three children. It is a 13th-century country retreat, with a private garden and olive grove, woods and vineyards.
La Palazzina in Cortona is a 500-year-old watchtower sitting under the battlements of Sorbello castle. It is surrounded by half a hectare of wildflowers, olive and fruit trees and has been cleverly converted to offer two bedrooms.
Palombara in Assisi is a spacious, comfortable stone farmhouse with views through the trees to Assisi, 7km away. It has three bedrooms and is close to the attractions of Umbria.
In Positano you can stay at Casa Maresca in a typical Mediterranean apartment framed by trees and flowers, overlooking the emerald waters of Amalfi Bay. Four people can stay and there are steps leading to the beach.
For details, contact Cottages and Castles
Ph: (03) 9853 1142.
Fax: (03) 9853 0509.