Commendable Activities around Provence (Part 2)

We continue our list of Commendable Activities around Provence, that was initially prepared as personal suggestions for close friends visiting us at Chez Vous in Uzès. We happily share our recommendations for all who will one day visit Provence or will travel to Provence again. There are so many things to see and do in Provence, that one trip certainly cannot capture it all. We continue to find new places, events, and changes in this fascinating region, and will continue to share these discoveries with you.

Here’s the link to Part 1 in case you missed it!

Avignon Piazza
Avignon Piazza from top of the Papal Palace

AVIGNON

Less than an hour from Uzès is the prominent city, Avignon, home of the Popes for 68 years in the 14th century. No visit to Provence is possible without a visit to Avignon, a special provençal town steeped in history. The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, once home to the Popes, which left the impressive Palais des Papes (Popes’ Palace). Another iconic site is the Pont Saint-Bénézet, or Pont d’Avignon, a seemingly unfinished (rather, destroyed) bridge across the Rhône river.

Travel Tip: Two minutes from the Palais des Papes is the notable Michelin guide restaurant of Hôtel Mirande, with a beautiful courtyard area and marvelous dining.

Travel Tip 2: Just across the river from Avignon, is the fascinating town Villeneuve-les-Avignon. A medieval castle, which can be seen from Avignon, the Saint-André Fort occupies a strategic position at the top of Mount Andaon, above Villeneuve-les-Avignon, with its own panoramic view of Avignon. The castle is open to visitors.

Side Trip: ISLE-SUR-LA-SORGUE

About 30km east of Avignon, L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue is famous for its many antique shops and hosts antique markets most Sundays. It has many waterside cafés and restaurants, all within walking distance of each other. Its many attractive water wheels throughout the town are still in working order.

Isle sur la Sorgue

Chateau de Beaucastel
Photo Credit: Chateau de Beaucastel

Side Trip:
CHATEAUNEUF-du-PAPE

18km north of Avignon, Chãteauneuf-du-Pape is a village and one of the most renowned AOC’s (appellation d’origine contrôlée) in the Rhône wine region. Mentioned in our recent recommendations of Provence Wineries, Chateau de Beaucastel at Châteauneuf-du-Pape is well worth a visit, with intriguing history tied closely to the papal presence in Avignon. Visits to Château de Beaucastel are by appointment only.


St. Remy Glanum mausoleum
Glanum mausoleum

ST. RÉMY-DE-PROVENCE

South of Avignon is a charming village with countless fine restaurants from casual to elegant, great boutiques, cafes, and markets, St. Rémy-de-Provence is a historic town steeped in local Provençal traditions. With narrow, cobbled streets, cooling fountains and shady squares, surrounded by magnificent landscapes, St. Remy is an artist’s haven, with one of the most notable painters, Vincent van Gogh, creating many of his famous paintings while institutionalized in St. Remy.

Travel Tip: This historic village is also built on one of the oldest archaeological sites in Europe. Amongst other treasures, you will find the remains of the “Comptoir de Glanum” just outside the center of Saint-Rèmy, an ancient city founded in the 3rd century BC and then passed into Roman hands under Julius Caesar. It fell along with the downfall of the Roman Empire, and was eventually abandoned for centuries. Excavations began in the 1920’s, preserving the ancient monuments that lay below.


Les Baux Castle
Les Baux Castle

LES BAUX-DE-PROVENCE

Just 10km south from St. Rémy is the Medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence, the legendary home of the Lords of Baux, who constructed their medieval castle on a site that dominates the area. Walking through the town’s narrow cobblestone streets will lead you up to the Chateau-Fortress, a large rocky space with ruins of the former castle, reproductions of ancient weapons of war, and a magnificent view of the countryside.

Travel Tip: Find yourself floating in art at the #1 ranked thing to do in Les Baux, at the Carrières de Lumières, a high technology multimedia performance in the ancient and giant caves that were quarried to build the town. The current exhibit features Bosch, Brueghel and Arcimboldo, with past shows sometimes recurring as special events: Klimt and Vienna, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Chagall.. We highly recommend a visit! Note: The quarry remains very cool even in warmer outdoor weather, so bring a sweater.

We end this post with a clip from inside the Carrières de Lumières. Until next time..

 

 


Commendable Activities around Provence (Part 1)

As part-time residents in one of the most beautiful towns in the South of France, and with many years’ experience in leading friends and visitors on international adventures, we love to share with others all the things we have experienced and appreciate about our travels. There are so many choices of things to see and do when planning a trip to Provence! We recently compiled a list of recommended activities for close friends that were coming to visit, and thought it was a great list to share with those who may one day visit the region.Please enjoy these commendable activities around Provence from the base of our home, Chez Vous in Uzès.

*We’ve decided to split this post into multiple posts, starting from Uzès and moving outwards. Enjoy!

Uzès Markets 

The Uzès outdoor market is famed all over France. The larger and more diverse Provencal market is every Saturday morning, and sprawls throughout the town from the Place aux Herbes (Uzès’ main square), through alleys and neighboring streets. Don’t miss it for the best of French local produce, homemade jams, charcuterie, local tapenades, spices, cheeses, as well as a variety of goods, clothing, soaps, housewares, and much more. On Wednesdays, the market is more focused on produce and regional foods, with an array of colorful and fragrant fresh flowers. There is also a Sunday antique market which is exceptional.

Tip: The town tends to be crowded on market days, so allow extra time if you are driving out of the town on those days. For those staying at Chez Vous, it is a few minutes walk, which is great for buying fresh groceries or dropping off the treasures you’ll find.

Duchy of Uzes

Duchy of Uzès 

In the center of Uzès is one of the best preserved buildings in the town center, with much history attached spanning from the Feudal days. With traces left of various periods in which the castle was built, the Middle-Ages, Renaissance, 17th century, and modern times can be seen in the architecture. The family of the current Duke of Uzès has owned this impressive property for a thousand years, and parts of it can be visited with a guide, including the Tower, where you will have magnificent views over Uzès and the countryside.

Tip: Estimate half an hour to an hour for the whole tour, with time to take photos. Every year in July, there is a music festival in Uzès, with some of the concerts held at night in the courtyard of the Duchy.

Hiking in the Valley of the Eure

A cool respite for warmer days, head down into the valley from Uzès town center, for a splendid hike among shaded trails and along the river. The river takes you to the source of drinking water in Uzès, as well as the spring once used by ancient Romans to deliver water to Nîmes via the Pont du Gard aqueduct. An incredible hike, you will come across the remnants of the Roman aqueduct, abandoned buildings, and enjoy the pleasant natural surroundings with many wildlife throughout.

Tip: Estimate an hour for the circuit. There are many trails you can hike through the park and valley

Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard

An obvious follow-up to the Valley of the Eure, and one of the most visited monuments in France, is the Pont du Gard, 15 minutes from Uzès by car. A must-see, the Pont du Gard is the famed intact portion of a 2000 year old Roman aqueduct that once brought water from Uzès to the city of Nîmes, a distance of over 50 kilometers and over the River Gard. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and displays great genius by the ancient Romans.

Tip: Enhance your visit to this grand site by cycling through the countryside or renting a kayak or canoe for an exciting trip down the river!

St. Siffret

St. Siffret is a tiny and charming hill-side hamlet a few kilometres from Uzès. Many of the homes have been beautifully preserved, and carefully restored. There are a few small shops, a cafe, a bar, and a restaurant. It is a pleasure to stroll its historic streets and walk to its neighbouring villages. 10-15 minutes from Uzès by car.

St. Quentin La Poterie

As can be derived from its name, St. Quentin La Poterie has a heritage of pottery and craftsmen. With narrow streets and colorful Provencal homes and medieval doors, the village also has several workshops and stores catered to its crafts. 10-15 minutes northeast from Uzès by car.

To be continued..

Uzès, one of the most beautiful towns in Provence

 


Local Tips: 5 Recommended Provence Wineries

PROVENCE

Welcome to the largest wine-making area of France! Established 2,600 years ago by the Phoenicians, the vines of the area are an added  bonus to travel enjoyment. They incentivise a drive on the shores of Cassis, in the foothills of the Alpilles, on the slopes of the Sainte-Baume, and in the sands of the Camargue…. Get ready to enjoy: Côtes-de-Provence, Côtes-de-Provence Sainte-Victoire, Coteaux d’Aix En Provence, Palette, Baux-de-Provence, Cassis, IGP Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpilles

In rosé, it goes without saying that Provence is a star, but for its reds and whites excellence has been achieved and is on the rise. At the heart of these “terroirs” ( meaning literally from the soil of the land), independent winegrowers and cooperatives encourage epicureans to taste their wines, discover their trails and their charming chateaux and cellars and their local products. They also propose for your pleasure, jazz concerts, or a film in the heart of the vines, and often even an exhibition of contemporary art.  In short, do take advantage of an abundant offer of cultural pleasures, beyond the wine… while journeying the territory and inhaling the air of Provence the sea and the “garrigue”. A true experience, unique and exclusive to repeat again and again.

What follows is a very personal list of vineyards as the variety of wines in this region is simply overwhelming. These are producers whose wines we like and whose properties we like. We have not gone into detail about all of their wines, as that is the joy of your wine tourism.


Photo credit: Château de Beaucastel

CHATEAUNEUF-du-PAPE

* Château de Beaucastel
This is arguably one of the two best Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines (the other being “Le Vieux Telegraphe”). It lies between Orange and Avignon.

  • In 1321, under the reign of Pope Jean XXII, four barrels were brought from the papal cellar to be filled with wine in Châteauneuf. Then, the Popes planted new vines and the legend of the papal wine began. We find the first evidence of Château de Beaucastel as it exists today in the sixteenth century. In 1549, Pierre de Beaucastel bought a « barn with a plot of land extending to “52 saumées at Coudoulet”. The manor house will be built then with the arms of Beaucastel sculpted on a stone wall of the drawing room.
  • In 1687, Pierre de Beaucastel was appointed « Capitaine de la ville de Courthezon » by Louis XIV, in recognition of his conversion to Catholicism. Louis XIV’s letter, also said by Colbert, is still visible at the Château.
  • The property is now owned by the Perrin Family who also own many vineyards through the Rhone Valley and are recognised as highly successful producers down to their their “la Vieille Ferme” wines, red, white and rosé, as daily drinking wines in the €5-€8 price range.
  • Château de Beaucastel is in the €55-€65 range.  

VISIT
Visits of Château de Beaucastel are by appointment only. Contact by e-mail to make an appointment.

CONTACT
Famille Perrin | Château de Beaucastel | Chemin de Beaucastel
84350 Courthezon
Tél. : +33 (0) 4 90 70 41 00
Fax : +33 (0) 4 90 70 41 19
E-mail:
contact@beaucastel.com
Site: http://www.beaucastel.com/en/

There are “Famille Perrin” shops in both Avignon and Aix.


BEAUME de VENISE

* Domaine de Durban
Some 20/25 minutes east of Châteauneuf du Pape is the small appellation, “Beaume de Venise”, that produces re Côtes de Rhone wines, and the lovely sweet white wines, “Muscat de Beaumes de Venise”.

  • Nearly two thousand years ago, Pliny the Elder wrote in his Natural History:
    “The Muscat grape has been grown for a long time in Beaumes and its wine is remarkable”
  • In 1248, St. Louis took supplies of it with him on his 7th Crusade, and during the early 14th century, at the time of the reign of Pope Clement V, production was increased by 70 hectares to cater for the demand from the Popes’ Palace in Avignon. So there is considerable experience behind these wines that are priced at a fraction of Bordeaux’ famous Sauternes.
  • The Domaine de Durban is a small producer located on a hillside plateau overlooking the village of Beaumes-of-Venice, and was founded in 1159. The Domaine dominates the vineyard and offers an impressive panorama.
  • Since the Sixties, the Leydier family has nurtured and developed the production of the now internationally-renowned wines.

VISIT
As they are a small producer, it’s a good idea to call ahead to check if a visit is convenient. As they are tucked away on a hill, GPS may not be accurate.

There is a map on how to reach the vineyard on their website 

CONTACT
Leydier et Fils
Domaine de Durban,
84190 Beaumes-de-Venise
Tél. : 04 90 62 94 26
Fax : 04 90 65 01 85
Mail : contact@domainedurban.com

For further information, please fill out their contact form by clicking here.


CASSIS

* Domaine de Bagnol

Cassis, on the coast east of Marseille, deserves a visit in any circumstance. With a picturesque little port, it is within the famous “Les Calanques”, the glorious white cliffs and coves that stretch to Marseille.

Of equal interest are the lovely white wines of Cassis. The town can be very crowded in summer and cars are not permitted into the centre, so visitors are required to park and be bussed in.

However, access by car is still possible to the Domaine de Bagnol, which is just outside the centre of town.

  • The wine in Cassis is really a very long story! Archaeological excavations have dated its presence since Roman times and the texts of March 16, 1199 mentions vines that prove that wines was being produced in the Middle Ages.
  • The Domaine du Bagnol, which takes its name from the district where it is located, is one of the oldest in the country.
  • The modern history of the Domaine begins in 1997, when Jean-louis Genovesi bought it.
  • Since 2003, Sebastien his son, after specialized studies, has taken it over.
  • Today, the “Marquis de Fesques” cuvée is the spearhead. The motto of the Estate is to work in the most natural and organic way possible.

CONTACT
Domaine du Bagnol
12, avenue de Provence – 13260 Cassis
lebagnol@orange.fr
Tèl. : 04 42 01 78 05
Site : www.domainedubagnol.fr

 

Other excellent Cassis producers:

* Domaine du Paternel

* Clos Sainte Magdeleine


Photo credit: Château du Seuil

COTEAUX d’AIX-en-PROVENCE

* Château de Seuil
On the route of the Luberon, north of Aix-enProvence, the Château du Seuil is one of the most original architectural projects of the 13th-17th centuries in Aix-en-Provence.

  • Its French garden is classified on the French Supplementary Historic Monument List. It consists of a 55 hectare vineyard on the sunny slopes of the Trévaresse mountain chain, in the centre of the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence designation. The estate has 280 hectares of woods which provide a natural setting for you to discover. A full range of red, white and rosé available.

VISIT
The wine-tasting cellar, open 7 days a week; from Monday to Friday – 9:00-12:30 and 2:00-6:00, and Saturday, Sunday and public holidays – 10:00-1:00 and 2:30-7:00.

CONTACT
4690 Route du Seuil, Puyricard, 13540 Aix-en-Provence
Tel: 04 42 92 15 99
www.chateauduseuil.fr/en/


ST.REMY

* Château Estoublon
This property, in the heart of Provence, up against the southern slopes of the Alpilles, carries with it the heritage and even some vestiges of a Roman patrimony. Halfway between Arles and Avignon, the estate of Estoublon and its 18th century castle is nestled in the sumptuous landscape that has often inspired painters and writers. The land of the Alpilles has offered Vincent Van Gogh its most beautiful models.

  • In this privileged environment, Château d’Estoublon has been passionately perpetuating since 1731 the tradition of olive oils and exquisite wines.
  • Château d’Estoublon was bought in 1999 by the Schneider family from Switzerland who have renovated everything with exquisite taste. The estate is managed by Valérie, daughter of Ernest Schneider, and her husband Rémy Reboul.
  • There is a restaurant on site, the Bistro Mogador, and a shop that sells the estate’s wines and olive oils.

VISIT
The bistro is open in June every day for lunch 7/7 and on Saturday evening. In July & August it is open every day for lunch, and from Monday to Saturday in the evenings. Closed on Sunday evening. There is a Grand Brunch every Sunday lunch and public holidays.

CONTACT
Château d’Estoublon
Route de Maussane – 13990 Fontvieille
Tél. : +33 (0)4 90 54 64 00
http://www.estoublon.com/

Cheers!

 


New Villa Listing on the Côte d’Azur – Special Introductory Price

Bastide des RosesWe are excited to introduce our new listing, La Bastide des Roses, a 6 Bedroom Villa set in an enchanting garden estate. Approach the Villa through lavender and jasmine-line paths, and admire an earthy stone exterior highlighted by lush greenery – a calming entrance to a French Riviera escape.

The idyllic home projects true Provençal living with authentic country chic decor, several terraces for al fresco dining and relaxing, and a magnificent gardens of ancient olive trees, tall cypress hedges, bright oleander, fragrant lavender, figs, pears, cherries, and of course, flourishing roses – hence the name. Situated near Grasse, France, considered the world’s capital of perfume, the Villa reflects the floral identity of the region.
Bastide des Roses garden
One key feature of the Villa is the magnificent pool and poolhouse oasis. Surrounded by high hedges and scenic gardens, the pool house is the perfect, private sanctuary. Ease your mind with a swim or just enjoy this stunning oasis in Mediterranean paradise.
Bastide des Roses PoolIf you’re looking to travel to the French Riviera, Bastide des Roses will be sure to delight. Don’t miss an exclusive opportunity for an introductory price.

See more about Bastide des Roses


Magnificence in Provence, Countryside and Culture in Southern France

Provence Lavender FieldProvence is one of the most sought after parts of Europe for visiting, and living. An important colony for the Romans, it remains an important attraction today for the French and foreigners. The Roman colony of Provincia (hence “Provence”) was established in 120BC at Aix-en-Provence. The Romans left their mark in countless monuments, including such notable edifices as the Arena and the “Maison Carré” Temple at Nîmes, the Pont du Gard Aqueduct, the Theatre at Orange, and the Amphitheatre at Arles.

The Pont du Gard: a structure that may, at first glance, look like merely a bridge, has instead such historical importance and the construction of incredible skill that it is one of the top attractions in France, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Through the centuries of changing empires, this ancient Roman aqueduct has transformed from its original purpose, built by the Romans to carry water from a spring in Uzès to Nîmes, but remained largely intact and historically preserved.

Pont du GardTruly a magnificent feature in Provence, the renowned southeastern region of France, the 18th century writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote upon visiting the famous site:

“I had been told to go and see the Pont du Gard; I did not fail to do so. It was the first work of the Romans that I had seen. I expected to see a monument worthy of the hands which had constructed it. This time the object surpassed my expectation, for the only time in my life. Only the Romans could have produced such an effect. The sight of this simple and noble work struck me all the more since it is in the middle of a wilderness where silence and solitude render the object more striking and the admiration more lively; for this so-called bridge was only an aqueduct. One asks oneself what force has transported these enormous stones so far from any quarry, and what brought together the arms of so many thousands of men in a place where none of them live. I wandered about the three storeys of this superb edifice although my respect for it almost kept me from daring to trample it underfoot. The echo of my footsteps under these immense vaults made me imagine that I heard the strong voices of those who had built them. I felt myself lost like an insect in that immensity. While making myself small, I felt an indefinable something that raised up my soul, and I said to myself with a sigh, “Why was I not born a Roman!”

Extraordinary architecture in Romanesque and Gothic styles can be found all over the region. One of the notable features are the hilltop medieval towns and villages, vestiges of the violent period of more than a thousand years following the end of Roman rule.

Uzes Village in Provence
The Village of Uzes

At the original source of the water which supplied the town of Nîmes via the Pont du Gard, is the town of Uzès. Uzès is a small town with a large reputation. Its wonderful buildings and architecture, along with its thriving cultural activities, and renowned weekly markets (Wednesdays and Saturdays) have contributed to its fame. In 2014, the Guardian newspaper in England designated it as the second best place in the world to visit (the first was Cape Town, another of our favorites), a remarkable endorsement for such a small town. The town has attracted many artists and artisans, as well as up-and-coming chefs, as the numerous excellent restaurants attests. There are many attractive villages in the surroundings of Uzès, and walks, bike rides, or drives through the many vineyards to these ancient villages are very appealing, and a great introduction to the region of Provence.

Among the countless sights of Provence, you cannot go wrong putting the Pont du Gard at the top of your list. In addition, settling into the charming town of Uzès will have you feeling “Chez Vous”.

Uzes stroll
A stroll through Uzes
Uzes chic apartment
A glimpse of one of our Uzes apartments

See more places to stay in Provence


Top Three Snow Escapes This Winter

Here it is – the top three snow escapes that should be on your radar this winter. We’re delighted to bring you a glimpse of our kind of winter at these must-see destinations. Sharpen those skis and pull out your scarves – mountains and magic awaits.

3. Kitzbühel, Austria – An Alpine Winter Wonderland

Skiing in the Austrian Alps with 170km (that’s 105+ miles!) of ski-ready slopes and 53 cable cars and lifts is an impressive adventure to check off your list. Just north of the Hahnenkamm mountain, host of the annual World Cup alpine ski races, Kitzbühel is amongst the largest ski regions and  most exclusive winter sports resorts in Austria.

Not only beautiful and enjoyable in landscape, the town itself presents everything picturesque; a quaint city nestled against the backdrop of alpine charm. When winter settles into the town, a true winter wonderland offers glimpses in and out of glimmering windows in colorful buildingswith a historic glow and cozy hearths. When not on the slopes, exclusive shopping among the cobblestone streets or a tasty pastry in a cozy cafe, will charm and delight you.

Whether you ski, snowboard, like a brisk winter hike, or prefer the indulgence of fabulous spa treatments, Kitzbühel is your literal breath of fresh air.

A convenient Commendable Rental in Kitzbühel:
Here is your chance to live in the large 4-bedroom penthouse apartment with charming chalet style. It’s one of the biggest and best in town, and it’s right in the center of Kitzbühel. Along with your grand living quarters, the apartment offers fantastic views. The terrace faces south, and from there one can see the famous downhill finishing slope, Streif, of the “Hahnenkamm “race.

With this apartment as your base, you have the perfect location to explore some of the snowy mountains of the Austrian Alps, as well as an elegant and soothing home. Each of the 4 bedrooms has its own en-suite bathroom. There is a separate dining room and a living room with a beautiful, large open fireplace. The apartment is located in the historic center of town, just a stroll away to the ski-lift. The best restaurants and bars are right around the corner, as are Ski rental and ski-school for children. In addition, there is a private ski room for all the ski equipment and garage parking for two cars.

We can also arrange a private cook!

Kitzbühel is so charming!  Find out more details here or below –

Reserve your winter wonderland today

2. Chamonix-Mont Blanc, France – An Adventure in the Alps

The host of the first Winter Olympics, Chamonix and its separate ski stations offer some of the the greatest and most challenging skiing in the world. It is a treasure spot for winter sports, alpine mountaineers, and bikers to get their heart racing in a daring experience among the Alps. The site of one of the highest cable cars in the world brings views of the impressive mountain range and Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps.

A day on the Glacier of the Vallée Blanche, descending from the “Aiguille de Midi”, is an incredible adventure of Glacier skiing that every serious skier should do at least once in a lifetime. Les Grand Montets offers endless, long runs of challenging skiing, and often superb powder snow. For those easing into the sport, easier slopes are available in the closer slopes of the Brévent and Flégère.

The town of Chamonix offers chic boutiques, restaurants from bistro and brasserie up to the Michelin 2-Starred restaurant at Le Hameau d’Albert Premier (and don’t miss its wonderful spa, either). Spend some time at the Chamonix Casino or shake loose in one of the many French-style or modern bars and nightclubs.

A convenient Commendable Rental in Chamonix-Mont Blanc:
This superb Chalet on a quiet street, a stroll from the center of Chamonix, is flooded with sunlight and enjoys beautiful views of majestic Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Midi. Decorated in chic but traditional Alpine style, it combines charm, refinement and authenticity in a warm, comfortable, yet totally luxurious environment. This is an exclusive chalet of the highest quality, elegantly decorated and furnished, where daily cleaning and a chef can be supplied on request.

The Chalet can accommodate up to 12 people.  It has two master bedrooms with large balconies or terraces and en suite bathrooms. There are four more double bedrooms, all of which have mountain views and their own bathrooms. The large double living room with fireplace is 70 sq meters. The kitchen is well equipped for serving 12, and opens onto the outdoor dining terrace.

The house is surrounded by a large private garden with tables and chairs for 12 for outside dining.

Other great features include a sauna, perfect for apres-ski relaxation, a large fireplace in the living room, TV in all bedrooms and in the lounge, terrestrial and cable/satellite TV, 3 DVD players, Wi-Fi, Hi-Fi, and even a ski room equipped with boot warmers. Additionally, there is a washer and dryer, plenty of parking, and even a heated driveway. We still have weeks available.

 

Chamonix-Mont Blanc is an esteemed adventure! Find out more details here or below – 

  

Be daring and reserve your adventure today


1. Klosters, Switzerland – A Haven to Be Royalty

Klosters is unique. A picturesque Swiss village with an enviable snow record and many great restaurants. It offers great skiing for all abilities, some of the longest runs (12 km) and most exciting skiing in Europe, thrilling off-piste, as well as the wide open slopes of the famous Parsenn. Renowned for its powder snow and long a favourite with its international clientele (including the British and Swedish Royal families) here is a welcoming haven, family oriented, and away from the mass market.

Klosters shares its extensive skiing network with nearby town of Davos; combined, they offer 190 miles (307km) of downhill slopes, with 97 individual pistes, served by 52 lifts.
 Also in Davos, there is access to over 100 shops, several art galleries, 2 museums, and a casino. Klosters is proud of its many restaurants – both on and off the slopes – from fondue stublis to the Michelin starred.

To relax and unwind, there are many spas as well as the famous one in the Vereina Hotel. There are miles of cross country ski trails as well as skating, sledging (with 7 long sledge runs), horse-riding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, winter polo, snowshoe trekking, snowboarding (with access to a half pipe), paragliding, swimming, bowling, tennis and squash.

A convenient Commendable Rental in Klosters:
Welcome to a wonderful private luxury chalet in the exclusive ski resort of Klosters, Switzerland. Recently named as one of the top 10 private chalets available to rent in Switzerland, it sits on a small hill, with sensational views and a 5 minute walk to the lifts and centre of the village.

One of the last log chalets left in Klosters, this chocolate box of a chalet was completely refurbished in 2006. It has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and sleeps 8 people.
 A superb chef and house keeper will look after your every need, whilst you can relax in front of a roaring fire after a great days skiing.

It now offers cosy sitting rooms, bedrooms with wonderful linen, and three fire-places (one of which can be found in the master bedroom). It also features beautiful balconies and a terrace overlooking the stunning vista of the resort.

Klosters offers the utmost in luxury. We provide daily room service of morning coffee and tea, breakfast in front of the fire, and fresh flowers and newspapers. but that’s just the beginning. Also enjoy personal dining, a private garden, and all the amenities to meet your every comfort.

Klosters is utmost luxury! Find our more details here or below – 

   

Feel like royalty and reserve luxury today




I love Paris in the Winter…..

The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris in January

I Love Paris in the Winter……….

Paris simply thrills, whether you are a first time visitor, or you have lived here a lifetime. We have arrived on a cold night in January, this time staying on the Ile St. Louis, which has a timeless neighborhood feel and is a stroll away from the little bridge that leads to the Cathedral of Notre Dame on the neighboring Ile de la Cité. I cannot imagine anything more beautiful than the intricate stone tracery of  those flying buttresses, set off, lace-like against the  blue-black night. Or I could not until I entered. No matter what your beliefs, the Cathedral is breath-takingly glorious, and the combination of its soaring arches,  massive monumental columns in the chiaroscuro of candlelight, the wavering perfume of incense, and the voices of a choir, is an evocative experience not to be missed.

When Vernon Duke composed "April in Paris" in 1932, he chose not to call it "January in Paris". But while January may not be the acclaimed time to be in Paris, it is still wonderful. Paris charms and seduces at any time of the year. And in January, the bistros seem cozier, the Museum Expositions more irresistible, and the oysters are in season. And besides, its when they have the best sales! If you are a shopper you won’t want to miss out.

While France, in a gesture of Franco-American solidarity, has just lost its Triple A rating at one of those fine rating agencies that were so prescient about the financial crisis that they helped precipitate, no evidence of the consequences are immediately visible. There is still an accordionist playing "La Mer" at the bridge connecting the Ile St.Louis to the Ile de la Cité, the Louvre is still packed with visitors, the restaurants are still serving delicious food, and Carla Bruni is still feeding her baby at the Elysée Palace.

With the French Presidential election only 4 months away, politics is in the air and on the air, but for a visitor to Paris, it is possible to be unaware of all of that. What you cannot be unaware of is the cornucopia of culture available in this city. Whatever your interest, and whatever your French language skills, Paris has something fascinating for you. From museums devoted to even the most arcane activities, to performances of every kind of art, Paris doesn’t just have it, it flaunts it. And this is January ! Exhibitions at the Grand Palais alone currently include (i) the fascinating exhibition devoted to Gertrude Stein’s and her brothers’ influence and relationship with the great painters of her period, with many works of the likes of Matisse, Picasso and Cezanne on display, (ii) La France en Relief – From Louis XIV to Napoléon III – Relief maps and models of fortified towns were produced for military purposes from the reign of Louis XIV to the end of 19th century. These incredible objects of quality and size shed light on a range of historical phenomena, including the development and setting of borders, siege warfare and fortifications, map-making, and the transformation of the town planning and the landscape, (iii) Hair & Science – Hair is at the same time familiar and mysterious, revealing its secrets and multiple facets in this exhibition. These are followed by further fascinating events over the coming months. At the Louvre, in addition to its unsurpassed permanent collections, special exhibitions include (i) Georgio Vasari – Drawings from the Louvre – to mark the fifth centenary of his birth, the Louvre pays tribute to Giorgio Vasari, Italian painter, architect, and writer, with an exhibition of the finest of his drawings in the museum’s collection, (ii) Fantin-Latour, Manet, Baudelaire: the Hommage à Delacroix – It was 1863, a seminal moment in the history of art in France: the year Manet sparked a scandal with his Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, and the year of Delacroix’s death. Shocked by the lack of official recognition, for the next Salon, Fantin-Latour created his Hommage à Delacroix. At the Musée d’Orsay, special exhibitions include Degas and the Nude and Imressionism and Fashion.

This is the tip of Paris’ cultural iceberg. We cannot spend too much of our time investigating the iceberg further as we have been adding to the Commendable Rental’s portfolio of Paris properties. Andelightful addition is an exceptional property in the 7th arrondissement, a penthouse we have christened, l’Orchidée. It’s close to Les Invalides, and a stroll from the Eiffel Tower. On the 7th floor of an elegant 1932 building, this apartment has balconies over a wide boulevard with a close up view of Les Invalides itself, and a distant view of Sacre Coeur on Montmartre. It is wonderfully decorated, with quality furnishings, refined taste, and stunning modern art. It offers impressive principal rooms with picture windows on both sides, two gorgeous large bedrooms with elegant bathrooms, and an open plan kitchen to die for.

Also,a wonderfully cosy apartment at Le Marais, we’ve called Le Rose Violet. Just two minutes from the magnificent Place des Vosges, this is a charming and attractive romantic hideaway with a library/study that is so comfortable that it might keep you there reading instead of seeing the attractions of Paris.

As the charms of winter give way to the glories of spring, and as the chestnuts begin to blossom, and asparagus fills the markets, so do the Paris activities reach full flower. Vernon Duke’s song will soon be timely. Stay tuned, we will keep you up to date.

Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris Facade

 

30 January, 2012, Susan and Adrian Doull

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