Multigenerational travel in Provence: experiences and ideal roofs to share

Travelling as a multigenerational group can be an exciting, rich and rewarding experience, and Europe draws many families to its history, art and culture. At Commendable Rentals we have great family properties in France and Italy, and this week’s trip will be taken in two of the most beautiful Natural Regional Parks of the French South: the Alpilles, where we will stop at Saint-Rémy and Les-Baux-de-Provence, and the Préalpes d’Azur, home of Grasse and its ancient perfume industry. Motivations for extended-family travel differ with each family of course: it could be to involve the elders in an active trip, a celebration travel, or simply to reunite after some time: multigenerational trips are a good opportunity to reconnect for families whose members are geographically separated. Finance, too, plays a large role as a holiday shared is usually better value for money, but perhaps the most important reason is that in a globalized world, older generations prefer to introduce their younger relations to things they’ve never encountered before in a friendly and secure environment. For a relaxing summer stay with grandparents and children, Provence and Côte d’Azur are certainly the best places to visit or revisit; strolling among olive trees, lavender fields and vineyards, waking up to clear light pouring from a vast blue sky, wandering through raw and natural landscapes, gazing upon nature from a limestone hill, eating fresh, locally grown foods, swimming in the Mediterranean sea or drinking rosé wine under the stars, those are but a few examples of how to spend your time in these beautiful regions.

Most vacationers insist time is more relaxing when several generations are involved, especially as duties such as cooking, shopping or babysitting are spread out instead of concentrated on the parents. To take a break from the hectic pace of your daily routines, Bastide de la Félicité is certainly the best option: with its nine delightful bedrooms -including two garden suites- spacious bathrooms and very extensive game room, it can easily welcome up to eighteen guests of all ages.

Apart from its charming interior decor and luxurious setting, many extra features will please you outside as well: kids can run to the hen house each morning and afternoon to gather fresh eggs for breakfast or a French “omelette”, the whole family can play hide-n-seek games in the well-tended gardens and the playhouse, the two pools are as much relaxing areas as they are gathering ones: the larger pool has a pool house with showers and its own outdoor kitchen, and the smaller one is hidden in a private garden, with comfortable sunbeds and even a charming hut for the elders to take a nap after lunch, or the children to invent games, quests and safaris. Thanks to the two friendly donkeys of the property, grandparents will be able to share knowledge with their grand kids on feeding farm animals, and at the end of the day, they will certainly call them repeatedly so that they finally come down from the tree house to get ready for dinner. Finally, the tennis court will be the perfect setting for a family tournament! Unforgettable memories will be built in this wonderful property, so much that you will want to spend a lot of time right there!


For a more unusual stay in the Alpilles -and the priceless, unmistakable look of awe of your children’s eyes when they discover their room!- Le Dernier Château is the villa you want: set into the limestone hillside of Les Baux-de-Provence, this troglodyte luxury villa is an enchanting shelter in a spectacular and unique environment, with pool, terrace, and panoramic views over the Baux-de-Provence golf course and the mountains. Your family will be all set in the 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, all perfectly fitted out, and the fireplace and spacious living room are just the perfect setting for privileged family moments, telling stories, reflecting on the activities of the day or planning the next excursion.

Indeed, within each family are wide range of different needs, abilities and desires, which make holidays that much more exciting. Whether you want to all stick together or go your separate ways during the day, excursions, curiosities and visits in the area are diverse and accessible to all: you are located right in the middle of the golden triangle formed by Avignon, Arles and Aix-en-Provence. Explore Aix and visit the city as the famed post-impressionist and pre-cubist painter Cézanne experienced it, from the old town to the Montagne Sainte Victoire, which he painted almost 80 times, through all four seasons, in different light. From Aix to Avignon, do stop at La Roque d’Anthéron for a piano concert, or several: the 39th edition of the International Piano Festival will be held from July 20th to August 18th 2019.

From there, you can then reach Gordes and l’Isle sur la Sorgue (the Venice of Provence), two of the most charming and popular villages of the area -both of them are part of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France association- where you can stop for a delicious local meal, stroll through flea fairs and farmers markets, visit the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sénanque while tasting -and eventually buying!- their lavender honey, or admire the countryside from the rampart walk of the castle of Gordes.

Stroll through fields and pick fruits and flowers, practice your golf swing or take a journey into the heart of the Middle Ages at the castle of Les Baux, which architecture and siege engines will delight young and old alike! Finally, for a multimedia, immersive experience, do visit the Carrières de Lumières for a must-see, original, playful and full of emotion experience!

Should you be more attracted to the chic glamour of the French Riviera, our Bastide des Roses is ideal! Just a stone-throw away from all the fashionable buzz of the French Riviera, encircled by high hedges and greenery, this beautiful hidden property will, according to our guests, “makes you feel like a romantic character in movie or a book set in Provence”! It is the ultimate luxury stay, with its timeless charm, unpretentious glamour and impeccable taste; it will be the perfect fit for a family up to 9 people seeking comfort and refined style. The swimming pool and its adjoining pool house are at the end of a rose garden, olive groves surround the gracious historical building tastefully decorated in Provence style, and the cobble stone patio roofed by old vines will be an ideal stage to admire each sunset and for astronomy lessons… Can you hear the sound of crickets?

The vast lawns and the many shady corners under olive, pine and palm trees will offer many opportunities to spend the day in solitude -everyone need their rest once in a while!- or with a big family, and the kitchen is very large, equipped with everything you need to cook delicious meal after a grocery shopping spree to the nearby towns of Vallbonne or Grasse. Family travel often means everybody gets to do at least one activity of their choice, which can lead the rest of the family to discover passions they never knew they had; leave it to the Côte d’Azur to endlessly surprise you. Strolling the streets of Grasse, do stop at the International Perfume Museum or the Fragonard Museum, a visit we recommend even with kids! Just an hour away, Nice offers a wonderful day excursion for all ages as well: enjoy a Fenocchio artisanal basilic flavored sorbet on the Promenade des Anglais, and visit the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art or the Théatre de la Photographie et de l’Image. From Nice, you are just an hour away from Monaco with its Exotic Garden and its Oceanographic Museum, or Menton and the Jean Cocteau Museum. Numerous beaches and coves will welcome you for a picnic or a swim all along the coast of course.
We will attend to every step of the organisation of such trips, so feel free to ask us anything! We can provide cooks, housekeeping services, breakfast delivery, pool setting and cleaning, transportation for the youngest and oldest, and much more, so you won’t be focusing on every little detail and will enjoy the big, important family moments of your trip!


Discovering Rome from above: a Roman guide to terraces and gardens.

We all know discovering a city from higher ground is magical and Rome is no exception. Its terraces, so many with splendid views, are always a pleasure to relax in and are certainly a very hot commodity! We always thrive to find exceptional rentals everywhere we go, and we have come up with a curated list of beautiful green spaces in Italy’s capital. Raindrops are scarcer than normal this season, so we decided to stay a bit longer in the Eternal city and enjoy life “à la romaine”, watching time and life go by while enjoying every instant. What activity is more inspiring, rewarding and mind-clearing that gazing at rooftops and monuments from your own terrace while planning your visits and strolls under the Roman sun I ask you? (This is a rhetorical question, nothing is more soothing than that!)

Just on the banks of the Tiber, facing the Bocca della Verita on the Trastevere side of the river, is our first recommendation: Mio Giardino Romano. It is a bit of an exception, as it offers a garden rather than a terrace, so the joy is in the fresh, cool greenery, not the views. It is the apartment of a Roman photographer. Sitting on the green benches under the pergola, picture yourself reading a good book, sipping a hot, intense Italian expresso, or taking a well-deserved siesta after rambling around the city: can you smell the orange trees exhaling their perfume?

Walking up the Tiber, near the Basilica di Santa Maria di Trastevere, you will find Dieci, another hidden oasis available for rent: this two-bedroom apartment was recently renovated and the cosy terrace right off the dining room is perfect an evening Spritz or a glass of wine in Spring, Summer, and Fall. The view on the colorful buildings and rooftops will never cease to amaze you!

From both of these beautiful homes, you can explore the district of Trastevere, a bohemian enclave in front of Rome’s most famous sites and ruins, like the marvelous 5th-century church of Santa Cecilia, or Santa Maria in Cappella:

If you take a short walk across the Ponte Garibaldi or Ponte Palatino, you will find yourself in Rome’s historic centre, near the Piazza Farnese and the Campo dei Fiori. You are also within walking distance from the Isola di Tiberina (Tiber Island), historic and charming.

Enjoy great wine and great food in the countless bars, cafes and restaurants, and immerge yourself in the local way of life.

More hidden gems await you once on this side of the river, like our newcomer Il Magnifico, a whole Roman palazzo all for you, along with its splendid roof-top terrace with breath-taking and intimate views over Roman rooftops.

Enter this Renaissance townhouse and feel like royalty: you will certainly be treated like one, because it comes with a housekeeper. Planted with fruit and palm trees, the terrace and its adjoining second kitchen provide a wonderful position for sunset aperitif or dinners under the star, a magical ambiance for enchanting cena al fresco; we can provide the chef. With 5 beautiful bedrooms, each with bathroom, that is a unique property and is perfect for a multi- generation Roman holiday, or a friends’ reunion.

There are also beautiful reception rooms, so you will have a hard time choosing between inside or out! From this exceptional apartment, you can walk up to Piazza Navona and its famous baroque fountains, the ancient Roman Pantheon, or the Bonaparte palace.

If you take a long walk down the famous Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, you will reach Domitilla, yet another amazing oasis: a marvelous duplex penthouse with two terraces which offer fabulous 360° views of the domes of St. Peter’s Cathedral, the Gianicolo Hill, the Roman antic Forum and other major landmarks of the city, like the cupola of San Martino ai Monti and the Quirinale, the presidential palace. Domitilla has three bedrooms and is perfect for a family or friends. It was designed by a famous architect, and is full of character and history from the time of Fellini. It is a wonder for its views.

Talking about palaces: should you be looking for a true Roman palace, stroll toward the romantic Monti neighborhood to get to our Palazzo Palermo, an amazing combo of two elegant, beautifully furnished apartments, sleeping up to 14 in total. You will truly be living like the elegant Roman that you have just become. Each apartment is as elegant inside as out and may be rented together or separately.

The apartments share a beautifully planted and cared for terrace, with colorful flowers, olive trees, lemon trees, peach- and persimmon trees.

Close your eyes: the scent of blossoms perfumes the air.

Open them: the sites of Rome are for you to gaze upon indefinitely.

Read on about Rome
Our Roman properties


Rome, confidential

It is no difficult task to be inspired by Rome: world famous landmarks, more than 350 films shot or dedicated to the Italian capital (including Roman Holiday, one of my favourites), culinary traditions copied worldwide (but never equalled!), we could talk for hours about this city that combines history, culture, gastronomy and true art of living. Today, however, I will rather show you our Rome, far from the hot weather and touristy trails.
Fall is a great season to stay in Rome, if only for the Film Festival held there every year. Previews, round tables with the greatest directors and actors such as Martin Scorsese, Isabelle Huppert, Cate Blanchett or Michael Moore, retrospectives and anthologies, there is something for every movie-lover! The film festival is held from October 18th to 28th and is a local event not to be missed. To ensure you a pleasant visit, stroll down along the Tiber and stay in our beautiful apartment Piazza Fiammetta, you will feel right at home!

Rome is also particularly pleasant in the fall becauses it breathes more than in summer: the climate is milder, the tourists are scarcer, and it is especially noticeable in museums and monuments. One of our recent visits was the magnificent Palazzo Farnese. Former residence of Pope Paul III and today home to the French Embassy, the Farnese Palace is one of the jewels of the Renaissance in Rome. To ensure quality visits and to promote the French language and culture, the Embassy entrusted the exclusivity of visits to the association Inventer Rome. Discover the Sangallo Atrium (the vestibule), the cortile (the courtyard), the garden, the Hercules salon with its tapestries inspired by Raphael’s frescoes and the Carrache Gallery, recently restored and once again open to the public, an absolute masterpiece of the Carrache brothers, commissioned by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese at the end of the 16th century, and which inspired, among other things, the ceilings of the famous Hall of Mirrors in the castle of Versailles.

Inspired by these visits led by French-speaking students or young active people living in Rome, we participated in many of the other activities offered by the association, such as the visit of Villa Bonaparte (in French or Italian) or their discovery tours in Rome and Lazio (in French only). We currently recommend the visit on Saturday, October 20th of the Doria Pamphilj Gallery, a private museum housing a fabulous collection of art, that of Mount Esquiline, one of the seven hills of Rome where all the history of the city can be found (Saturday, October 27) or the Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia (Saturday, November 24). Find here the complete program of their visits. Inspired by the Farnese Palace? The setting of our Palazzo  Il Magnifico will surely, with its amazing antiquities, luxurious furniture and beautiful paintings of masters.

Leaving the Palazzo Farnese, head to the Pantheon and stop to eat at Casa Bleve: here, the wonderful owner welcomes you with open arms and the chef explores all the tastes and traditions of Italian cuisine, respecting the seasons and selecting the best local products. It’s an iconic stop for all gourmets!

Finally, to keep this local atmosphere, walk in the neighbourhood of Monti, one of the last districts of Rome which kept its bohemian soul. Like an artists’ village, its sinuous streets protect it from the waves of tourists and concentrate a lot of great addresses: second-hand shops, small friendly restaurants, cafes and squares to hang out indefinitely, and two of our most beautiful Roman properties:

our penthouse overlooking the Vittoriano, or the Palazzo Palermo, composed of two independent apartments, will welcome you in the heart of the eternal city!

Read on about Rome
Our Roman properties


Amazing Provence

Last week we sketched an attractive yet very short portrait of Provence (to read what a family reunion can be in Provence, click here). It is one of our favorite regions of France and holiday destinations, and as we are currently in the area (Chez Vous Uzès) we would love to talk to you a little more about it! Provence is a diverse region that extends from Bouches-du-Rhône to Hautes-Alpes, passing through various territories such as the Vaucluse, the Drôme, the Var, the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Alpes-Maritimes. In Provence you can lie in the sun on a fine sandy beach, ride white horses in the surf, go hiking, climb hills and mountains, feast on the sun-filled cuisine based on olives and olive oil, superbly fresh vegetables, fish from the sea accompanied by lovely rosé wine. You can visit amazing towns and monuments from early Roman, Medieval and Renaissance through incredible contemporary structures signed by Frank Gehry (Château La Coste), Norman Foster (L’Ombrière), and more. Then mark your calendar to enjoy the many art, music, design, and local culture festivals: all is possible. The only drawback is to first admit you won’t be able to see it all at once!

Today we explore the massif of the Alpilles, an authentic nature reserve just an hour away from Uzès and the well-known cities of Avignon or Aix-en-Provence. There, nestled in the golden triangle between Les-Baux-de-Provence, Saint-Remy-de-Provence and Eygaliéres, you will be able to enjoy most of the region’s authenticity and traditions in style and refinement, without having to drive far.

Les-Baux-de-Provence offers you incomparable panoramic views over the Alpilles mountain range, and the 400 souls who live within its walls jealously protect a patiently restored and unparalleled heritage from more than one million visitors coming here each year. We strongly recommend a visit to the ruins and vestiges of the Castle of Les Baux, a 11th century fortress that you can visit in open air, discovering with every step what the castle looked like originally with the secular and religious remains, siege engines -that are sometimes operated in front of you! -, the military remains and of course the Baux outcrop & the valley. Many events bring the fortress back to life: the “Médiévales des Baux” from late March to the end of August, “Secrets d’Artisans” every weekend in September and the “Automnales” in October (Les Automnales). The narrow, history-filled cobblestone streets of the old village will lead you to architectural masterpieces, art galleries, crafts workshops, boutiques and museums, and gourmet restaurants. Take you time to really let the peace and calm of this marvellous environment sink in: why not enjoy a lavender ice-cream while you stroll through the village! For a lovely and unusual stay in this exceptional setting, we recommend Le Dernier Château: Le Dernier Château, an extraordinary troglodyte villa set into the stunning rock hillside of the village.

If you’re inspired by Le Dernier Château’s setting, you should not miss the Carrières de Lumières: the former quarries dug out by the hands of man since the Roman and used to build Les Baux and its citadel offer today to the visitor a magical world of images and music. The program currently includes a never-seen-before multimedia event devoted to Picasso and the Spanish masters.

A mere 20min drive will take you from Les-Baux to Saint-Remy, another remarkably preserved village of the Alpilles which was and is a great source of inspiration for many artists, including Vincent Van Gogh, who stayed as a patient at the Saint Paul de Mausolé monastery where he painted no less than 150 of his most well-known works, including the famous Self Portrait and The Starry Night.

Coming from Les-Baux, just before entering the city, you will find the archaeological site of Glanum: over a century of excavation on the site has revealed an outstanding collection of architectural antic relics. But Saint-Rémy is also in the heart of a land of gastronomy: renowned olive oils and AOC (PDO) Baux de Provence wines, as well as the famous Herbes de Provence, lavender and honey can be found in abundance every Wednesday morning at the colorful and busy weekly market in the centre. The town has indeed preserved its traditions and its personality. Festive events add flavor to the town life throughout the year: the Route des Artistes, a contemporary art fair (the next event will occur on October 7th), the bullfights and the Transhumance festival in the summer, concerts, plays and exhibitions. And where to rest from all this if not in our Bastide de la Lavande, where you can enjoy its glorious garden full of lavender and roses, olive trees, and vine-coved corners.


From there, you can reach Eygalières in less than 20min and discover the most beautiful village of the Alpilles. A visit on Friday mornings will show you how lively the village can become with its great Provençal market.


Read on about Provence:
Commendable activities in Provence Part 1 & 2
Magnificence in Provence
Local Tips
Family reunions!

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