Here Are the Top 5 Things to Do in Nîmes, France

If you’re visiting Provence on your upcoming vacation to France, then there’s one city you cannot miss: Nîmes! This gorgeous roman city has stood the test of time and is a must-see during your trip to the South of France. See incredible historic sites, stroll through elegant gardens, and eat delicious food—these are among some of the best things to do in Nîmes! Read on to learn more and plan the best day trip to one of our favorite French cities.

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5 Things to Do in Nîmes You’ll Love

Nîmes is more than a beautiful French city—it’s a real temple of history! Did you know that it was once called Nemausus? Back in the days of the Roman empire, it was an important hub along the famous Via Domitia: The first Roman road built in France (then known as Gaul). It’s the perfect destination for history buffs, and is only 30 minutes away from our properties in Uzès! Let’s dive in and discover five things you need to do while in Nîmes.

Les Arènes

Your first stop is one of Nîme’s most famous buildings: Les Arènes. This Roman amphitheater is more than 2,000 years old and is used today as a stage for various events and concerts. Did you know it can host up to 24,000 spectators? If you love amphitheaters, make sure you also stop by the one in Arles! It will make for another fun day trip. 

Jardins de la Fontaine

If you enjoy the outdoors, particularly French gardens, you must take a stroll through the Jardins de la Fontaine. Feel like Marie-Antoinette as you walk through these grand 18th-century gardens and marvel at the balustrades, broad stairways, various statues, and marble vases. Did you know that the Jardins de la Fontaine was one of Europe’s first public parks? Make sure you stop by the Temple of Diane, an impressive Roman monument (which supposedly used to be a library in Roman times).

Musée des Beaux-Arts

How does traveling back in time through art sound? The Musée des Beaux-Arts, or Fine Arts Museum, hosts a beautiful collection of paintings from the 1500s to the 1800s. This fascinating museum, founded in 1821, is the second largest in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It hosts several works by artists like Rubens, Paul Delaroche, and Pieter Coecke Van Aelst. 

Pont du Gard

Nîmes is also home to one of the most iconic Roman buildings in the world: the Pont du Gard! This 50-kilometer long aqueduct was built in the 1st century A.D. and features three stories of limestone blocks as well as impressive 25-meter arch gaps. It’s an absolute must-see during your trip—you’ll learn so much about South of France history as you enjoy beautiful views of the Provençal countryside. 

Les Halles

After visiting these marvelous sites, you’ll most likely be hungry! Head over to the Halles de Nîmes and discover a wide array of fantastic Provence products. This amazing covered market offers a sumptuous display of olives, oysters, peppers, fresh fish, meat, cheeses, bread, charcuterie, fruits, vegetables, and cooked meals! We highly recommend the paella—it’s to die for!

What Are You Waiting For? Provence is Calling!

Chez Vous living room

Now that you know what an amazing trip you can have in Provence, it’s time to make arrangements. Why stay in a hotel when you can find a home away from home? Commendable Rentals offers several stunning properties in the lovely village of Uzès. Make yourself at home with loved ones, and enjoy the French lifestyle like a true local. Don’t wait another second — book yours today!

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Your Guide to the Best Provence Products

The South of France is a beautiful place to visit. Between its scenic landscapes, romantic riviera, and incredible history, it’s a dream come true for travelers. The most wonderful thing about Provence is the vast selection of products it offers. Picture juicy fruits and vegetables, tasty pastries, succulent oils, wines, cheeses, and traditional lavender creations. The list goes on and on, so keep reading to discover some of our favorites and get ready to come home with a suitcase full of goodies!

What Do You Need to Know About Provence Products?

Where to Find Fresh Local Products?

One of our favorite places to find delicious Provence products is the Uzès Market. Not only is it one of the most beautiful markets in France, but it’s also a prime spot to find delicious products and mingle with the locals. Picture yourself with a basket in hand and a baguette under your arm, strolling through the market and smelling the fresh foods. It’s a wonderful shopping adventure where you can choose from a wide range of Provence products and find unique gifts to bring home with you.

What Are the Most Iconic Provence Products?

  • Savon de Marseille

One of the most iconic products (and the easiest to bring back home!) is the savon de Marseille. Provence’s handcrafted soaps are famous for their quality and gentle cleansing. They have been a staple since the 9th century! The original recipe (that is still in use today) came about in 1688. We recommend buying lavender soaps –after all, it’s Provence’s authentic scent!

  • Rosé Wine

You can’t visit France and not indulge in some serious wine tasting. Provence offers great options for red and white wines, but its specialty is rosé. There’s nothing better than sipping this delicious beverage after a long, hot day. Look for the Duché d’Uzès wines on the market and taste some of their best rosés! You’ll love the fruity freshness. Get a bottle to bring home and pair it with a delicious olive tapenade toast and grilled sardines!

  • Olive Oil

Are you ready to taste the best olive oil you’ve ever tried in your life? With its shining sun and warm weather, Provence is a prime spot for harvesting olive oil. This product is more than a staple; it’s a whole culture! You can find a wide range of olive oils in Provence, all boasting lovely local names: Grossane, picholine, salonenque, aglandau, cayon, broutigan, cayanne, and more! Pair it with a delicious fougasse or baguette and you have yourself the perfect apéritif!

  • Goat Cheese

Another thing you want to indulge in as much as you can while in France is cheese! Did you know Provence is home to some of the best goat cheeses in the world? Alpine goats are abundant in the region and produce some of the freshest, most delicious milk. Provence’s goat cheese is usually fresh, spreads easily, and pairs perfectly with dried fruits, nuts, or herbes de Provence. If you’re in Uzès, head over to Fromagerie Albert to sample some of them!

  • Calissons d’Aix

If you have a sweet tooth and wish to taste a unique treat, then the calissons d’Aix are made for you! These delicious little sweets are indigenous to Provence. They are made of a smooth, pale yellow melon-candied paste and topped with a layer of hard almond icing. They’re exquisite –an absolute must-try! They are also great souvenirs, since you can tuck them in your checked bag.  

  • Truffles

Last but not least, try one of our all-time favorites: The truffe de Provence! These rare, underground mushrooms are a renowned product all around the world, and Provence is full of them. You can find three species there: The black truffle (also known as the black diamond), brumal truffle, and white truffle.

It’s such an iconic product that the town of Uzès even has a truffle festival (when they’re in season in January and February)! During that “Semaine de la truffe” (Truffle Week), all the local restaurants feature truffle specialties and dishes. You can even attend demonstrations on la Place aux Herbes, where pigs show off their truffle-finding skills.

Our “Chez Vous” Villa Is Perfect for Your Provence Getaway

Chez Vous living room

Chez Vous means “at your place” in French, and that’s precisely why it’s the ideal base camp for you and your loved ones. Make your trip to the South of France the best it can be with this beautiful 2-bedroom home. You’ll love its elegant and cozy decor—not to mention its proximity to the market on la Place aux Herbes! You can sip on an espresso in the morning out in the garden, go for a swim after lunch in your private swimming pool, and sleep under the gorgeous wooden beam ceiling every night. The master bedroom features a comfortable queen-sized bed, fine linens, and antique furnishings. The double-glazed windows and exterior shutters even keep the room cool during the afternoon sun.

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What Can You See at the Uzès Market?

Charcuterie stand at Uzes Market

Are you traveling to the south of France? You can probably already picture yourself roaming the cobblestone streets, visiting ancient sites, meeting locals, and sipping espresso on the terrace of a cafe. You’re going to have the time of your life! But, if you want to experience the local culture at its best, you need to visit the Uzès Market. In this blog, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the famous market. Get ready to plan the ultimate trip to Provence with your family!


How to Make the Most Out of Your Visit to the Uzès Market

Get Familiar With Regional Products

Did you know that the Uzès Market is one of the most beautiful markets in France? When you visit, you’ll understand why. It’s held in the center of town on the Place aux Herbes and is full of history. The market is surrounded by medieval buildings, picturesque scenery, and beautiful, 100-year-old plane trees. It’s more than a market; it’s a celebration of Southern French life!

At the market, you’ll be able to discover unique products like clothing and flowers, as well as foods like charcuterie, cheese, vegetables and fruit, spices, honey, bread, and, most importantly, the region’s famous olive oil. (No trip to Provence is complete without tasting shiny olive oil on a baguette!) We also recommend that you try the local paella and bring home some Carpentras strawberries and Tarascon apricots for a mouthwatering fruit salad.

Note: The market is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Indulge in a Delicious Lunch

Once you’ve finished your tour of the market, it’s time to sit down and enjoy lunch under the shade of the trees. One of our favorite restaurants on the market square is La Famille. You’ll love its quaint location and friendly atmosphere! The menu showcases fresh ingredients in dishes like salads and charcuterie boards. Locals also love the bruschetta and home fries, marinated calamari, and tarte tatin dessert. It pairs really well with a cappuccino!


Take a French Cooking Class

With regular visits to the market, you’ll be an expert in local products in no time. So, why not take a French cooking class during your vacation to perfect your skills? You’ll learn how to recreate classic Provence flavors like herb-sweetened lamb and can try delicious cheese, local honey, fragrant olive oil, juicy fruit, and tasty bread. Uzès offers a few options when it comes to cooking classes, and you can be sure we’ll find the right one for you!

Stay Near the Uzès Market With Commendable Rentals

Inside of a Uzes Home with quaint antique decorWouldn’t it be magical if you could walk to the market in the morning and come home with a baguette, to be savoured with the artisan jams and honeys that you have tasted and selected? Well, we have just the home to make that dream come true! Our splendid Chez Vous in Uzès property is a match made in heaven for visitors to Provence. It’s only steps away from La Place aux Herbes and offers the comfort and charm you seek for your vacation!

Enjoy antique furnishings, fine linens, queen-size beds in two bedrooms, and the fully equipped kitchen. Chez Vous also features a heated pool and garden. It’s the perfect house for families looking to have the ultimate French experience!

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Here’s Why the Pont du Gard Is a Historical Landmark You Need to Visit

Pont du Gard three-tiered aqueduct was built in Roman times on the river Gardon.

Are you ready for the impressive historical landmarks in the South of France? If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a history buff planning a trip to the marvelous region of Provence. If there’s one site you cannot miss during your stay, it’s the Pont du Gard! This spectacular, ancient bridge—one of the most magnificent remains of the Roman empire—will dazzle you beyond belief. Read on to learn all you need to know about this famous UNESCO site and start planning your visit today!

The Pont du Gard Is a Must-See When Visiting the South of France!

What Is the Pont du Gard?

The Pont du Gard is by far one of the most impressive ancient sites from the Roman Empire in France. The 50-kilometer long, towering aqueduct was built during the 1st century A.D. to supply the city of Nimes (then known as Nemausus) with water. The bridge rises three stories high, or approximately 50 meters above the ground. It is made of yellow limestone blocks and features 25-meter arch gaps. It’s impossible not to marvel at the magnificence of the building, and at its well-designed architecture that still stands today, several centuries after its creation.

Prepare For Your Visit

Now that you know more about the Pont du Gard, it’s time to prepare for your visit! The site is accessible seven days a week all year round, but its hours vary depending on the season. Here are the hours for each time of year:

  • 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in January, February, March, November, and December
  • 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in April and October
  • 9 a.m. to 9 a.m. in May
  • 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. in June and September
  • 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. in July and August.

An adult ticket costs 9.50 euros and is free for children under 18. You can book your tickets online in advance here

There are several ways to see the bridge. You can either walk there yourself and sit in the shade of the olive trees as you marvel the structure, or you can hop on a guided tour. The best part? You can be your own guide! Download the app and follow the instructions as you pass points of interest and learn more about the history behind them.

After visiting the grounds and seeing the impressive bridge, make sure you stop by the museum. Contrary to the bridge, the museum is modern and interactive. Just a hint: avoid wearing white or you’ll glow like a neon! Go on a lively journey back in time through the Roman era—view reconstructions, learn the day-to-day life of the Gallo-Roman towns, and watch the bridge being built in front of your eyes as you advance through the galleries! Don’t forget to stop by the shop on your way out and buy some calissons. These famous, local treats are made out of a smooth paste of candied melons and oranges, with a thin layer of royal icing on top, and they’re extremely delicious!


Stay Near the Pont du Gard in the Lovely Town of Uzès

Chez Gigi view of the upstairs balconyAfter your visit of the Pont du Gard, come back to the comfort of your home in Uzès at the Gigi House! This quaint townhouse has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and can sleep up to six people. You’ll love its location at the heart of the townonly 15 minutes away from the Pont du Gard! You’ll get to enjoy morning walks to the market on the Place aux Herbes to buy your daily baguette and fresh fruits!

Set up the table in the outside courtyard with butter, jams, your freshly baked bread, and sip on a hot cup of coffee while enjoying the sound of chiming church bells and chirping birds. At night, you can either walk back to the Place aux Herbes to have dinner, or cook yourself a meal at home in your fully equipped kitchen. Then, dream the night away on comfy mattresses, and start all over again the next day!

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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!


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!


Precious family time…

What a world we live in! With globalization and tough competition, job relocation is sometimes the lot of many scattered families around the globe. Believe us, we can relate! What better way to keep the family bound tight than to organise a family reunion? It could be for a family birthday, for a holiday celebration, an anniversary, or simply because it has been too long. Here is a simple, yet very effective recipe to any successful family gathering. First and foremost, you must pick a place, and not just any place: it should be in an attractive area, central or at least easy to get to, preferably with mild weather (we wouldn’t want to be stuck inside all the time, now, would we?), both extensive and comfy, with a homey feeling that makes all relax: as the host, you want to have your family close by and comfortably settled. The surroundings should offer both activities for every generation and relaxed and intimate areas for time out or reacquainting moments. And finally, what would be a family reunion without qualitative family meals? To ensure you get all that – and more! – we recommend two choices, in two different countries which, although very different, easily check all of the above.

Should your family be spread throughout Europe – lucky you! – or should you simply look for an exceptional venue, Mediterranean countries always come first to mind. There is first beautiful Italy, where we found right next to Rome, its capital, the perfect Villa for your family retreat. And though we are of course accustomed to organizing parties and events, it is always with a bit of surprise – and a warm feeling of pride – that we read the wonderful reviews our guests leave us after some time spent in our wonderful properties. Villa Vesta was praised numerous times by its visitors, and here is how they describe it in their own words:
“absolutely beautiful”, “has to be seen and experienced!”, “a beautiful location and a wonderful trip managed end to end exceptionally well”, “we look forward to our next trip”, “We loved the location, the peacefulness, how well equipped it was and the pool was wonderful to swim in after a long day in Rome. We would highly recommend this place to anyone!”

Need we say more? The area around Villa Vesta offers of course beautiful Rome, always a good idea no matter what time of the year, Tivoli and the marvellous gardens of Villa d’Este and Villa Hadriana, but also Castelli Romani, a natural volcanic park with amazing scenery, pretty Ariccia and its Palazzo Chigi (barely a 20min ride), Frascati with its flourishing vineyards and enotecas, Castle San Castello in Sora, and of course Grottaferrata, built around the Abbey of Santa Maria di Grottaferrata, founded in 1004, and summer home of the Popes. But the Villa will certainly captivate you and your loved ones, as everything there is designed to make you want to stay.

France would be more convenient for you? Fear not, the French Provence welcomes you at the Bastide de la Félicité. Located in one of the most interesting parts of Provence to visit, anyone who visits La Félicité will nevertheless want to spend a lot of time there, as our happy guests sum it up themselves:
“Paradise”, “Essence of Provence in total luxury”, “Fantastic property, bedrooms, grounds, pool, playground and tennis court”, “sumptuous property”, “the staff was so very helpful, friendly and accommodating”, the long list of praise matches the extensive attention to every single detail inside and outside the house.

But you will want of course to discover the charms Saint-Remy, Avignon (a 30min drive) with the Popes Palace, its city center which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, and the Festival d’Avignon, l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a wonderful site famous for its many antique shops and Sundays antique markets, Eygalières, only 15min away and probably the most beautiful village in the Alpilles, Arles, home to the Rencontres de la Photographie, and finally Les Baux de Provence and the Carrières de Lumières, a high technology multimedia performance in the ancient and giant caves that were quarried to build the town.

In Italy or in France, we will of course take care of your transfers, itineraries, visits, wine tastings, or any activity you would feel like trying. Call your loved ones, set a date, and reunite in style!


Celebrating the start of the cold season in style!

Ah, transitioning into autumn… The ups (putting on your winter coat), the downs (putting away your swimsuits) … Going back to school is always an opportunity to reflect on a busy summer, to make good resolutions … and to prepare for your next holidays! All Saints’ Day is almost here, and let’s not mention Christmas… To give you a little taste of what the colder seasons are all about, we have chosen several destinations, already available for booking throughout Fall & Winter!


We first visited the south of Bavaria (a DRASTIC change after Tuscany!), an hour from the Austrian border, in the region of Traunstein. I can hear you already: Bavaria? During the fall? No, “Oktoberfest” should not be your sole motivation, Traunstein has a few aces up her sleeves!
A discreet destination just a half hour from Salzburg, Austria, Traustein has it all for a mountain holiday – picturesque wooden cabins, sunny peaks, and of course alpine skiing – and it is a very pleasant region as well during the Indian summer, especially if you’re staying in our magnificent chalet… Once settled, you can enjoy the wonderful space our chalet has to offer, take a dive in the swimming pond, or even relax in the sauna!

Our chalet in Traunstein

Fancy a visit? Discover the “Hofbräuhaus”, a famous Traunstein brewery: this year their Open Day is held on October 28, and you can of course visit the brewery and enjoy their beers. Make time as well for Lake Chiemsee, the largest lake in the region -also known as the “Bavarian Sea”- for a pedal boat or boat trip and a visit to the Herrenchiemsee, the magnificent castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who built it as a twin to the Palace of Versailles. We will of course take care of all your reservations on site!

For a ski vacation before, during or after Christmas, our chalet-style apartment in Kitzbühel in Austria or our chalet in Chamonix in the French Savoy are waiting for you: both ski resorts and trendy destinations in the Alps, Kitzbühel and Chamonix have not only the most beautiful ski slopes in the area but many of the treats of great cities as well.


With a dynamic nightlife and very up to date in terms of fashion and shopping, Kitzbühel has certainly taken advantage of its urban and natural assets. In the heart of the historic center, the beautiful shops will lure you into a window-shopping session, and the skiing area counts no less than 170 kilometers of slopes, spread over 60 runs of all levels of difficulty, including the famous Streif on the Hahnenkamm summit, considered by professional skiers and by amateurs as the most difficult, technical and prestigious downhill race in the world. It is certainly not by chance that the Ski World Championship is held there every year! Off-piste and free-ride enthusiasts are also welcome at Hanglalm Park, an extensive Snow Park that hosts competitions several times a year. You can access all of this with just a 10 min walk from “Kitzy”, our beautiful apartment.

French cousin of Kitzbühel, Chamonix is a charming little mountain town, with a historic centre, beautiful boutiques, starred restaurants and of course a great skiing area: 108 kilometres of slopes and off-piste for amateurs: we recommend at least a day in the Vallée Blanche with a guide starting with a hike at Aiguille du Midi if the conditions and your ski level allow it, it is a unique experience!

Another noticeable skiing area is Les Grands Montets, especially for the off-piste. To end on a high note, enjoy the surroundings at the “Hameau Albert 1er”, a grand and romantic 5-star hotel which shelters a splendid spa and a marvelous 2-star restaurant, or visit the Casino in the heart of the city. You can then go home to “Le Chalet”, our beautiful property just a few minutes from the city centre: breath-taking mountains views, terraces, fireplace and even a sauna, Le Chalet has it all for an unforgettable vacation.

Our chalet in Chamonix


Sound of Music landscapes, skiing, relaxation and gastronomy, choose now your favorite winter destination!


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.

Immerse yourself at the Carrières de Lumières – view this clip from our summer visit. 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

 

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