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South France Villas Blog

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Thinking of visiting the South of France for your 2015 family holiday?

Should I book my villa rental early or wait for a last minute deal?

Villas to rent in Cannes
South France Villas top 5 advantages of booking your summer holiday early.
  1. You get to choose exactly what you would like with no compromises.
  2. Take advantage of the early booking offers on Flights, Eurostar and Ferry travel.
  3. Something to look forward to, "this time next month I will be in the South of France"….only so many sleeps!
  4. Easier to budget as your deposit has already been paid.
  5. Plenty of time to plan your holiday agenda, the best places to visit, which beaches etc.
When should I book? If you are a large group with specific requirements then the earlier the better. The larger Southern France villas with pools, en-suite bathrooms, air-conditioning, heated pools and within walking distances of shops, restaurants etc., can already be fully booked for the school summer holidays by mid January. 

Villa to rent South of France
Francophiles who come to the South of France every year have even been known to book 18 months in advance to ensure they get the right villa or location. For example, this wonderful villa with breathtaking views over Collioure, Languedoc has only one peak season week left Villa-la-voile , don’t panic we have many other fabulous villas that do have availability! Like this lovely one near Grasse on the Cote d’Azur Villa-des-Pierres, with heated pool and a hot tub.
Villa to rent in Pezenas

Should I wait for a last minute special offer? Again, this depends on your requirements. If you are not too concerned about staying in a specific South of France village or town and are a small family with date flexibility then maybe you could take the risk. However, you may find that the best ones will have been snapped up. New Villas are been added all the time, so this could work to your advantage. This French villa on a golf course near Pezenas was new to the site in August La-Petite-Bastide - a great family rental.

Friday 17 October 2014

Mushroom time in the South of France

We just love the new season Mushrooms that can now be found at the local markets and supermarkets, not only do they taste good but they look pretty too. I was once asked to go mushroom gathering but the 5 am pick up time put me off! However the only reason that you need to go so early is to get there before everybody else! The locals know exactly where to go but it is TOP SECRET. If you are a hiker/walker and get to far out places then you may just stumble across some great Mushrooms, that is unless you get shot by the hunters, but that is another story…

The French are great at foraging for food, Wild Asparagus, Truffles, Garlic and Mushrooms, whilst Brits can be a little apprehensive as a conscious nagging thought keeps popping up “is it poisonous?” well if in doubt you can take the mushrooms to the Pharmacy and they will tell you if you if they are safe. I always thought this was just a myth, but last year I saw a British lady with a plastic bag full of mushrooms walk into the Pharmacy, before she even got her words out there was an outcry from fellow customers  “Non ce n’est pas possible, jamais mettre les champignons dans un sac plastique !”don’t put mushrooms in a plastic bag! I never did find out if they were edible or not.

The most popular mushrooms here in the South of France are; Cepes, Girolles, Oronges and Morilles.

So if you have foraged or bought your mushrooms here are a couple of our favourite recipes.

Barbecued Cepes

A really easy recipe only 20 minutes preparation and 8 minutes cooking time.

750g of very fresh cepes, 1 small clove garlic per mushroom
2 tablespoons of olive oil,1 bunch of fresh parsley, salt and pepper.

Carefully clean the mushrooms, by wiping them with a damp cloth, heat the barbecue (or grill) the best results are from a traditional bbq using old vine cuttings "sarments". Peel the garlic clove and make a small slit in each mushroom and insert the clove of garlic if they are too big just cut the clove in half. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place mushrooms on the grill or BBQ and grill for 7-8 minutes, turning regularly. Whilst they are cooking, wash and chop the parsley.When the mushrooms are cooked, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately whilst very hot.

Wild Mushroom Fricassee

Wild Mushroom Fricassee
30 minutes of easy preparation, cooking time 25 minutes.Serves 4: 
700 g mushrooms (Cepes , Oyster, Girolles or any that you can get your hands on...), 
2 small shallots, 
10cl of white wine, 
15cl of cream, 
1 small bunch of parsley, 
3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Clean the mushrooms carefully with a soft brush or damp cloth (do not wash). Remove the earthy part of the stem, if some mushrooms are large, cut into pieces. Peel and finely chop the shallots and parsley.Heat the oil in a large frying pan. If using Cepes add these first and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, then add the other mushrooms and fry for another 5-6 minutes.
Add the shallots and parsley and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Pour over the white wine, and reduce until dry then add the cream, season with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until there is just enough cream to coat the mushrooms (6-7 min). Adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately.

Villa for Rent in Languedoc

Why not visit one of our lovely villas in the South of France and try your hand at mushroom picking, or just visit the fantastic local markets and buy them fresh along with many other great local produce. South France Villas

Villa for Rent in LanguedocThis beautiful large holiday rental in the Haut Languedoc Natural park is perfect for lovers of total tranquility and escapism, or those who prefer the outdoors as the local walks and hikes are spectacular. A great place to try your hand at mushroom picking, take a picnic and make a day of it.
This Languedoc holiday house sits within a 700m2 garden, has a kidney-shaped pool and is totally private, standing alone amidst stunning mountainous scenery and overlooking ancient Château ruins. Idyllic! 40 minutes from the city of Montpellier, plus the South of France sandy beaches are only an hour away.

South of France Villa for lovers of total tranquillity and escapism 

Wednesday 10 September 2014

A real French experience - Grape picking in the South of France

Wine harvest season starts in September – why not book a villa with us and experience this exciting season in the most beautiful vineyards in the South of France. We have a selection of last minute Holiday Homes in Provence, Languedoc and Cote d’Azur. 
Here is some advice to follow if you want to witness this seasonal activity.

A farmer’s grape harvest takes any time between 7 and 18 days. The weather during harvesting is still warm but there are less tourists so you get to explore more during your time off. Provence, Cote d’Azur and Languedoc are all famous for their high-quality wines and some vineyards still employ many people from all over the world during the grape harvest season. Usually there are three types of positions to be filled: cutters, carriers, and those who empty the buckets. ‘Les vendanges’ (grape harvest) is hard work but definitely a once in a lifetime experience. After a day of hard work it is traditional for the farmers to arrange drinks for the ‘vendangeurs’ (grape pickers) and some farmers even provide lunch or dinner.

Grape harvesting in France
Grape picking in France

Languedoc, Provence& Cote d’Azur as wine producers

Languedoc remains the largest wine producing region in the world (2800 wine producers) even though its reputation was bad until the 1980s because of overproducing cheap wine in the 1970s. This, however, changed and the region has since recovered its status as a high quality wine producer – wine production in the region is all about quality over quantity. Why not rent a villa in the Languedoc and visit some of the wine domaines doing exciting new blends such as La Croix Belle or Les Chemins de Bassac. Have a look at the stunning Maison Mimosa right next to the river Orb, close to La Croix Belle or the Luxury Villa Domaine de Bassac next to Les Chemins de Bassac.

The oldest and one of the most famous wine producing areas, Provence, is internationally known for its refreshing and crisp light pink rosé wine. The total land area, 27,000 hectares, covers both Provence and parts of Cote d’Azur. There are around 600 wine producers in Provence and Cote d’Azur producing around 170 million bottles of wine each year (88% rosé, 9% red and 3% white). Even though the region is most famous for its rosé, you should also try powerful and structured red wines or delicate and light whites. 

Grape picking in Southern France
Delicious grapes


The ‘Appellation d’origine controlée (AOC sometimes AOP)’ is the French certification granted to certain French products, such as wines. The certification was originally formed to protect the ancient wines in France and to preserve them for future generations. There are over 300 French wines that are entitled to the designation of AOC on their label – around 30 in the Languedoc-Roussillon region and approximately 10 in Provence/Cote d’Azur area. The most famous ones include Côtes de Provence, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côte du Rhône, for example.

You can also find bottles that have been labelled as ‘Vin de Pays’ (VDP or IGP) – these wines are not necessarily lower quality than the AOC ones, they are wines that were made using grape varieties or procedures that were other than those required by the AOC rules. Some of the top wine producers especially in the Languedoc-Roussillon region have decided to work outside the AOC regulations meaning that ‘Vin de Pays’ wines are still excellent quality. There are now more than 150 VDP/IGP titles covering mostly locations in the South of France - we recommend trying the delicious wines of Mas de Daumas Gassac.

Many of our holiday homes in the South of France are situated close to the local wine domaines. If you want to stay in Languedoc, the biggest wine producing region in France, have a look at these properties:

Villa Elisabeth is perfect for 6 people,it has a private pool and it is very close to the beautiful Pezenas and Agde. It is also on special offer during September and October!

South of France villa rental
Lovely pool

If you are looking for a more contemporary holiday property in the Languedoc, check out Maison Nadine – it is situated right on the edge of a typical Mediterranean wine producing village making it the perfect spot if you want to do some grape picking.

Villa with pool Languedoc
Gorgeous views

Situated in a quiet wine growing village, Maison Minervois is a beautifully renovated and decorated Languedoc villa for 8 people – great location for your holiday in the South of France.

When you are looking for a South of France Luxury Villa, Casa St Elme is the perfect one! It sleeps 8 people, has a private pool, jacuzzi as well as magnificent views.

Luxury villa Collioure Languedoc
Casa St Elme
Luxury villa Collioure Languedoc
Fabulous views

Situated in one of the most beautiful villages in France,  La Grange in Roquebrun is a large villa with stunning views over the village. The local ‘appellation’ is St Chinian but some vineyards also produce wine for the ‘Faugères’ appellation. 

Lounge on the pool terrace
La Grange
Farmhouse and garden
Villa facade

Domaine de Beausejour is a charming 19th century converted wine domaine very close to Beziers. It is also approximately 10km from the beach.

French charm
Domaine de Beausejour
villa Rental pool Beziers , south of france
Relax by the pool

When you want to stay in Provence, Villa Du Jardin right next to Aix-en-Provence is perfect if you want to witness the wine harvesting - there are several wine domaines in the region. This traditional Provencal villa has 5 bedrooms to sleep 8 people and also has a lovely private pool. 

House from the garden
Villa du Jardin
A large pool terrace
Beautiful pool area

If you would like to find out more about any of the featured properties above, or any of our other holiday villas in the South of France, Corsica or Morocco, please don't hesitate to get in touch!

UK: +44 (0)20 70 60 64 14
France: +33 (0)4 67 36 05 54

Monday 1 September 2014

Top Five Tips For Booking a Last Minute Villa in the South of France

If you have ever thought about making a spontaneous decision and booking a last minute holiday in the South of France, keep reading - this blog post is for you! We have a wide selection of last minute villas in Languedoc, Provence and Cote d’Azur and booking one with South France Villas is easy and hassle-free. With so many airlines flying to the Southern France, reaching your dream holiday property could not be easier!
Choosing the perfect French Holiday Villa can be overwhelming because of so many options – we’re happy to help you with any questions regarding our Luxury Rentals in the South of France as well as provide information on the local area.

1. Choose the region
Trying to decide which region to stay in can be difficult since every one of them offers different activities, landscapes and climate. Whether it’s wine tasting, windsurfing, golfing or cycling, we’ll help you when it comes to choosing the perfect location for your holiday in the South of France. If you are stuck between two options, have a look at some of our villas that are on the border of Languedoc and Provence or Provence and Cote d’Azur – this gives you the perfect opportunity to explore more during your holiday!

2. Choose the top three things you want in your villa
When you book one of our French Holiday Homes with a big group, you might need to compromise since everyone’s taste is probably different. Try to write down a list of the three things you want in your holiday property in Languedoc, Provence or Cote d’Azur. This will make your search quicker and you can book your dream holiday villa fast!

3. Travel Insurance
Don’t forget to buy travel insurance before jetting off - this will ensure a carefree journey where you don’t have to worry too much.

4. Enjoy your holiday more with a little bit of help
      Whether you want assistance with babysitting, catering or extra cleaning, we’re happy to organise everything for you. This way you can enjoy your French holiday even more and concentrate on relaxing and exploring the local area.

      5. Research the area where you will be staying
        You have now booked your last minute holiday and will be travelling to the South of France shortly – for you to enjoy your stay even more, research the area a little bit before arriving. This will make you more familiar with the region and you don’t have to spend precious time on doing research while you’re on your holiday! If you would like some tips regarding the local area, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  

      Have a look at some of the last minute villa offers we have in September:

The Baie Bleu close to Ste Maxime and St Tropez is now on special offer! This gorgeous Cote d’Azur villa sleeps 4 people in 2 ensuite bedrooms. It has a private pool, large garden and beautiful sea views.

La Garenne near to Canal du Midi sleeps 6 people and prices are from 700€ in September/October! It is close to Beziers and the beach is approximately 25km away. It has a lovely garden and swimming pool and is a great option when you are looking for a last minute Holiday Villa in the South of France.

Garden and back facade
La Garenne - garden and back facade
Sun loungers by the pool
Plenty of sunloungers to relax in

Villa Vinea close to Narbonne sleeps 6/7 people and is only £869 in September and October instead of the normal price of £1250! Not far from the Spanish border and the beaches, this property in Languedoc is the perfect last minute Holiday Villa.

If you are looking for a bigger Luxury Villa, have a look at La Californie – situated next to Cannes, this exceptional Luxury Holiday Villa sleeps 10 people. It has sea views, a pool and a lush Mediterranean garden. The international airport of Nice is approximately a 30-minute drive away so the villa can be easily reached. 

If you would like to find out more about any of the featured properties above, or any of our other holiday villas in the South of France, Corsica or Morocco, please don't hesitate to get in touch!

UK: +44 (0)20 70 60 64 14
France: +33 (0)4 67 36 05 54

Thursday 14 August 2014

Explore the real hidden gems of Provence

Enjoy the calm and remote beaches, explore the Mediterranean fjords and untouched mountain scenery and experience the unique atmosphere Provence has to offer. We have many Luxury Holiday Villas with private pool in Provence from where you can explore this popular and famous area!

Getting to Provence could not be easier – many airline companies fly to Marseille, Avignon or Toulon-Hyeres. You can also get the high-speed train, TGV, which only takes approximately 3h 15 minutes from Paris to Marseille. All the major car-hire companies are situated at the airports so why not hire a car for your holiday in Provence.

Summers are busy in Provence but if you want to visit the area when it’s less crowded, try April/May or September/October. The weather is lovely during those months and you get to experience more since there are less people and less traffic. We have a choice of Holiday villas in Provence with availability in spring/autumn – have a look at our Provencal holiday property selection.

Here are the top 5 hidden gems in Provence you can visit during your stay in the area:

Les Calanques
Known as the ‘Mediterranean fjords’, les Calanques are only a short drive away from Marseille. These limestone cliffs are 12 000 years old and they plunge into the Mediterranean sea. Starting from the coast of Marseille and ending to Cassis, there are 24 calanques, or inlets, on this 20-kilometre stretch of coast. The most popular inlets are the ones closest to Marseille and Cassis since it is easy to access them. However, if you want peacefulness and solitude, try the inlets that are a bit further away. Some of the calanques can only be accessed by foot or a boat so make sure you’re wearing some good hiking boots! Have a look at our Luxury Holiday Villas with private pool close to the Calanques, namely the Vacation Villa in Cassis.

Les Dentelles de Montmirail
The Dentelles de Montmirail are a small chain of mountains in the Vaucluse department and this traditional and peaceful corner of the region is perfect for a few days of relaxation. The foot of the Dentelles is surrounded by vineyards and there are multiple wine domaines in the area to visit and do wine tasting. It is a spectacular area offering climbing and biking and feels ‘untouched’ even if it is close enough to big towns. Book your Holiday Villa in the Vaucluse, South of France, and explore the beautiful Dentelles de Montmirail! Have a look at Le Ventoux - it sleeps 6-7, has a private swimming pool and is only a short drive away from the Dentelles. If you are looking for a bigger villa, try Mas Colombiere which sleeps 10 people and is located in the heart of Provence. 

Views over the mountains Dentelles du Montmirail
Les Dentelles du Montmirail

Les Alpilles
One of Van Gogh’s favourite places in the world, the Chaîne des Alpilles is a small range of mountains situated 20km from Avignon. The beautiful traditional Provencal villages in the area are the perfect location for a relaxing day, or if you are the sporty type you can climb up the mountains and admire the stunning view from the top. Our beautiful Mas Olives sleeps up to 10 people and has superb views of the Alpilles mountains!

Villa rental close to the Alpilles
Les Alpilles

Best known for its white horses, black bulls and flamingos, it is also the area where Provence has it's own 'cowboys'. It is considered to be the largest river delta in Western Europe and covers parts of the territory of the commune of Arles. The landscapes in the Camargue are very unique and different compared to rest of the South of France – discover Camargue yourself and stay in the luxurious Villa Nadege, situated close to the Camargue. It sleeps 12 people, has a heated private pool and stunning views. Have a look at Artists House too - a large family villa close to the Camargue with a swimming pool, sauna, small gym and a snooker table. 

Le Panier, Marseille

Marseille’s Old Town, Le Panier, is a charismatic part of the city. Surging up from the Vieux Port, it was once condemned as an overpopulated underworld but has now some of Marseille’s brightest artists, designers and craftspeople. The best way to explore this part of the city is by foot – there are excellent crafts and designer shops as well as some great art galleries for you to visit. There are many restaurants and French bistros to enjoy lunch or experience the beautiful evening light when the sun comes straight down the street making this part of the city look absolutely magical. Le Charité Café is a great place to visit – it has a peaceful terrace and is the perfect little bistro if you want simple lunch.  If you are looking for a place for dinner, try La Virgule – one of the best restaurants along the Northern edge of the Vieux Port. It has an outdoor terrace and it offers amazing views of the Old Port and Notre Dame de la Garde. Our Villa du Jardin is situated close to the beautiful Aix-en-Provence, only about 25 minutes from Marseille! It sleeps 8 and is the most charming Provencal villa.

Marseille le Panier
Le Panier, Marseille

If you would like to find out more about any of the featured properties above, or any of our other holiday villas in the South of France, Corsica or Morocco, please don't hesitate to get in touch!

UK: +44 (0)20 70 60 64 14
France: +33 (0)4 67 36 05 54

Friday 25 July 2014

Top 10 Beaches in the Languedoc

Whether you want to enjoy the peacefulness of the remote beaches or top up your tan in the livelier ones, Languedoc has something for everyone’s taste. We offer a wide selection of luxury holiday villas in Languedoc, South of France.This is a guide to some of the best beaches in the Languedoc region and they are only a short drive away from your French holiday villa! 

La Corniche
The North side of the beach has a parking lot that is very big and free of charge. There are few nice restaurants, night clubs and cafes so it is the perfect spot for everyone. The South side of La Corniche is thinner and has a wilder feeling since there are no buildings close by. Have a look at our luxury holiday villas in Sète, in the Languedoc - they are all close to La Corniche and other stunning beaches in the Languedoc.

Luxury Villas in La Corniche
La Corniche

Situated in Cap d’Agde, this lovely beach with fine sand is a great spot for a day at the beach – it is situated approximately 3km from the centre of Cap d’Agde making it easy to get there if you are renting one of our French holiday homes on the beach. It is one of the best and most popular beaches in Cap d’Agde so make sure to get there early in the morning to get a parking spot. Check out our villa rentals with pool in Cap d'Agde in the Languedoc.

Villa rentals with private pool on the beach

In between Cap d’Agde and Valras Plage, Vias is a sheltered beach with a line of grassy sand banks. The water is shallow and the beach is calm making it the perfect location for families with little children. There are restaurants, cafes and bars behind the beach where you can sit in the shade with a cold drink during the hottest hours of the day. The beach is easily accessible and is approximately a 25-minute drive away from Béziers.

South of France Family Holidays in Vias
Vias Beach 

Situated right next to Sérignan, the Portiragnes beach is family oriented and relatively quiet. With fine sand and a dog-friendly area, it is the perfect choice if you want to spend the day on a beach that is not massive. There are few bars and restaurants but they are separated from the beach by a car park. Have a look at our holiday beachfront villa for rent in Portiragnes plage.

Languedoc luxury villas on the Portiragnes beach
The 3.2km Sérignan beach is the perfect spot for everyone – it offers plenty of space to spread out. The sand dunes at the back protect the beach and give it a wild and remote feeling. There are few restaurants and beach bars behind the sand bank – enjoy a drink or two after a day at the beach! There is a naturist section at the far left of Sérignan.

Languedoc Serignan Beach, family villas in the South of France
Valras is a good option if you’re looking for a beach that is a bit livelier. It has many shops, bars and restaurants where you can enjoy lunch or have some drinks. It is one of the big town beaches and not as calm as Sérignan and Portiragnes but offers a lot to do. Have a look at our beachfront villas in Valras in the South of France.

Valras Plage in Languedoc, great beachfront villas
Valras Plage
Port Leucate
Situated in the South of Narbonne, it is a very popular beach amongst the wind and kite surfers.  The sand is gritty and the beach is separated by a promenade where you can roller skate. Perfect for families since there are nice bars, restaurants and cafes as well as plenty of parking space. We have many holiday villas for rent on the beach, near Narbonne, Languedoc.

Holiday villa rentals close to Narbonne
Port Leucate
Argèles North
A massive beach with gorgeous views of the Pyrenees. This beach is often described as one of the best ones in France and it has plenty of space to spread out. Holiday homes and campsites are situated right next to the beach but they are separated by trees and flowers. There are plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants to enjoy lunch or drinks. If you’re feeling adventurous or have had enough of sun bathing, try one of the sea-related activities! We have a selection of luxury holiday villas in Collioure with private pools and within walking distance of the beach.

Villa rentals on Argeles Beach in Languedoc
Argeles North
Lake Salagou
If you want to explore a different type of a beach, try Salagou, Languedoc’s best-known lake. The lake is clean but the water can appear a bit dark because of the nature of the local earth. There are lots of trees around the lake providing shade so you can spend the whole day there. 

Holiday rentals close to the Lake Salagou in the South of France
Lake Salagou

One of the most beautiful villages in France, the Orb river in Roquebrun offers clean and clear water. Flip flops are necessary since the beach and the river bed are stony. Roquebrun is a popular place for canoeing and you can rent them for a few hours or for a couple of days.  The village is small but stunning and it has a couple of very nice restaurants where you can enjoy the view over the river. Have a look at our private holiday villas with pool in Roquebrun, in the Languedoc. 

Roquebrun holiday properties in Languedoc

Book your French holiday villa in the South of France with us!
We have a wide selection of beautiful luxury villas close to all the stunning beaches in the Languedoc region:

If you want to stay close to La Corniche beach, have a look at Villa Setoise [HE063A], a stunning beach front villa with an infinity pool. It is now on special offer with 20% off the weekly prices in August and September! 
The sister property [HE065A] Villa St Clair has amazing views, a gorgeous glass fronted pool and is on special offer as well! 

If you prefer to stay in Cap d'Agde or nearby, we have a wide selection of villas in the area. Check out the beautiful beachfront villa Rochelongue [HE005A] - it has gorgeous sea views and is ideal for families. 
Another stunning villa that is perfect for families is La Bagatelle [HE061A]. Situated on the Rochelongue beach, this contemporary villa has breathtaking sea views and the most enviable position on the white sandy beach. 
Les Rocailles [HE044A] is a stunning beachfront villa with heated pool and a large garden making it a perfect family villa. All the local amenities are nearby or right on the beach.
If you are looking for a smaller property, have a look at the charming Cap Camarine [HE052A] - it is on the beautiful Rochelongue beach!

If you're looking to stay in Valras, Villa Fabienne [HE004A] is directly on the beautiful sandy beach. The pool is completely fenced and the restaurants, bars and cafes are all within a walking distance. It is ideal for a family holiday in the South of France!
If you have many people coming on a holiday in the Languedoc, you can also book the whole property - click on Villa Fabienne [HE004B] for more information. 
Have a look at Villa St Pierre [HE067A] as well - it is right on the Valras beach and sleeps 8. 

If you're interested in staying close to the Port Leucate check out the stunning Laguna Beach Chalet [AU024A] - it is on the beach and has been renovated recently. It is the perfect location for your holiday in the South of France!

For those wanting to stay in the stunning village of Roquebrun, La Grange [HE083A] is a lovely Provencal style farmhouse only a few steps from the River Orb. It is spacious and has breathtaking views over the river. 
When you're looking for a bigger villa in Roquebrun, Maison Mimosa [HE074A] is the perfect choice - it sleeps 14, has a sauna and a heated indoor pool and the river beach is right next to this Languedoc house!

If you would like to find out more about any of the featured properties above, or any of our other holiday villas in the South of France, Corsica or Morocco, please don't hesitate to get in touch!

UK: +44 (0)20 70 60 64 14
France: +33 (0)4 67 36 05 54

Thursday 10 July 2014

Exploring Sommieres, Uzes and the Foothills of the Cevennes

Nestled between the Camargue and the Cévennes National Parks, this part of France is truly beautiful, with a landscape of vineyards, olive groves, lavender fields and is dotted with ancient stone ruins.You will be enchanted by the rustic perfectness, and will be thrilled you chose to holiday here.

Provence Holiday Villas near the Cévennes
The Cévennes National Park
The ancient roman road; the Via Luteva, leads into the charming town of Sommières, crossing the ancient roman bridge over the river Vidourle. It is best to park just outside the town and walk across the bridge. At the town end of the bridge you will see the gothic town gate, known as the “Tour de l’Horloge” due to its large clock face. Once inside the town, relax and take your time exploring the many independent artisan boutiques and restaurants. The narrow cobbled streets lead to a series of squares lined with street cafés. Artists take their place here to paint the Provençal scene. Walking along the tree-lined river will bring you to the town centre.
Rent a Villa in Sommieres
Sommieres from the Bridge and the Tour de l'Horloge

There are many activities to enjoy in or close to Sommières; Canoeing on the river Vidourle, Cycling along one of the many cycle routes in the area such as the circuit from nearby Calvisson to Sommières, Fishing – you can buy a pass from the local tourist office. The colourful Saturday Market is not to be missed!


At only 13 kilometres from the UNESCO certified Pont du Gard, the delightful small town of Uzès certainly has the Provençal charm one is looking for whilst on holiday in the region. The skyline is dominated by the cathedrals 42 metre high Lombard-style bell tower, the Tour Fenestrelle. The chateau in the centre of town, named the Duche, has been owned by the Cressol family for the past 1000 years. Uzès is famed for its Week-End de la Truffe, a celebration of the prized elusive truffle, which takes place mid-January every year. The Uzès Museum is perfect for art lovers and also displays archaeological and pre-historic artifacts. The roman architecture coupled with the many “secret gardens” around the town make Uzès a very pretty place to be.

Holidays in the South of France
The Colourful Market on the Place des Herbes, Uzes
The Chateau is open for visitors on Saturdays. The market in Place des Herbes is on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Pont du Gard displays an amazing light and sound show in mid-June. The Musée du Bonbon (also known at the Haribo Museum) is also nearby and is a popular choice for kids.

Vacations in Provence
The Cévennes Steam Train
Alès and the Cévennes
Moving north, the garrigue becomes greener and hillier, you come to the Cévennes National Park, and the town of Alès, also known as the second city of the Gard department and the Capital of the Cévennes. This town, perhaps described as more modern than Sommières and Uzès has an annual festival - the Estiv’Alès; a free event which takes place every July and August – with music concerts throughout the town. There is also “Cévennes Week” an event which sees costumed pageants around the town demonstrating the history of the Cévennes – it takes place in March.
Great days out in the area include - La Bambouseraie a bamboo forest, rare in Europe, which was created in 1856. With many exotic trees and plants. The Cévennes Steam Train is a lovely relaxing way to explore the countryside.

If all of this hasn’t whetted your appetite for a holiday in eastern Languedoc or Provence, here are a few more examples of things to do in the Gard department:
Family Holiday Rentals
The Beaches at La Grande Motte
The Beaches at La Grande Motte and Le Grau de Roi are not far away.
The cosmopolitan cities of Montpellier and Nîmes are ideal if you are looking for a retail fix! With plenty of restaurants, nightlife, cinemas, ice skating, museums and events throughout the year – there is always something going on, even if you visit during the winter months!
Wine Tasting – You will not have to venture far from your holiday villa to find a local wine producer who will provide you with a tour of the estate and a wine tasting!
If you enjoy the great outdoors, activities such as climbing, hiking, mountain biking and paragliding can all be done whilst visiting Pic Saint Loup, 30kms to the north of Montpellier.

Vacation Rentals near Montpellier and Nimes
The Impressive Pic Saint Loup
Getting There
It is now easier than ever to reach your self-catering holiday villa in the Languedoc or Provence. Eurostar have now extended their direct 6 hour summer service from Ashford to Avignon by two weeks and will be permanent from 2015. There are flights available from the UK to Nimes, Avignon, Marseille, Beziers and Montpellier. Or, if you are driving, the port of Calais is approximately 600 miles away.

Book Your Holiday Villa With Us!
Here are a selection of our luxury family properties in the eastern Languedoc and Provence near the towns of Sommieres, Uzes and Ales:

Vacation Rental in the South of France
Restored Stone-Built Luxury Property near Uzes - Bastide de la Soie  Sleeps up to 12 People, has 2 Pools, Wi-Fi, Air-Conditioning and Incredible Views
A Stunning 140 Acre Estate - Domaine de Montmel , near Sommieres, has Breathtaking Views and an Infinity Pool. The Property Sleeps up to 28 People and is Perfect for Large Events and Weddings

Large Vacation Rental in the South of France
Between Nimes and Montpellier, Sleeping up to 12 People, Artists Hous is Equipped with Sauna, Snooker Table and Gym. The Villa has 6 Bedrooms, a Large Garden and Air-Conditioning, Ideal for 2 Families Holidaying Together!
Vacation Villa with a Pool for 12 People
Villa Nadege is a Large Country House with a Stunning Summer Kitchen, Pool, Gym and 6 Bedrooms. Situated just South of Ales.
Vacation Property Sleeps 10
A Hilltop Farmhouse in the Cevennes, Mas Sevenne  is a Stone-Built Bastide with a Private Pool near St Hippolyte du Fort. All Rooms have Stunning Views. Sleeps 8-10 in 4 Bedrooms.
Vacation Villa Sleeps 12-14 near Sommieres
Bastide Langlade is a Charming Renovated 18th Century Winemakers House near Sommieres. On the Edge of a Pretty Village with Open Views to the Countryside. Sleeps 12 - 14 People in 5 Bedrooms.
Holiday for Large Groups in Provence
Domaine Fontaine du Mas, is a Large Farmhouse Property near Uzes which can Sleep up to 30 People. It is Perfect for Events and Wedding Celebrations.
Vacation Property Provence Sleeps 9
Le Vieux Moulin, (is a Large 17th Century Water Mill near Sommieres Offering 3 Separate Gites Sleeping up to 27 People - Ideal for 3 Families. The Gites can also be Rented Separately for Smaller Groups (Property References:   and 
If you would like to find out more about any of the featured properties above, or any of our other holiday villas in the South of France, Corsica or Morocco, please don't hesitate to get in touch!

UK : +44 (0)20 70 60 54 14
France: +33 (0)4 67 36 05 54
email: info@southfrancevillas.com