Holiday Homes In France
12th Century Roman Chapel with pool in the Gard
Castelnau Valence, between Uzès and Nîmes in Southern France
5 bedrooms, sleeps up to 8 people
Castelnau Valence has all the unspoiled charm of an ancient Langudoc village set in the middle of the garrigue, 20 kms from Nîmes and 15 minutes from Uzès. The chapel is a step away away from the small central square with a spring fed fountain that has been there forever and a warren of little streets that take you through the village. Next to the chapel are two tiny houses that belong to it, which have two of the bedrooms and bathrooms.
The main entrance to the chapel is via an interior courtyard. There is a second entrance via a door, decorated by a flowering hedge designed by Pierre Alexandre Risser, one of the most talented garden designers in France, who also made the interior courtyard garden. Flowers and box grown in pots made at the potteries in Anduze are scattered around the pool and the garden is peacefully romantic, surrounded by walls, bordered by bamboo and climbing plants. A partially covered terrace with a large table seating sixteen people makes a pleasant place to eat. The pool is surrounded by roses and fenced for the safety of young children.
The chapel and chapel houses have all been thoughtfully restored and decorated with country antiques and paintings. The old stone walls and beams and the original tiled floors harmonise perfectly in keeping with the traditional style of the region. The dome of the chapel, opposite a large fireplace, opens onto the salon, which has books, television and a hi-fi system. The dining room and kitchen has a lovely beamed ceiling and the kitchen is equipped with everything necessary including a silent dishwasher. The salon opens onto the covered terrace, which has an outside corner salon area with a wrought iron sofa, chairs and Moroccan carpets. Beneath the salon is a large, vaulted double bedroom with an en suite shower room.
The two little houses belonging to the chapel are accessed on the other side of the courtyard. There is a laundry room, a bathroom with bath and a double bedroom with a shower room. Above are two other bedrooms, one double, the other a twin. On the second floor is a colonial style bedroom, decorated with souvenirs of our travels, which has a bathroom with bath and a wc separated by a wrought iron screen. In total, the whole house has three televisions, video, DVD and radio.
Within 5 and 30 minutes you can play golf or tennis, ride or walk in the mountains. The Camargue and beaches along the coast are about an hour from here. If you head down to the Camargue and the beach at Grand-Motte, it's worth taking a detour to see Aigues-Mortes, a perfectly preserved 13th century town still surrounded by its defensive walls, where there are marvellous views over the Camargue from the top of the Tour Constance. Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer has some good seafood restaurants, if you are thinking about lunch.
Uzés, 15 minutes from here, has one foot in Provence and the other in Languedoc. The ducal château is a mixture of medieval and Renaissance styles, the old town is bounded by an oval of boulevards and the Saturday market is a weekly festival in itself with a dazzling array of local produce spilling into the back streets. Around Uzès are villages you can easily cycle to, St Quentin la Poterie, St Maximin (impossibly idyllic) and Collias. All worth a lifetime of exploration, let alone an afternoon.
An hour to the north is Vaison-la-Romaine in the Côtes du Rhône vineyard area and beautiful Arles with its amazing Roman remains and memories of van Gogh. In the Cévennes, you can walk for hours around Mont Aigoual and Mont Lozère, swim in the rivers, or fish for trout. You find the essential Midi in and around Anduze, famous for its vases and garden urns. There is an enchanting steam train that runs through the hills between Anduze and St Jean-du-Gard, and the huge Bamboo Gardens there, created over a century ago has almost every known species.
Prices and booking information
All prices are per week Saturday to Saturday
arriving at 4pm departing at 10am
15% discount on 2 week bookings
Extra cleaning can be arranged on request
Small pets welcome
A deposit of 30% is requested on booking
with 30% paid 8 weeks before arrival,
and the remainder paid 4 weeks before arrival,
together with a returnable damage deposit.
Please mention Vacation France when contacting the owner
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