Three Generations... and Counting!

Kelly Davis talks about her artist-inspired home in the lovely village of Nizas. | Maison Nizas - NIZ106

The Woolf family have had their delightful house in the little village of Nizas since 1980. This makes them possibly the longest-standing owners currently with South France Holiday Villas! Mr and Mrs Woolf and their family have been taking holidays in Nizas regularly for the last 30 years and now it’s the turn of the grown-up grandchildren to holiday there.

Back in 1980 when the Woolfs first bought it, the property was a winegrower’s home, complete with massive wine barrels stored in what is now the dining room. Mr Woolf did a lot of work to turn a semi-agricultural site into a comfortable home, adding a mezzanine floor, a roof terrace and a pool. He was lucky in that a good friend, a skilled carpenter, came to live in the house for a year and took the opportunity to hand-build a collection of cupboards and shelving.


Mrs Woolf is an artist and her work is exhibited throughout. In fact, the whole house bears witness to her quirky sense of colour and décor with furniture and ornaments carefully selected over the years to enhance its originality and attraction. It’s a house which is a home, not just another rental.

Kelly, the Woolf’s daughter, and her husband Ian Francis now manage the property, taking the bookings and ensuring that everything is ship-shape for clients who expect the property to be pristine on their arrival. In between lettings the whole family seize the opportunity to get down to Nizas and enjoy the peaceful and friendly ambience of the village. The Woolfs go down three or four times a year, whilst Kelly and Ian only manage it perhaps twice, but now the third generation are big enough to pop down on their own, time permitting, with friends and girlfriends in tow.

Nizas is friendly and sociable and great for families. The local café offers lunch and dinner and, under new owners, has become the social hub of the village with games nights open to everyone. There is also a small supermarket offering all the essentials – including croissants and baguettes, vital components of any successful French holiday! - so you don’t have to drive anywhere for provisions. Otherwise, the lovely town of Pézenas is only 10 minutes away, offering a hypermarket and a big choice of restaurants. Pézenas is well worth a visit, especially on a Saturday when the market is on. The medieval streets and alleyways hide a wealth of interesting artisan shops chock-full of potential gifts to take home with you.


The clients who book the Woolfs’ house are usually families, although occasionally couples looking for a slightly bigger holiday venue have booked too. Kelly says that, in general, the clients are considerate and look after the house as they understand that it is a much-loved home. They enjoy the fact they are in the centre of a thriving village but can still laze around the pool in complete privacy. With a roof terrace, shady courtyard, pool patio, sizeable living room and mezzanine, you can easily find somewhere to enjoy a bit of private time away from the rest of the family, too. And since it has always been a family house, there is a goodly selection of books, DVDs and games to while away the warm Mediterranean evenings.

When it comes to pricing, Kelly has reconfigured the rental periods to give clients a bigger choice of dates. She is also happy to negotiate.

Kelly was originally recommended to South France Holiday Villas by her housekeeper some six years ago. Maison Nizas has been one of the many lovely village houses on their books ever since. She likes the relationship with SFHV because they offer a personal service and can give informed advice on all aspects of renting, letting and managing. It just takes an email or a phone call to SFHV and Kelly can tap in to the latest trends in the south of France rental market.

So, three generations of Woolf-Francises plus countless clients have enjoyed the hospitality of Maison Nizas so far. Now that Kelly’s sons have grown up – the elder, Jamie,  is a professional musician and the younger, Alistair, is studying Space Science – who knows? Maybe one day the house will ring with the sound of the fourth generation playing under the brilliant blue Mediterranean skies.