How a movie sparked our interest…
We’ve racked our brains, and we don’t know why we settled down to watch Ridley Scott’s ‘A Good Year‘.
The movie, for those that haven’t seen it, is the tale of a City trader, Max (played by Russell Crowe), who inherits his uncle’s tired chateaux in Provence.
Initially, he just plans to sell it, as life is in London. However … well, I won’t give too much away, but he is charmed by that little pocket of France, and maybe Fanny Chenal (played by Marion Cotillard) had something to do with it.
A reference guide
If you love Provence as much as we do, you'll want to start planning your visit now. I so enjoy using the DK Eyewitness books, as they are extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Provencal road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.
So we planned our adventure
We aimed to head towards the Vaucluse region, and we picked the fine city of Avignon as our first stop in the area. However, the journey from Calais to Avignon was over 600 miles or nearly 1,000kms, so we decided to pick a stopover mid-wayish at Beaune just 370miles/600km from Calais.
Our planned route for the whole trip was a mix two night stopovers at the following locations;
Beaune (from Calais 378miles/609km)
Avignon (from Beaune 238miles/384km)
Arles (from Avignon 27miles/43km)
Grasse (from Arles 191miles/308km)
Gap (from Grasse 127miles/205km)
Lyon (from Gap 146miles/235km)
Auxerre (from Lyon 188miles/302km, to Calais 296miles/476km)
I’ll cover details of the whole trip in a later post, but here we’re focusing on ‘A Good Year’
Our chariot of choice
With a heavy heart, I had to discount my Audi TT Roadster. Sure it would have been great to have cruised through France with the wind in our hair, but alas, the boot (or trunk – whatever you want to call it) was a challenge to get sufficient clothes in for the break. We had yet to learn the art of careful packing. (Not sure we have yet to be honest!)
So we had to ‘make-do’ with her sister, Janis’s Audi S3. As you’d expect, the car was fabulous, and Janis has shoes for all occasions.
Heading for ‘A Good Year’
So after a couple of nights in Beaune, we’d head on to our next destination of Avignon. With the towns & villages of the region being our ‘A Good Year’ backdrop.
Avignon as a destination was splendid. Granted the sun shone, the food was fabulous & we were introduced to the wine of Lirac. It’s also worth noting the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is just over 10miles/17kms away.
From here we headed towards Gordes & Bonnieux, the key filming locations, all set within the Luberon Natural Regional Park.
Driving through the countryside with the heavy scent of Provence, it was like walking into L’Occiatane. It’s also the reason why their products feature in our bathroom to this day!
We also discovered a little further afield – heading just 15miles/24kms from Avignon to the splendid Pont du Gard.
Something to make your travels easier?
Sticking with Provence
After two short nights in Avignon, we moved onto Arles. A beautiful city, with its fantastic amphitheatre and blessed with a golden light that made it Vincent van Gogh’s home for a little over a year.
We loved this phase of our road trip, but we had further adventures planned, so after two short nights we were on the road again and headed up the Côte d’Azur
But the story doesn’t end there
So the movie still got watched, and we still had an itch. So in 2012, we went south again.
I had upgraded the Audi TT, and now I had an Audi S5 Convertible. We had a proper amount of space for luggage (Nope, still not learnt to cut back on the packing!). The 2012 road trip needed planning…
Something for the Traveller
Inspired to visit Provence?
Our inspiration was a movie - hopefully this post might have inspired you?
Treat yourself, you know you deserve it.
(Why not Pin It for Later?)