Another Good Year: Another Provencal Road Trip

In En-Route, Europe, France, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by GaryLeave a Comment

Or what we learned from last time…

Following on from our post ‘A Good Year: A reason for a road trip‘, we roll forward to 2012, and our second Provençal road trip.

We hadn’t been idle in the years since the first trip; We had seen other parts of France, had our Texas & New Mexico Trip, Our Canadian Adventure. All squeezed in within our annual leave.

The Moulin De Daudet, Fontvieille, Provence, France

However, we had unfinished business with Provence.

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.

Available in Kindle & Paperback editions.

First, the mistakes we made last time

So as you are aware, if you read the earlier post, the original trip was inspired by Ridley Scott’s ‘A Good Year’. We loved our time in Avignon & Arles, exploring cities like Nîmes, driving through the Camargue and the countryside of Provence.

The Arènes de Nîmes, Nîmes, Provence, France

However, we wanted more time in one place. On the last trip we’d had seven stopovers in the two weeks leave, on this trip we reduced it to four. We still needed intermediary stops for the journey down, and the drive back home, but we’d split our time between Provence and the Côte d’Azur 50/50.

Our Itinerary this time looked like this;
Dijon (from Calais 353miles/569km)
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (from Dijon 271miles/437km)
Villefranche-sur-Mer (from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 202miles/325km)
Besançon(from Villefranche-sur-Mer 454miles/730km – to Calais 403miles/648km)

Place de la Libération, Dijon, France

We picked a smaller town too, somewhere it would be good to come back to after touring the countryside.

So we picked Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

Our favourite travel reads

It starts in France

Our journey started with the Eurotunnel. It's quick and easy, and in no time we're on France's superb Autoroute network.  Remember to book early for the best prices.

We picked a winner

We arrived at the boutique Hotel Gounod, and popped the car outside reception, check in and opted to use the secure private parking (currently €10 per day) which is around 500m from the hotel. It is also next to the town cemetery, guess who spotted that! I knew then we’d be having a little wander around.

Collégiale Saint-Martin, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Provence, France

A stroll back into town and we set off to discover, and boy were we pleased. Now Saint-Rémy-de-Provence has some beautiful tree-lined streets, and a fantastic array of restaurants from the cutest little bistro’s, to temples of gastronomy with everything in between.

Strolling the lanes of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Provence, France
The tree lined streets of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

After an hour or so I persuade Janis that ‘Drive’ deserved a drink, so we took a table at Grand Cafe Riche and settled back to watch the world roll by. You just can’t beat a spot of people watching, and our main subject of interest was the roaring trade the Pizza van was doing opposite us.

But this was inspired by ‘A Good Year’

Indeed it was, go the next morning we headed in the countryside in search of Cucuron. For those who have seen the film, this is the little town with the vast pond that hosts the outdoor movie screening.

The village pond at Cucuron, Provence, France

But the truth about the movie is that it’s about the Provençal way of life, and the beauty of its little towns & villages.

Luberon, , Provence, France

As we cruised the countryside, we followed no set script. We discovered towns as we went, stopping where the urge took us. We urge you to follow the same path – go with the flow.

The quiet little town of Venasque, Provence, France

Something to make your travels easier?

Your own adventure

As you can see we drove from the UK. However, why not fly into Marseille or Nice (Our choice would be British Airways or easyJet), pick up your SIXT hire car and start exploring?

And discovering further afield

There’s a couple of great lines in the movie when Fanny Chenal, rushed off her feet at her bistro, tells Max “McDonald’s is in Avignon, Fish ‘n’ Chips in Marseilles”. Max offers to help with the waiting duties, and after being told by Fanny “And remember you’re in France: The customer is always wrong!” repeats the “MacDonald’s …” line to two slightly annoying American tourists.

The Vallon des Auffes, Marseilles, France

Those lines reminded me though that Avignon just 13miles/20km to the north and Marseilles is only 56miles/90km to the south, along with pretty coastal towns such as Cassis.

The harbour at  Cassis, Provence, France

A great base to return to

At the end of each day it was great to head back to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Each night we tried a different restaurant, and each one was a great experience. So would we return to the town? Without a doubt.

The quiet lanes of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

All good things

So after five short days, we left Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

Not before we checked out the town’s cemetery though (told you so!)

A family grave in the town cemetery,  Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Provence, France

We also discovered the ‘Ancient City of Glanum‘, just on the southern end of town.

The Triumphal Arch, Glanum, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

As we left, we thought, “perhaps we should have stayed just a little longer…” It was that good.

However, we were heading up the coast to the Welcome Hotel in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Welcome Hotel, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Now haven’t I seen that in the movies?

Have You

Ever returned to a place, and discovered it's even better the next time around.  We loved our return to Provence, and one day we'll be back.

Something for the Traveller

Inspired to visit Provence?

We loved our first trip, and we wanted more. It’s your own adventure, start planning it now.

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About the Author


Gary, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born and raised in London. An IT guy who likes to takes snaps. Along with Janis his partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, over a Sherry in Seville, they decided that enough was enough with suits. The decision was made to take their knowledge and experience to create a blog to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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