Is an excuse really needed?
One of my beliefs in life is, ‘you can never have too much of a good thing’. Any trip to France whether it’s north, south, east or west, is a good thing.
Gary & I have been visiting France together for about 25 years. It’s such an intriguing country culturally & visually, we just can’t stop returning. Bearing in mind in the UK we’re such close neighbours, at times we seem oceans apart and not just the short hop across the English Channel.
As you may know by now, we love our road trips. So there is no other option for us than to jump in the car, catch Le Shuttle & head south.
We’re revisiting a couple of the towns we’ve chosen on a previous trip. We found them perfect places to base ourselves and tour the regions in greater depth.
Ok, so there may have been another excuse why I wanted to head back to Provence and the Côte d'Azur. A bit indulgent I know; however, I love southern France, and I couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate our 30th anniversary. There I’ve said it, we really are that old!!!!!!
While this post is published after our travels, here are just a few of our inspirations that lured us into this road trip adventure. Gary & I didn’t want to just head directly south & back home again, with so many beautiful towns to discover in between. So, these are the locations we have chosen.
Our chosen stops for the road trip were;
Arbois, in the wine region of Jura.
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, (no guesses) in Provence.
Villefranche-sur-Mer, along the Côte d'Azur.
Annecy, a stone’s throw from the Alps.
Ay, in the Champagne region.
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.
The landscape in France can be quite diverse at times, with towering mountains, rugged shoreline and vineyards rolling across the countryside. Visually you’re in for a treat.
We’re particularly looking forward to touring Les Trois Corniches, as well as the Corniche d'Or, as we drive along the French Riviera. Sun on our faces, wind in our hair and craggy coastline to die for.
Although who could resist driving through the olive groves and the ochre hillsides of Provence. This is such a beautiful region of France, winding your way through the little villages, with local produce for sale at the morning markets. You'll come across scenes reminiscent of 'A Good Year'.
Gary & I have never been to the Alps region of France so we’re really looking forward to seeing the mountainous peaks and the beautiful Lake Annecy.
We love our history & France has plenty of it. We’ve previously visited Avignon, Nîmes and Arles. Also the Roman feat of engineering of the Pont du Gard. It really is incredible to see & hard to believe the aqueduct has survived so long.
This time we’re going to explore some more of the medieval hilltop villages that are dotted cross the Provence countryside.
Art & Culture
One of the destinations we’re heading to is Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. This not only has the 2nd-century BC Roman city of Glanum but was also where Vincent van Gogh painted The Starry Night. This a region that has attracted so many great artists over the years.
A city we visited all too briefly when we were in the South in 2012 was Nice. I’m so looking forward to taking a stroll along the elegant promenade. I remember there was an ice-cream parlour amongst the cobbled streets in Nice old town, so I’m definitely going to search it out again.
We’re staying at the charming coastal town of Villefranche-sur-Mer for a few nights, and there is no way that we’ll pass up the chance of heading to Monaco. We’re Formula 1 fans, so cruising the streets around the casino and harbour, where the F1 circus comes alive every May will be fun.
Visiting Annecy will be a first for the two of us. It looks so picturesque. Canals winding there way between beautiful flower-decked houses, little bridges leading along cobbled lanes.
Ohh, and there’s a lovely lake if the weather holds out we may even hire a little boat.
We’ve briefly been through parts of France’s Jura region in the past.
However, on this trip we’ve decided to stay in Arbois. It looks to be a very verdant part of the country and also another area rich in vineyards – that’s France for you.
Our philosophy is “When in Rome” when it comes to food and drink, and in France, this is always our weakness. Their regional specialities tempt us time and time again, new dishes, and some old favourites we love returning back to.
Although occasionally they can be an acquired taste, and to be quite frank, I never want to smell Andouillette sausage again, that’s a story for another time.
All restaurants in France have a ‘menu du jour’ and are usually excellent value. We often look out for bistros as these tend to offer something slightly different, and we enjoy the atmosphere.
Fish is definitely going to be the order of the day along the Riviera. However, who knows what we’ll find in Annecy & Arbois.
Ooh la la, don’t get me started on French wine. France has something for every wine lover. A bold, punchy red, a crisp dry white, a light Provencal rosé. I’m also quite partial to a chilled Pinot Noir.
After a little bit of research, I’ve also found out that Arbois in the Jura region, has a vin jaune (yellow wine); apparently, it is similar to a dry Fino Sherry.
Well ok, for research purposes only I’ll give it a try.
Who could forget their Champagne, and as we are staying in the heart of the region in Ay, we’ll be raising a glass.
Inspired to explore France?
Jump in your car and tour Provence. France is a wonderful country to uncover for yourself and create those lasting memories.
Why not base yourself at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and tour around the beautiful little villages.
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