TRAVEL | By Louise Gookey
Road trip in the south of France… why not?
The South of France is known for the sun, sea, glamour, and wine. With far too many places to choose from, why not hire a car and explore?
Don't forget to take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea, yes the stony beach is a little harsh on your feet, but it is well worth it for the warm clear waters. Or, if you are looking for nightlife join the locals and tourists alike who come and sit on the beach front at night to enjoy the atmosphere before hitting the bars and clubs.
There is only one word to describe Lac de Saint-Croix - wow! Nature at its finest (well kind of, the lake is technically man-made). The best way to explore this lake and The Verdon Gorge is by kayak. Get there early, otherwise you will have to queue and wait for a couple of hours (speaking from experience). Was it worth it? Yes!
Nice is the perfect place to start your French adventure. A vibrant city brimming with culture, exquisite food and a coastline that will make your jaw drop. There is something for all ages, whether that be taking in the views from Colline du Château, walking along the Promenade des Anglais or taking a stroll through the windy cobbled streets of the Vielle Ville (old town), you will fall in love with this city.
There is nothing subtle about Cannes, there is glamour and wealth everywhere, from the Armani Cafe to the Uber Helicopter… yep, you can order this from your phone! If you don't mind splashing the cash there are plenty of shops (including Tesla on the promenade) or perhaps hiring a yacht would be more up your street? If you go in May, you might be able to catch the movie stars at the Cannes Film Festival.
I'll be honest, there is not a lot else to do in Cannes but spend money - it' most certainly is for living the high life on the French Rivera.
It was a fleeting visit to Marseille, thanks to the weather but the Vieux Port and the Fort Saint-Jean gave a quick snapshot into this city. The stunning views from the fort show Notre-Dame de la Garde sitting high above the city and you can look down over the port at the boats and coastline. There was a massive storm edging closer and yes, taking shelterer in the fort was our only option.. very medieval). If it was not so wet it would have been great to check out Château d'If as well and explore the streets heading into the centre of the city but that will have to wait until next time!
For a taste of traditional France head to the Provence and visit the local towns and wineries and if you can pass the lavender fields on route then all the better. The Lavender is harvested in late July/ early August so make sure you get there before if you want to see it in it’s full glory ( as you ucan see, we were a little late). A great place to stop is Valensole there are lavender fields as far as the eye can see and local bread, cheese and wine to fill you up... as well as a few tourist shops filled with every lavender product you can imagine!
Next town for a stop is Aix-en-Provence. If you love markets, small windy street, shops (both independent and chains) street artists and beautiful architecture then this is for you.
Jump back in your car and finish your tip at Arles - this was a personal favorite. Make sure you visit the Arles Amphitheatre and the Theatre Antique which is still a venue today. Behind the stage are two columns, called “Les Deux Veuves” (The Two Widows) and they are part of an ancient backdrop that would have included a three-metre-high statue of Augustus. There is history everywhere in this town and if you are a history/theatre buff then you could spend hours just wandering!
This trip only scratched the surface of the South of France but if you want a taste of both cities and nature then this is a perfect place to star. It will be a trip you will never forget.