21 Sep A French Road Trip in Provence – Part 1
It’s now September as I write this, remembering my wonderful 10 day French road trip in Provence and the Carmargue at the end of July. We left London on July 20th heading to Lyon on the Eurostar. It was here that our trip started with an overnight stay and the opportunity to explore the city on the Rhone river by foot.
I recommend highly a visit to the botanic gardens and a lunch time break on the river bank. On July 21st we collected our car and headed down to our first airbnb base in a small, remote village called Bras, in the Var region. It’s so small, it’s even quite hard to find on a map, but if you can find Brignoles, it’s just north-east of that.
The next day we jumped in the car and headed down the steep hillside slop from our hosts house and headed North to Barjols in search of a small waterfall called Les Calmes. It was a wonderfully peaceful few hours with us being the only people there until the arrival of a dog walker and a small family. Usually, it is a good place to swim, but unfortunately on this occasion, the water had been switched off (what! How?!) by a house at the top of the cliff. We still took the opportunity to stand underneath the waterfall as the sun glinted off the water droplets and made a wonderful rainbow. It was pretty perfect!
That same day we headed to Bauduen and then straight onto the Gorges Du Verdon which was absolutely stunning. An enormous turquoise lake that cuts through a canyon and on which you can travel down on a boat or pedalow. We hired a pedalow ourselves and journeyed through the canyon, and despite how busy it was, it was an incredible experience to be so small floating along beside the enormous cliffs.
Just near the canyon is the village of Moustiers Sainte Marie which is well known for it’s history in ceramics. It’s a beautiful hilltop village with stunning views and pretty coloured houses. There is also a small ceramic museum and plenty of shops to by some locally made ceramic gifts.
Towards the end of the day we decided to try and find our next waterfall called Sillans. After a 30 minute walk along a guided track, we were led to a viewing platform to see the 42m high waterfall collect in the turquoise clear pool below. We would have loved to swim in it.
Our last destination for this, or first full day in the car, was the village of Cotignac which was a delightful hilltop artists village. It’s a great place to sit and eat and drink through the balmy evening and to experience a real French atmosphere.
It was now time for us to head to the coast, and our first destination was Cassis, the beautiful and luxurious coastal town. It was a complete nightmare to find anywhere to park, but once that was sorted, we spent a little time on the busy beach front, before moving along the coast to a small and more secluded beach. Cassis is full of beautiful houses with glorious views of the sea and with many calanques around the coast to explore, it’s a beautiful spot.
Follow the last part of my trip in the next post.