This past May, my fiancé Phil Margolin and I set out on a European adventure like never before. While many enjoy flying or taking the Rail, we chose to rent a car and explore our way through Southern France.
Ann Coleman, from Pique Travel, helped us plot our route, line up amazing hotels, arrange memorable dinner experiences and choose tours and guides who shared rich history, local culture, spectacular gardens, rolling vineyards and so much more.
We started our adventure in Nice. We loved the sea, food markets, the Bistro dining and just simply walking around. Our guide in the area was excellent with his funny stories and insights into the best lookouts over Monte Carlo!
After Nice, we ventured to Saint-Tropez where we stayed at Hotel de Paris – a first class, beautiful property. The location was perfect as we could walk the city easily. A highlight in the area was a special dinner at La Vague d’Or where we literally enjoyed five hours of savory food!
The next day took us on a beautiful drive to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and through the Verdon Gorge. This river canyon is often touted as one of Europe’s most beautiful gorge areas. We would agree! Now that we were in the Central Provence region of France, we knew the scenery and people wouldn’t disappoint. And they didn’t. Although the driving did get to be a little much that day! We had another great guide and enjoyed eating our way through Aix (the gardens, palace and other sights were great, too!).
While in the region, we spent a couple days exploring the area around Avignon – an amazing journey with little villages along the way. We can’t wait to go back to this area and spend more quality time. That seems to be one thing we found about our road trip and keeping on a pretty packed schedule: we either wished we had more time in certain places and/or we knew we’d vow to come back again.
While we were in Avignon, we had one of our favorite guides, Sophie. She was well traveled, interesting and took us to some amazing sights, including Orange where we hiked among the old ruins. A memorable day to say the least. We left Avignon to drive south to Meze Masion. Oh, how we loved that drive! And of all the towns we visited during our road trip, this was our favorite. We fell in love with a small seaside café that featured a jazz quartet that evening. Truly fun!
We then drove from Meze to Carcassonne, where we checked into Le Domaine, a beautiful old Chateau. While there we took the audio tour of the Medieval City and enjoyed other sights on our own (although there were quite a few tourists there and it was hot and windy that day…it was nice to just go back and enjoy the Chateau!)
Finally, our last leg of our whirlwind tour was taking the train from Carcassonne to Barcelona, where we met up with some of Phil’s family. We enjoyed walking around the city, seeing the Gaudi attractions and so much more. A beautiful, vibrant city.
We loved our little road trip through the South of France and are not sure we would have done it any other way. However, I must admit that while we checked several destinations off our bucket list, they only spurred us to want to go back and spend more time there!