This day we were headed towards the Côte d’Azur. Leaving Embrun, we passed by the Lac de Serre-Ponçon. It’s one of the biggest lakes of France.
Before we arrived in Nice we drove by the Col de la Bonette the highest point in the Alpes.
And then finally, we arrived in Nice! But it wasn’t as magical as we hoped it would be. It was difficult to get into the city as there were a lot of traffic jams :-). But once we arrived and got our car out of the way, we could finally start walking around! By then it started to rain again… so we don’t have such good memories of the place ;-). We visited Vieux-Nice and walked on the Promenade des Anglais.
We left Nice to go towards Monaco for a short day. The description of this day, you can find in another blogpost.
When we went back to Nice, we drove by Èze, a village on top of a rock with a perfect view on the ocean and Cap Ferrat. In Cap Ferrat we visited te Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild with it’s beautiful gardens. If you’re in the neighborhood, this is definitely not a place to miss out on!
We left Nice behind us and went further to Cannes. Not such a fancy city as I thought it would be… I think it’s a major place to be when the film festival is happening, but other than that it’s a very quiet city. In Cannes we walked towards the gothic church Notre-Dame-de-l’Espérance on top of the Mont Chevalier in Le Suquet, the old city part. The church was built in 1648 and from that point you have a nice view over the city of Cannes.
After that we drove through Saint-Raphaël and Fréjus and searched for parts of the old Roman wall, te Roman aqueduct and the amphitheater. I’m sad to say that we didn’t search enough because we didn’t found the aqueduct nor the amphitheater.
To forget our worries and change our sad faces into happy ones, we decided to take a detour along the Gorges du Verdon. A must do! You have some beautiful views on the Verdon and it’s a really beautiful drive (Route des Crêtes).
Another day at the Côte d’Azur. To be honest it wasn’t our most favorite part of France. People weren’t friendly here (maybe because they don’t see nobody else but tourist :-)), it was very busy on the roads, … but the views and the little cities were really nice to visit!
For example Port Grimaud, our first stop of the day. This city was built in the 60’s and all the houses are near the water which makes that you can only reach them and travel through most of the city by boat. If you want to visit the city, there’s only a small part that you can do by foot, but it’s worth it as well.
We left Port Grimaud and went on to Saint-Tropez (welcome to Saint-Tropez – ow yeah). Before reaching the place we let the song play and play because we wanted to enter the city with the song playing. But unfortunately we started playing it long before we reached the city. So after hearing the same song over and over again… we finally made it! And again… this wasn’t the place I imagined it would be. I mean, if they’re making a song out of it, stating that this is the place if you have ‘too much money on your bank account’ I expected something more than we saw. But that’s okay, because the part of the city we did see was rather charming and really nice to walk around.
Our next stop was Hyères. From this old seaside resort you can take a boat from the harbor (La Tour Fondue) which will take you to the island Porquerolles. This was supposed to be a place where you could see how the Côte d’Azur looked like before the hordes of tourist came ruining the place (yes, we’re very sorry). I read – before arriving there – that vehicles weren’t allowed there. But nothing could warn me about what I was going to see :-). The ‘hordes of tourists’ had already found the place. Cars weren’t allowed between certain times of the day, but there were some driving around. Tourist were riding bikes everywhere, so you had to be careful not to get ran over by a bike. People were kind of everywhere as well, as it is a popular place to sunbathe and so on… so at some parts of the island we could imagine how it would’ve looked like many years ago… but most of the parts we saw were… crowded :-). There are also some nice sceneries on the island, like an old castle and an old wind mill.
Today we visited the Massif des Calanques, a cliff of 20 km between Cassis and Marseille. At some parts there are some really cute white sand beaches. We only drove by the seashore but you can also take a boat trip along the calanques.
After getting ourselves amazed by the coastline, we went to Marseille, a windy city. It’s the oldest and almost biggest city of France. Only Paris beats it from the first place. Some of the most important sceneries of the city are the Vieux Port, the Parc du Faro from where you can enjoy a nice view over the city, the Basilisk of the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde on top of a hill and the neo-Roman-Byzantium Cathedral La Major. You can also visit La Cafetière where you can find a lot of shops, restaurants and bars.
We started out our day with a visit to the Parc Natural Régional de Camargue. We only visited a small part of the park and walk around for a little bit. We saw the Camargue horses in the wild, the Camargue cows in the meadow, flamingos in the water and a lot of bugs on the bushes :-). There weren’t a lot of people there neither, so it felt as if nature was all ours ;-).
Our final stop of the day was Montpellier. We walked over the Promenade du Peyrar, a terrace with beautiful gardens from where you also have a beautiful view over the city. The Cathedral de St. Pierre and the center of the city with the Place de la Comédie are also worth visiting. There’s also a famous botanical garden in the city, but by the time we got there, it was closed.
Our final day in France – before we headed towards Andorre and Spain. We drove towards and over the Pyrenees. Our first stop was Perpignan, where they’re more Catalan than French. They also speak Catalan and the Catalonian flag is decorating the entire city. Perpignan is the start of the Côte Vermeille, the seashore that lies between France and Spain.