Scenic Drives in France
Unless you have visited France before, it should come as a very pleasant surprise that once you get onto one of the great scenic routes there are attractions around just about every corner that you are going to want to enjoy. Most first-time visitors will look at maps, plot distances and try to fit far too much into a short amount of time, and the very best advice is to choose a region that you want to explore and then allow plenty of time to stop and enjoy the countless villages, chateaux, vineyards and markets. The joy of travelling a great scenic route in a motorhome rental or campervan hire is that you have the freedom to stop wherever you like and stay the night without having to worry about pre-determined schedules. Do your home work, allow plenty of time and your scenic drives around France will be memorable.
Suggestions for some great Scenic Routes
La Cote d’Or (Burgundy):
No wine lover should miss this delightful drive from Santenay to Dijon (an easy 60km), passing row upon row of terraced vines climbing the hillsides above the D122, N74, and D1138 highways, which are locally known as the Route des Grand Crus. Your route through La Cote d’Or will take you past numerous typically French rural villages and vineyards – don’t miss out on the tasting…one of the pleasures of your motor home holiday is that you can have a nap anytime you need one!
The Gorges of the Ardeche (the Rhone valley):
Most visitors are not even aware that this amazing canyon, carved out of the mountains by the Ardeche river exists, but if your travels take you to this part of southern France you should take the time to do the fascinating panoramic road(D290) which runs along the rim of the canyons. You can stop and do some hiking or just admire the incredible scenery. This drive can easily be done in a day, from Vallon-Pont-d’Arc to Pont St. Esprit. Le Moulin Indigo Campsite in Saint-Martin-d’Ardeche is highly recommended.
Just about any road you choose in this part of France will end up being a scenic drive, but here is a great 7 day itinerary starting in Aix-en Provence (plan to be there on a Saturday, the main market day). From Aix make your way to Cassis on the coast for some fun in the sun, before continuing on your way to stunning Avignon and some of the pretty surrounding villages. From here the scenic drive will take you to St-Remy, and the wide open plains of the Camargue.
France has over 2000 really excellent campsites, most of which do not have to be booked if you are travelling outside of July and August (avoid those months unless you want to spend hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic!). The best months to visit are Sept and Oct when you will have many of the smaller country roads and hilltop villages just about to yourself.