Sunny South of France – Road.Travel

Sunny South of France

Road Trip Route. To see several cities in France at once, Try the stunning French wines, Feel the spirit of Provence, To see "French Rome" in Nîmes and its famous amphitheatre..., Plunge into history, seeing every important attraction in the cities., Go to the Picasso Museum.

"Midi" is a generalized concept of the south, synonymous with the sun, the sea and a leisurely and abundant lifestyle. But if you're in a hurry, not only will you not know, but you won't see it. And what, if not the pure joy of being, requires a tribute? Therefore, a journey through the Mediterranean landscape full of contrasts, where you can see many ancient monuments, Romanesque churches, magnificent museums of modern art and boiling cities should take at least a week. The route is built in such a way that travelers do not return to the end point, and every day they see only new cities and landscapes. In this regard, the arrival and departure will take place at different airports, Tulsa Airport and Nice Cote d'Azur airports, as well as car rental and return.

Relaxing Leisure, History and Culture. From: Toulouse

Ekaterina Shmelkova. Traveller.

Travel Itinerary and Road Trip Route

Day 1: Historic city of Carcassonne

The first town we will stay in is Carcassonne, a town located in the south of France at the top of a hill. Tourists come here to see the main attraction of this place - a medieval fortress with numerous watchtowers and fortifications with double walls.

Winter Garden

This restaurant is perfect for the first dinner in town. Home traditional French cuisine, excellent price/quality ratio, very nourishing, waiters speak English and with a sense of humor. Visitors recommend tasting potato gratin as a side dish. The French themselves say it's in this restaurant that he's out of competition. The restaurant is open in the evening from 19:00 to one o'clock from Monday to Thursday and until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Day 2: Narbonne, Bezier, Agde and St. Claire.

Today you will visit several cities in France, each of which has its own history, memorable places, sandy beaches and excellent restaurants of French cuisine. In the first two you will find historical sights and interesting facts about them, and in the evening you will rest on the beach by the sea and relax.

Crêperie Le Blé Noir

We start our morning with a hearty breakfast in a French café. Here they make wonderful pancakes (the French call them crepeurs), which will cheer up and give strength for a walk in the old city.

Canal de la Robine

We're coming from Carcasson to Narbonne. Once upon a time, the whole Roman province was named after this city: Halley Narbonesis. Narbonn was an important trading centre during the High Middle Ages, but when another port was built nearby, it lost its role. It was only thanks to the wine trade in the 19th century that Narbonn was able to survive the boom. You can walk on both sides of the Robin Canal separating the center.

Cathédrale Saint-Just et Saint-Pasteur

The Cathedral of St. Juste is built on the foundations of three previous buildings, the oldest of which dates back to the era of Constantine the Great. The first stone of the present building was laid in 1272 at the will of Pope Clement IV, but by the middle of the 14th century only the choir was ready (the upper open gallery or balcony inside the church (usually at the level of the second floor), where musicians, singers, organists are usually placed), and the central aisle (elongated room, limited on one or both longitudinal sides by a number of columns or columns separating it from neighboring aisles) and the entire western part were unfinished. Therefore, the temple looks unusual: 14 chapels frame a three-nave structure of great height, but on the western side of the visitor's eyes suddenly appears a wall. Outside Saint-Just is very similar to a fortress, although the classic Gothic arches are quite enough.

Les Grands Buffets

The restaurant amazes the imagination from the very entrance, the beauty is unreal. An abundance of wines of all tastes and varieties. They're picking wine from Pierre Richard. The abundance of dishes and appetizers for every taste is amazing. Of desserts, a chocolate fountain.

Cathédrale Saint-Nazaire

Bezier went down in history as a place of massacre against heretics during the Albigo wars. In 1209, Catholic Crusader troops broke into the city, demanding the extradition of the leaders of the catarrh movement. After that, it took a long time for the city to recover from the devastation and upheaval. It took two centuries to restore the Cathedral of St. Nazarus.

Canal du Midi

It is interesting to see the technical sights of the Midi Canal, which since 1861 has been connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea via Garonne. In Bezier the water flow is directed through the bridge over the Orb River. On the southwest side are the Fonseran Gateways, an eight-camera sluice ladder.

Plage de la Grande Conque

From the dark grey basalt of lava streams, the Romans built the settlement of Agatha: it is covered by a cape now called Cap d'Agd. The old town on the cape is adjacent to the resort of Agd. Here you can do all kinds of water sports, as well as just swim.

Mont Saint-Clair

The road above the narrow beach separates Lake To from the sea and leads to Sete. The town of Saint-Claire appeared only in the 17th century. Today its industrial zone stretches among the rich vineyards. Sete is the largest fishing port in Southern France. The quarters near the old port retain a special atmosphere and flavour. In the old sea cemetery, on Mount Saint-Clair, the poet Paul Valerie is buried. Like Georges Brassens, he was born in Sete.

Le Grand Bleu

We offer you dinner in the seafood restaurant Le Grand Bleu and enjoy the view of Lake To, where the oysters are bred.

Day 3: Montpellier

Montpellier is the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region in south-western France. The city is rich in various historical palaces, squares and churches that you will see today. In Montpellier, one feels relaxed and light, with palm trees growing on the streets and locals spending evenings at street café tables.

Epi d'Or (L')

L'epi D'or is the best bakery in Sete. It is primarily a bakery, but you can also try cakes and coffee. We have breakfast here and go to the next town. The restaurant has been open since 7am, so you can come here early to enjoy a delicious breakfast for longer.

Promenade du Peyrou

Montpellier, the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon department, is very fond of French students. The university here in the 12th century was a medical school. During the religious wars Montpellier suffered a great deal, but in the 17th century the city became the administrative center of the southern Languedoc and experienced the dawn. It was at this time that the Baroque Du Pueru Esplanade, dedicated to Louis XIV, was founded.

Place de la Comédie

The heart of the city beats on Comedy Square, named after the Municipal Opera and Comedy Theatre. In 1755, on the site of the former military square, the royal military engineer Jacques-Philippe Maréchal built the first municipal theatre building in Montpellier. The central part of the square - the best place for meetings and walks - had an oval shape, for which it received the nickname "egg" from the townspeople. In 1785, the Mareshal Theatre burned down, but three years later it was restored. In 1881, a fire destroyed the building again, and in 1888 the architect Joseph Bernard, who started his activity at the famous Charles Garnier, built the theater in the form in which it has survived to this day. The central part of Comedy Square is still a favorite meeting place, its historical unofficial name is reminiscent of the oval border around the fountain with the Graces - the symbols of Montpellier. Various sporting and cultural events are organized here, a grape market is opened on the square in autumn and a Christmas market is opened in December. The main square of Comedy is a pedestrian zone, but there is also a tram.

Rosemarie

It's lunch time! There are different cuisines in this restaurant, and the interior of the place is no less interesting. Tourists especially like chickpeas garnished with carrots, avocado toasts with anchovies and hummus. The area where the street tables are standing is beautiful. The restaurant is open until 7pm.

Parc Zoologique de Montpellier

Four kilometres north of the centre of Montpellier is a magnificent zoo, the second largest in France. It is home to a huge number of wild animals from different continents of our planet. There are African lions, and South American spiders, and Asian snakes, and European deer, and Australian emus and many, many other animals. Next to the zoo is the Serre Amazonienne with Amazon jungles, piranhas, alligators and South American reptiles. Entrance to Montpellier Zoo: free of charge. But we'll have to pay for the entrance to the Amazon Greenhouse.

Château de Flaugergues

Tourist's eyes can see a very modern city, where they care about the antiquity. The city centre is always full of students; there are magnificent palaces here, and not only the buildings themselves, but also their courtyards deserve to be seen.

Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe, also called the Peyro Gate, is one of the main symbols of the city of Montpellier. The main adornment of the arch is the medallions depicting the various achievements of King Louis XIV, such as the construction of the Languedoc Canal between the Mediterranean Sea and the Garonne river, the abolition of the Edict of Nantes or one of his foreign policy victories. Local shell limestone was used to build the arch, which was mined in the vicinity of Montpellier. The decoration used rustic stone, and in addition to the medallions, the arch was also decorated with the coat of arms of Montpellier and a dedication to the king, the "sun". The arch dimensions were 15 meters high and 18 meters wide. Its design includes one central archway and two imitation arches to the left and right of it. In Montpellier, the arch is located on the Peyro Esplanade, not the heart of the city, but the most elevated place in the city. The arch is adjoined by a square with another attraction dedicated to Louis XIV - the center of the square is decorated with its statue. One side of the arch goes out to Fosh Street.

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Montpellier

St. Peter's Cathedral is the largest architectural structure in the city of Monopelier on St. Peter's Square. Built in XIV century in Gothic style. The authors of the project were architects Mance and Nugarol. Originally he served as a Benedictine monastery church, but in the XVI century he acquired the status of a cathedral. The building of the cathedral - a reflection of the architectural trends of the era - is recognized as an architectural monument of history, is currently in operation. In different epochs, the cathedral served as a fort as well as an institute, was repeatedly rebuilt, decorated and grew into many legends.

il pizzaiolo

In this city you just have to try pizza! Visitors' favourites are a calzone with cheese and honey and a pizza with smoked salmon and arugula. It's also a very tasty beer, worth a try.

Day 4: City of Nimes or "French Rome".

Thanks to the greatest monuments of architecture that have survived since the Roman Empire, the small town of Nim received the honorary title of "French Rome". From the Roman era in Nîmes a huge number of unique monuments of ancient Roman architecture have been preserved - more than in any other city of France. The main attraction of Nîmes is the grand amphitheatre. It's elegant, clean and well-groomed. In a way, He is like Paris, only more compact and calm.

Le Prose

Before you go to the next town, you need a refreshment. Cozy French restaurant with traditional cuisine and delicious breakfasts will not leave you without positive emotions.

Tour de Constance

Languedoc did not yet belong to France when Louis IX the Saint purchased a plot of land here to build his own Mediterranean port. That's how the town of Eg Mort was born. Only in 1248, the monarch with 1500 ships and 35,000 soldiers set out on a crusade to erect the Constance Tower. During the next campaign off the coast of Tunisia, he died of plague. But the town continued to grow: until the 14th century a rectangle of fortress walls was decorated with 20 towers. However, the real heyday of Eg Mortus was not achieved, the port began to chalk. The fortress has turned into a grim prison. Yet the view from the tower to the salt mountains of Camargue National Park, as well as a walk through the city wall, is worth a detour and a stop at Eg Mort.

Carré d'Art - Musée d'Art Contemporain de Nîmes

Nim is a modern, beautiful and well-groomed city. The centre consists of the Care d'Art with its library and Norman Foster Museum of Modern Art, elegant squares with lively cafes and decorative fountains.

La Bodeguita Du Royal Hôtel

Cozy cafe next to a small square with an original fountain and one of the crowded streets of the city. The very name of the place has a place for tasting French wines. Visitors also choose different tapas. There's an underground parking lot.

Arènes de Nîmes

The real magnets for tourists are perfectly preserved antique buildings. The arena, designed for 24,000 people, was famous for its gladiator fights. Now there is a bullfight here; in addition, the amphitheatre has been covered with a sliding roof, and now there is a variety of activities all year round.

Maison Carrée

In honor of the grandsons of Emperor Augustus Gaius and Lucius, near the Arena was built Maison Carré, a Corinthian temple that had lost over the centuries only the colonnade that surrounded it.

Jardin de la Fontaine

The Jardin-de-la-Fontaine Park was broken near a source that the Gauls still read. Here you can relax in the shade of trees or in a cafe.

Pont du Gard

Despite the availability of the source, Winter needed water from other places. That's why the Romans ran a 50 kilometer plumbing line to the city. Its most famous section is the Pod du Gare, or Tsar's Bridge, a 49-metre-long three-tier aqueduct over the Gardon River, 19 km northeast of Nimes.

L'imprévu

L'imprévu has been at the height of its reputation since 1985. It offers guests unexpected and daring dishes, a unique atmosphere, polite service. In the warm season you can sit on the beautiful outdoor terrace to enjoy the summer fun.

Day 5: Arles was the city where Van Gogh lived.

Arles is a city with an exciting fate: these places were conquered by the Roman Emperors Julius Caesar and Constantine the Great, and French artists Gauguin and Van Gogh lived here. The secluded and quiet Arles drowned entirely in Provence culture. Arl's a small town, you can only walk in it. The city centre of Arles, which combines Roman heritage with narrow streets built with 18th century houses, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Paul

Enjoy the atmosphere of this wonderful city once again in the cozy Paul Cafe over a cup of morning coffee.

Arènes d'Arles

Al has the same historical significance as Nim. In the Middle Ages, its amphitheatre was completely built up with houses. Thanks to Prosper Merima, it was possible to restore it to its original form. In addition, not far from the old town, the ruins of the baths and the circus, almost half freed from the ground, have survived.

Musée de l'Arles antique

The newly established Arles Museum of Antiquity presents magnificent archaeological finds, including a collection of early Christian sarcophagi. The exhibits were collected at various cemeteries in the city, primarily at Alican cemetery. A lot of people used to pay money to be buried in this ancient necropolis.

L'Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabanel

Chic restaurant with magnificent modern design in black and white colors. Here the culinary philosophy of Jean-Luc Rabanel, "One Taste One Emotion", comes to life. Be sure to book a table in advance, the restaurant is very popular. The restaurant is open from 9am to 11pm.

Château des Baux de Provence

On the rock in the Alpine mountains you can see the ruins of Le Beau castle. Once belonged to a big feudal who invited the troubadours to his court. There are always a lot of tourists here, so it is recommended to visit the castle early in the morning or evening.

Église Saint-Trophime

The portal of the Church of Saint-Trophime resembles a Roman triumphal arch. Like the portal of the Church of Saint-Gilles in Camargue, it is one of the most outstanding Romanesque works of art in Provence.7 It was through this portal that Friedrich Barbarossa went to the Church of Friedrich Barbarossa when he was crowned King of Burgundy in 1178.

Les Alyscamps

The Alican Necropolis is one of the oldest buildings in Europe. It was active from the 3rd to the 12th century. Many Roman Catholics wanted their bodies to remain in this place. According to legend, after Christianity had spread sufficiently, miracles began to happen here. In the middle of the 3rd century, a resident of Genesius refused to execute Christians, so he himself was repressed. After that, Alican's necropolis became famous. In the 10th century, the bodies of Roland and Olivier, the great warriors, were transferred to the cemetery, about whom the heroic epic "The Song of Roland" was composed. Legend has it that they died in the battle that took place in the Ronsevali Gorge. After this event, almost 20 chapels and Christian temples were built in the area. At present, there are several historical and cultural monuments left from the necropolis: the alley of tombs, where the remains of 80 generations of people are kept. You can also visit the open-air museum here.

Le Criquet

This restaurant is popular for its delicious lamb and buffalo meat! Desserts are served beautifully and with special design. And, of course, what Provence without Rose's wine!

Day 6: Colorful Marseille

Noisy, southern, vibrant Marseille is the benchmark for a Mediterranean port city, as we are used to imagining them through adventure books and films. The country's largest commercial port, a major industrial centre and the second most populous city in France; one of the oldest cities in Europe. These are still multicolored markets, seafood that dries in the sun. But it is also a real boiling soup from different cultures, as well as an abundance of emigrants.

Cours Mirabeau

Relatively close to Mount Saint-Victoire, depicted on many of the paintings of Paul Cézanne, lies Aix-en-Provence - a favorite city of students and shopping center, interesting not only for tourists. The historical core within the ring road divides Kur-Mirabeau.

Le Petit Bistrot

On the Cours Mirabeau, under the sprawling plane trees, you can relax on the terraces of several cafes, such as the popular "Le Petit Bistrot".

Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde

From Provence we arrive in Marseille, which is best admired from above, from the Neo-Byzantine basilica of Note-Dam de la Garde. The Greeks once found a natural port here; it was a little further than the current Old Port.

Les Arcenaulx

Visiting Marseille, you should definitely try the famous bouillabaisse fish soup. For its preparation it is necessary to boil in broth not less than four grades of fish and mussels with saffron. You can try it in the Provençal restaurant Les Arcenaulx, which also houses a bookstore.

Plage de Cassis - La Grande Mer

If you go along the coast (although the landscape there is poor and uninteresting), you will get to the small port of Cassis. From here the boats go to Kalank - to the coves resembling fjords (narrow, winding and deep into the land of the sea bays with rocky shores), between the whitish rocks near the turquoise sea.

Destination Calanques Kayak Marseille Cassis

Kalank is a French cove. The coves cut the entire coast between Marseille and the town of Cassis. It is so elegantly cut that the French have created a national park here. Narrow coves cutting through rocky shores, wild beaches with turquoise seas, mountains, cliffs and gorges covered with evergreen conifers. All this makes the national park one of the most beautiful places on the Côte d'Azur. Visiting the park is free. You can get here by bus, car or boat, but the best way to get here is by kayak! You'll get unforgettable impressions and new experiences during this amazing walk. It is better to stock up on food in advance, as there will be no place to buy meals on the wild beach.

Fort Saint-Jean

St. John's Fort is located in the northern part of the Old Port, where the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (Hospitalier) lived since the 13th century. After the Aragonese attack in 1423, Duke of Provence Rene of Anjou (also known as King Rene the Good, 1434 - 1480) built a massive quadrangle tower (preserved to this day) to protect the entrance to the harbour. In the 17th century, Louis XIV decided to protect Marseille with new fortifications - they began to build them on the site of the requisitioned possessions of the Order of the Hospitallers. In 1664, a lighthouse was built, and a few years later, the engineer of the Chevalier Louis-Nicolas de Clairville built a fortress by order of the king. After De Clairville's death, Sebastian Vauban, an engineer and marshal, was appointed head of the fortifications, at which the fort was separated from the city by a wide moat filled with water. For many years, the fort of St. John has been home to military units, the Revolution turns the fort into a prison, and the Germans set up an ammunition depot here during World War II, which was blown up in 1944. After the liberation of France, the fort returned to the French army, and in the 60s became a monument of history and architecture.

Au Cœur du Panier

The restaurant is located in an alley in the old town. The room is small, but very cozy. There are places on the street. We recommend tasting foie gras fillet, scallops, tapenade.

Day 7: Oh, magical Nice!

The old centre of Nice still retains its medieval spirit: narrow labyrinths of winding streets with adjoining houses under red tiles, churches, cozy cafes and shops attract tourists. The seaside part of Nice is in a very different mood: there are lush eclectic buildings of the 19th-20th centuries everywhere with elegant facades and a loud pedigree. Nice is an aristocratic city with a romantic flair, and the journey here is always unforgettable.

La Plage Dorée

Where does the Cote d'Azur actually start? The name, which appeared in 1887, refers to a short strip between the Esterel massif and the seaside Alps. The steep shores of this place are steep. It's easy to see for yourself on the coastal road of Corniche de l'Esterelle, which is by far the most beautiful in the area. If you're not attracted to the old and sometimes crowded coastline, it's better to go inland, but first you need to have a tasty breakfast.

Géant Casino

On the way you will find shopping malls, gastronomies and various shops. Look there to buy on the road need things or food.

Musée Picasso

Alternatively, a trip to the city of congresses and film festivals is offered - cannes. However, the nearby antib6 is much more interesting, where the ancient quarters hide behind the Grimaldi Castle, located on the very shore of the sea. The Château of the 12th century served as a bishop's residence, a military barracks, and a home for the noble family of the Grimaldi of Monaco, which gave it its name. And in 1946, Pablo Picasso settled in the castle - he set up his workshop here. Having finished the work, the artist left some of his paintings as a rental fee. These paintings formed the basis of the exposition of his first museum, located in the walls of the chateau, and Picasso received the title of honorary resident of Antibes. Today the collection includes 245 works of the master, including the first work "Night fishing in Antibes" presented to the city. Over time, the exposition was replenished with the works of other recognized masters of the XX century. And now the renewed collection of the museum includes works by Cesar, Modigliani, Picabia. And in the courtyard you can admire a little strange, but charming sculptures of Miró and Richelieu. The château from French translates as "castle" or "palace". As a rule, it is a luxurious mansion with a park and a winery. Therefore, the name of many French wines contains this word, for example, "Chateau Margot".

Le Safranier

Musée Marc Chagall

The highlight of the museum is a cycle of 17 paintings of 1962-1967, illustrating the Old Testament, presented by Mark and his wife Valentina Chagall to the French government. The exhibition is complemented by earlier paintings of biblical themes, painted by gouache in 1930-1932. The National Museum of Chagall in Nice opened its doors to the public for the first time on July 7, 1973. André Malraux, a French writer who served as Minister of Culture during the reign of Charles de Gaulle, organized the work of the museum. The museum consists of three halls: In the first hall there is an exposition of 12 canvases depicting scenes of the Book of Exodus and the Book of Genesis. All works in cold tones: emerald, blue, blue. In the second hall there are 5 paintings in red scale, devoted to love lyrics of the Song by the song. The third hall of the exposition changes. Despite the small area of the premises, the exposition is quite large. The collection of the master's works, except the paintings presented by Valentina and Mark, consists of: mosaics, tapestries, stained-glass windows, gouaches, lithographs, engravings and preparatory sketches. The museum exhibits works not only on biblical themes: the exhibition is complemented by canvases of circus and other series.

Plage de Carras

Nice, Greek Nicea, still belonged to the Italian-Sardinian dynasty of Savoy Princes, when in the middle of the XVIII century the British discovered the possibility of rest here. The sandy strip, then chosen by the Scots, British and English for swimming, became the Promenade des Anglais, a promenade street in Nice.

Oliviera

Day 8: Last day in Nice

The journey ends. Grab a bite to eat in the morning at a café nearby, then take a stroll around Nice to enjoy the city again.

Bagelstein

Bagelstein Café is suitable for those who like healthy and natural food. For example, for a hearty breakfast, you can take a bagel of wholemeal bread stuffed with vegetables, cheese, fish or chicken.

Cours Saleya

Before lunch, Cours Saleya opens a picturesque market, flower and grocery store. Goods are brought by peasants from surrounding villages.