My ten-day itinerary in the south of France

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    Do you have ten days, a car, good company and maybe even a passion for wine? This is the itinerary for you.

    In this post I will tell you about our tour in the south of France, it will be a practical post to help those who intend to organize a similar trip.

    Let’s start from the basics:

    • Days: 10 days, the first ten of September
    • Stages: Lyon > Bordeaux > Dune du Pilat > Cap Ferret > Saint-Émilion > Toulouse > Carcassonne > Montpellier > Aix-en-Provence
    • Ground kilometres: 2,700 km
    • People: 4 (my family) + the navigator (see this post: The conflicting friendship between my father and the navigator)
    • Total cost of the trip: 700/800€ per person all inclusive (the car was ours, not rented)
    • Visited cities: 8
    • Means used: our car, in fact

    We left home with our car and crossed all of France from Lyon to Bordeaux. On our way back we passed through the south, along the Provence arriving in Italy passing by the coast.

    As usual I drew the map below.

    After the general floatation, we move on to the stages. We spent two nights in Lyon, five in Bordeaux, one in Toulouse and one in Montpellier.

    In Bordeaux we stopped to visit all the surroundings: the Dune du Pilat, some ocean, Saint-Émilion, Cap Ferret and other small villages nearby.

    A – Departure, in our case Bologna

    B – Lyon

    I expected nothing from Lyon, but I really liked it. This thing that the two rivers (the Rhône and the Saône) meet right in the center of the city I like very much.

    Not to be missed:

    The whole area of Vieux Lyon

    Walk through the markets along the banks of the Rhone

    The traboules: you enter through a door and you come out three streets further on

    The hill of Fourvière with its splendid Basilica (reachable by funicular)

    Dinner in one of the typical Lyonnais bouchons (be careful not to end up in the classic tourist traps)

    The peninsula between the two rivers, the Presqu’Île, the vital centre of the city, in particular the walk from Place des Terreaux to Place Bellecour

    C – Bordeaux

    Elegant, elegant, French without the mouths of the French. Pacata, kind, warm. Also this city was a beautiful surprise. In the evening it gives its best. You can visit Bordeaux walking far and wide with your nose up.

    The most impressive place is the Place de la Bourse, a gigantic square with a magnificent carpet of water that reflects the lights of the city overlooking the Garonne.

    D – Dune du Pilat

    The Dune du Pilat is a mountain of sand, more than 100 meters high, more than 3 kilometers long.

    I was there, 1.60 meters low, in front of a colossus 60 times taller than me.

    Twice the Tower of Pisa, five Christmas trees of the Rockefeller Center in New York, a Pirellone, a skyscraper in Cesenatico, much more than a Statue of Liberty.

    Do you understand how impressive that is?

    When you get up you’re left speechless.

    On the coast of the dune the view is 360 degrees: 180 degrees of infinite ocean, 180 degrees of pine forest as far as the eye can see.

    E – Cap Ferret

    The maritime villages of the Gulf of Arcachon are very nice, this I point out in particular because it has a beautiful lighthouse on which you can climb and from which you can see the whole basin. The beaches of Cap Ferret are very long and deserted. The ocean is crazy and superblu. Some areas are particularly frequented by nudists, we have noticed a little late.

    F – Saint-Émilion

    A village that looks like a watercolor a few kilometers from Bordeaux famous for its wines and cellars (chateaux). To do: take your car and drive around, get lost in the hills and the beautiful chateaux that really look like castles but surrounded by vineyards. It’s like being in a movie.

    G – Toulouse

    I wasn’t particularly excited about Toulouse. Very nice walk along the Garonne. Very particular the architecture of Cathedrale St-Etienne. City full of clubs and young people. One day is more than enough.

    H – Carcassonne

    This is a place that would have thrilled me as a child: it speaks of the Middle Ages, of knights, ladies, witches, intrigues, banquets and lace. The old town inside the walls is very touristy and a bit ruined in my opinion. But the whole promenade of the walls is amazing.

    I – Montpellier

    Viva! It’s a living, pulsating, smiling city! We happened to Montpellier on Friday: from June to September every Friday evening Montpellier lights up with Les Estivales, an event that revives the city centre with shows, concerts, stalls and markets. Even in winter there is something similar, in December: Les Hivernales, of course with a Christmas theme.

    J – Aix-en-Provence

    Arriving in Aix-en-Provence, it seems as if we are slowly getting into a film.

    Have you seen a good year? Take Russell Crow out and add the macarons.

    Even the light looks different when the places are so beautiful.

    We’ve walked a lot through Aix, far and wide.

    Don’t miss Book in Bar, a beautiful place, a bookshop+bar of yesteryear.

    Aix-en-Provence is an enchanted place, which alone is worth the trip. It’s worth seeing everything, every corner and every café, every square and every market.

    Avoid like the plague on weekends, they will make you hate this enchanting place.

    How children (and adults) play in Bordeaux

    Café in Bordeaux

    Café in Bordeaux

    Walking in Bordeaux

    Walking in Bordeaux

    Overview, Dune du Pilat

    Overview, Dune du Pilat

    Travel notes to the Dune du Pilat

    Travel notes to the Dune du Pilat

    Cap Ferret

    Cap Ferret, the deserted beaches

    The lighthouse of Cap Ferret

    The lighthouse of Cap Ferret

    Cap Ferret, the ocean

    Cap Ferret, the ocean

    Cloister of the Collegiate, Saint-Émilion

    Cloister of the Collegiate, Saint-Émilion

    The view from Saint-Emilion

    The view from Saint-Emilion

    The wines of Saint-Émilion

    The wines of Saint-Émilion

    The countryside around Bordeaux

    The countryside around Bordeaux

    The splendid Carcassonne

    The splendid Carcassonne

    The small houses of Toulouse

    The small houses of Toulouse

    Toulouse by night

    Toulouse by night

    Fine posters in Toulouse

    Fine posters in Toulouse

    Jardin Japonais, Toulouse

    Jardin Japonais, Toulouse

    Montpellier

    Montpellier

    Details of Aix-en-Provence

    Details of Aix-en-Provence

    Categories: France

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