Being raised in central Pennsylvania, it seemed many times that anyplace we went, we had to take a road- trip. Driving long-distances was commonplace and still to this day, we love taking road-trips. A road trip is a trip taken over a long distance, usually by van, motorhome, car or motorcycle. Roaming. Freedom. Inspiration. If these three words make you vibrate, then the road trip is certainly made for you! In my definition, a road-trip has to be at least two nights on the road otherwise it is just a long-drive. Having made road-trips in a car, with a travel trailer, and on a motorcycle, to take one in a country not your own is entirely different and special. We love traveling through France and here is our 14 Varied Destinations for a Road Trip in France.
The desired goal of a road trip is to discover a country or region taking advantage of as much of the trip as the destination. This practice has become ultra-popular in recent years with the development of motorhomes, then the famous hashtag van-life. If the road trip is particularly popular with tourists abroad, it is still struggling to establish itself in France. And yet, it is a fabulous way to rediscover the richness of a country’s terroirs and the heritage specific to each region.
In France, the diversity of landscapes will surprise you at every turn. From Brittany to Provence via the southwest of France and the Aubrac region: here are 14 magnificent road trips to take through or around France. A good dose of inspiration to prepare for your future journey on the roads!
1. The Landes Road
The Landes de Gascogne is a region quite apart. Relatively flat, hundreds of thousands of pines stretching out over the horizon. The sound of the waves breaking on huge slender sand dunes. The Atlantic coast that borders this regional park covers an area of 14,000 sq km and is perfect for a road trip in France from north to south.
Surfing and visiting the Dune du Pilat are must-dos here!
2. Provence and the South-East of France
It reigns like a holiday air in the South-East of France. Lavender fields, turquoise waters, flower villages and crickets throughout the day: what more could you ask for apart from air conditioning in your vehicle?
You can visit here: Provence, the Luberon, the Alpilles, the Calanques national park, the Gorges du Verdon, the Mercantour and the hinterland of the Var.
3. A Road Trip in France: Brittany
On your road trip to France, take the road from Rennes and head to the north coast. Saint-Malo, Mont Saint-Michel, Erquy, the Emerald Coast, the Pink Granite Coast and its famous lighthouse at Ploumanac’h. And then there is also Finistère with the abers, the Monts d’Arrée and the Morbihan golf course, which are also worth a detour!
4. Walk in the Balloons of the Vosges
The Ballons des Vosges natural park is also a must-do.
The place harmoniously mixes culture, nature and outdoor activities. Take a detour with your vehicle through the small villages of Eguisheim and Riquewihr!
5. The Voie de la Liberté
Another well-known road trip route in France is that of Normandy via the Voie de la Liberté. It is a mythical route that pays homage to the liberation of France during the Second World War. To name four of the most popular places nearby: Honfleur, the cliffs of Etretat, Utah Beach and the forest of Fontainebleau.
6. A Road Trip to the Centre of France
It is the destination of the Morvan National Park for this road trip in France.
Over nearly 3,000 sq km, the Morvan straddles four departments. Its roads are lost in the countryside and cross picturesque little villages. Also worth seeing: the basilica of Vézelay, Mont Beuvray and Lac des Suttons.
7. A Road Trip in the Basque Country
What is most striking when arriving in the Basque Country is the dominance of a brilliant, almost fluorescent green reflected by the meadows of its gentle hills. The traditional houses are imposing, and their half-timbering is painted red.
What to visit? At least Ruhne, Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
8. The Napoleon Route: From Grenoble to Cannes
The Napoleon Road will give you a good overview of the Alpes Maritimes. It leaves Grenoble to reach Cannes. During your road trip to France, this stretch of road will be particularly memorable. Take the opportunity to stroll in the Ecrins National Park, the Gorges du Verdon and the Cannes side when you arrive on the Mediterranean!
9. Around the Causse Méjean
Located on a high plateau, you will have to brave a drop of 500 meters once you have arrived at Les Vignes. Not sure that an old, converted van would hold up! You will find a total change of scenery once you reach the heights!
10. A Road Trip in Auvergne
The volcanoes of Auvergne are famous for their recognizable lines. Puy de Dôme, Puy de Sancy and Puy Mary are absolutely magnificent places. Many hikes are possible in the surroundings.
Cantal will remain the big favorite of the road trip in France that we did by van in 2018.
11 – The tour of the Loire Castles
You can take the road to the Loire castles for a relatively cheap road trip in France. From there, it will take you through around forty historical sites. You will discover several castles (Chambord, Villandry and its magnificent gardens, Azay-le-Rideau, etc.), mushroom cellars, the Touraine vineyard and the delicious Loire wine.
12 – Walk into Aubrac
Aubrac is one of those French regions where culture linked to transhumance is still very present, and many burons will open their doors for you to taste their aligot. The landscape is that of the highlands and somewhat similar to the Grands Causses.
Do not miss visiting the town of Aubrac and Laguiole.
13 – A Road Trip in the Pyrenees and the French South-West
There would be a lot to say about the Pyrenees (and hikes to do)!
Ideally, you must visit this mountain range from east to west or vice versa. During your road trip in France, stop by to see the Col du Tourmalet, Cirque de Gavarnie, Lac de Gaube and Ordesa and Mont-Perdu National Park if you have some time to spend in the Spanish Pyrenees.
14 – The Blue Route
Another idea for a road trip in France is to take the mythical National 7. The road is nicknamed the Blue Route and goes from Paris to Menton. It is a famous vacation route. Its name alone is perfect for journeys on the roads, by motorbike or car!
Our Final Word
Just remember, when taking a road trip have an open mind. Some of our best experiences occurred when everything went wrong. Those are the things that we still talk about. Take your time. Take the roads less travelled as those are the most interesting ones. And leave space to get to know the locals. There is nothing better.
By the way, we are already planning our next road-trip in Europe. We hope to see you there.
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