France 4 Itineraries
France is a fascinating country that needs to be visited at least once in a lifetime. Art lovers can find some of the most relevant museums in the world, as well as villages and cities rich in history and cultural traditions. Those who love nature can enjoy an impressive variety of landscapes such as the magnificent beaches of the Mediterranean coast or the high cliffs of the North, through rivers, lakes, natural reserves and mountains. And still fairytale castles, tide games, lavender expanses and suggestive towns; without forgetting the gastronomic products and the wines appreciated worldwide .
These are our must fouritineraries to discover a country we are sure to prize from its first glance.
Less known than "Costa Azzurra", the stretch between Marseilles and Martigues offers an itinerary about 100 kilometers between beautiful beaches and fishing villages. Starting from La Ciotat, a little Proveçal town with a retro charm atmosphere, from where you can catch a day excursion from the famous Calanques to the Île Verte while enjoying a wonderful view. The itinerary continues along the so-called Strade delle Creste, with several belvedere leading towards Cap Canaille. You’ll reach Cassis and the nearby Bestouan beach. Before arriving in Marseille, you can take a short break in the clay capital, Aubagne, with the delightful artisan workshops and the glimpses of red roof tiles. Another highlight is L'Estaque, an old fishing village, immortalized by Renoir, Cezanne and Braque. Continuing to Carry-le-Rouet and Sausset-les-Pins, then to Martigues, the "Provencal Venice", which develops on an island crossed by bridges and full of low houses with boat paints . To enjoy a crystal clear sea it is advisable to stop at the beaches of Carro, Sainte-Croix, Sausset, and Rousset, while the lovers of archeology can discover the shelters of Méjean and Châteauneuf, the chapel of San Michele and the Romanesque quarries of La Couronne.
THE ART LOVERS ITINERARY
In the footsteps of the great painters who have found inspiration in Provence, among lavender expanses and cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, our itinerary starts from Vence, the old town loved by painters such as Matisse and Chagal. Then the itinerary proceeds to Cagnes Sur Mer, a fishing village that welcomed Renoir and then stops at Antibes, this time on the tracks of Picasso, which composed here La Joie de Vivreand produced important works in the impressive Grimaldi castle, overhanging the sea. After becoming a museum, the castle holds today numerous Picasso’s dedicated to the Mediterranean. In Aix-en-Provence, the birthplace of Paul Cezanne, it is possible to retrace the neighborhoods and places where the painter lived in his early age. Following our artistic path, we arrive at Arles. Here Van Gogh dedicates a special circuit: following the traces left by the painter himself you can hunt the reproductions of his works on stone slabs, put right where Van Gogh placed his stand. The itinerary then ends with the small but well-known Saintes-Maries de la Mer, a pilgrimage site for the gipsy communities and the burning heart of the Camargue.
ROUTES DE LA LAVANDE
The Valensole plateau, between the valley of Durance and the gorges of Verdon, is a fundamental stop for those who wish to admire the show of lavender in bloom. It starts right from Valensole, a delicious village surrounded by lavender expanses and a great base to visit the surrounding area. From here you can go to Gréoux-les-Bains, a delightful spa, overlooking lavender fields, The next stop is Esparron-de-Verdon, near the Esparron Lake and the ideal base for enjoying some nice hiking. After reaching the picturesque village of Allemagne-en-Provence, we recommend visiting the lavender distilleries before concluding our tour in Provence to Riez, one of the oldest cities in the area.
For those who love uncontaminated nature, the Verdon region is a true corner of paradise: fresh air, dense forests and bright green waters, ideal for practicing all kinds of water sports, or just relaxing on the beaches of pebbles. Five are all the artificial lakes in the Verdon Nature Park. Among them, within an area of 2,200 hectares, Saint-Croix Lake is the largest. The village of Saint Croix du Verdon, perched on the cliff, should bethe starting point for this lake tour. Then going to Les Salles sur Verdon whose tourism office can provide us with useful information about the area. From Les Salles you can reach Aiguines and, passing through Verdon Gorges, you arrive at the Lac de Chaudanne, The sandy shores of Lac de Castillon are wonderful for long swims, tanning and boat trips. Follow Lac du Quinson, near which you can visit the Verdon Gorge Museum and the prehistoric cave of Baume Bonne (only during the summer months). Last but not least Lac d'Esparron which as the former has its name to the delightful village that faces it. Here you can practice many activities, including fishing, canoeing, kayaking and long walks.