Road trip these days sounds like the most ideal way to travel. You can stop wherever you want to take a lunch break, swim in the sea or enjoy some spectacular lookout. Not to mention that you will not spend hours at the airport, or next to strangers in a brightly lit train.
For lovers of good food and wine – the Franche-Comte route
The drive from Calais to Franche-Comté, near the eastern border of France with Switzerland, introduces you to the northern regions before heading south. It takes about six and a half hours to complete this route.
Our suggestion is to take a break in Reims, which is halfway there. Reims is the largest city in the Champagne region and has places that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
From here you have four more hours to reach Franche-Comte, a region that is often neglected in favor of Burgundy. Here you must try Comte cheese and explore the local farmland surrounding the Jure Mountains.
For nature lovers – the route of Provence
It will take you at least 10 hours from Calais to Provence. Take a break in the capital of Burgundy, Dijon, which has a medieval car-free center with wooden houses and cafes in fairly paved squares.
Another option is to spend the night in Lyon, which is about three hours north of Marseille.
A long drive takes you through fortified hilltop towns and colorful fields that you will explore when you arrive.
A safe way station are tiny, quiet villages in green Luberon, like Oppede-le-Vieuk which is full of ancient churches. The market town of Eygalieres has against its backdrop the impressive Alps on a hill with a great view of the variegated vineyard village below.
For those who crave the sea, the city of Kasi on the coast is a perfect alternative to Nice and Cannes.
For lovers of wine and castles – a route along the coast of the Loire
The Loire is the longest river in France. The French royal families used its most beautiful features for their picnic areas, so the surrounding nature is covered with large and impressive estates.
The construction of these castles meant that tiny villages and vineyards also appeared in the area, and now the entire region is under UNESCO protection.
And the Loire Valley is one of the main French wine-producing regions, , with hundreds of vineyards to tour – take a bike and visit all the vineyards, refreshing yourself with a glass of local Sauvignon.
When to leave? In October, most of the crowds disappeared, the weather is dry and warm, and the food is perfect. Where to stay? Chateau du Grand-Luce is a castle like from French fairy tales.
For sea lovers – a tour to Cap Ferret
Known for its oysters, this tiny village is located at the end of a long peninsula that faces the Atlantic.
It is an old-fashioned seaside resort in the best sense: there is a lighthouse, boats anchored in the water, a long dock for walking.
Here you will also find the Dune du Pilat, the highest sand dune in Europe and, according to our estimates, one of the best beaches in the world.
For a day trip, we recommend a visit to the town of Bordeaux, which is just over an hour’s drive east, while Arcachon, with its Art Nouveau architecture, is an hour south.
When to leave? Fly to make the most of a day at the beach. Where to stay? In La Maison du Bassin, a few minutes from the coast.
For lovers of island life – a tour of the island of Ile de Re
The island of Ile de Re is a favorite place of Parisians flying for a long, sandy weekend. The Ile de Re faces the Atlantic Ocean, and is only 28 kilometers long, and most of the life on the island is concentrated in the rather port city of Saint-Martin-de-Re, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with terracotta roofs and cobbled streets.
Wonderful ocean-view restaurants are packed here during July and August. Drive from Saint-Martin-de-Re to La Flotte, another seaside village.
The most beautiful sandy beaches are located in the north of the island, but more beautiful, with fewer people in the west, supported by pine forests and collapsed dunes.
When to leave? In September, when the French go home and the streets become calmer.