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Road trip in Provence: the route

road trip in Provence

Road trip in Provence: the route

This summer, we took the car a few days for a road trip in Provence. There is so much more to see than beaches! We suggest a route to visit Provence by car. Are you ready? It went to cross 3 departments and to discover what the Provençal lands hide.

Itinerary for a road trip in Provence

To give you full freedom during your road trip in the South of France, we will not define a duration for this route. Thus, you will be free to organize your days as you wish! That said, the ideal time to visit everything, without being pressed for time, is 6 or 7 days.

We will list different stages to visit Provence by car, starting from the one further west to the east.


Road trip in Provence: what to do?

Visit the Luberon: our essentials

Little pronunciation aside: we say Lu-beu-ron and not Lu-bé-ron

L’Isle sur la Sorgue

Nicknamed «the Provençal Venice», the small town of l‘Isle sur la Sorgue has charm assets. Its canals, pretty bridges and small alleys make it unique!

We recommend spending a night or two there to visit the city centre. It also takes half a day to go down the Sorgue by kayak from Fontaine de Vaucluse. This walk, accessible to all, is not to be missed! Information here

Where to eat at l’Isle sur la Sorgue?

The city centre is full of great places to eat, with beautiful views of the river:

  • Les Terrasses by David and Louisa restaurant. Some tables are arranged in the middle of a small bridge: book before to have the chance to dine in this exceptional setting
  • The 17 Place aux Vins. Very nice wine bar with tapas!
  • Beer’s Chope. Beer bar (but they also have wine and others) with a rather young atmosphere. The terrace by the canal is nice and pretty. We had a very good evening there.
Where to stay in L’Isle sur la Sorgue?

Le Loft offers modern apartments for 2 to 4 people, located right in the centre. Practical especially for getting ready to eat if you do not want to go to the restaurant all the time!

Very good value for money.

The guest room La Prévôté which is in a former convent of the seventeenth century. It is also located in the heart of Isle sur la Sorgue. This establishment has a crazy charm Each room is decorated differently.

Le Clos des Vergers, nice hotel with swimming pool which is a little further from the centre. The setting, in nature, is superb!

 

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Notre-Dame-de-sénanque Abbey

Beyond the beauty of its architecture, the main interest of the abbey of Notre-Dame-de-sénanque is the lavender field that borders it. Therefore, the ideal time to visit is July, when the lavender is in bloom. Outside of this month, we don’t think there’s much point in going there.

Admission: €9.50 per adult, €5 for students.

You can admire the landscape with lavender without paying: the ticket is only used to visit the interior of the monastery.

Be careful, there can be a lot of people during the summer. So go there at the opening! This summer (2020), it was okay since foreign tourists are mostly not present in France because of Covid-19.

road trip in Provence

road trip in Provence

Gordes

After your visit to the Abbey, head to the village of Gordes, ranked among the most beautiful in France. And for good reason! So much charm emerges from its cobbled and flowery alleys.

The village is high. All around, you can enjoy exceptional views of the Vaucluse mountains and the Luberon Natural Park.

Where to eat in Gordes?
  • L’Outsider: cuisine with local and fresh products, nice terrace
  • La Trinquette: their terrace enjoys a magnificent view, good quality/price ratio with fresh and worked products

The reservation is recommended.

Where to stay in Gordes?

There are so many beautiful establishments in and around Gordes. Here are 3 proposals, from the smallest budget to a big budget:

  • Sophie and Laurent’s guest house at Mas Val-Chênaie. Their stone house and garden are very beautiful! As a bonus: there is a swimming pool.
  • Le Clos de Gordes : a favourite for this establishment. I have rarely seen a place so well decorated and warm at the same time. It’s like a magazine! I’ll let you discover the rooms and the rest… magnificent.
  • In the heart of the village of Gordes, the hotel Airelles, the Bastide de Gordes is exceptional. It’s a budget, but you’ll see why when you see the frame! On the road to the village, you can see the hotel with its gardens and terraces…

It makes you dream.

road trip itinerary in Provencewhat to do in Provence

The Ochre Trail (Roussillon)

Are you ready to change countries in just a few miles of car? You don’t have to go to the USA when you know you have wonders like the Sentier des Ocres in France.  To park, there is a parking available on this GPS point.

🎫 Access: 3€ per person. There are two routes: make the one that is a little longer (red arrows) because otherwise you will pass by the most beautiful landscape. The tour lasts no more than 1h, 1h30 maximum if you marvel at every step . It is a pleasant walk, accessible to young and old.💌 Our tip: Go 15 minutes before the opening to be the first (9am in high season, 9h30 in mid-season). At the beginning, press the step a little to arrive faster and alone on the best points of view. You will return to the beginning of the trail on the way back so it is not necessary to stop right away.

ocher trail

road trip in Provence what to do

Le Colorado Provençal

The name is evocative! In the same style as our previous stage, the Colorado Provençal also called the Sentier des Ocres de Rustrel offers breathtaking landscapes. They are often confused, but they are two separate places.

🎫 Access: the entrance is priced according to your means of locomotion. The price is 5€ per car, no matter if you are 2 or 5. By motorcycle, it is 2€. If you arrive on foot or by bike, it will be 2€ per person.

From what we have heard, it is less frequented and a little wilder the path of the Ochres of Roussillon.


Road-Trip en Provence: itinerary (continuation)

Note: We voluntarily overlook the famous Gorges du Verdon since we want to devote a dedicated article to it this year. But know that the landscapes are unavoidable.

Visit Provence by car: What to do?

The Vallon des Carmes

In the town of Barjols, the Vallon des Carmes is a must-see during your road trip in Provence. This place looks a bit like Sillans-La-Cascade (step below), it is a river with emerald blue water, with two waterfalls.

Park in the parking lot of the Vallon des Carmes. Access to a trail arranged in 10/15 minutes on foot.

💦 It can be useful to walk with sneakers that can take water to bathe without damaging your little feet. Also, whether for the Sillans waterfall, the Vallon des Carmes or any other natural swimming spot, avoid putting on sunscreen before bathing so as not to destroy the eco-system. Otherwise, prefer organic sun creams that respect the environment: this one for example or the products of the Laboratories of Biarritz.

 

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Sillans-La-Cascade

The Sillans waterfall is probably one of our favorite places in France. This place reminds us a lot of the waterfalls of the Philippines.

To discover our travel guide to the Philippines, visit here

In high season, it is absolutely essential to get there early in the morning. That’s why we decided to spend a night there, in order to attack as soon as possible.

Where to stay in Sillans-La-Cascade?

We stayed at the Hotel des Pins, perfectly located to access the Cascade de Sillans. In addition, this will save you from paying the parking as the parking is included in the room price.

How to access the Sillans waterfall?

The village of Sillans-la-Cascasde is crossed by a river: La Bresque. When we talk about the Sillans waterfall, everyone is referring to the 42-metre waterfall. That said, there are other smaller waterfalls along the river.

See the Sillans Waterfall (the «real»)

To admire the famous Sillans Waterfall, a viewpoint has been built. It is accessible in about 15 minutes by foot. The trail is not difficult but can sometimes be slippery, so pay attention to children and the elderly.

Where to stay in Sillans-La-Cascade?

We stayed at the Hotel des Pins, perfectly located to access the Cascade de Sillans. In addition, this will save you from paying the parking as the parking is included in the room price.

Park at the Belvedere car park at the start of the small hike: GPS coordinates

⏰ We repeat: no need to go to this place in the middle of the day in summer because you will come out angry! Either you get up early and enjoy it, or you will be visited in the midst of a crowd of tourists – which is not normally pleasant and even less so during a pandemic.

the sillans waterfall

Where to swim in Sillans-La-Cascade?

⚠️ Attention, for reasons of safety and preservation of the environment, it is strictly forbidden to bathe in the basin of the great waterfall, or even to approach it. However, it is still possible to swim further down the river. We will explain how!

🗑 Even if it makes sense, (at least, I hope) leave no waste behind you. Let me point that out because I’ve been collecting a lot of plastic packaging for children’s cakes and other things—

The second waterfall of Sillans-La-Cascade

Downstream of the Bresque, we came across a small nugget: a magnificent waterfall, on the edge of which it is not forbidden to swim. To access it, it’s very simple!

🚗 Access: Park at this parking lot. From there, take the Bas Ricoui cul-de-sac and continue on the trail for 800 m (about 10 min. walk). On your left, you will see the top of the large waterfall of Sillans. Descend towards the waterfall. You will arrive here (see photo below), where it is already possible to swim. Respect the signs and do not approach the basin of the waterfall!

road trip in Provence

Then, walk along the river bed for about 15 minutes. You will come across the second waterfall arriving from the top of it. To go down at the level of the basin, you have to go up the path on the right and go down just after (2/3 minutes). You are there! All you have to do is take your courage with both hands to get into the water .

May not be suitable for young children … but in reality you don’t know you don’t have children 😂


Question: “But how do you manage to be alone in your photos”?

The answer: Get up at dawn and nap in the afternoon to recover when it’s hot, like retirees

Getting up early is the only way to enjoy the places and have nature just for yourself, especially in high season! For Sillans-La-Cascade, go to the viewpoint at 7h. You will be at the trail for the second waterfall at 8h maximum. Respecting this timing, you will reach the pool to bathe at 8:30 and can enjoy this little corner of paradise without any tourists.

We were alone at this place in the middle of July from 8:30 am to 11 am. Just two people arrived at this time.

what to do in Provence


Finally, we will update this road trip itinerary in Provence as we make our discoveries! Do not hesitate to send us your favorite places in comments we will add them with pleasure.

As explained at the beginning of the article, we voluntarily missed the beaches in this itinerary. However, you can find our top 5 of the Calanques de Marseille and Cassis LIEN!

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