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Driving route in South France

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We are driving from Monaco to St Remy in June. Any suggestions for stops along the way. We have the day to get there, especially a place for lunch.
Thanks

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    Get on the A8 towards Cannes and get off at exit #39. It’s marked “Fayence”. When you get to the D19 from the D562 (the D562 has some ugly commerce along the way), take it toward Fayence & drive through Tourrettes (keep to the right through a parking lot as you enter town), then Fayence (explore – look for the “Vieux Village” sign just past the fabric shop on the left), Seillans*, Bargemon, and then the D25 to Callas. These are all very charming villages. Stop at some if you have the time - perhaps Fayance is the best place to stretch your legs and your wallet. One of my wife’s favorite Provence fabric stores is in Fayence. There are great views along this route.

    If it’s past 3:00 pm at this point and you plan on heading into Provence & staying in either Gordes or St Remy for the night, it’s probably best to get on the A8 and head there now. To get to “central” Provence from Callas, stay on the D25 and head south toward le Muy where you can pick up the A8. This is actually a very pretty drive with wonderful views of the Maures Mountains in front of you as you drive south.

    If you get to Callas before 3:00, then continue through the Var. This is my favorite section of this driving route. As you leave Callas, take the small road that heads southwest and ends at the D54 at Figanieres. Take the D54 northwest toward Chateaudouble. When you hit the D955 (before Chateaudouble), head south. This is the very picturesque Gorges de Chateaudouble*. Stop at the D49 junction on the D955, turn around, & retrace the route on the D955. When you get back to where the D54 hits the D955, take the D51 to Chateaudouble. This is a cute town. If it’s lunch time, try “Restaurant la Tour” with fabulous views on a square shaded by plane trees. It's the 2nd restaurant from the parking lot. Then continue on the D51 to Ampus (explore). Take the D49, D51, D77 to Aups*, which is one of my favorite towns in the area. They have a very nice farmers market on Wednesday & Saturday mornings. There are also several interesting shops for browsing. After Aups, retrace your route a little & take the D77 east to Tourtour*. Park in the parking lot just outside of town (nice view of this medieval village as you approach town). This is another pretty village. There’s a good panorama from the grassy area near the church. There are some nice outside places to have lunch under plane trees, if you’re there around lunch time. Tourtour has several hotels just outside of town (we’ve never stayed at any of them). The Bastide de Tourtour is located in a lovely setting close to town. The fixed price menu is reasonably priced, but the selections looked very un-interesting when we glanced over them. The a la carte selections were expensive.

    Leave Tourtour (drive through the village) on the D51 toward Villecroze and continue on the D51 until it hits the D560 near Salernes. If you are doing this drive on a Sunday morning, there is a good outdoor market in Salernes & there are lots of outdoor cafes where you can watch the market activity. There is an interesting store featuring tiles produced in the area, at the northwest end of town on the D560 (5 min walk from the market area). After Salernes, take the D560 west to the D22 toward Cotignac. As you approach Cotignac, get the cameras ready for some great photo ops of this town, looking down on it from the cliffs above. Cotignac* is one of our favorite small towns. Get out & explore - this is a good lunch spot with a large central square lined with cafes, shops, and shaded by plane trees. Leave Cotignac on the D13 toward Carces. You will start to see a lot of vineyards now, and in May & early June there are fields of red poppies in bloom. Drive through Carces & take the D562 toward Le Val. There is a by-pass around Le Val, but instead, drive through Le Val – however, take the by-pass around le Val & enter town from the south side instead of the north side (the north entrance has an impossible acute turn that your car will have trouble with).

    On to St Remy on the autoroute.

    Stu Dudley

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    If you are in Tourtour, a very good restaurant is La Table. It does not have the views from the Bastide, but it has the cuisine.
    In Seillans, the restaurant des Deux Rocs is recommended.

    I also like the drive along the coast Antibes/Cannes and follow the road past Frejus, Ste Maxime, Ramatuelle. From St Tropez you can take the small road to Grimaud, La Garde Freinet which takes you back to the A8 at Vidauban.

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