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driving from menton to isle sur la sorgue in june

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Need some advice on the most interesting way to make this drive. Thanks.

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    You can use to get info on drive times and distances, toll and fuel costs and suggested routes (i.e. scenic routes). The times given do not consider stops. Here's the route viamichelin gave me when I chose the scenic option (it's a 6 hour non-stop drive):

    There are loads of other options depending on how much time you have to get from one place to another. I will suggest that you should get the Michelin maps for this region. You want the ones of the scale 1:200,000 (regional maps) or 1:150,000 (departmental maps, more detailed, cover slightly less area) for whatever regions you visit. A nice feature of the 1:150,000 maps is they show the starred attractions in the corresponding Michelin Green guidebooks. The Michelin maps have icons for all kinds of historically/touristically interesting things such as châteaux, ruins, churches, abbeys, scenic view points, caves, Roman sites, megaliths, designated scenic roads and many other things. Usually when I'm exploring various regions in France I just look at the map and I am able to plan interesting and scenic drives just reading the map. For instance, I usually look for a designated scenic road, which are highlighted in green, and I especially look for towns with the historic church and/or château icon. I also try to make sure the route goes through as many small villages as possible. Usually putting all these things together I find interesting and scenic drives without even knowing where I am going and with no assistance from a guide book.

    You can buy the Michelin maps from their website and here is a link to the page that shows you the 1:200,000 scale maps of France:

    And here is a link to the page that shows you the 1:150,000 scale maps of France:

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    It really depends how much time you want to take. Last time we were in Menton, we drove along the coast, past Monaco (lovely view just before you get to Monaco) and then onto the A8 motorway until Nice. But you could continue along the Corniche towards Nice, then get on the A8.

    It also depends on the time of year. In July and August this will take you a loooong time.

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    FMT, re-do your URL. You have it going from Menton to Menton - which viamichelin doesn't like.

    I prefer the Michelin 100 series maps for the Riviera. They are on the scale of 1/100,000 and show more roads than the 300 series does. Less squinting. Starred attractions are noted too.

    map 114 for the Var
    map 115 for the Apes-Maritimes

    Here is the route we often take to get from the Nice area to Provence.

    This is a beautiful area with quaint villages, vistas, rolling countryside, & vineyards. This is mainly a “drive through the country” & you can get out & wander in a town if you like. This drive will take less than 4 hours, even with some short stops & some browsing along the way.

    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).

    Our favorite restaurants in this section of the Var (near Cotignac) are Clos des Vignes (04 94 04 72 19 – on the D22 in the vineyards between Montfort & Cotignac), Auberge du Parc in Correns (04 94 59 53 52 - nice outside dining), Les Pins in Sillans (04 94 04 63 26), Auberge du Vieux Fox in Fox Ampoux (04 94 80 71 69 - very quaint), and l’Oustaou in Flaysoc (04 94 70 42 69). The central square in Cotignac is lined with outdoor restaurants. The food is not on a par with the others in this list, but dining in the town of Cotignac on a warm night is a lot of fun.

    If you feel like lingering in this area a little longer, Lorgues is a nice town to visit & the drive from Carces to Lorgues is very scenic. Pick up an English walking tour map of Lorgues at the tourist office. There are several shops & outdoor cafes under plane trees and there’s a great Tuesday AM market in town. Le Thoronet Abbey** (close to Carces) is one of three Cistercian Abbeys in Provence. The most famous one is Senanque near Gordes, but Senanque has guided tours (only) in French, and if you want to wander inside an Abbey on your own (which allows you to savor & see more of the monastic life & soak up the essence of this religious lifestyle), then visit Le Thoronet.

    Stu Dudley

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