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SCENIC ROUTES SUGGESTIONS

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Apr 23rd, 2013, 01:49 AM
  #1
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SCENIC ROUTES SUGGESTIONS

We are planning a 30 day trip through Spain, France and Italy on a motorcycle (September). We have the skeleton of our itinerary planned, but need some help on the finer details.
Looking for suggestions of the most scenic routes, as we would only like to use the only Motorways when absolutely necessary:

Looking for scenic route suggestions and must-see attractions on the following areas:

We arrive in France from Barcelona via Andorra and sleep in Carcassone. The next day we travel to the Tarn Gorge to Saine Enimie via Millau.

From St Enimie we would like to pass through the Cevennes to sightsee and eventually sleep over around the Adreche Gorge via the Les Vans area.

From the Adreche we will head into Provence for three or four days and will probably make our base in Gordes in order to see the sights around Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and St Remy. Stu Dudley's itinerary around the Villages in this area has definitely been a great help and inspiration. Thanks Stu.

From there we intend to spend 2 days in Nice/Cap Ferrat, but would like to get to the coast through the Alpes and definitely would like to see the Lake st Croix area.

From Nice we will do a day trip along the coastal roads before heading to Cinque Terre in Italy.

Any advice will be appreciated from yo , as we have not been to Europe before, so we are unfamiliar with the conditions and driving times.
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 03:10 AM
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I can give you a few tips in regards to France. Use the website www.viamichelin.com, which is a route planning website. It will offer you the option of selecting the fastest route, non-toll route and scenic route among other options. I'll also suggest you get Michelin maps. The Michelin maps indicate designated scenic roads by highlighting them in green. Here are some tips on using the Michelin maps.

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. Often these places are never mentioned in guidebooks and remain completely unknown to many tourists.

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: http://tinyurl.com/4bt96ev

And here is a link to the page that shows you the 1:150,000 scale maps of France:
http://tinyurl.com/6mt4n64

You could also buy them here but then you can't do research beforehand. The maps can be bought in many places such as bookstores, news stands, magazine stores, larger supermarkets, department stores, hypermarkets and in the full service rest areas on the autoroutes, just to name a few.
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 05:01 AM
  #3
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Thank you so much. Really excellent advice. I am in South Africa and have been unable to find really good maps of France and Italy here, except for the pullouts in the travel guides, which as you know, dont give all the info i'm after.

I will definitely try the Michelin maps, as they sound perfect.

I love to do exactly what you describe, take the scenic route and experience the little villages and towns along the way!!
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 06:02 AM
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To give you an idea what you can do with Michelin maps and how you can use them to explore you can look at this trip report I wrote about spending a day exploring near Monet's house and gardens in Giverny. I did no research prior to exploring, just pulled out the map as I was driving along and looked at the icons to find interesting drives and things to see on the way:

http://tinyurl.com/362xrle
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 06:28 AM
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You can't go wrong with FYT's suggestions ever!! And I would suggest the Michelin Green Guide to whatever your area is. It often gives an interesting driving route, with the site/sights to see.
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 07:11 AM
  #6
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FMT I have just checked out your link and all i can say is WOW!!
Stunning trip report and exactly the type of travelling we have in mind when coming to France. Love the way you write, your sense of humour and also great photos.

Thank you for your input, much appreciated. Will check out your website as well.
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 07:43 AM
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Well thanks Lisa, that's nice of you to say. (And you too Gretchen).
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Apr 23rd, 2013, 09:51 AM
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Michelin has a map called Les plus beaux Villages de France which we used to drive small roads from one marked village to the next--some of them not worth more than a glance. By using these villages to establish an itinerary, you are guaranteed to use only secondary scenic roads.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 12:09 AM
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Thanks Michael - will check it our on the Michelin web.
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Apr 24th, 2013, 12:37 PM
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Take a look at the website that shows the flowered towns and villages too. These are places that go overboard with floral decor and are rated on a scale from one to four flowers:

http://www.villes-et-villages-fleuris.com/

If you stop in a tourist office they'll probably give you a tourist map (carte touristique) of the region for free and it will highlight all kinds of attractions and places to visit in that region.
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