Travel Thursday // Road Trip in France

southern-france-estate photo via Dust Jacket

We’re knee deep in planning our trip to France. In our usual style, we’re planning everything last minute so we’re scouring for the most affordable train rides, nice & trendy boutique hotels, and pretties views. Basically anything and everything to make our trip as memorable as possible. It’s hard to believe you can ever go wrong in the south of France, so I’m finding comfort in knowing that no matter where we are it will be beautiful.

7b768eea7f039e129c5e1112cbcf1787 photo via SOC Style

I have a fairytale image of France in my head. After all, I haven’t been there since the time my grandparents took my brother and I when we were only 7 and 10 years old respectively. I probably thought I was living in a real-life Disney movie. But now, I’m really excited to soak up the art, the music, the food, and the French lifestyle in every way possible. And to make new memories.

garden-views-southern-france-estate colorful-sitting-room-southern-france-estate photos via Dust Jacket

Here’s a rough breakdown of our travel plans as of now. Do keep in mind this is just a rough brainstorm and will be contingent on if we can find hotels, transportation, etc. We fly into France on July 2nd and will take the train directly to Avignon then drive from there to Lacoste to meet my older brother. He works there as the head recruiter for Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), which has a campus in Lacoste for study-abroad students. He travels all over Europe recruiting young talented artists for SCAD, but luckily he’ll be in Lacoste during our trip. 

simon-the-rooster-southern-france-estate potted-lemon-trees-and-geraniums-southern-france-estate photos via Dust Jacket

For the first couple of days, mostly we’ll be exploring the countryside and taking in the blossoming lavender field in Provence. My brother said it’s stunning this time of year and that we won’t want to miss the rural villages and towns before heading down to the coast. So, we’ll take a leisurely drive from Lacoste through Aix-en-Provence and Marseilles before arriving in the more beachy Saint-Tropez, stopping along the way to see whatever suits our fancy.

cote-d-azur-by-martin-morrell- cote-d-azur-france-by-martin-morrell photos via Dust Jacket 

 Saint-Tropez lies right on the crystal-clear teal blue waters of the Cote d’Azur in the French Riviera. It’s popularly known for having boasted jet-setters and celebrities who’d frequently vacation there in the summers of the 1960s. I’m picturing cobblestone streets, old-fashioned cars, wonderful nightlife, and fancy yachts dotting the shores. We’ll be in Saint-Tropez for 2-3 nights, taking a day trip to Cannes so I can revel in all the Hollywood splendor (and pretend I’m at the Cannes Film Festival).

photos via Dust Jacket

My brother recommended we drive through Antibes on our way to Nice. He suggested we stay in Nice as a main central point, since we can conveniently drive only 30 or 45 minutes from there to all the coastal towns. We’re planning to stay in Nice for 3-4 nights, giving us plenty of time to plan a boat trip, romantic dinners, and plenty of exploring. We’re going in kind of blind, minimal planning ahead of time which is not my usual style.

french-riviera-gary-pepper france-shutters-flowers-by-martin-morrell photos via Dust Jacket

If you’ve ever been to the French Riviera, recommendations are more than welcome. Please let me know in the comments if you have any travel advice or tips! I’m the type of person to plan out every day of our trip down to the tee, so I’ll admit I feel slightly uneasy about leaving it up to chance. But it does afford us a lot more opportunities for spontaneity. 

restored-stable-southern-france-estate 11-photo-andrea-wyner-nytimes photos via Dust Jacket

My dream would be to rent out a small chateau or country home to stay in for a night. I know it’s definitely way too late to plan it for this trip, but who knows maybe our lack of planning will pay off in other ways. I just thrive both mentally and creatively in the slow, southern lifestyle closer to how I was raised. Don’t get me wrong, living in the city is convenient and fun but there’s something to be said about relaxing on the patio surrounded by nature. France seems like the ideal place to do this.

view-from-duche-uzes-by-james-bedford Pont-du-Gard-in-uzes-by-james-bedford photos via Dust Jacket

After Nice, we’re going to drive to Monaco and spend a couple of nights there. I don’t know why when I think of Monaco, the Grace of Monaco and the Disney movie Monte Carlo with Selena Gomez come to mind. Just goes to show where my mind’s at. My boyfriend’s the history and politics expert, so he’s given me some back story on what we can expect. He’s super excited to go back to Monaco, because he hasn’t been since he was really young. It’s the type of city that’s just his style, or so he thinks.

SHAD5806 Parc-du-Duche-uzes-by-james-bedford photos via Gary Pepper Girl & Dust Jacket

I guess time will tell. I’m excited for the entire trip to be honest. It really is a dream come true. And after all of that time spent in the south of France, we’ll be heading back up to Paris on July 13th so we can make it there in time for Bastille Day.

1-paris-cherry-blossom-girl 2-Le-ChaΜ‚teau-des-Alpilles-the-cherry-blossom-girl photos via Dust Jacket

Bastille Day is said to be one of the biggest celebrations in Paris. I’m really looking forward to the fireworks, since I’ll be missing out on the good old fashioned American 4th of July fireworks. I can’t even begin to think about planning what we’ll do in Paris. We have yet to book our hotels anywhere and it just seems so overwhelming. There’s so much to see and do.

le-bec-a-vin-uzes-photo-james-bedford photos via Conde Nast Traveler, CNN Traveler & Wallpapers Craft

I want to avoid the most touristy spots, but still make it to all the major historical landmarks. So, it’s going to be a tricky balance since it’s peak travel season. My boyfriend and I both like to travel very low-key, so I’m hoping we’ll be able to squeeze in a picnic in the park and day trip down to Versailles to see the Palace of Versailles. Besides that, I’ll be happy just walking down the city streets, gazing up at the Eiffel Tower, and experiencing the romance of Paris.

Again, if you have any recommendations on where to stay or where to eat, please let me know in the comments! I also have no idea what vegan-friendly food I’ll find in France, so restaurant recommendations or tips are more than welcome. 

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