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Lisa asked

Self drive itinerary Lyon - Menton

After spending 4 nights in Lyon, my husband and I would like to drive over 8 days visiting some gems along the way that are less known to tourists. We love food, wine and beautiful scenery. Travel time is March this year. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.


3 Answers
answered first by
Janice from Toronto, Ontario

As you'll have a car, you really should visit the hilltop villages in Provence. My favourite is Gordes. There are so many beautiful towns to visit, such as Saint-Remy-de-Provence and L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. There's also the Palais des Papes in Avignon  and Les Baux-de-Provenceis nearby (right on your route) and then you can head to Marseille for seafood. Fortunately, you're travelling during off season, so the traffic won't be as bad as in the summer. On your way to Menton, try to visit Eze and Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Hope that helps out. 

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Provence (attraction)
  2. Gordes (region)
  3. Saint-Remy-de-Provence (city)
  4. L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (city)
  5. Palais des Papes (attraction)
  6. Avignon (city)
  7. Les Baux-de-Provence (city)
  8. Marseille (city)
  9. Menton (city)
  10. Eze (city)
  11. Saint-Paul-de-Vence (city)
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answered by
John from Carlsbad (California)

I would add Villefranche-sur-Mer as a base to see the towns and cities between Antibes and Menton.  It sits on a magnificent bay and waterfront, and the Welcome Hotel is a great small hotel there.  Somehow it has remained unspoiled, despite its location.

Comments (1)

I would definitely add illegran he and the Welcome Hotel - wonderful place and good base for all the adjacent towns..... enjoy!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Villefranche-sur-Mer (city)
  2. Antibes (city)
  3. Menton (city)
  4. Welcome Hotel (hotel)
comments (1)
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answered by
Courtney from Los Angeles

I'm so jealous--this is one of my favorite parts of the planet. In no particular order here are my favorites:

My number one choice for that area is Aix-en-Provence. It's not one of the lesser-known places along the way, but it's well worth a day. Absolutely one of my all-time most favorite places on earth and, to me, the perfect balance between a small town and a city. 

I'm also a big fan of Avignon, although it can be very touristy. I'm just mentioning it here because I do think it's worth seeing although I wouldn't lose sleep if you have to cut it. 

You may also want to try a little detour to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie which is the country's capital of faience pottery. I don't happen to like the pottery but I love the town. 

Now, no one on the planet agrees with me about this one, but if you're up for an adventure, I would check out Toulon. Again, I am the ONLY person on the planet who likes this place but if you're into flea markets and VERY out of the way places, I would try it. Also, there are TONS of great restaurants right on the beach that have incredible seafood for much less money than a lot of the other towns in the area. 

Bandol is also very nearby and if I'm remembering correctly I believe there are a bunch of wineries there (honestly, though--no matter where you drive in this area you will run into TONS of little family-owned places along they way--they can't be avoided). I believe there are also several in Les Baux-de-Provence as well. 

There is a little hilltop town in the area called Le Castellet which is one of my favorite places on the planet. It's usually mostly locals and you have to have a car to get there. It's a little artisan community with all kinds of cute stores and restaurants. Great place for a little half-day trip and if you like beautiful scenery, this is your place. you'll get some great shots since it's up on a hill. Gourdon is also kind of amazing as far as landscape goes although it'll take you off track a bit. 

I agree with L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, especially if you love antiques which it is known for. Beware, however, the whole town can be a little overpriced whether it's food or antiques. 

There's not a lot to do there but Brignoles is pretty as is FrejusCassis is pretty cute although it's more of a beach town--I always pick up a bunch of cheap espadrilles when I go. La Ciotat is also kind of a cute beach town and a nice place to stop and have lunch (although I wouldn't go out of my way to see it) 

Try to check out the grotto in Sainte-Baume. It's kind of an amazing, if semi-creepy place but I would consider that off the beaten path for sure. 

If you're into perfume then you MUST go to Grasse and take a tour or two at the perfume museums. Grasse is a bit hard to get to without a car so if you're ever going to go, I would go now. 

Finally, and I know these two places are definitely not off the beaten path, but I would try to hit Monaco and Saint-Tropez because they're a lot of fun. St. Tropez is really just a sleepy little town at that time of year (usually the traffic is beyond horrendous) so it's actually a good time of year to see it. 

I would avoid NiceCannes, and Arles although I'm in the minority about Arles (it just freaks me out--I don't know why). To me, all are overrated. 

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Aix-en-Provence (city)
  2. Avignon (city)
  3. Moustiers-Sainte-Marie (city)
  4. Toulon (city)
  5. Bandol (city)
  6. Les Baux-de-Provence (city)
  7. Le Castellet (city)
  8. Gourdon (city)
  9. L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (city)
  10. Brignoles (city)
  11. Frejus (city)
  12. Cassis (city)
  13. La Ciotat (city)
  14. Sainte-Baume (attraction)
  15. Grasse (attraction)
  16. Monaco (country)
  17. Saint-Tropez (city)
  18. Nice (city)
  19. Cannes (attraction)
  20. Arles (city)
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