France
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

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  • Day944

    La Tête de Chien, above Monaco

    January 26, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Privilaged. We feel so privilaged to be able to stay at this amazing spot. Martha is settled in the small car park, at the end of the road, at the top of La Tête de Chien; one of the Maritime Alps on France's South East coast. We are 550m above the wide expanse of the Mediterranean Sea. From within the van we have a view of the undulous coastline to the the west, the promontories and coves covered in a mix of deep green forest and chalk coloured communities, clustered together near the shore, but dotted like splats of paint on the steep slopes as they rise inland.

    It was a long, slow and difficult drive to get here. From our resort stopover at La Lavandou we climbed into the hills. The narrow winding road had no kerb, just a drop into a large ditch. Grooves cut when vehicles' wheels went over the edge and their metal axels scraped into the tarmac were disconcertingly frequent. From the hills we dropped down to the ribbon of high density urban development that is the French Riviera. We bypassed St Tropez, then travelled through Antibes, Cagnes sur Mer, Saint Laurent du Var and Nice. We felt cordoned in with concrete, funnelled into too narrow lanes, filters, roundabouts. The seafront boulevard at Nice provided some distraction as we watched well dressed people roller blading, biking, skateboarding, jogging, walking dogs and riding in groups of 4 on hire bikes. It was like something you'd expect to see on the Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles!

    From the metropolis we once again climbed, this time squeezing through little hill villages that felt far too small for our 7m van. Approaching the summit of La Tête de Chien, cars lined the right side of the road, but between them we glimpsed the most amazing views of the riviera layed out below. Our nerves were wracked from the drive as we came to the packed car park marking the end of the line. We stopped outside delivery gates for a small fort and waited around half an hour, when miraculously the perfect space was vacated. Once settled, our nerves began to calm and it sank in how beautiful the view really was. The sun was sinking low and many people were making a beeline for this spot, to look down over half a kilometre to the jagged line of the coast, jutting in and out as the sky began to change colour.

    We joined the French, fellow Brits, Italians, Romanians and Monacans, passing by a few abandoned buildings, their rooves just skeletal structures of rusted girders and stone chimneys. Teenagers gathered here and we even saw one responsibly disposing of spent spray paint cans in a wheelie bin. We clambered over bare rock, dirt and shingle and peaked over a stone ledge to see Monaco to the east, nestled into a cove and stretching out into the sea. It was strange to think this little area constituted a whole country!

    As the world's most densely populated principality, it would be extremely difficult to find a parking space in Monaco, so we'd decided to walk in. We scouted out the beginning of the route (more on this in our next post), then watched the sun set over the hills and the streetlights below begin to twinkle.

    As darkness fell, people departed. A taxi driver and their partner were one of the last to leave, cheekily hailing Will from within the van and asking if he had any wine! After tea, Will carefully made his way over the uneven rocks to see Monaco lit up. It was good timing because he was looking on when the Saturday evening quayside fireworks display began! The myriad of colours reflecting in the calm waters of the harbour. The loud explosions echoed off the hillside and drew Vicky out to watch the grand finale, after which moored boats blasted their horns in tribute! It was a really special experience to be the only ones watching from our quiet hilltop lookout!

    To watch a one minute video of what we saw, go to the VnW Travels You Tube channel here:
    https://youtu.be/R1f7IFOtKfA

    As if this wasn't enough, an hour later we got to watch the French firework display from within the van, looking down to the Grande Jetée at Saint Jean Cap Ferrat! Saturday night was definitely the right time to stay in this wonderful spot! As wonderful as the stars above were that night, they were eclipsed by the light show below!
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  • Day946

    Salernes

    January 28, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌬 7 °C

    My oh my were we glad to pull into the aire at Salernes! Starting the day with an interesting but stressfull drive into and back out of the world's most densely populated country (Monaco, click the link to see the video: https://youtu.be/VFaBLIDGnYg), we retraced our tracks of the past few days, along the coast road of the French Riviera, through Saint Laurent du Var, Cagnes sur Mer and finally Nice, thankfully turning inland before we hit Antibes. Driving an oversized vehicle in heavy traffic, on highly engineered road sytems that we are unfamiliar with does tend to wear on the nerves and many drivers along this particular ribbon development did seem to have an air of self entitlement that made it difficult for others around them. Straddling the middle and inner lanes, it seemed like an age before we hit the hills and just had the numerous switch back bends and roundabouts to contend with! Funnily enough we didn't see to many other motorhomers running the same gauntlet!

    Will drove for 5 hours to reach this sandy van parking area, bordering the town of Salernes. It has the small but clear, tree lined River Bresque running alongside and a water tap that produces little more than a dribble, but there is waste emptying, recycling and more importantly, there isn't a high rise building in sight! Will spent a little while fishing before the light faded and Vicky had an early bed. Deciding to stay two nights, so we were refreshed for the next leg of our journey towards Spain, we took a short day trip to Cascade de Sillans; a stunning waterfall just 6km away. Parking in a layby we walked half a kilometre along a woodland track, emerging to the sight of a beautiful white tail of water tumbling 42 metres down a rich sandstone cliff, into a milky turquoise plunge pool.

    Three other people were standing on the wooden viewing platform when we arrived, but they soon left and we spent some time just taking in the details of this natural phenomenon. The different varieties of moss and long tree roots that hung down from the back wall, most covered in ochre coloured calcite deposits that made long thin stalactites of them. The way the thin spray of water bouncing off a prominent rock ran so fast it appeared as a smooth, unfocussed, flowing whole, instead of thousands of clear, tiny, distinct droplets. The rainbow colours trapped in the high speed spray, formed as the force of falling water collided with the body of the pool. It certainly lived up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in France!

    Back in Salernes we walked to the Biocoop, a shop Will had already visited and wanted to show Vicky. We put a lot of time and thought into trying to buy food that is as good as possible for ourselves, the environment, the people who produce it and animal welfare; not always an easy task when travelling to a new place every day or two! In all our time we don't remember coming accross a shop that ticked so many boxes. As large as a supermarket, everything it sold was organic. It had a massive range of products, including cheeses, meats and meat substitutes, fruit and veg, drinks, dried foods, washing and sanitary products and alternative remedies. It made a real effort to cut down on unnecessary packaging, offering a lot of foods such as rice, flour, nuts and seeds, loose for you to put in your own container or a paper bag. It had a focus on local producers, many of whom it seemed, made things especially for this shop. It was also a cooperative, meaning that its success was based on and benefited the community that supported it, rather than a handfull of rich board members. We were in raptures and waxed lyrical about how brilliant it was to the cashier. They seemed a little bemused when Vicky asked to climb the stairs to the mezzanine for a photo of the shop floor, but were happy to oblige. We hope shops like this will continue to grow in number!
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  • Day3

    Euro5000 - Finestre (I) - d'Izoard (F)

    September 9, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    European5000 - Stage 3: Dusty roads, sunny weather & funny challenges... and some great food 👍 🚗 🚗 🍕 #European5000 #PetitBateau #ColleDelleFinestre #ColDIzoard #Challenging #E38 #728 #NextStopLucBoule

  • Day36

    Salt and sweat

    July 22, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    With Scot out of action due to the possible bug going around Nick, Megs and I headed to Cassis for a beach day. Arriving in Cassis we treated ourselves to a nice gelato! We then had a long walk to get to got first beach and thought it couldn't get any better swimming in beautiful blue waters and jumping off the rocks. We then hiked up and down a mountain on the more difficult path walking on slippery rocks. I thought I was going to turn into puddle of sweat! But we made it and it was a beautiful spot. There was also a cute well behaved dog practicing his moves. We then hiked it back up and down the mountain back into town for some dinner. We then realised that the busses up to the train station finish at 8 15 and it was 8 30! So we attempted to get an Uber or taxi however failed. Exhausted we hiked up another big hill turning a 45min walk into a 30min one just so we could make the train. Big day!Read more

  • Day5

    Wild Camping

    September 11, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    After a long day with many defects on our cars we finally set up our camp in the wild at Château Les Baux. Amazing food, stars and nice people. Good night, tomorrow we will continue our trip to Andorra.

  • Day16

    Beachtime... und Prüfung

    August 21, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Ich liege gerade am "Sandstrand" von Nizza und büffle fleißig. Der heutige Strandtag kommt mir ganz recht, da heute Abend eine wichtige Safety-Prüfung ansteht. Sollte ich die nicht bestehen, darf ich schneller zurück nach Dtl. als mir lieb ist. Also bitte fleißig die Daumen drücken!

  • Day66

    Bonjour Französische Republik :)

    August 27, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    😁😃😉😂🤣🙃 c'bon Croissant ...
    Nicky ist das erste Mal in Frankreich, Oli auch 😉

    Gleich nach der "kurzen" Nacht geht's auf in Richtung Verdonschlucht.
    Danach weht uns der Wind wieder mehr westlich nach Marseille und Montepellier.

    🚐💨✨

  • Day66

    très bien :)

    August 27, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Mammmmpf 😆👶

    Hier gibt's Baquettes in Hülle und Fülle...und Oli 😂 stürzt sich drauf!!!
    Schon ein richtiger kleiner Franzose mit seinen 10 Monaten.

    Wir haben uns auch gleich ordentlich eingedeckt, denn wir haben noch Olivenöl aus Slowenien, Tomaten und Mozzarella aus Italien sowie Wein aus Albanien.
    Das wird ein sehr leckeres 😋 Abendbrot heute.

    ❤️
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  • Day3

    Route de Grandes Alpes // Der Abend

    September 9, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C

    Der letzte Pass des Tages führte uns von col de‘ Izoar nach Vars. Ein fantastischer Pass, spritzig gefahrene Abfahrt und das wohl schönste Tal, dass wir je gesehen haben.... schaut euch die Bilder an! Zum Abend hin sind wir dann in unserer Unterkunft angekommen dem Refuge Napoleon! Bei Bier und Abendessen lassen wir, bei leichten Verständigungsproblemen, die Abend ausklingen!Read more

  • Day3

    Camping

    September 9, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Endlich ohne Starkregen 😎 einen passenden Campingplatz haben wir auch gefunden, nach Zeltaufbau (Matthias und ich benötigen nur 15min ) wird was Gefuttert und Schorliert ! Morgen früh geht's weiter 👌 in diesem Sinne,macht's gut 🤗

You might also know this place by the following names:

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Provenza-Alpes-Costa Azul, Прованс-Алпи-Лазурен бряг, Provença – Alps – Costa Blava, Provenco-Alpoj-Bordo Lazura, Proventza-Alpeak-Cote d'Azur, Provence-Arpes-Couta d’Azur, פרובאנס-אלפ-קוט ד'אזור, Provansa-Alpe-Azurna obala, Provenco Alpi Azur-Rivo, Provenza-Alpi-Costa Azzurra, プロヴァンス=アルプ=コート・ダジュール地域圏, პროვანსი-ალპები-ლაჟვარდოვანი ნაპირი, 프로방스알프코트다쥐르, Provansas-Alpės-Žydrasis Krantas, Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur, Prowansja-Alpy-Lazurowe Wybrzeże, Provença-Alpes-Costa Azul, Provența-Alpi-Coasta de Azur, Прованс — Альпы — Лазурный Берег, Pruvenza-Alpi-Costa Azzola, Прованса-Алпи-Азурна обала, 普罗旺斯-阿尔卑斯-蓝色海岸

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