South of France Travel Guide 2015 Part 2
Part 2 of my blog post about my trip to the South of France which I have focused on places we visited further afield. There are plenty of day trips in the South of France from frolicking in lavender fields, to wine tasting, however to do these easily hire a car as public transport is not well connected and taxis are expensive. My tip is to make sure that you have change in the car as toll booths are in operation on the motorways and having change is useful as some of my friends found that overseas credit cards didn’t work in the machines.
Gorges du Verdon – The Gorges du Verdon is a natural Gorge with a dam at the very top. Some adventurous individuals from our group (and the more organised ones) booked to go white water rafting at the very top of the gorge when they open the dam once a week.
Others of us decided to meet further down the Gorge and hire a kayak and a little electric boat to leisurely enjoy the scenery. It was by far one of the highlights of my trip, the water was clear and the rock formations on either side as you make your way down the gorge are breathtakingly beautiful. You can hire boats from 1 hour to a whole day and slowly make your way up the whole gorge, we thought around 3 hours was sufficient.
Half way through we decided to tie our boats to the side of the rocky gorge and jump in! If you hire the pedal boats they come complete with a slide so it is easier for you to get in and out of the water, be warned though the rocks are sharp so take your time climbing them, but trust me it’s worth it. If you hire a kayak it is work out especially under the hot sun, we helped our friends by towing them along for a little bit thanks to our little electric boat.
You can also hike around Gorge but for me boating through a natural gorge was too good a photo opportunity to pass up. For more information about the Gorge du Verdon visit the official website.
Cotignac village – On our way up to the Gorge we drove through lots of little villages / towns on the way, none caught our eye more then the village of Cotignac. Away from the coastline with a charming bustling market during the day and beautiful tree lined main street we stopped on our way back to grab a snack and stretch our legs. Everything was pretty much shut however we managed to grab some pastries from a patisserie and took a little wander through the streets.
What you would notice about this little town is a cliff looming like a shadow over it and when we got closer and closer we realised that the cliff was complete with little grottos and walkways (which look a little unstable).
According to the See Provence website a waterfall used to flow over the cliff where the village stands now and it was diverted around the 10th century, the holes and crevices in the rock face is filled with troglodyte caves which have been used for shelter throughout history. Natural water still flows underneath the village, and there are little fountains dotted throughout which lets the water still run. This picturesque village is unlike anywhere I have been before, I’m glad that we decided to stop that’s the beauty of driving you can stop anywhere you please. For more information about Cotignac visit the SeeProvence.com website.
Bormes De Mimosas – The old village of Bormes Les Mimosas overlooks the coast line and is one of my favourite places in the South of France that I had to go back.
Take a walk through the charming small cobbled streets covered in flowers and find the cutest things – a hat shop which looks like it’s in the trees, hidden restaurants, shops and little houses which look like they should belong to mythical creatures. The calm atmosphere and beautiful setting is what you want on holiday.
We ate dinner at a restaurant called “La Terrasse” which overlooks the main road down the hill and watched the sun set. It was the perfect end to a beautiful day.
For more information about Bormes Les Mimosas check out their official tourist website.
Chateau De Bregacon – Being in the South of France I had to go and taste some wine. We have been to Chateau De Bregacon before and went on a cellar tour which was great (book before you go), you get shown the vineyards, find out how they pick the grapes, ferment, and bottle the wine. It also comes with a tasting session where you can taste the range of wines which they produce.
But this time we just drove up to the wine cellar and tasted the wines. I love the white wine which has been matured in oak barrels. It gives the wine a completely different dimension and woody taste. I had to bring a bottle home to enjoy at a later date, however their rose is not to be ignored either in my opinion. For more information about Chateau De Bregacon check out their website.
Chateau Malherbes – The best thing about the South of France is the number of chateaus from the big to small, some clearly sign posted and some not. We decided to drive round after visiting Chateau Bregacon to find another chateau which took our fancy and we stumbled upon Chateau Malherbes.
I’m so glad that we did, the gardens to the house are perfectly manicured and make for a beautiful setting around the house where entered the cellar, where we tasted their 3 wines red, white and rose. The Malherbe cuvee comes in all 3 types of wine as does their “la pointe du diable” wine.
The cuvee is made from the grapes which are located nearer to the chateau where the soil is different and it is more inland then the ‘diable’ where the grapes are near the coastline and are exposed to the elements of the sea. The tastes are incredibly different, the diable I found to be a lot lighter and a more everyday drinking wine.
Just off the cellar we were allowed into the oldest room of the Chateau which is where they still bottle the wine and hand stamp each cuvee bottle with wax. It was wooden clad and something out of the middle ages.
Upon leaving we were given a map for a little walk around the vineyards and which ends in the vegetable gardens next to the house. The lands are breathtaking and there is even a roman well in the middle of one of the vineyards.
The visit to Chateau Malherbes was another one of the highlights of my trip, it’s amazing what you stumble upon, if I am in the area again I will definitely make a trip back.
For more information about Chateau Malherbes check out their official website.
I love France and this trip was an valuable opportunity to spend time with friends, discover different places, and to top it all off I got to attend my friend’s special day which was such an honour. Even though it costs more, destination weddings are a great excuse to travel and explore different places which you wouldn’t normally have on your list of places to go. I just think that we are truly lucky where getting on a plane is just as easy as getting on a bus and weddings have give me the opportunity to go to some incredible places and i’m truly thankful. Have you been to a destination wedding recently? Where was it? Tell me about it.