The French Riviera: Best Drives

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Into The Back Country

I recently posted tips for driving the celebrated, and often congested, corniche roads.  I would now like to offer a few suggestions for those wishing to break free from the constraints of traffic by heading north into the vast arriere pays (back country).

Begin your journey in the tiny hamlet of Pont du Loup and head west on D2210 in the direction of Le Bar sur Loup.  Bar is a beautiful and uncrowded working class village that sits on the side of a hill overlooking the Loup Valley.
Consider having lunch at the recently renovated
L’Hostellerie du Chateau (the food is sublime) located in the town’s main square.  You may also want to stop by the tourist office (just steps away from the Chateau) and make arrangements for a guided village walking tour.

Le Bar sur Loup

Trip Notes:
Auberge des Gorges du Loup

Pleasant, affordable accommodations and a good restaurant in the tiny town of Pont du Loup.

L’Hostellerie du Chateau
Beautifully renovated 14th century chateau in the the main square of Le Bar sur Loup.  Exquisite restaurant and 6 tastefully decorated rooms.

Continue east from Bar on D2210 in the direction of Pre du Lac.  As you enter Pre du Lac take a sharp right onto D3 and begin twisting your way up to one of the most beautiful villages in France Continue reading

Quick Visit: Gourdon, France


Population: 294
Altitude: 760 meters

Perched high above the
Loup Valley, tiny Gourdon offers visitors one of the best views on the entire Riviera.  The village is dramatic and popular with plenty of parking just below the main entrance.  Numerous shops sell everything from scarves and wine to lavender and soap.  If the weather is warm the skies will no doubt be filled with countless para-gliders, so grab a table at an outdoor cafe, order a glass of local wine, and watch as they buzz the rooftops.

You may want to visit Gourdon early into your trip (and during the day, the village shuts down completely at night).  The exceptional lookout point at the southern edge of town (there’s a map built into the stone wall) can be helpful in getting a feel for the area.

Chateau de Gourdon
Many tourists visit Gourdon each year, but few know about the gardens of the Chateau.  Located at the western edge of the village Continue reading