Every year we have a number of customers who hire for a long period for travels into Europe. I love hearing about these adventures. This week I am sharing with you a trip to the South of France and Corsica – amongst my favourite places in Europe.
There are two scenic routes to the South of France one taking the west coast of France but the other frequently preferred option with GlamperRV customers is taking a ferry to Bilbao, Spain and then exploring Northern Spain and the Pyrenees en route to the Mediterranean.
From Bilbao head east and park up in one of the aires (motorhome parking areas) in the hills above San Sebastian. This city came to prominence in the belle epoque era thanks to its stunning bay and sandy beaches. In recent days, it has become a foodie haven with more Michelin stars per capita than any other place in the world. The food culture has led to the evolution of the Pintxos bars in the old town which are the highlight of any visit.
From San Sebastian to your next historic city Carcossonne there are a wide range of places to visit en route including Lordes, Pau and Toulouse. There are also many opportunities to add to your trip with the mountains presenting a huge geographical attraction (especially for those keen cyclists amongst you!)
To explore the medieval city of Carcossonne, Camping de La Cite sits at the bottom of the city and is the best place to stay whilst exploring. To get the best feel for the rich history of this city, hire a walking or audio guide.
From here you will visit Aix en Provence, the scent capital of provence and then onto Toulon from where you will take the overnight ferry to Ajaccio, Corsica. I would recommend taking a break in Toulon to enjoy a day trip to the Iles des Pourquerolles (no vehicles allowed so you will need to take your bikes).
We have travelled to Corsica a number of times to visit family who live there and my favourite place (their house aside) is Bonifacio in the south. As you drive south from Ajaccio, do spend a night at one of the most perfect beaches in Corsica, Mare e Sole. There is a large parking area (Pietrosella) that is perfect for an overnight stay with details available on Park for the Night app. Like all these places in peak season it will be rammed but in May/June or September/October it will be very peaceful.
As you enter Bonifacio we recommend staying at the Camping Araguina (do pre-book as there are no other options) which is a great place for exploring the old citadel.
If you are looking for some more beach time as you travel north then the beaches on the east coast around Porto Vecchio are stunning. The Camping Les Ilots D’Or looks like an ideal spot for exploring.
Continue the coast road north to the port of Bastia from where you can take a ferry to Genoa (there is also an option here to take a ferry to Livorno and then explore Florence, Bologna and the Italian Lakes on your return journey).
Please note that in this blog I am just giving a very light touch on visiting the South of France and Corsica. There are many other stunning places to visit. The region north of Ajaccio leading to Cargese is renowned for its dramatic red rock and the port of Calvi is also worth a visit. The centre of the island is mountainous and extremely rustic which is a great contrast to some of the sophistication of the coastal regions. If you enjoy good cuisine then do go exploring inland for hearty Wild Boar casseroles.
From the Genoa ferry port take the motorway straight up to the Aosta Valley (a stunning road) to Courmayeur. This is the entry point for the Mont Blanc tunnel but also the new Mont Blanc Skyway, a cable car that will take you up to 3,500m which offers some spectacular views (remember to book a blue sky day).
A drive through the Monc Blanc tunnel will take you via Geneva or Annecy for your long drive up to Calais. Worry not, there are many fabulous places to stop off en route and fill your garage with delicious French wines. The Burgundy wine region is a fabulous stop off on the Autoroute du Sud. A customer recently stayed at Chateau Eperviere, a member of the Les Castels collection which offer overnight stays in castles around France. Another region not to miss is Champagne. If you invest in the France Passion guide, you will find vineyards that offer champagne tasting alongside a motorhome stopover.
I hope this gives you a good taste for a route. Whilst you will need multiple weeks to do justice to such a trip I know many customers now work remotely or part time (or both) so can plan a route with scheduled ‘work days’.
If you are interested in planning such a trip to South of France and Corsica do get in touch and I would be delighted to discuss with you.