Next on our journey across France, we left Lyon in the morning and rented a car to drive from the Rhône-Alps to Provence, the famous seaside region of France which I had heard about since childhood.
I couldn’t have been more happy we rented a car. Instead of driving on the highway the entire time, about 2 hours into our 3.5 hour drive, we left the main road and drove into Les Luberons, a small mountain range next to the Alps that takes you on twisty, curvy mountain roads through tiny towns and incredible scenery. With it being autumn, the views from the mountain tops were colorful spreads of orange, yellow, and brown. In some parts along the road it felt as if we were the only people on the mountain–not another car or human in sight. The narrow country roads draped in a fall canopy of trees felt like driving through a never-ending forest, and this was one of my favorite parts about being in Provence.
As a city, Marseille has become very touristy. It’s the second largest city in France which doesn’t help the fact that it’s a destination beach town, making it big, noisy, hectic, and touristy. But if you go just outside the city, east of the Old Port, the crowded streets begin to open up into Le Massif des Calanques.
Along the coast of southern France, a steep-walled inlet 20 km in length starts just east of Marseille forming what looks like huge cliffs rising out of the sea. They are massive and quite a sight to behold. While we didn’t spend a great deal of time in Marseille, going the extra half-hour from Aix to look at these enormous walls getting pounded by the sea was definitely worth it.
That, and we had a fantastic lunch of meat roulade, potatoes, and a poached-egg and ricotta cheese salad in a tiny art-deco hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Good food makes every day seem perfect!