Tag Archives: Provence

Provence, Pyrenees & Pays Basque Road Trip

Last August, Rio and I embarked on a road trip to explore the South of France. While we’re here, we want to see as much of France as we can and decided that a road trip commencing from Avignon to Saint-Jean-de-Luz via the Pyrenees mountains sounded like just the way to do it. What we didn’t anticipate is that we would have to do this in a Smart car. Our favorite memories of the trip include experiencing a jai alai match, hiking, visiting our friend Steeve and his family in his hometown, walking through the red ochre town of Roussillon, driving through the hills of Luberon, and, of course, wine tasting!

So despite driving through some death-defying cols, we wouldn’t change a thing about this two-week adventure…actually, we really would have liked having a normal-sized car.

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La Raison De Ma Petite Pause: Provence, Pyrenees & Basque Country Road Trip

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A view of the Pyrenees from Pic du Midi, the most easily accessible peak at nearly 10,000 feet.

I haven’t posted in a while because I was on vacation – a vacation that I had really been looking forward to for quite some time. It was a Provence to Basque Country road trip that wound all the way through the Pyrenees Mountains, a mountain range in Southwest Europe that essentially forms a natural border between France and Spain.

One of the things I regretted when studying abroad in Paris 13 years ago was not traveling within France enough. At the time, exploring the many nearby countries and ticking them off my “travel list” was more important to me. Living in Paris the second time around, and having seen quite a number of European countries by now, I knew I wanted to explore every bit of France as much as I could. This recent vacation provided that opportunity.

From August 14 to 25, Rio and I embarked on our first real road trip. With Avignon as our home base, we spent the first few nights exploring Provence before making our way to the beachside town of Collioure where the Mediterranean Sea meets the beginning of the Pyrenees Mountains. It was at this point where the intense portion of our road trip began as we drove the 300-plus mile stretch of mountainous roads over the course of five days until we reached the Bay of Biscay in the Atlantic Ocean. Settling in Saint-Jean-de-Luz for the last few nights, it would be an understatement to say we appreciated the less intimidating roads of Basque Country. If you’ve ever driven through any of the D-numbered roads in the Pyrenees – what I like to affectionally say stands for “death-defying” – then you won’t be surprised to know there were many times I was clenching my seat hoping we wouldn’t drop off the narrow winding roads that somehow rarely ever seemed to have a guardrail and thinking thank goodness I had already asked my brother to take care of Tyler if death decided to meet us then and there.

On that cheery note, I’ll be posting photos, an itinerary, tips and hopefully some hotel and restaurant recommendations soon. Right now, I have some major errands (I’m on the fifth load of laundry today) and work to do. Oh, and did I mention, tending to Tyler’s wound?  Yes, more to come on that. Let’s just say he has two staples in his back leg right now. Mon pauvre bébé!

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