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NigelHamilton 234 posts

I could quite happily write an essay on this topic, but will try and keep it to a sensible length! France is my favourite country bar none and we’ve done lots of road trips, albeit mostly in a motorhome. Your two ‘absolute musts’ are Carcassonne and the Lac de Saint Croix/Gorge de Verdon(French version of the Grand Canyon) in Provence. Outside of those two, you will find multiple small cities, picturesque towns and glorious countryside,so it’s hard to go too wrong!
Couple of practicalities. In August it will be hot, at least 30 degrees and maybe more. If, like me, you don’t like the searing heat there are three options – drive in the heat of the day and spend morning/evening sightseeing, go to the coast, or drive to altitude (possible in several places, but not the most direct routes). Second is that you can take the toll motorways which are very good for covering long distances and usually traffic free, but you will see a lot more on the ‘N’ roads that usually run alongside them. Driving in France is a pleasure, you’ll encounter little traffic outside of cities and the most touristy areas.

If you went from Bordeaux I would either go East to the Dordogne(Perigord), or South to Pau. Either way, second stop would be Carcassonne. Then you probably want to hit the coast across the bottom, and the Camargue (salt marshes) are worth seeing. Aim for Aix-en-Provence and then the Gorge de Verdon before dropping down to Nice. In terms of hotels, as others have said there are not many chain hotels outside the major cities. You will find more joy with some wonderful B&B’s, several English speaking ones in Perigord as its a popular expat area. Some restaurants also offer rooms. If you like cycling /canoeing etc. there are several places that offer bike hire or are based on the water and can organise trips. The food is also very different region by region so find a local restaurant and enjoy the flavours! The French tend to eat late so you will find early evening tables easy to come by, but the atmosphere is better later on.
Final tip would be not to drive every day, find a couple of good places to stop for at least two nights, ideally within a town or walking distance of an attraction so you can leave the car behind.

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