Tuesday, January 31, 2017

lambretta en Provence: honeymoonin' on the roads of Southern France

Provence road trip, watercolor map 

this post is intended for:
- anyone curious about details and organization of our trip to Provence, Southern France
- anyone going to visit Provence soon, by scooter or motorcycle or car
- anyone planning a road trip by vintage scooter

I really hope you find it inspiring, pretty and useful. and yes, I woud love to read your feedbacks.


lambretta honeymoon
Marco and I got married in July. our wedding stationery had lavender all over it (I'll show you sometime). we were dreaming about a big overseas honeymoon but still love the idea to go somewhere by lambretta, following our style. the project of visiting Provence was already there, in our wishlist, and it seemed the perfect moment to bring it to life.

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque | nikon F801s

getting there


last year, when we took a somehow similar lambretta road trip in Sicily, we shipped the scooter with this service. it is possible to ship small motorcycles and scooters all over Europe with the same service, but the shipping charges are way more expensive for abroad, and they do not provide a round trip shipment (that I know of).
the cheapest solution that we could think of was renting a van, drive to France with our lambretta in it, park it somewhere safe and then take a 7 days long road trip, before retrieving the van and coming back home. the road between our home in north east Italy and Aix-en-Provence is 800 km long, it took us about 9 hours to get there, and then we started the juicy part of the trip the following day, after saying goodbye to our van.

{if you know a better, or cheaper, or both better and cheaper way to travel long distance with a vintage scooter or motorcycle please tell me, I'd love to try it next time!}
fragrant dried lavender at the market in Aix | nikon F801s

itinerary and highlights 


day 1 | from home to France, night in Jouques
highlights: just arriving, finally being there, felt good. seeing all those pretty stone houses with pale blue or mint shutters, the provençal style we were so eager to see, it really built up our excitement.

day 2 | Aix en Provence, night in Jouques
highlights:
- the markets of Aix: we bought baguettes, olives, cheese, dried tomatoes and had a super gourmet lunch break for very little money (especially if compared to the bistrot or restaurant prices!).
- shopping (and tasting) at la chambre du confitures.
- from Jouques to Aix, following an advice from our airbnb host, we took a panoramic road along the Sainte-Victoire mountain. there were just us, some road cyclists and the cicadas.

pale blue shutter, provençal style | nikon F801s


lambretta and lavander | nikon F801s


day 3 | Les Beaux de Provence, Avignon, night in Avignon
highlights:
- following (again) the advice of our airbnb host, we took the road to Avignon that pass through Les Beaux de Provence, truly one of the most beautiful villages I have ever seen. it is located on the top of a rocky hill, and it reminds me of Matera's Sassi somehow.
- Parc Naturel Regional des Alpilles

day 4 | Avignon
highlights:
- we were in Avignon during the Festival d'Avignon, one of the most important contemporary performing arts events in the world. the city was incredibly lively, there were live performance everywhere, it was flooded with people, playbills, fliers, music. I'm so glad we had the chance to see the city in such a different and peculiar light.
- if you ever visit Avignon, please make sure to grab a bite at Ginette et Marcel, a lovely old fashioned bistrot / tartinerie in Place des Corps Saints. I loved it, and I'd love to have one of their tartine with cheese, honey and walnuts right now.

from my illustrated travel journal

day 5 | Luberon: Menerbes, Gordes, Abbeye de Senaque, Oppede Le Vieux, night in Oppede Le Vieux
highlights:
- the Luberon itself has been one of the highlight of the trip. its picturesque villages and routes were exactly what we were looking for, coming to Provence. perfect.
- once again, we loved the markets.
- the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque is a must
- exploring the abandoned town of Oppède-le-Vieux, with all the old houses covered with grass and greenery

the farmers market in Aix | nikon F801s

the farmers market in Aix | nikon F801s
day 6 | Luberon: Bonnieux, Rousillon, Saint Saturnin-lès-Apt, Rustrel, night in Oppede Le Vieux
highlights:- le Colorado provençal in Rustrel: a red and gold oasis waits at the end of a trail. it's a former ochre quarry, fascinating and completely unexpected. do not wear white shoes.
- lavender fields in Lagarde-d'Apt
- the charming little details of Saint Saturnin-lès-Apt

l'Art Glacier gelato


day 7 | Ansouis, Manosque, Valensole, night in Valensole
highlights:
- a 40 km long detour just to taste the famous gelato of l'Art Glacier in Ansouis: completely worth it!
- air scented with lavender in Valensole (for real!)

day 8 | retrive the van in Jouques, home
highlights:
- before leaving, we stopped to buy some croissants for breakfast and bread for lunch in a boulangerie, so France style kept us company along the way home, too.

Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt
Colorado provençal in Rustrel. no filter!

accomodation


some of the places we spent the night in were okay, but others are worth mentioning:

- Josephine's apartment in Avignon: a cozy place with character, which is one of the first things we look for on Airbnb, with a great balcony, good price (even during the festival), fully equipped and in the best location.

- a double room in Valerie and Fred's home: extra kind and friendly people, who really get the whole airbnb spirit, welcomed us as family and gave us great tips, like the most scenic routes to take with the lambretta. the house is beautiful and rich in atmosphere, there are also two cats and a sweet horse. the small swimming pool was blessing after a whole day under the provençal sun, and the surroundings were peaceful and quiet.

- chambre d'hôtes in Oppède-Le-Vieux: cozy and stylish, with big good breakfast.

we are airbnb's aficionados but in France you can also browse the very good chambres d'hôtes system.

lovely horsie in the backyard of one of our airbnb accommodations

street of Oppède-le-Vieux

budget, tips and what I would do differently 


Provençal roads are perfect for lambretta, vespa, bicycle and even motorcycle I suppose, but it is not a cheap destination. there are ways to save money though, like sleeping in chambres d'hôtes and have picnic lunches buying local delicacies at the market, which is also something I'd recommend in general, not just for the money.

we travel to Provence at the end of July and beginning of August. if you want to see the lavender in full bloom, it's too late, you have to go earlier, from mid June to mid July (we chose the travel dates based on the wedding, not on the lavender!).
the festival of Avignon 2017 will be from 6th to 26th of July, I would include it in the trip.

if you have more days available, I'd also recommend a visit to les Gorges du Verdon and to the city of Arles.

it was nice spending some hours remembering the incredibly blue skies of Provence, the smells of lavender, spices, soap, the colors and the atmosphere! I hope you like the result, and that you get the chance to visit Southern France at least once in your life.

p.s. for more pictures of the trip, check the #lambrettaenprovence hashtag on instagram

vive le Tour! {somewhere near Gordes} | nikon F801s




4 comments:

  1. uno dei miei viaggi da sogno, e l'hai descritto proprio come lo immaginavo! ♥ ♥ ♥

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    Replies
    1. mi piacerebbe tantissimo vedere le foto che riusciresti a fare in Provenza ♥

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  2. Great Post, great Lammy, great destination. I'm based in Forcalquier every summer. Just bought a 1960 GS150 which is at long last registered. Will be using this as inspiration this summer. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to hear it! I'm sure you will have a great summer with your GS150 in Provence. let me know :)

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