Driving guides

The Best Road Trips in France

Experience France in a whole new way. A road trip with the French landscape as your background is the perfect holiday.

Your holiday in France doesn’t begin when you get to your accommodation. In fact, the second your car hits the tarmac at our Calais terminal, the adventure starts! Driving through France means you can take in the amazing views, stop off at the small towns off the beaten track, and uncover French history at the many historic battlegrounds, castles and artefacts. 

Route Napoléon

Road Trip
Start your road trip at the mountainous Grenoble, one of the most beautiful parts of France.

Time: 9 hours 

Distance: 300km 

Stop Off: Grasse, Dignes and Sisteron 

Weather: Sunny

First on our list is one of the most famous routes in France. If you want to feel like you’re in a car advert, twisting and turning through a mountainous landscape, then Route Napoleon is for you. The route is, unsurprisingly, named after Napoleon Bonaparte, and is the route he took in 1815 on his return from exile in Elba. Along the drive, keep an eye out for the statues of the golden French Imperial Eagle, which marks the route.

If you drive from north to south, you will begin in Grenoble, venturing down to La Mure, Sisteron, and finally ending in Antibes. As well as its historic context, it is also a fantastic way to see the natural landscape change, from rocky mountains to the iconic sun-drenched views of the French Riviera.

As the drive is so long, and rich in picture-perfect spots, it makes sense to break it up over a few days. This way, not only can you experience the route at a more relaxed, leisurely pace but you can spend time visiting the towns that make up the journey.

French Riviera: Nice to Fréjus

CFrench Riviera
Before beginning your road trip in Nice, stop by the port and spot the colourful boats!

Time: One hour

Distance 65km

Stop Off: Cannes, Monaco, Antibes

Weather: Sunny

The South of France is famous as one of the favourite destinations for jet-setters, film stars and royalty to spend their summers. With the Mediterranean Sea lapping the perfect beaches, and the beautiful towns and cities that make up the area, it’s not surprising! To experience the Riviera, a sun-drenched road trip taking in the area’s most glamorous locations is the best way to do it.

Start the journey in Nice, where you can spot the rich-and-famous’ superyachts lounging in the sapphire sea, and visit Musée Matisse to see the great artist’s finest work. Then, there’s the historic town of Antibes, where you can either wander around the pretty streets, or lounge on the beaches. Once you’re ready to discover more, head to Cannes. Famous for the film festival, this is where the world’s most beautiful people flock.

Don’t forget you can also head into Monaco, the true home of glitz and glamour, when driving this route. Spend a few days here, taking in the culture and luxurious beaches.

On this route, avoid the highways, and instead drive along the D559, where you are spoilt with views from the cliffs and coves.

Col de Turini

Col de Turini
The infamous Col de Turini can be a bit nerve-wracking, but has amazing views!

Time: 47-minutes to drive the road

Stop Off: Instead of stopping, just take in the great views!

Weather: Usually clear

Finally, the most famous road on our guide. The infamous Col de Turini. Known for its 34 hairpin bends, sheer drops (some up to 30km long) and world class views, drivers flock from far and wide to experience the road, despite it being known as one of the most temperamental in the world. Much of the road is 30km per hour, as there are a lot of blind spots after the aforementioned tight turns. But don’t be disappointed that you can’t speed your way round. The views that act as a backdrop to the road are so spectacular, you’ll be grateful of the more leisurely pace.

It’s not just drivers who hit the Col de Turini’s tarmac. The road has been featured in the Tour de France several times. You thought some of the turns were hair-raising in a car, imagine being on a bike!

Because its safety is dependent on the weather, meticulously plan your journey in advance and keep an eye on the changes to the forecast. Avoid driving during heavy rain or high winds.

Which road will you hit first? Start your journey on the right pedal and set off with Eurotunnel. It only takes 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais, so what are you waiting for?

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