On a pastel coast, a colourful campervan turns down meandering roads, windows rolled down, Edith Piaf on high volume. Two bright-eyed darlings hum along while they take in the vertiginous views and enjoy each others company… ah, l’amour.
Few getaways are as romantic as the French Riviera. Dotted with cute towns and green capes, it’s easy to see why the Côte d’Azur in the South of France has long welcomed aristocrats and artists to its palm-lined boulevards. On this French Riviera road trip itinerary for two, explore the intimate nooks and crannies of a coast sure to stir up a flame.
Overlooked by towering cliffs and an old castle, Cassis is a quaint fishing port with old quarters and a charming harbour. Life here is unhurried. Boats bob about, fathers and sons play petanque on the town square, lively chatter rises from the surrounding terraces.
The town on the French Riviera makes for a lovely visit by itself, but the real attraction is the Calanques, a national park of breathtaking sea inlets with overgrown canyons and sparkling waters.
Pick up your van in Marseille and make for your first French Riviera road trip destination, Cassis. Here you can adjust your senses to the Côte d’Azur: stroll the sloping streets and lively marina, challenge the locals in a 2v2 game of petanque, and have the day’s catch for dinner.
Next morning, explore the Calanques to find a secluded beach for two. Either hike along the trails this park has to offer, or rent a kayak and take to the water — a fun addition to your romantic itinerary!
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from the Marseille depot
Les Calanques de Cassis
Green canyons, creeks, and hidden bays
Exceptional French cooking, romantic terrace
La Nonna d’Oro
Mediterranean, good fish, harbourside
Crowded, at 5-10 min walk from centre
Relais des Gorguettes
Free car park with cheap shuttle bus
Camping les Cigales
Cosy, close to center and Calanques
A somewhat forgotten hillside city of palm trees and extravagant mansions, Hyères became the first resort on the French Riviera for the rich and famous in the 19th century. Its terraced blend of medieval houses and Renaissance mansions make for an alluring sight.
And while 4 km inland, the sloped city can lay claim to a most exquisite coastline, the Giens Peninsula, a lush green headland with 39 km worth of sandy beaches.
From the Calanques, take the Route des Crêtes between Cassis and La Ciotat for a breathtaking coastal campervan road trip in the South of France. Arrive in Hyères for a stroll through the old town and a climb up Templar Tower. Visit the strikingly modernist Villa Noailles for a contemporary take on Hyères.
Next (or skip the city altogether), add Giens to your itinerary for a refreshing dip in the Mediterranean. Bring two snorkelling kits to catch a glimpse of the rich underwater life. The peninsula also makes for a great hiking spot.
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Lush peninsula with beaches, salt marshes, and waterbirds (flamingos!)
Modernist art centre set in a 1920s mansion
Quality seafood, try the bouillabaisse
Public parking space on Giens Peninsula
Parking Les Cabanes du Gapeau
Motorhome parking at the beach, limited capacity
This chic city is the epitome of jet-set glamour, steadily attracting the rich and famous since before a skimpily-clad Brigitte Bardot made Saint-Tropez her playground. Here you’ll spot yachts like cruise ships and cars worth houses.
Needless to say, Saint-Tropez is a pricey addition to your South of France road trip itinerary — camping out in a campervan avoids costs and makes the city far more accessible! Another way to save a little is by eating out during lunchtime when menus are cheaper.
A good way to get your bearings upon arrival in Saint-Tropez is by heading up to the citadel overlooking the city and the Mediterranean. Then head down to the harbour to both do boat and people spotting. Or to nearby Escalet Beach for a seriously stunning ocean vista.
For casual couple time, pick a terrace for apéritif. For a très exclusive dinner, La Vague d’Or is the crop of the cream of Saint-Tropez’ already exclusive gastronomic scene.
Plage de l’Escalet
Idyllic beach in green bay with shallow azure waters
Vineyards, winery, and wine tasting at this estate
Table du Marché
Modern bistro, affordable set courses
La Vague d’Or
Golden 3-star gastronomy, premium price
Parking du Nouveau Port
Big parking lot next to city centre
Plage de Pampelonne
Motorhome parking, facilities, WiFi, shuttle
Bordering Italy to the east and often overlooked, Menton is France’s finest frontier commune. The ultra-charming town sports Italian looks to go with its French finesse, is as glamorous as Saint-Tropez but without the glitter, has gardens greener than Giens, overlooks a coast strewn with secluded beaches, and supposedly has a microclimate that bumps up local thermometer-readings by three degrees.
Heading to Menton on your French Riviera road trip itinerary, pick one of three romantic Corniche Routes (and pick another on your way back!). The Lower Basse Corniche goes coastal, the Moyenne Corniche combines cliffside vistas with modern roads, and the Grande Corniche is a vertiginous ride reserved for daredevils.
On arrival, calm your nerves in a botanical garden. Or find refreshment in a glass of cold lemon wine or local limoncello, crafted from the fruits d’or Menton is famous for.
Next, acquaint yourself with the celebrated artist Jean Cocteau, who displayed his limitless creativity lavishly in Menton. Finally, stroll the streets of Menton during sunset for an everlasting shared memory — and photo!
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2h30min - 3h
Salle des Mariages
Wedding hall styled by Cocteau and decorated in his murals
Garden Serre de la Madone
Scenic garden perfect for romantic strolls
Si Menton Savait
Cosy interior, friendly staff, great food
Le Bistrot des Jardins
Romantic patio, delicious traditional food
Gare de Menton
Parking at station, 10-min walk to centre
Boulevard de Garavan
Day and night parking overlooking old town
Public hillside campsite with facilities