Discover France on lesser-known roads. Discover breathtaking scenic routes on your next trip to France.
The beautiful days are back, and the call of the road is felt. For adventurers seeking escape, here is a selection of 6 lesser-known but spectacular routes to travel in France this summer. Prepare your car, load up your favorite playlist, and let yourself be guided by these enchanting routes!
1. The Route des Crêtes in the Vosges (D61)
Stretching over 89 km, the Route des Crêtes (D61) connects Cernay to Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines. It offers exceptional panoramas of the Vosges, the Jura, and even the Alps on clear days. Nature lovers will appreciate the lush forests, peaceful lakes, and rounded peaks, such as the Grand Ballon and the Hohneck. Along the way, be sure to visit the farm inns to taste local specialties.
2. The Route des Lacs in Burgundy-Franche-Comté (D27)
The Route des Lacs (D27) is a 150 km journey that reveals the hidden treasures of the Jura. Between waterfalls, emerald lakes, and picturesque villages, this route is a true haven of peace for lovers of wide-open spaces. Don’t miss the Cascades du Hérisson, the Baume-les-Messieurs recess, and the charming village of Château-Chalon. The region is also famous for its Jura wines and culinary specialties, such as Comté cheese and Morteau sausage.
3. The Corniche de l’Esterel in the Var (D559)
The Corniche de l’Esterel (D559), 40 km long, connects Saint-Raphaël to Cannes along the Mediterranean coast. This route offers breathtaking views of the red rocks of the Esterel massif and wild coves bathed in turquoise water. Stop at Agay to enjoy its beaches, and be sure to visit the hilltop villages of the hinterland, such as Gassin and Ramatuelle.
4. The Lavender Route in Provence (D6)
The Lavender Route (D6) spans about 120 km, crossing the colorful and fragrant landscapes of Haute-Provence. Following this route, you will discover lavender fields as far as the eye can see, perched villages, and traditional distilleries. The best time to travel this route is from mid-June to early August when the lavender is in full bloom. Be sure to visit the picturesque villages of Valensole, Riez, and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, as well as the famous Valensole plateau.
5. The Cider Route in Normandy (D101)
The Cider Route (D101) is a 40 km circuit that winds through the Pays d’Auge in Normandy, a region renowned for its orchards and production of cider, calvados, and pommeau. On this route, you can visit local producers, taste their products, and learn the secrets of making these iconic drinks. The villages of Beuvron-en-Auge, Cambremer, and Bonnebosq, with their half-timbered houses and flowered alleys, are essential stops on this gourmet route.
6. The Cathar Castles Route in Occitanie (D117)
The Cathar Castles Route (D117) is a nearly 200 km itinerary that takes you on a journey to discover medieval fortresses perched on the steep hills of Languedoc-Roussillon. This historical journey will immerse you in the history of the Cathars and the Crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries. Among the must-sees, visit the castles of Quéribus, Peyrepertuse, Puilaurens, and Montségur. Also, enjoy the varied landscapes between mountains, vineyards, and scrublands and discover the picturesque villages of the region.
France is full of picturesque and lesser-known routes, ready to take you on a summer road trip worthy of a Hollywood movie. So, get ready to play the stars of the road, taste delicious dishes, and capture breathtaking landscapes. The Hexagon is waiting for you to unveil its hidden treasures!