I can’t think of more romantic places than medieval little villages in Provence.
I discovered the route from Vence through 7 little medieval villages few years ago during my first trip to South France. Those isolated, not at all touristic, charming places are full of outstanding sights, ancient stone stairways, narrow streets, lazy cats resting at old doorways… This summer I followed the route for the second time and I felt in love with the places again.
This is not going to be about food this time I am afraid. As these are quite small and traditional places they stick to the old French ways of serving food during the time when it should be served according to French people. So don’t expect anything to be opened after 15:00 when lunch, obviously, is finished and local bistros will re-open for business after 19:00.
I usually miss the lunch window and find myself in the middle of nowhere starving with a ‘non stop snack bar’ at a swimming pool to be the only place with food within miles.
So plan your trip between meals or eat in one of the first towns as the further you go the less options there are going to be.
Start from Vence by taking the road to Saint-Jeannet – if you feel adventurous you can follow the old way, called Route de Saint-Jeannet which later connect with Route de Vence.
Park your car outside the town walls and enjoy the views over the seaside and mountains. There is a nice bistro/café with a terrace just as you enter the village, few shops and a news agent (with up-to-date international press!). The town is beautiful, quiet, relaxing and romantic but don’t stay too long as there are 6 more places to see!
Next is Gattieres and if you are still considering to eat something this is probably the last place where you are actually going to find some food.
From Gattieres head towards Carros village – make sure you follow the directions to Carros village, the old part of the town, as Carros itself, a modern and industrial place, isn’t worth seeing!
The village has been recently renovated and sign-posted with information about its main buildings and historical past.
Le Broc, next on the way, is a quiet village with few charming streets, stone made houses and a little central market.
Now head towards Bouyon – the views over Alps from there are most spectacular. If you are lucky and are there during lunch time you can enjoy your meal from the terrace of the central café .
Bezaudun-les-Alpes is the smallest of all villages – there are only 165 people living there. It’s an ideal location if you are looking for something quiet far from civilisation. If you are tempted to stay there longer check Agni Chambres d’Hôte, charming Bed & Breakfast run by an American painter.
Last on the list is Coursegoules, a picturesque place with paved streets and stairways, old doorways and beautiful historic residencies.
The way back to Vence goes through Col-de-Vence, a mountainous pass of around 10 km – drive as slowly as you can and enjoy the views.
And if you got a bit hungray why not to go to Tourrettest-sur-Loup and eat something nice at La Cave? I am sure they would be open and serving the best food in the neighbourhood.