The first holiday with our youngest daughter, Cheeky, was a fairly ambitious one. We went on a road trip from London to Provence in July 2016. Our travels took us to three cities, around hilltop villages and we drove amongst the bright sunflower and lavender fields. It ended it in the mountain valleys of the French Alps where the Tour de France was taking place.

Sunflowers of Provence, France

With a six-week-old baby and a three-year-old daughter, it was challenging at times, especially with a detour to Italy thrown in at the last minute to meet up with friends. But if you fancy a road trip to Provence, grab a cuppa, and get some inspiration with our 21 day itinerary.

Day 1: London – Troyes

We took the EuroTunnel to Calais and stayed overnight in Troyes. The medieval city on the edge of the Champagne region in Northeastern France, is marked by its half-timbered housing.

Troyes main square, France
We got there fairly late and headed for something to eat in the old town. The city was in good spirits as France was playing its Football World Cup semi-final against Germany. They won! Car hoots of jubilation sounded out as we settled down to bed.

Wander Mum, Cheeky, Mrs T in Troyes

Accommodation: Le Mercure, Troyes. This was our second stay at the hotel following our trip the year before. It served us well for the night and had secure parking for our car. We had a large room and the hotel is a short walk to the town centre.

Day 2: Lyon

We were originally planning to stay in the gastronomic city of Lyon for a three nights. Realising our friends were in Italy at the same time, we decided to squeeze a trip to the Marche region of Italy (yes, this was probably a bit crazy). It meant we had only one night in Lyon. I’d recommend staying three days to do it justice.

We drove to Lyon airport which took around 3 and a half hours from Troyes. We left our vehicle in the car park and got the train to our hotel. We stayed in another Le Mercure hotel which was right next to the train station. We left the next morning to Rome.

Lyon, France with kids

Our afternoon in Lyon was spent sampling some of its famous food and looking around its old town. It wasn’t nearly enough time so we must return one day.

Accommodation: Hotel Mercure Lyon Centre Saxe Lafayette. It was next to the train station so proved very handy. We had a spacious room and Mercure is great with families. It was a bit of a walk to the Old Town but the city has good metro and bus links.

Lyon, France

Days 3 – 7: Rome and Cesolo, Italy

We flew from Lyon to Rome where we experienced the chaos of Rome airport. It really is the most disorganised airport I’ve visited – and there have been a few!

We spent a lot of time trying to find the car hire desk. Turned out it was in another building. Once located, we joined a large queue of similarly frustrated travellers. We quickly discovered (before too much waiting) that our company was somewhere completely different. After much wandering around, we found a shuttle bus which took us to the off-site car hire desk.

Of course the vehicle was far smaller than we’d expected (they always are, aren’t they?). Despite leaving some bags in our car at Lyon airport, we only just squeezed in. I sat in the back with the girls. The pushchair got the front passenger seat.
Car travel with kids, Italy
Three hours later we arrived at the villa in Cesolo, a remote village in the Marche region. As we were only there for four nights, we didn’t get the chance to explore. In fact, I didn’t actually leave the villa!Italy: Mrs T on swan inflatable
It was good to relax (as much as you can with a baby) and spend time with friends. There was never a dull moment with 20 adults and 14 children! The kids loved playing together and the inflatable swan was a winner too (although sadly didn’t survive the whole holiday)!

Accommodation: Via Della Villa, Cesolo, Marche

Day 7 – Lyon Airport

After four days in the middle of nowhere I was ready to explore again! We got a flight back to Lyon airport and stayed overnight at the NH Airport hotel. It provided us with a large room with great views of aeroplanes. It served us well as somewhere to rest our heads for the night before beginning our Provence travels.

NH hotel, Lyon airport

Day 8 – 10 Joucas, Provence

Our first destination in Provence was Joucas – in the Luberon region. Our hotel looked over the beautiful valley filled with vineyards and picturesque hilltop villages.

Luberon valley, Provence, France

Although Joucas is small without much activity, it was a great base to explore the region. During our three-night stay we visited the hilltop villages of Gordes and Roussillon, famous for its red clay rocks.

Roussillon, Luberon, FranceWe also took a trip to the quaint town L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue which was around a 30 minute drive. Famous for its waterwheels and antique markets, we found some great gelato shops too!

L'Isle sur la Sorgue, Provence, france

Accommodation: We stayed at the Mas des Blanches Herbes – a luxury boutique hotel overlooking the valley. We had a large room with amazing views from our balcony where we could enjoy an evening meal without disturbing the children. They also have a babysitting service.

Mrs T had a huge double bed in the living room and Cheeky slept in the Koodai travel bassinet in our room. We spent a bit of time at the hotel’s swimming pool. As the property is located up high, it can get a bit cool and breezy but with a baby that suited us.

Mas de herbes blanches, Joucas

One night, we even managed to eat at its Michelin-starred restaurant while our daughter slept in the pram and our three-year-old joined us. Cheeky awoke just as we were finishing our desserts. Result!

Days 11 – 12: Avignon and Uzes

Our next destination was Uzes, an hour and a half drive from Joucas. En route, we stopped at the city of Avignon where we stumbled upon its theatre festival. The city was buzzing and packed with street performers. Posters were stuck on walls, lamp posts or any spare space available while the sounds of musicians filled the air and dancers and actors entertained.

Avignon Festival, FranceThe Gothic Popes Palace (Palais des Papes) dominates the city and is a magnificent structure from the outside. Construction began in 1252 and the palace became an important centre of western Christianity in the 14th century. Seven popes resided in the palace.

Palais des Papes in Avignon

The interior of the palace is very austere – which was a little bit of disappointment – but it is worth taking a look.

After seeing the palace and checking out some of Avignon, we headed to Uzes. I instantly fell in love with the medieval town, characterised by its maze of cobbled streets. It’s a compact but buzzing place where we could easily envisage ourselves assimilating into local life. We even lingered in estate agents looking at properties.

Uzes, Provence, France

Accommodation: Our Relais and Chateux hotel, La Maison d’Uzes, was excellent with a Michelin-starred restaurant to boot. It’s an old building with lots of stairs so we had to leave the buggy at reception. Our room wasn’t huge but suited us. Mrs T had a small bed at the end of ours and the hotel gave her a cute teddy as a gift.

Maison du Uzes, France

Days 13 – 15: Castillon du Gare

Our next stop provided some chill out pool time – much to my daughters delight. The medieval village of Castillon-du-Gard was quiet but there were a couple of good restaurants. Wherever you go in Provence, you can be sure of quality food and wine.

Le Vieux Castillon, swimming pool, Provence, France

From Castillon-du-Gard, we took a day trip to the Roman Aqueduct, le Pont du Gard. The 50km structure was built half way through the 1st century to supply the city of Nimes with water. Standing at the top you feel humbled to be upon something so old.

Pont du Gard, France

Down below people paddled, swam and dived off the rocks into the river Gardon.

Pont du Gard, Roman aqueduct Provence, France

Our ticket to the aqueduct included parking, the museum and a few other activities but with a baby in tow we only managed the main attraction.

Wander Mum and family at the Pont du Gard, France

Accommodation:  I loved staying at Le Vieux Castillon, a small boutique spa hotel. It is in a beautiful setting with excellent views and a gastronomic restaurant on its large terrace. It also has a communal courtyard with places to have a drink or read. With only 33 rooms it’s a quiet place to relax.

Days 16 – 19: Morzine

Rather ambitiously we headed to Morzine in the Alps at the end of the break where we saw family and watched one of the final stages of the Tour de France. It was a four hour drive there from Castillon-du-Gard.

Morzine Tour de France 2016

The actual race goes in the blink of an eye. Bradley Wiggins zoomed past in just a few seconds. As it was raining, we took refuge in a local pub and watched from its terrace. Cheeky slept through a lot of it in her KangaWrap.

Prior to the race there’s plenty to keep children (and adults) amused with floats driving through the route, throwing out goodies which are quickly snapped up by enthusiastic kids.

Accommodation: Private villa

Day 20: Beaune

The wine capital of Burgundy, Beaune, was the stop-off for our journey home to London. It took around three and a half hours to get there from Morzine. We had a lazy Sunday wandering around Beaune (pronounced Bone).

Beaune, France

There are a few places to visit in Beaune (which we didn’t) such as the museum, The Hospices de Beaune, housed inside the Gothic 15th century former hospital. Every November it holds a large wine auction. There’s plenty of places to sample the region’s wines in Beaune as well as wine tours if you can linger for longer. We enjoyed sampling the local tipple in the sunshine, taking home some bottles of Burgundy from a wine shop called La Petite Cave.

Wander Mun in Beaune

Accommodation Le Mercure. A tried and tested hotel brand, we had another large room. It was a little walk to the centre but good value and even had a swimming pool (which we didn’t have time to use).

Day 21 – Beaune-London

The following day we had a long seven hour drive back to London. Our trip, which spanned almost three weeks, took us to two countries and we clocked up 2,000 miles. It wasn’t without its challenges with young children but we thoroughly enjoyed the scenery, food and wine. We fell in love with the region all over again and are sure to go again soon. Have you been to Provence? Where would you recommend we visit?

For more detailed posts about our Provence visit, take a look at the following.

A brief liaison with Lyon
Travel with a six-week-old baby
France’s Avignon festival in pictures
Visiting historic Troyes

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An itinerary of 20 days in and around Provence: What to see and do in the region with kids

14 Comments on Epic Provence Road Trip Itinerary: 3 Weeks with Kids (and detours)

  1. Wilbur
    March 27, 2018 at 7:56 am (4 weeks ago)

    That is some trip! I absolutely loved Provence and it is telling that the only place I went to gnat you did on this trip was Avignon. Simply loads of wonderful places. Enjoy your Easter.

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      March 27, 2018 at 12:41 pm (4 weeks ago)

      There really are so many great places in Provence, I’m looking forward to going back!

      Reply
  2. susanna
    March 27, 2018 at 11:53 am (4 weeks ago)

    Our first trip away with a 3-month=old was to Provence! Such lovely place to visit.

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      March 27, 2018 at 2:58 pm (4 weeks ago)

      How fab! Great minds…. isn’t Provence awesome! Loved it x
      Wander Mum recently posted…City Tripping #111My Profile

      Reply
  3. Alex - My Life Long Holiday
    March 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm (4 weeks ago)

    This post had me smiling from the off Elizabeth – I could just imagine you guys having the conversation about shoehorning a trip to Rome inside your already fully packed itinerary, I was thinking ‘she’s mad’ but actually it’s the kind of thing I’d do too : I mean, you don’t have to ask twice when its Rome and also the opportunity to see friends too. It must’ve been so much fun with all those people!
    And I can’t believe how dark your youngest was, she’s so fair now! (they do say thats the sign of a true blonde tho, when they start off dark).
    And, can I say – some of your hotels and villa’s were sooo beautiful. I love that pool view! #citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 10, 2018 at 10:27 am (2 weeks ago)

      Haha, I know, the temptation was too much and don’t you love a challenge to cram something in! Yes, my youngest’s hair is definitely lighter than it was! Would love to be poolside at one of those hotels now!

      Reply
  4. Kat
    March 29, 2018 at 4:54 am (3 weeks ago)

    I’m really amazed that you were able to do this 3-week trip with a 6-week old baby! I guess when we are travellers, no matter what, we will still travel, baby in tow! That must have been a fantastic summer trip for you and your family, how lovely 🙂 #Citytripping

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 15, 2018 at 6:55 am (7 days ago)

      Haha – it was as a bit ambitious but we saw and did so much!

      Reply
  5. Hilary
    March 30, 2018 at 7:40 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Everything about this trip is impressive, the length, the age of the kids, and the amount of places you visited! I love it! I’ve always wanted to explore this part of France, but my husband has already been. He keeps telling me its one of the most beautiful places he’s been. Hopefully, we’ll make it there one day! #citytripping
    Hilary recently posted…Photo Tour The City of LondonMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      March 30, 2018 at 10:40 pm (3 weeks ago)

      I really hope you do! Your husband is right…it is beautiful! He needs to show you around. Thanks for your lovely comment xx

      Reply
  6. Shikha Singh
    April 2, 2018 at 1:32 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Provence is undoubtedly beautiful but one needs to have a sweet family like yours to enjoy the holidays in Provence. Anyways. Provence is amazing and the itinerary is really helpful. Obgrido, Elizabeth!

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 15, 2018 at 6:55 am (7 days ago)

      Ah, thank you Shikha.

      Reply
  7. Roz
    April 10, 2018 at 10:55 am (2 weeks ago)

    This is amazing.. I have never been to Provence, looks like a great place to have fun with kids. Will definitely plan a visit soon.
    Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 15, 2018 at 6:56 am (7 days ago)

      It’s a great place! Highly recommend.

      Reply

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