Discover the film Pulse in the South
The Côte d’Azur or French Riviera, this world-famous place that embodies an ideal of life, freedom, escape and climate that is the envy of the whole world. If you feel like discovering some of the wonders of the French Riviera in one week, here is a 186 Miles road trip, which can be done over 7 days or more, to go along and discover the mythical French Riviera… Not bad this introduction, but not enough.
Let me start again…
More than a road trip, it’s a 186 Miles experience in Audi e-tron Sportback that I share with you to discover a confidential French Riviera. Follow me for a Pulse in The South!
7 Days / 5 towns
Near. 186 Miles
Let’s start with the basics. This is probably not the first time you’ve heard about the French Riviera, but the concept may have been a bit hazy for you. So let me explain: we talk about the French Riviera in French, and the French Riviera in English. The Cote d’Azur owes its name to a Dijon writer, Stéphen Liégeard, who nicknamed it so in reference to his home county, the Cote d’Or. This name designates the eastern part of the Mediterranean coastline. Even if the limits of the Côte d’Azur are not really clear, it is considered to extend from Marseille to Genoa, Italy.
This region extends over the eastern part of the French Mediterranean coastline. There isn’t really a clear delimitation, the one I’m proposing to you is much more confidential. From Marseille to St Tropez, passing through the most beautiful villages of the region, because I am convinced that the most beautiful to see is there. A road trip against the current and in off-season, a perfect combination to enjoy the roads.
If you’ve been following the story from the beginning, it begins with a trip from Paris to Marseille in an Audi e-tron Sportback. Far from the challenge, far from the performative journey. The idea was to experience the departure as an important moment: you decide to go to a place, you set off. Making the trip a special moment:
Discovering the Audi e-tron Sportback, travelling around France in an electric car and transforming the technical study in the field.
Now that it is no longer necessary to prove that the technical study is feasible in the field. The journey begins with Marseille the rebel! Massilia is one of the oldest cities in France with a little more than 2600 years of history. A cosmopolitan city, it has been an important passage place for people and goods since ancient times. It is this incredible low population density that gives it such a special character.
DAY 1 – DAY 3
In the city of Marseille, there is a lot to do and see. But first of all, I always have a ritual as soon as I arrive in the Phocaean city. I walk along the cornice of President JFK in order to take the pulse of the city and above all to appreciate the magnificent sunlight that hits the sea especially around 5 pm. The moment is even more precious with the vehicle I am driving, I appreciate its ease in the city, and especially the bubble of silence in which I find myself. Marseille is a noisy city. Here, I am protected.
I’m heading to my hotel which is on the road. Some people dream of spending a night in the Louvre, I’m in the Immeuble Corbusier. I put my suitcases there for a few days.
Where to eat in Marseille
The first sunny awakening in this housing unit full of history where the soul of Le Corbusier hovers in every square metre. To be in the heart of the Cité Radieuse in this “vertical village” as its creator wished, has no equivalent in Marseille. For me it is a kind of cultural achievement. More than a hotel, it is a monument of design filled with emotions that no other place, however exceptional it may be, can offer. When design is art, it deserves a financial effort… that remains very accessible and faithful to the social destination of the original complex.
After a passage on the roofs of the building to appreciate even more the architectural dimension of the work, I decide to have breakfast on my way to the Old Port.
On the road, I couldn’t help but think about the impression Le Corbusier would have had when discovering / driving a vehicle like the Audi e-tron Sportback. How would the founder of modern architecture have perceived this new technological advance in terms of mobility?
Le Corbusier and his minimum car
Great car enthusiast, the Voisin C7 was his favorite car. In 1936, he took part in an automobile design competition with Pierre Jeanneret, his partner and cousin. The result was a principle comparable to the one used in his architectural thinking: “a minimalist vehicle for maximum functionality”. This prototype will remain only a sketch. It will only be built in the 1980s, long after the death of its designer. It would come as no surprise to find that of his minimalist car and the Audi e-tron are two vehicles with the ambition, the desire to create pleasing mobility.
Obviously Marseille. A place to park. Mission Parking.
In Marseille, the only parking lot that offers a good value for money while providing the necessary space to let my electric colossus in without damaging the rims is the Indigo parking lot, which is located at Place aux Huiles. An article is to come on the parking lot in Marseille where? and at what price?
Here I am at La Pépite, a place that I invite you to discover in order to taste gluten-free cakes and above all a passionately roasted coffee. For those who know little or nothing about Marseille, the fish market is right next door. It is one of the last witnesses of the city’s folklore and will immediately plunge you into the Marseilles atmosphere which will set the rhythm of your day. With the sea, the boats, the shade and the sunlight so particular to Marseille, you will have enough to make you live here a real Marseille moment unique in Europe. The contrast is even more striking with the mirror of the shadehouse, this hyper-contemporary work of art imagined by the British architect Norman Foster.
Things to do Marseille
DAY 4NEAR. 21,4 MILES -NEAR. 38 MIN.
CASSIS & THE CALANQUES
Situated 18 Miles from Marseille, Cassis and especially known for its cliffs and creeks. It is precisely there that the name Côte d’Azur takes all its meaning. I get up very early to rediscover the calanques because it is quickly impossible to park.
If Cassis and La Ciotat are quite cute and pleasant towns, their real asset remains their protected natural environment as it is a listed natural park. Before setting off on your adventure, I recommend a good pair of walking shoes, something to drink and protection from the sun. Port-pin, En-Vau and Port-Miou (the only one accessible by car), offer hiking, kayaking, diving, or boat trips, so you just have to choose how to spend your day! Be careful though, as fire safety rules are very strict and the slightest spark can destroy thousands of hectares…
It is now time to enjoy the road and its surroundings.
The most beautiful road to reach La Ciotat is none other than the famous Route des Crêtes. Be careful however because it is regularly closed because of the strong winds and the risk of fire during the summer. I still insist on the fact that this trip by electric car is the best thing for me.
DAY 5NEAR. 43,2 MILES -NEAR. 1 Hours
TO CASSIS FROM PRESQU’ILES DE GIENS
Here is a small diversion during this road trip on the French Riviera. To begin, where is the peninsula of Giens? Most people don’t know it and have never heard of it and yet… If you know Porquerolles it is simply the place where you probably took the boat. I have chosen to tell you about Giens rather than Porquerolles, mainly because of the shuttle boat coup and the price of bicycle hire which I find particularly excessive. If the peninsula of Giens is less famous than its famous neighbour, it is nevertheless just as beautiful. Both depend on the commune of Hyères-Les-Palmiers.
While the French Riviera has suffered enormously from massive constructions and still suffers a lot from boat pollution, Giens and the Golden Islands are unique natural and ornithological reserves. The Giens salt marshes, for example, are a magnificent place to observe pink flamingos.
DAY 6NEAR. 73 MILES -NEAR. 1H 24 MIN
MASSIF DE L’ESTEREL
The Esterel is a massif situated between the Var and part of the Alpes-Martime, on the French Riviera. Not to be missed during your road trip on the French Riviera, atypical thanks to its red rock and its uneven relief, the Esterel massif is actually a volcanic massif more than 250 million years old.
During the formation of the Mediterranean Sea, a piece of land gradually detached and moved away… giving birth to Corsica! Classified as a “Natura 2000” zone, lovers of hiking, climbing, mountain biking and even horse riding will find what they are looking for to make the most of this exceptional setting.
DAY 7NEAR. 5,3 MILES -NEAR. 14 MIN.
FROM GASSIN TO ST TROPEZ
Gassin is located in the middle of the peninsula of Saint Tropez, perched on a rocky promontory less than 2,4 Miles from the sea. The village has kept its winding streets and picturesque old houses. Its geographical situation is quite exceptional: it dominates a landscape of vineyards, wooded areas and the Gulf of Saint Tropez! From the terrace of the ramparts you can enjoy a magnificent landscape that stretches from the Golden Islands to the snowy peaks of the Alps and the Massif des Maures. On the seaside, Port Gassin is being born in the continuity of the existing lake complexes: Port Grimaud and the marines of Cogolin. The Templars left many traces there.
Where to sleep to St Tropez
St Tropez, glamor always sticks to the skin and more precisely in a place of the legendary Épi Plage – renamed Épi 1959 and revamped without losing its casual elegance of the sixties…
This multifaceted region offers the possibility to spend a few hours in a perched village and then meet up again in Saint-Tropez. Enough to take the pulse of the region. Just as confidential depending on the season St Tropez offers a different complementary face to this period. There is no better place to end my road than Saint-Tropez.
Sublime and relaxing, the energy of the village is instantly palpable. The place is perfect for resting the mind and rediscovering the South of France. Among the things to do, nearby, by the water, I had the opportunity to taste delicious pasta with truffles at the Jardin Tropezina.
Things to do St Tropez
I’m leaving for a very last stop, just as confidential, which is located at the western end of the port. The Musée de l’Annonciade offers a breathtaking view of the city and the port, a perfect place for an introspective reflection on my journey through the French Riviera.
A visit to the Annunciation Museum is a trip in itself. For the traveler that I am, that you are, you will find answers or hopefully inspirations in this museum. The museum presents an amazing collection of post-impressionist works by Matisse, Derain, Bonnard, among many other modern master travelers. The end of one journey, the beginning of another.
This kind of trip would have been difficult, if not impossible, without a car in order to accumulate so many Miles. More than 1000 Miles by discovering its magnificent roads with an electric vehicle . Audi doesn’t just launch a new car. Audi isn’t just launching a new car. Audi doesn’t just launch a new car. Audi doesn’t just launch a new electric car like everyone else. Audi is creating a new art of driving, rediscovering the road and its environment. Without pretension, I am proud to be ahead of my time.
To be a kind of pioneer and to be able to tell the story of Quiet driving.