It was at the wheel of the Audi e-tron GT, equipped with a 93.4 kWh 800 V lithium-ion battery, that I made an impressive journey across France realized this summer in the middle of August. I covered 4,000 kilometres and proved that long distances in an electric vehicle are neither frightening nor unachievable – quite the contrary. An itinerary, you will see, full of beautiful discoveries and adventures, which allowed me to cross from south to north through the west.
A memorable road trip in an electric car, which I recommend!
The advantage of an electric vehicle with 380 kilometres of autonomy? Is that you can stop or not frequently to recharge your vehicle. Owning an Audi e-tron GT, I particularly highlight the discoveries of several small towns, villages and splendid places that I would surely have missed if I had had a thermal car. Even if I didn’t travel at the same speed as a thermal vehicle, travelling in an electric vehicle allowed me to find a perfect balance between road and discovery of beautiful landscapes.
The route of my journey is impressive. With the south of France as my starting point, I divided my itinerary into four stages, i.e. four regions. The first one consisted in crossing the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and finishing in Menton. Once we reached the Italian border, the second stage was to head for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. For the next stage, a tour of France from East to West, including Bordeaux. After some interesting visits, I went back north for my last stage through Brittany.
What about the network of charging stations in France
Currently, the need is for new infrastructure for electric vehicles. The current infrastructure of charging stations in France is certainly not sufficient.But even in the middle of August, I didn’t have to wait long to recharge. And even during the rare moments when there was a crowd, the wait did not exceed 30 minutes + 30 minutes of recharging, that is to say 1 hour. Enough time to eat, refresh and rest…
From now until next summer, with the lightning acceleration of the Total Energies and with the Ionity network already well established, it will be even easier to boost your vehicle’s energy and drive in an even more serene manner.
Advice for a road-trip in an electric car
Once again, it is important to understand that driving an electric car changes your habits completely.The fact of using the Audi app, the ideal companion during this road trip.The Audi app was very useful throughout the trip. First of all, it allowed me to see which terminals were working properly. “Its information, which was correct every time, helped us avoid passing through certain non-functioning infrastructures. The real-time update was a great help. Finally, the Audi pass was an essential badge for recharging” at most of the network’s charging points in Europe. With this so-called “RFID” badge, it gives access to many charging networks.
I also recommend making several recharge stops well before reaching 5% of the battery, and constantly keeping a sufficient charge to cover several dozen kilometres so as not to find oneself in difficulty when discovering a non-functional terminal. My strategy is simple, I always leave myself a 100km margin. I also favour so-called “strategic” breaks for recharging the vehicle: during a meal, a nap, or a visit to a place, among others.
A journey like no other
During my trip, I was able to visit many cities, starting with Marseille, an obligatory stopover but above all instructive in discovering this Phocaean city in full metamorphosis.
Marseille in the full creative renewal. With its heavenly coves, small fishing ports, authentic restaurants, houses and buildings with rough architecture…
Head for neighbouring Cassis, on the other side of the Parc National des Calanques. Nestled at the bottom of the Anse de la Grande Mer, between the Pointe des Lombards and the Cap Câble, Cassis is a charming little port village whose terroir produces a sunny wine. The town owes its motto to the poet and Nobel Prize winner Frédéric Mistral who wrote eulogistically “Who has seen Paris and not Cassis, has seen nothing”.
I settle down for two nights at the Roches Blanches overlooking the sea from the rock planted with pine trees. If you’re interested in nothing more than swimming, dining, and sipping, the French, unsurprisingly, have you covered. (Public beaches dot the waterfront near the village center; you can’t miss them.) Up in the nearby hills’ terraced vineyards, you can sample local blends; two offer guided tours in English, Clos Sainte Magdeleine and Le Clos Albizzi. Staying in the area without exploring Cassis’s most stunning natural feature would be a sin, so plan to spend at least a day or two hiking or boating around Les Calanques, narrow inlets framed by gigantic limestone cliffs. To get there, look up directions to the Port-Miou and prepare to get a little lost on the walk or drive through Cassis’s palm-lined mansions: The hiking area is not well marked. Once you’ve arrived, head inland for paths through otherworldly terrain, or hug the jagged shoreline for challenging climbs to secret beaches.
Since their reopening last summer and redesigned in an Art Deco style by Monika Kappel, Les Roches Blanches in Cassis of the experience…
Head east and into the Var along an itinerary that flirts with the sea from end to end. Overlooking Saint-Tropez and the bay of Pampelonne, Ramatuelle overlooks the sea. In the middle of vineyards and hills, this medieval village has retained a welcome touch of authenticity. Its calm and its setting have made it an alternative to Saint-Tropez, where great actors of the 1950s such as Gérard Philipe came to settle, preferring its bonhomie to the excesses of the tropics. Settle down for two nights on the beach of Pampelonne, in a mythical hotel of the 60s recently renovated. A place where time is no longer important, where elegance is the ally of simplicity, where a few swims in the pool follow a game of tennis. In short, a certain definition of the chic of the Mediterranean art of living.
Between Pampelonne and Ramatuelle is a peaceful enclave away from the constant bustle of the small port invaded by hordes of tourists….
Indissociable from the Bardot myth, from dream villas facing the Mediterranean, from vineyards as far as the eye can see, from yachts of gleaming luxury, clad in so much marble that it is almost a miracle that they can still float, from a fauna of film icons, rock stars, writers, artists… whose creative fantasy went hand in hand with a life of assumed opulence. Saint-Tropez marked the golden age of the French Riviera. For decades, this vision, so strongly anchored in the collective memory, made its actors believe that they were unsinkable. Too much desired, too much frequented, the Var village had stopped reinventing itself, often giving in to glitz, cuisine and soulless rhythms.
The holidaymakers went there in a form of dreamy nostalgia. Until the summer of 2019 when the coastal law reshuffled the cards. All permanent construction is forbidden on the beaches, and some of them have to close. The town of Ramatuelle then launched a competition to award the best spots. A disaster for the purists, a happy revival for the restaurateurs and hoteliers enrolled in a healthy competition, bringing in its wake a wave of new addresses…
A beach club that celebrates Italian cuisine, bungalows with their feet in the water, an institution steeped in luxury… Between newcomers and must-sees, here is an overview of the addresses in the Tropez…
Drive to Saint-Raphaël, a fishing village near Fréjus. A fashionable seaside resort in the 19th century, its appeal is intact and its beaches are numerous. Settle in for two nights in a beautiful address bordering the bay of Ile d’Or, a little away from the town. Here you can enjoy the last slopes of the Massif de l’Esterel, further north, and an adjoining private beach. Its modernist architecture, typical of the late 1950s, and its antique decorative objects make it a very pleasant, gently Provençal stopover…
At the foot of the Esterel massif, on a Mediterranean beach, the Hôtel Les Roches Rouges has just opened. A fifties modernist jewel with 50 rooms and suites…
The journey continues along the quays of the Lympia port in Nice, where the Basse Corniche (nicknamed “the Lower Corniche”) is born. There is no time to miss the gentle way of life in this typical district, and the Belle Époque houses are already buried in the greenery.
Architectural follies, manicured gardens and dishevelled palm trees parade through to Villefranche-sur-Mer, where the terrace of the Mayssa Beach offers a view of the harbour and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Then head to the most beautiful (public) beach on the peninsula, Les Fosses.
At Paloma Beach, the deckchairs have seen Matisse and Cocteau, Sean Connery and Tom Cruise. Each one has his own heroes, but for all of them, the same enchantment until Beaulieu-sur-Mer, this chic resort which looks at the cliffs plunging into the sea, as if to embody the name “Alpes-Maritimes”. Here, the Côte d’Azur is wilder, the corniche spans the rocky capes, and panoramic paths invite you to take a stroll. I follow the Nationale 7 and venture onto the Moyenne Corniche. Yes, it is the last stretch of the holiday road, the one which, with its 996 km from Paris, inspired the Mille Bornes, the song of Charles Trenet and so many other memories… It is also the first “paid holidays” discovering, dazzled, these landscapes suspended between a sparkling sea and a vegetation of the first morning of the world.
Èze is not far away, this medieval village clinging like an acrobat to the mountain, where the cobbled streets climb up to the sky, at least up to its exotic garden. Its cacti are famous, but it is the view of the Côte d’Azur, grandiose, that the memory takes with it.
Head for La Turbie, a perched village that marks the return to Nice via the Grande Corniche. Gourmets will have reserved a table at Hostellerie Jérôme, Bruno and Marion Cirino’s two-star Michelin restaurant.
Between France and Italy, Monaco is one of those destinations bathed in fantasy Here is an overview of the best addresses to discover during…
I really wanted this road trip to look like a royal affair? But there’s no question of changing my car for a coach, just stay with the Audi e-tron GT and drive to the principality of Monaco. As soon as I arrive on the rock, between the sports cars, the prestigious hotels and the luxury boutiques, a real red carpet is rolled out for me.
With Monaco ON, I charged the Audi e-tron for free during my stay. I follow it, it leads me to the palace of the principality. After a visit to the main courtyard and the grand flats, I head back down to the city to discover the oceanographic museum, the exotic garden and the Princess Grace rose garden. Of course, my passage in front of the palaces of the city and on the tracks of the Grand Prix of Monaco to them its effect because it is still rare to see the Audi e-tron GT in real.
In a completely different register, and that’s why I like it, I’m going to Menton, the last town on the French Riviera! World famous for its Lemon Festival which takes place every year in February, the city is nicknamed “the Pearl of France”. Classified as a “Ville d’Art et d’Histoire” (City of Art and History) since 1991, Menton is full of small, typical and colourful streets that will make you experience your most beautiful “Dolce Vita”.
By electric car, ask in advance because it is important to have a blue disc, this disc makes it possible to mark your hour of arrival. I had the experience of not having bought it, I was fined 35 euros. It was a ridiculous situation because the car was well charged, but apparently the urban police have an easy time with fines in Menton. Shameful!
It’s easy to bypass Lyon when travelling from Paris to the Côte d’Azur (or vice versa), but in doing so you miss out on a fascinating gastronomic and cultural centre. You might think that the City of Light is the epicentre of French cuisine, but it is in fact Lyon that is the capital of gastronomy. In 1933, when Eugénie Brazier became the first woman to be awarded three Michelin stars and the first chef to have two restaurants with this prestigious distinction, La Mère Brazier put Lyon on the culinary map. The chef of nouvelle cuisine Paul Bocuse trained under her watch, and the city is also home to the famous Daniel Boulud. And while foodies can (and should) book into one of the city’s 20 starred restaurants, the bouchons are the must-visit local institutions. Unique to the city, they are relaxed, unpretentious, and the best restaurants to discover the heart of Lyon’s traditional cuisine. (It doesn’t hurt that their prix fixe meals are very reasonably priced, either.) Oenophiles can also travel to the neighbouring Beaujolais region to visit vineyards and taste exceptional wines.
Villa Maïa is the contemporary hotel Lyon needed. Located near the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière and the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, all 37 minimalist accommodations…
In addition to its legendary gastronomy, this UNESCO-listed site is also the birthplace of cinema and was once a leader in the silk trade. You’ll find one of Europe’s oldest and most extensive Renaissance districts, where a stroll through the narrow cobbled passages of Vieux Lyon is a must, as well as France’s largest urban park, Parc de la Tête d’Or, which you can enjoy by hiring a boat on the lake.
Taking a road trip in France is an unforgettable experience. The roads are incredible, you’ll see impressive sights, drive through places you’ve never seen before and stroll along beautiful beaches. Bordeaux and the region are no exception, in fact, just a stone’s throw from the beaches of the Arcachon Basin, between iconic hotels that reinvent themselves, mouth-watering restaurants, cocktail bars and trendy bistros, creative avant-garde places… Bordeaux is full of little-known addresses. Zoom in on a city on the move and what not to miss in the South West.
With its Haussmannian mazes with charming fountains, inspiring new restaurants, concept stores, art galleries… Bordeaux has many good reasons to go there…
Bordeaux, the sixth largest city in France, is best known for its wine. Surrounded by green vineyards, Bordeaux and its inhabitants enjoy the good life – which means, yes, lots of wine. But the city owes its captivating allure above all to its architecture. Half of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it the largest urban site in the world. But alongside the history, there is a young and progressive atmosphere, thanks in part to its 87,000 students.
Naturally, I start with a visit to the Place de la Bourse. This neoclassical masterpiece overlooks the Miroir d’Eau, a shallow fountain that reflects our world through a thin layer of water, and the perfect place to cool off. I continue along the river promenade, where you will find many museums and art galleries. After indulging in the art, I simply stroll through the charming Chartrons district. For dinner, I have a choice between high-end restaurants, boutique restaurants and even food trucks…
After Bordeaux, I joined Lacanau to spend a few days for a complete reconnection with nature. These few days were a real coup de coeur and a beautiful parenthesis in this road trip through France in Audi e-tron GT. At ease on long roads, I had no trouble taking with the Audi e-tron GT some steep roads to find myself closer to nature. Between the ocean on one side and the pine forests on the other, the south beach of Lacanau is a beautiful and wild place, away from everything.
This is where I parked the car for a few days, to enjoy the calm of the deserted beaches even in this season. Discover here the short film that says much more than long sentences…
The very last step of this fabulous road trip, here I am now heading north. Like a call of the road that guides me in all instantaneities towards the top of France before joining Paris.
Head for Brittany, its constellation of wild panoramas and its comforting art of living. With a view to unique sunsets at the end of August… Brittany is one of France’s star destinations, with its long, white beaches, its small stone villages, its beautiful restaurants facing the horizon and its invigorating art of living. I make a first stop in Renac, a few kilometres from Rennes, at the Chateau Le Bressay. I am at the gateway to Brittany in this incredible residence.
Built by Colonel Maurice du Halgouët and his wife. The castle is one of the architectural masterpieces of the region, both in the choice of materials and in the finesse of their execution. The historical elements of the castle have been preserved and highlighted. The parquet floors, the woodwork, the stonework and the fireplaces are all decorative elements that have been carefully preserved. Facing the corsair city of Saint-Malo, this former marine resort is now one of the most charming hotels in Brittany. In a 1930’s décor, adorned with wallpapers with plant prints and Art Deco furniture. To book here
From Rennes to Dinard, not forgetting Saint Malo, the addresses to know in Brittany...
Last stop, it is important to specify it because the emotion is at its peak in a legendary institution with an unrestricted view: Le Castelbrac in Dinard. Facing the corsair city of Saint-Malo, this former marine resort is now one of the most charming hotels in Brittany. In a 1930s décor, adorned with wallpaper with plant prints and Art Deco furniture, travellers discover 24 rooms overlooking the emerald bay, a spa offering Gemology and Thémaé treatments, a cobalt swimming pool and above all Julien Hennote’s restaurant. A fervent defender of local produce and sustainable fishing, the committed chef’s signature recipe is a tasty blue lobster raviole. To book here
I hope that through this article you have been able to discover new places. Throughout my trip I have been keen to support the tourism actors in our regions. I also wanted to highlight the intermediary networks that are mobilising and supporting the short journey. The majority of the establishments mentioned are or have been supported by these networks. In short, the journey continues cos…
The call of the road is never too far away.