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    Discover the glorious backroads of Provence

    France is a wonderful destination for a driving holiday, particularly as there are so many different landscapes to discover - not to mention fascinating towns and villages along the way. The charming scenery and gorgeous food of Provence have long made this region a popular place for breaks, and it just so happens to be a brilliant area to drive around too. Arrange to hire a car at the airport and you can hit the road straight away. While there are plenty of fine routes to take in Provence, the backroads are particularly good, and National Geographic recommends a fantastic route from Avignon to Les-Baux-de-Provence, taking in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Roussillon along the way. This journey is absolutely perfect if you like the sound of discovering the region's traditional craft towns, as well as enjoying some amazing drives peppered with classic Provencal scenery.

    Avignon

    Begin your trip in historic Avignon, which is hemmed in by 800-year-old walls. A real treat for history lovers, this city is home to some fantastic buildings - particularly the Palais des Papes, which is the largest Gothic palace in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Avignon, it's a 16-mile drive via the N7 to L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. With several canals running through it, this 'island city' is a really beautiful place to explore. There are plenty of art galleries to discover, but perhaps the real highlight is the many antiques dealers and second-hand shops (which number more than 300!) where you can find all kinds of lovely souvenirs.

    Roussillon

    An 18-mile drive will take you to Roussillon, a scenic hill town, and the start of the most dramatic section of your drive. This runs for 65 miles between Roussillon and Moustiers-Ste-Marie, and is full of narrow, winding mountain roads that really do take your breath away. Moustiers-Ste-Marie itself is likely to do the same; sitting on a cliffside, it almost looks as if it could tumble off at any moment!Before starting the drive back to Avignon, call in at Les Baux-de-Provence. The upper village, which is now something of a ghost town, is home to the remains of a stunning fortress, while the village below (which is still medieval but very much alive) has some great places to eat.
     

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