Europe Road Trip - A Drive Through France

September 04, 2012

Beautiful French countryside on our European road trip filled with sunflowers 

We love traveling the world slowly and experiencing things from the ground level, thus driving our motorhome is a fabulous way to see Europe. We also do a lot of biking, walking and using mass transit and sometimes we use trains, buses, ferries.

Because Europe is very dense in amazing destinations to see and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, we tend to usually drive just short distances and park our RV for a few days to a month or more to relax and explore at a leisurely pace. Campsites usually have pools , kids clubs and exercise rooms for family entertainment when one is not touring, plus it's easy to meet European families

painting in Provence

Mozart enjoying painting under the trees at our campsite in Provence, one of the many perks of traveling as a family around the world.

River barging in France

Loved these houseboats in France and one of these days we wil do some French barge travel.

Beautiful French architecture

The photo's taken in this particular European Grand Tour was the section around France to re-explore some areas more deeply that we had seen before, see some travel icons and discover some new hidden gems off the beaten path. Most of these were taken from Provence to Dordogne, but we also did the Loire Valley and Paris. ( Still need to get those photos and stories up, but it's helpful hopefully, to get a sense of what a Europe road trip is like.)

Another French Castle 

drving France on a road trip with a camper van

Our style of European road trip planning includes LOTS of improvising. Often we travel a very short distance like we did between Nimes and Arles. Sometimes we stay longer because we like an area like we did with the amazing Camargue and while visiting Agde because of the kids clubs there. Our biggest goal that year was to return to Paris because Mozart hadn't been there since we celebrated her 6th birthday there at the beginning of our family world trip in 2006. 

French country living

Thus, sometimes, we do faster travel and we had basked long enough in the south of France that year.We got up early in Avignon, Mozart did a little artwork project  while we packed things up and headed out to Rocamadour. We missed beautiful Rocamadour last time in the Dordogne, but it is to the far east of the region, so perfect on our central run up the middle of France towards the Loire and Paris.

Dordogne a popular vacation destination in France 

yes, they have windmills in France too! 

beautiful ancient towns in France

Alas, perfect plans sometimes go astray. After seven hours of driving and ready to rest, we found the tiny, cliff side roads to Rocamadour too scary for our old, very heavy ( weighted down with homeschool books and a full sized digital piano) RV. We have done our time on scary roads in Santorini, Delphi, San Sebastian and more, so didn't want to do it again. 

  French country side

We tried a few different routes in, but then finally decided to add another few hours and head to Limoges further north which has a good campsite open all year. The good news about a long drive is I got to do some work on photos and some writing while DaVinci drove and I took these photos along the way. 

beautiful Carcassone Castle in France

It was especially fun to see Carcasonne from the road as we had been there in 2006 and discovering Carlucet was a treat. The road tolls are small when one is doing short trips, but they are painful for DaVinci when we do these long drives.

I actually wrote most of this post while doing this trip, but just discovered it again, so thought you might enjoy it now.

Have you done a European or French road trip? Or would you like to? We look forward to doing many more as the next language that our 11 year old wants to learn in French and we adore Europe.

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Chere Jeanne ~ I thought of you as we drove those tiny cliff/mountain roads this summer! By "we" I actually mean the "native" local (and very expert drivers!) family we stayed with. Big props to DaVinci for navigating and to you for being a supportive co-pilot and to Mozart for being a sweet passenger.

Broken record alert--but, as always, I LOVED reading your long photo filled posts. You have been so prolific of late. Your health program must have you feeling awesome!!

So, it sounds like France is growing to be a more definitive thing. I would love to hear of your plans as they take shape and evolve. What region(s) are you looking at?

Mandarin immersion has been pretty intense. Does Mozart have any time to explore the French language or will that come later?


Where in France was the houseboat/barge photo taken? This is on my bucket list of things to do!


I love that photo with the pale green shutters. That seems so French to me!


I love this very real post. Roadtrip and slowtralelling is so much more than just seeing the sights:) Thanks for sharing.

Kate and Mike

Fabulous post. Really captures what it feels like to take a road trip through France. We took two (with a small child, no less) and we recall those trips fondly. Well done.

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