France · 7 Days · 38 Moments · August 2013

Jürgen Kompek

Up and down to Cote d'Azur

27 August 2013

Landing in Nice This is the second chance enjoying the clear sea water and the chalk cliffs. While looking around and listen to the grilles, you can see planes landing in Nice nearly in the same short intervals as in Frankfurt in Germany. The chemin de la Carriere is quite long and hot, so take enough to drink with you! I recommend parking in Chemin du Phare for free instead of paying in the centre of Saint Jean! From there you just go straight ahead down to the coast and anticlockwise to the centre or clockwise to chemin du Lido. The more impressive part is on the way to the centre. For us it was enough just pacing around the Cap Ferrat, because it was time to get to the camp site in the hills of Nice! Photo from
Domaine de la Bergerie This camp site is absolutely perfect, but expensive. I've chosen a better equiped, because we stayed longer than at the others. Altough you find everything you need for pleasure, it seems totally normal. You take a free place between the trees of the hill, which was a sheep range land before and build up your tent or whatever like anywhere else. Here you can live, restaurant and shop inside and if you come back late at night your car has to be parked on a guarded parking lot! Best service and quiet site though a space near the swimming pool, where children are around till 11 p.m. Only bad thing are the planes starting from Nice to Europe and flying over the hills of Vence, which disturb while falling asleep or wake you up in the morning. Good thing about it, you have more time for exploring the region, like Tourrettes sur Loup, Vence and St. Paul de Vence, which are three very beautiful mediterranean villages! Photo of Herman van Veldhuijze
Filling up your car At Cote d'Azur patrol is expensive, but at the highway through the Var valley it's a bit cheaper. Please keep that in mind, it saves a lot of money! Photo of video "le var en crue" on
Chalk cliffs At first you think everywhere a villa, no way to the coast. Drive along the main road back from the Cap, pass the Parc du Cap Martin and look for a parking space in Avenue Virginie Heriot, which is on the left side, but not too early. There is a way down to the coast near the Tennis court on the opposite side of the street! Keep to the left and follow the way enjoying the cliffs with the sound of the grilles! You can go all way long and return to Avenue Winston Churchill. Just turn left and go along Avenue Douine back to the street where you have parked your car. Take enough to drink with you, the way is long and sunny! Photo from
City Beach This place is a public beach, where mostly Italian tourists and locals enjoy swimming, diving, fishing and sun bathing. It's not idyllic here, but the sea is quite carm and enough space at any time, although it's crowded at the beach! The coast road is very common, you can see very special cars driving along the coast here! The parking possibilities are to pay and a free space is difficult to find. We were lucky, changed to bathing wear in the car and looked for a nice place on the beach for appealing sun cream. We had a really good time and arrived our aim the Cote d'Azur!

26 August 2013

Camping Les Mas Fleuri Shortly said, everything was perfect. Clean and quiet place to stay for a reasonable price. For us it was the perfect starting point for our coast trip between Menton and Nice! The town of Sospel is nice, but if you don't take the time to look around, you made the right decision. Better you spend your time at any of the pass roads around here, like Col de Brouis, Route de Pienne Haute, Route d'Erc or Col de la Braus, which is part of Rally Monte Carlo!
First view to the sea If you decide skipping Sospel, take the time for driving into the hills of Nice away from the main road after Saint-Jean La Riviere up to Levens. However your way of choice will be to go on to Vence, you can't decide wrong! The villages at the hills are all nice and the panorama is beautiful. Mind the time of the day, if you go on to the left or the right side of Var valley to make good photos!
Middle Ages A town, a wall, two castles. In the morning you start your city tour best from Fort de Savoie. If you want to have a look inside, you have to book it in advance. This castle protected the town from north against the princedom of Torino, here were stationed soldiers and opponents were caught here. The scouts communicated with those from the city wall and Fort de France. This castle protected Colmars from the princedom of the Provence. Like Briancon, Colmars was one of the most difficult strategy points to take over. This town is really small, you can't imagine the number of people which lived there in the medieval times. Today it's a tourist attraction, but due it's location not very busy. We tried to imagine those times, when the hospital was used and the mayor spoke to the people or getting water from the fountains. Though a long time passed, the handcrafts stayed. We couldn't buy anything, because it was Saturday. Best about here, you get most things for reasonable prices!
Rally Monte Carlo After driving several pass roads, Col de Turini is one of the most impressive streets in the French Alpes. The way from Colmars to Sospel was the most up and down driving of the whole trip, but it's amazing how many different types of landscape the French Alpes and the National Parc Mercantour has to offer! From the mountain pastures of Col des Champs over Col de la Couillole with its red rocks through the woods of Col de Turini down to Sospel with its Italian Flair!
Termitarium Here nature formed conglomarate like termites do in the Savanne. Underneath people built an interlaced town, complicated like a termitarium. We enjoyd exploring the stairs, narrow alleys and bridges all made out of stone. You get there by taking the secondary road to Valberg, a winter sports site. While in Valberg are big hotels and people stay for hiking tours, Peone is a carm town in a vale, where you can relax and open your ears. What I especially liked, was the empty road!

25 August 2013

Camping Le Bois Joli Like the name says, it's camping in the wood. Price was cheap, sanitairy not really clean and it's directly beside the main road. Sounds not good, but we where enough tired that all these things were not too important to us. The woman of the reception was very curious about us, guests from Austria are not so common here! We arrived late and the woman was so kind to let us parking on there private parking space and we even had nothing to pay for the car! I can't recommend this campsite, but the second named Camping le Haut Verdon 2km along the same street is expensive, you have the choice!
Before you decide This nice town of Ubaye valley is a must stop for all, who love eating delicious food in a historical atmosphere. It's the best place for shopping goodies like typical French cheese, or regional products to eat. You can also find special handcrafts, but food at every corner, also for sweeties! We didn't buy too much, because it's really expensive here. Nevertheless everything tasted fine and it's nice too look at the facades of Barcelonnette. We also filled up our stock in the supermarket, before going up Col d'Allos. It is one possebility to go on southward, also beautiful are Col de la Cayolle or Col de la Bonette, it was a hard decision!
Via ferrata de Pra Premier From the camp site you need about 30 min. to the via ferrata, which starts near the lake you can see in the map. Best time for the via ferrata is till 12 am, because of the sun. Most people just walk around and enjoy the panorama and fresh air, so you have not to wait usually. You can go up in 2 ways, one sportive with a part of level 4, but mostly 3 and an easier level 1-3. The route is about 500m long, top is 2279m high. Behind the rock, there is a small diffused alp village, which is a popular place of excursion. Though you can get around here easily you need the right equipment. Especially for the via ferrata you need a harness and a security set, may also take some carabiners and a line with you. If you don't have any of these, ask in the reception of the campsite. For beginners I recommend a guided tour, for pros there are 2 more routes level 4-5 above the camp site. You need more power, technique and endurance for those. Enjoy the nature how it fits your handicap!
Before Col the Vars For us it was just an important street crossing, but it's worth to stop here too look around. This small beautiful town is for shoppers as for "palatines joy". Between the bigger cities like Briancon and Embrun one of the tourist attractions of the Durance valley. It connects the Ecrin with the Chateau Queyras National Park and joins with the landscape very well! Photo from
Camping de l'Izoard "Le Planet" Here you feel like being on an adventure camp. You have so much space and you sleep in the pine wood. We enjoyd staying here, though the sanitairy was not good at all. Here you learn to appreciate the advantages of the easy way to live. Personally we liked this camp site the most from all we stayed at this trip! Luckely we decided to drive here and not to stay in Briancon! It was the only place, where we liked to stay longer because of the accomodation and the landscape, not only the fascinating mountains!

24 August 2013

Panorama Around Briancon you find different ways of climbing. You can go one of the via ferratas or rock climbing. Wherever you go up you will have very good panorama of parts of the Ecrin National Parc. If you are less sporty, there is the possibility to take the cabin nearly to the top of Prorel 2566m. Surely you will find a way that fits your handicap! Photo of cabin from
Casse Dessert You have to see it once in your life! It's unique natural art, formed over thousands of years. Best time to drive up there is in the evening, when the sun nearly goes down! We had the pleasure to be there at the right time at perfect weather. The landscape invites you to explore it, you want to stay there, like we did! It's the gate to the National Parc of Chateau Queyras, where the snow seems pink when the sun goes down. Enjoy the pics which can't really show the real impression of this unique place!
Rue Centrale Here you find several stores for clothes and stuff. Also important things like chemist's or bakery. It's the place where locals and tourists shop near the Casino for reasonable prices.. If you want something special or a give away look around in Cité Vauban, especially for food. We bought a delicious bread in the bakery of Rue Centrale! Don't forget to fill up your stock here, to have enough food for the Chateau Queyras National Park and maybe fill up your car. Photo from
Statue de la Grand France You can go directly up to this statue out of bronze or take the way through the labyrinth of the castle, which costs a little bit. For the money you get infos about the different parts and history of the buildings in English, Italian or French. The descriptions are made by students, which also get the money you pay. Now watch around!
Pont d'Asfeld and La Schappe This bridge is one of two remaining in France. The construction is special, but similiar to roman. Typical is the bend in the middle of the balustrade. It connects Briancon Vaubant with Fort des Têtes. It was built twice, the architect is Vauban, which planned most of the parts of the town! Down the river is called Durance, there is a crag and Parc de la Schappe, where you can relax or play Frisbee very well between locals. Bad thing about it, parking spaces are rare there, but waiting or driving some rounds is worth it!
Where to eat? Briancon is a beautiful medieval city, it tells stories about the relation between France and Italy. Two castles watch over the city, which has a castle in restauration at the moment itself. Inside the walls there is no traffic allowed, so you can explore the alleys relaxed. Here you can enjoy the special mix of italian flair and eating typical french specialities. In the main shopping street you can eat expensive in little restaurants where the tables are covered very inviting. If you are just hungry, it's better to look around for a cheaper meal, we found in front of the cathedral of Briancon. It's the best place for lunch, because it is a popular place for street musicians. You have two restaurants to choose, both are the same standard, good food and friendly service. If you like to snack, Place d'Armes is the perfect place to eat ice cream or crepes.

23 August 2013

Camping Gran Bosco This campsite is directly beside the main road, but traffic isn't too loud. Late check in is no problem, you can call the owner, which comes in 5 minutes usally! Price was not cheap, but that's Italy! Sanitairy was clean and the campsite is very family friendly with evening animation in the pizzeria, sport possibilities and play ground with children's zoo. Our place was near the pizzeria, so we couldn't sleep before midnight. If you stay longer, you get a carmer place. Not my favourite camp site, but could be worse! Photo of Torsten Kuppke
Italian flair Here you can get everything you need to fill up your stock, after passing several pass roads. People who are interested in history and culture may stay there a little bit. Also for nature lovers and sportive people here is the right place, In San Giuseppe near Giaglione you start from the elementary school down to San Giovanni climbing the Via ferrata Gorge della Dora Riparia, which is in a Canyon. For us it was just a pit stop! Photo from
Danger This barrier lake near the border to Italy is a phenomenon. It's more than 2.000 m above sea level, very deep and it's famous for dangerous current. When we were up there it was quite windy and foggy, but nevertheless made a walk to the bank of Lac du Mont Cenis. Here we could enjoy the quantity of different stones and spectate a kyte surfer. Highlights were the sheep of the restaurant, which is a cheap accomodation also, and the marmots in their cave systems. The pass road is one of the most impressive, history and nature in once!
Look around After a cool night, we started a short tour into the mountains on the west side of the valley. After a short look at the map of the campsite, we started going on the other side of the village passing pony riding for children. First we went up a stony street and continued a path through the wood. There are really many ways you can go, so for most people it's better to buy a map before! Without aim we reached a perfect viewing point, which is part of Bois de Jettemont. The last part of the way is quite sportive, but so much the better is the view! Have a look at the photos, to get a little impression of La Vanoise.
Le Chamois This camp site is really cool and uncomplicated. We arrived late on the day before and could just drive in, take a free place and checked in on the next morning. From here you can start several hiking tours also per cabin. It's cheap, the sanitairy is not modern, but clean! We liked to stay there and for real alpinists there are 600km of tours. Paragliding is easy because of the cable car and with the right equipment you can cut across the glacier of the highest mountains of La Vanoise more than 3.500 meters above sea level.

22 August 2013

Barrier lake This was our first planned stop. Here you feel the nature, the fresh air of the lake, surounded by big mountains not too far from Mont Blanc. Have a look at the pictures and enjoy the special atmosphere! This pass road is one of the most famous of the French Alpes.
Pit Stop If you need something for your trip, here is the best possibility to do some shopping, before you go on over the Col de Aravis and Col de la Croix. If you take the time and have the money it is worth to drive into the historic centre, have a look at Lac d'Annecy and eating something while enjoying the flair. Photo from
Swiss Air After Pontarlier we did a short trip through Switzerland. Vallee de Joux is this beautiful part called. Like the castle so the lake has the same name. Around here you can do nearly everything, playing Golf in Le Rousses, riding a bike around the lake, hiking in the woods of Jura or doing any watersports in Lac de Joux or Lac de Rousses. Here is a nice place to stay, for adventure people there is a Tipi dorf in the woods upon the lake for a max. of 30 persons. We just enjoyed driving through the valley! Photo from
Pontarlier This City has a Renaissance center, quite good for making a stop for lunch or coffee and have a look at this buildings. Nearby is also the castle Château de Joux, which is very impressive. Too bad we had no time for a closer look! Photo from
Around Pontarlier This region continues what you find around St. Hippolyte, but it's different. Hills are smaller and river is bigger, this valley where you drive along is very influenced from civilisation, but beautiful though. Good for hiking or relaxing at the river Le Doubs! If you have bikes with you, enjoy the civilisised nature of this region. Photo from

21 August 2013

Historic hills When you drive along the border of Switzerland and France there are many beautiful hills with fields and wood. If you need a stop for eating, drinking and to stretch one's legs, here is the perfect place. Enjoy the fresh air and the silence, even if the bus or the postman comes along! Photo of Cyril Auboin
Camping at St. Hippolyte After many up and downs along the French-Swiss border we came along Saint Hippolyte, a small medieval village with nightlife and several hiking possibilities in the woods of the hills. In this region are several nice campsites, we chose this small one and where satisfied. Fresh gras, camping beside the river, barbecue spot, playground and clean toilettes made it comfortable to stay for a really good price! Photo from
Around Basel If you take the route on the German side of Rhein, you have to drive all around Basel and before you come to France there is the beautiful city Weil am Rhein with its gardens and typical German houses. It's worth making a stop there and looking around. Photo from
Rheintal Schwarzwald? Switzerland? Also very beautiful, but we decided to continue through the valley of Rhein on the German side. We stopped in Tiengen for lunch. It's the smaller town of Waldshut-Tiengen and also the more beautiful part with an historic centre, where you can find quite a big variety of restaurants with reasonable prices, good shopping possibilities and café or confectioneries at nearly every corner! Really nice atmosphere, but on Monday most restaurants have their day off, which makes window shopping quite attractive. Photo from
Around Ulm There are several possibilities to drive towards the French Alpes from Ulm, but equally which route you choose, it starts with the valley of the Danube, which is a really beautiful landscape with idyllic villages. If you have time, enjoy the villages by driving the different streets along the river instead of taking the main road 311! Photo from
Youth hostel in Ulm In Ulm you can choose between one youth hostel near the main railway station and the historic centre or, like we did, take the way into the west of the city over the Römerstraße to a smaller more familiar youth hostel with modern equipment and 2 or 4 bed rooms. Usually bedclothes and breakfast are included, if you bring your own bedclothes, it's no problem. Maybe you can also stay without breakfast, but that's no good option, because you get various fresh items and drinks for breakfast and can take lunch packages with you from there! If you stay longer some sport facilities for soccer, volleyball, basketball, table tennis and some other sports are available! It's a quiet and green place perfect for holidays, nice employees, familiar atmosphere, good breakfast, clean rooms and bath! Photo from
Daily shopping in Ulm If you need something to eat or drink, things for repair work or toilette articles on your journey here is the best place to shop in the western part of Ulm. Big parking lots, easy to get there and nothing will be missed, from IKEA to Fressnapf, for your pet if you carry one with you, every kind of shop can be found along this street! Photo from