On our trip through France, we also visited Monaco. And while I found an ugly rock covered in buildings not that impressive, the botanical garden with its stalactite cave deserved its own photo gallery.

Southern France

In May, a friend and I spent two weeks in the South of France.

We went by TGV to Avignon, where we visited the pope’s palace and the famous Pont d’Avignon. Before I hadn’t known that it’s not actually a bridge but an unfinished project…
We drove on to Arles, were we wandered on the traces of van Gogh and visited the famous Café Terrace on the Place du Forum. We tried to take photos from the same angle as van Gogh’s picture.
From there we went along the coast. Our stops included the Camargue, Marseilles with the Calanques, Cannes (during the film festival), Antibe (since there were no hotel rooms in Cannes), Nice, Monaco (were we drove on the formula 1 track — with a Yaris) and Menton.

Our rental car included a (not so great) navigation system, whose language we kept at French and which we named Odile. Because of the many round-abouts I was really good with small ordinal numbers in French after this trip. At one point she even said “Prenez le quintieme sortie” in a round-about with only three exits — we used the shortcut modulo 3…

Then we went to the countryside and into the perfume city of Grasse, where we took a perfume workshop and earned diplomas for our fragrances “Tout sourir” and “Le mistral verde”.
We rewarded our great work with four days in the gorgeous Gorges du Verdon.

On the way back to Avignon (were we had to return our car) we stopped in Aix au Provence and at the Pont du Gard, the Roman aqueduct across the Gardon river — an absolutely stunning monument.

On the way to Pont du Gard I wrecked our rental car. When suddenly a pipe lid came off of the fire engine in front of us, I could have avoided it by crashing into the opposing traffic on the one or the gutter on the other side. I chose to keep the wheel steady and drive over it. Unfortunately, the lid was solid metal and slightly higher than the clearance of our car. The car kept working but at certain engine speeds it made really weird sounds. We were glad that this had happened on the second to last day.