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Day 3 South of France: Tourrettes sur Loup, Gourdon and Grasse - 16 May


Tired of bumper to bumper traffic and the hectic pace around Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo, we opted for a change of scenery today - rustic villages up in the hinterland, artisans, panoramic vistas, and no tourists. We got that in spades today!

Tourrettes sur Loup:
 Tourrettes sur Loup was just a 15 to 20 minute drive from Villa St Maxime at Saint-Paul de Vence. Through winding roads that skirted the mountain as we climbed higher, the views of the French countryside exhausted our vocabulary of superlatives. We settled for silence as we just soaked the scenery in.

The village of Tourrettes sur Loup was enchanting and refreshing in its lack of tourist trade. We took our time discovering the curves, corners and vistas of this small town. Uncrowded and relatively unspoiled by the tourist trade, the crafts on offer in its little side streets and market place were genuine handicrafts produced by the locals and were a pleasure to peruse. I picked up a gorgeous shirt by a lady who had a boutique at Saint-Paul de Vence for 15,00 Euros less than it was sold in her own boutique. Also a local restaurant was recommended to us for couscous, Chez Grandmere, it was still too early for lunch. besides, we had Gourdon yet to see at the top of the mountain.

Gourdon:
 Only a 20 minute drive away from Tourrette sur Loup, we climbed higher up the mountain to Gourdon, with the road bends getting sharper with every turn. The drive and landscape were absolutely spectacular. Sitting at the very apex of the mountain, it was definitely windier and cooler in Gourdon. If the panoramic views from Tourettes sur Loup were something to write home about, then you could not get a wider and more commanding view of France’s Cote d’Azur from the hinterland than from Gourdon. 

After a walk around Gourdon’s streets, it was time for a bite to eat. For once, Peter and I ignored our own advice about never going to a restaurant that was in the main drag as they tend to be tourist traps. After all, how bad could this one be, right? Besides, the view was just too fantastic to ignore! So we picked a table at a restaurant that sat on the most prominent corner of Gourdon with the most amazing views. BIG mistake. I had an extremely forgettable fish soup, which I must mention repeated on me for the remainder of the afternoon. The mixed salad that I ordered, which included a few mixed leaves, some tomato and radish, and no dressing for 8,00 Euros, was just as ordinary. We should have known better.

Grasse:
Grasse as a town is nothing to write home about. However, its claim to fame is that this is the town where France’s most luxurious perfumes are manufactured. You can take a tour of the whole operation at the perfume museum, which is situated on the street right above the square. It is truly fascinating. Some of the old bottles that have been used through the ages are incredibly beautiful. On the top floor you will find a perfume garden. 

You can also have your own perfume mixed for you at some of the perfume companies that have ads prominently displayed around Grasse. Just follow the signs. Having developed hay fever in more recent years whenever I smell strong perfume, I gave these perfume companies a wide berth.

Dinner at St Paul de Vence:
Dinner tonight was at Saint-Paul de Vence once again, this time a Lebanese restaurant called La Taverne Du Liban. Reasonable prices and fabulous food. 6 Rue de la Pourtoune, Saint Paul.



Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 16th May, 2012 | Trackbacks
Categories: France
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