Van Life #16 | Living it up in the South of France & the Verdon Gorge

As soon as the 100km travel rule was lifted in France, a group of friends from La Tania planned a trip to the south almost immediately. As we were already close by in Italy, we left Imperia early and drove to Saint Aygulf campsite where we met 4 other van couples for a weekend at the beach. We took the toll road from Imperia to Saint Aygulf and I think it was around €15, which I’m willing to pay when it knocks 2 hours off a drive.

Saint Aygulf is just west of Fréjus and it’s located next to a long stretch of sandy beaches. It was so hot, and like typical Brits abroad, everyone got sunburnt and drank far too much rosé on the first day! The campsite was charging low season prices and it was only €25 a night with electricity. It’s a huge site but was perfect for us as we could all camp together right next to the sea and enjoy some top class on-site entertainment!

After 2 nights at Saint Aygulf, we convoyed further west to Saint Tropez and stayed in a camper stop right next to the marina. It costs up to €41 for 24 hours but it’s pretty much in the centre and suitable for all van types. We had a little beach to ourselves and stunning views across the bay of the insane super yachts. Saint Tropez was much nicer than I anticipated, it had a rustic village vibe with little flower lined alleyways and cute restaurants.

After a quick swim back at the vans, we had a group dinner at a local restaurant right near the beach, it was a great night with lots of sangria! It is quite pricey to eat out in Saint Tropez but it’s something we’ll only do once and to be honest, the prices weren’t too dissimilar to Flaine or Courchevel. We ate at Restaurant La Pesquière which had decent vegan options for Pete and I.

After the hottest night ever in the van, we started heading up north back towards the Alps to get ready for our summer job. I’ve always wanted to visit the exit point of the Verdon Gorge where the water is like a turquoise lake so that’s where we went with van friends Jonny and Karina. There is strictly no wild camping allowed as it is a national park with important biodiversity, so respecting that, we stayed at the aire for camping cars at Le Galetas campsite. It was only €10 a night for parking and you could use all the facilities at the campsite next door. You got an amazing view of the Lac de Sainte-Croix and we finally had a cool night with no mosqutios, hooray!

After a day of complete fails; hangovers, no cash, driving in search of an ATM, searing heat, getting locked out of Big Blue, high winds and the gorge closing, the next day we finally hired a pedalo to explore the gorge and it was breathtakingly beautiful. The pedalo cost €40 for 2 hours and it’s well worth it but remember to have cash!

Pete and I stayed for another night at the aire and we explored the area a bit more. From the campsite we walked to Moustiers Sainte-Marie, a super cute village which is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in France. We walked up to the church then had a delicious ice cream in the town.

We stayed the night at the aire in Puimoisson (€6 for 24 hours) surrounded by Lavender fields before we started heading back to the Alps.

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