From our base in Saint-Tropez on the coast, we woke up with grand plans to see as much as we could with our time, and furiously researched the most scenic villages nearby for day trips. We were in luck! A few hours' round trip took us to several of the most beautiful villages in the country. Wait til you see!
The narrow curved roads north of the town looked so familiar to my father-in-law (driving), that he remembered immediately he had virtually biked this exact route with his indoor bike video app. So, we thought: scenic route for the win!
Our first stop was Muy, which seemed completely empty on a weekend afternoon, save a few coated folk drinking cappuccinos outside in the only cafe in town, and which we stopped exclusively for a bathroom. But the water and Coke they served were also excellent, and the service was extremely friendly for the 7 euro my in-laws spent.
Our GPS, provided in the rental car, was both hilarious and maddening in that it kept telling us our destination was 10 minutes away . . . for about an hour! We realized later it might have been because we took the more meandering of the paths,
that wound through so many picturesque villages we don't even know their names.
Finally, there in the distance, on the peak of an ancient hill, sat Bargème, the puzzle piece we'd been trailing all day. The autumn hues of late golden grasses and quiet greens gave the whole scene a calm unity.
We drove up the hill and walked the rest of the distance through the walled village. But mainly, it was the view beyond that most amazed. For miles into the distance, small towns scattered in the valley.
The early afternoon gold swept up the valley into the village,
just in time for a dander onto the sloped cobbles
The town appeared likely just a tourist spot, with maybe only a few homes, galleries, and one creperie, that closed just as we arrived. Such a quiet, tiny place.
After about an hour walking up into the village and out the back, we headed down the hill, and back into the countryside.
We took the more express route back toward Saint-Tropez this time, with one more stop in mind.
Whereas Bargeme was about 2 hours from Saint-Tropez, Grimaud was only about 30 minutes by car.
The main event in town is the Chateau du Grimaud at the village's top. Since we were tight on time before dinner, we opted to drive, instead of walking, up. We followed signs that were questionably for cars (such narrow passages!), and nearly gave up, before we stopped to ask some local workmen for help. They pointed about 100 meters around the bend, to the parking lot.
We scampered up to look out over the pretty village below,
and headed quickly back to the car, glad for a quick trip back down to Saint-Tropez.
A completely lovely auburn afternoon in the French countryside. We recommend drives to either village if you're nearby!