travel

A Road Trip in the South of France

There’s simply too much to see and to experience in France.  From the bustling cities to quiet villages, snow-capped mountains to roaring oceans, France truly has more to offer than you could consume in one trip.  Taking a road trip allows you to get small tastes of a wide variety of places.  And even just driving through the countryside is a sight to see.  Maximize your time and money by taking a road trip through Occitanie in the south of France.a road trip in the south of france

Lacapelle-Livron

If visiting France, many people put big cities like Paris and Marseille at the top of their list.  While I loved Paris and have yet to visit Marseille, it’s the small villages that enchant me most.  Just walking through the narrow streets rich with stories transports me to a different time and pace of life; it’s in these villages that I taste true French culture most with its relaxed approach to life.lacapelle livron eglise church french village

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Lacapelle-Livron was all but silent when our group visited on Bastille Day.  We strolled through the quiet village and stopped at picnic tables by Notre-Dame des Grâces, a church perched with a view of the vast valleys of Aveyron.  My roommate, Swantje, and I grabbed the rope inside the church and pulled with our entire bodies to make the church bell ring.  I took in the views of these stunning valleys but was frustrated to find that no photo could fully encompass its pure beauty.Notre-Dame des Grâces eglise france church occitanielacapelle livron Notre-Dame des Grâces france aveyron

Saint-Pierre-Livron

From Lacapelle-Livron, we took a hiking path to Saint-Pierre-Livron to visit Le Sanctuaire Notre Dame de Livron.  The thought that kept reverberating through my mind was, “How do these people buy their groceries?  We’re in the middle of nowhere!”  While I did not get an answer to this burning question of mine, we took our time here.  Virtually all businesses may have been closed for the national holiday, but the church doors remained open with only light easing in through the stained glass windows; one man sat in a pew in silence as we quietly observed the architecture.

tournesol sunflower field france aveyron lacapelle livronvaches cows lacapelle livron france travelsanctuaire notre dame de livron aveyron france

Cascade Pétrifiante de Caylus

I’ve never seen such clear water.  This waterfall was absolutely breathtaking, and our group crouched into the cave behind it.Waterfall Cascade Petrifiante Aveyron France

Laguépie

Within 24 hours of visiting Laguépie, I changed my lock screen to feature this darling village.  Our group spent a day here lounging around the river—excuse me, let me clarify: Most of our group lounged around, but Philipe, Swantje and I jumped around in the lake.  Despite the abundance of children who didn’t have all their adult teeth yet, Philipe assured us that children our age (aka adults) play on these bounce contraptions in the river all the time.  Disregarding the large age difference, I hopped into the river but not without some reluctance.  The cold water startled my body, and I decided I was content to simply sit with my feet in.  Philipe had already swam out to the “bouncies” while Swantje and I chilled on the shore.  He came back to yell at us to get in.  “Kristin, let me see your nails!” He grabbed my hand and pulled me in.  Ugh, I knew that was coming.viaur river france laguepie aveyronChateau Laguépie France Aveyron Summer été

We three spent the afternoon climbing and jumping around the lake, and it was wonderful.  It was so refreshing to be a kid and to soak up the sun in some way other than laying out.  This village may not be extremely well-known, but I found it very unique from the other small villages we visited.  Laguépie is no sleepy village; it attracts the French and foreign with its river “beach,” castle and landscape.  Every time I peek at my lock screen, I’m immediately transported to a precious memory of carefree summer in the south of France.  Sweet bliss.chateau laguepie ruinscastle laguépie aveyron france french travel river

Driving Overlook near Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val

Coldplay hummed through my headphones as we maneuvered the switchbacks.  “We’re going to stop for 10 minutes,” they told me.  Simply enjoying my serene music session with a view, I was a bit irked to have to get up and walk, but I soon changed my attitude once I saw this view.

Midi Pyrénées St Antonin Noble Val France French TravelSaint-Antonin-Noble-Val Overlook Southern FranceSaint-Antonin-Noble-Val Midi Pyrénées Road Trip France

Penne

This short visit unfortunately did not include any pasta, but even just an hour in this sleepy French village transported me into a different time.Penne France Occitanie CastlePenne Eglise France Occitanieeglise de penne france midi pyrénées french travel

Najac

This may not be the official town that inspired Beauty and the Beast, but its small village feel and architecture reminded me of this Disney movie.  And it’s also one of the most beautiful villages in France.  Win, win?  I think yes.  For more on Najac, click here.

najac castle france chateau village

It’s beyond me that all these treasures are merely nooks and crannies of France and even the region of Occitanie.  With a car and quality pair of tennis shoes, your eyes and feet can introduce you to the beauties in the south of France.

{Do you enjoy road trips more than staying in one place for an extended amount of time?  Share in the comments!}

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