Ardèche, Douce France cit. Charles Trenet

It was back in November 2017 that Gianluigi had launched the idea of reaching the Ardèche, in “Douce France”, we finally realized the dream! Four fantastic days in good company, beautiful views and fantastic curves. It almost always started early in the morning and off, all day long motorized along the magnificent French roads, a true paradise for motorcyclists. Photographic parks to admire the landscapes and of course stops to eat, in the villages along the itinerary.

1st DAY

First meeting with Marino at Padivarma and then with Gianluigi at the roundabout in Chiavari, breakfast and on the motorway until Cagnes sur Mer, on the frontier little adventure with the loss of the ignition key of Gianluigi’s bike, fortunately rediscovered! From Cagnes we took the Route Napoleon and stopped at St. Vallier-de-Thiey to eat, of course at the “Bonaparte” restaurant. Cross the Gorges du Verdon and stop for ice cream in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and away, accompanied by lavender plantations, not yet in bloom, but always beautiful.

Once in Manosque, guided perfectly by the BMW navigator and secured the motorbikes, we took a walk in the city center to have a very frugal dinner in a brasserie and then in bed to regain energy.

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2nd DAY

After a light breakfast in Manosque we took the road towards Auvergne. In the stop just before Simiane-la-Rotonde, we admired large birds circling in the sky in search of food, arrived in the nearby town filled with gasoline and then began to climb towards the 1909 mslm of Mont Ventoux, fantastic panorama thanks to a clear air that allowed us to see the distant arch of the Alps.

In the parking lot near the summit we got to know a group of photographers / journalists who were doing a service on behalf of the French importer of the Royal Enfield Himalayan and Benelli TRK 502. Down from the pleasant mountain stop at Vaison-la-Romaine in a nice plein-air space to eat camembert and charcuterie purchased at a Lidl of a previous country along the way.

Another stop in Suze-la-Rousse to admire the beautiful castle, then back on the road along the majestic Gorges de l’Ardèche and the spectacular rock arch at Vallon-Pont-d’Arc. We arrived in Chambon-sur-Lignon late in the evening, tired but satisfied, once we found the B & B La Vigne, we came back to the town to have a nice dinner at the Epicurien; the return to the deserved rest was prolonged by a failure to identify the right intersection so that with a pleasant night jog, where we could appreciate the light of our super craved spotlights, we finally arrived at La Vigne. Good night!

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3rd DAY

Great breakfast in the company of Laurence, the very kind owner of B & B then back on the road, and what a road! Perfect temperature and breathtaking views. Descent from 1200 m asl with castles, lakes, green meadows and blue skies up to Pradelles where we made a rest stop.

Arrived near the big cities, the traffic became challenging and given the long transfer stage we decided to take the highway, we left the parts of Le Castellet, the country of the automobile circuit, to finally reach Solliès-Pont, the country of my childhood vacations. Hôtel almost to forget and good dinner in Solliès-Toucas.
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4th DAY

Breakfast at the hotel and off to Italy, still motorway to Menton, stop in an open bar in Sospel and then inside, towards Colle di Tenda with a cultural stop in La Brigue to admire, unfortunately only from the outside, the Sanctuaire NotreDame des Fontaines, we will be back!

At the start a light rain began that fortunately left us shortly after passing the Italian border. Stop eating Robilant in the excellent restaurant “Magia delle Fate” food very good and very nice and kind staff. Sliding roads with little traffic, highway for Mondovì, stop at the roundabout of Montezemolo for a last break and at Altare we took the highway again. In Chiavari we say goodbye to Gianluigi and then Marino and I continue with a high pace towards home. Greetings and see you soon !!!

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Bikers: GianLuigi DeAndrade, Marino Ricciardone and Leandro Bellani.

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leandro Written by:

Motorcyclist, lover of travel and nature.