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Arles to Nice via Gorges du Verdon possible?

Raleigh, NC
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Arles to Nice via Gorges du Verdon possible?

Hi all,

I am planning a trip to southern France at the end of August/beginning of September. We have limited time (a few days stopover before heading to the UK) so I am trying to find out how long certain drives might take. We will be staying in Arles for a couple of days and then renting a car to drive to Nice. I was thinking of going by way of Gorges du Verdun for this drive, but was not sure what realistic timings would be. I checked google maps and viamichelin and if we were to do the drive straight through without stopping, it looks to be around 5-6 hours. Of course ideally, we would be stopping to look at views along the way!

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had any advice or suggestions. I was thinking that we'd take the D71 and do what I think would be the southern rim of the gorges. Is this possible to do in a day? I realize it would be a long day and am not averse to taking 8-10 hours for this, but I would love to know if this is realistic.

Thanks!

Seema

California
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for Grasse
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1. Re: Arles to Nice via Gorges du Verdon possible?

I think attempting this drive in one day could be exhausting, especially in August. At the end of the month the vast numbers of European vacationers will be headed home, and traffic can be brutal.

Champlon, Belgium
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2. Re: Arles to Nice via Gorges du Verdon possible?

Knowing the area, I would be inclined to take the autoroutes A54, A7 and A8 past Salon de Provence and Aix-en-Provence to junction 34 (St Maximim) and then the D560 to Barjols and then reach the southern rim of the Gorges via Aups and Aiguines. The autoroute tolls should be no more than 8€ and this route will get you to a scenic area quite quickly - note that you have to "loop the loop" at St Maximim to get to the D560 from the autoroute but it is signed (Barjols).

After driving along the southern rim of the Gorges (I've done both and reckon the southern is better), continue to Comps-sur-Artuby and then take the D21 past Bargème to the D6085 and continue to Nice via Grasse and then the D2085 (both part of the Route Napoleon).

Even stopping regularly at each viewpoint parking area along the Gorges, I doubt whether this route will involve more than 6 hours driving. If you want to stop for lunch, you will probably have to decide between an early lunch at Aiguines or a late one at Comps.

Don't worry about the traffic, it starts to get quieter by late August and the great homeward rush will be going the other way (and not via the Gorges themselves).

Raleigh, NC
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3. Re: Arles to Nice via Gorges du Verdon possible?

Thanks becasse! This is something to look into for sure. By my calculations at the moment, we will be doing this drive on the last Saturday of August, which is probably not ideal traffic-wise, but that's how it is with these things sometimes. IMy hope was that even if there is traffic, we will still be able to get to Nice at some point that day. Sounds like if we get an early enough start, that shouldn't be a worry.

Edited: 01 June 2014, 14:34
Champlon, Belgium
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4. Re: Arles to Nice via Gorges du Verdon possible?

I don't think you are likely to have any traffic problems on the final Saturday of August because firstly you are driving against the flow and secondly most will have a long way to go and a lot of heavy traffic (in the Rhone Valley, for example) to cope with and will have started out early.

You should have a nice relaxed day and I can still remember how amazed I was when I first saw the Gorges (from the southern rim, like you) over 30 years ago. Hopefully, though, it will be a little cooler than the 40+ degree celcius temperatures we (unusually) experienced.

5. Re: Arles to Nice via Gorges du Verdon possible?

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