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You need to drive these beautiful routes in France

PUBLISHED: 14:58 23 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:22 02 January 2018

The Route Napoléon takes you through some stunning sites, including the village of Sisteron in Alpes de Haute Provence ©ThinkstockPhotos

The Route Napoléon takes you through some stunning sites, including the village of Sisteron in Alpes de Haute Provence ©ThinkstockPhotos

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Get behind the wheel and embark on one of these epic drives in France to enjoy stunning scenery on beautiful French routes

Route Napoléon

This historic route first opened in 1932, and follows the route taken by Napoléon I in 1815 on his march from Elba to Grenoble. The smooth road will let you cruise through Alpes-Maritimes’ stunning scenery, including rolling hills that morph into dramatic rocky outcrops looming over the road. There are plenty of quaint villages to visit along the way after you start in Nice.

Drive across the Millau viaduct for some serious panoramic views ©iStockDrive across the Millau viaduct for some serious panoramic views ©iStock

Millau viaduct

One of the tallest viaducts in the world, le Viaduc de Millau is definitely worth driving across, if only for the stunning scenery spreading on either side of the impressive structure. There is a toll, but one of the best ways to take it all in is to stop at the aire (service station) n°45 ‘aire du Viaduc’ on the A75.

Driving along the Côte d'Azur corniches is both challenging and hugeley rewarding ©ThinkstockPhotosDriving along the Côte d'Azur corniches is both challenging and hugeley rewarding ©ThinkstockPhotos

The Côte d’Azur corniches

Wind your way along hairpin turns and vertigo-inducing coastal roads along one of the Côte d’Azur’s 3 corniches between Menton and Nice. The highest of them is called la Grande Corniche and offers dramatic views of the coast dropping straight into the sea. La Moyenne Corniche is at mid-altitude while la Petite Corniche follows almost exactly the coastline and they are all beautiful to drive along.

Beautiful scenery as you drive through Burgundy's vineyards ©ThinkstockPhotosBeautiful scenery as you drive through Burgundy's vineyards ©ThinkstockPhotos

Troyes to Saint-Etienne via Dijon

This route takes you through the heart of French culture, gastronomy and scenery and is perfect for couples. Leaving Troyes you’ll enjoy the rolling, vine-covered hills of Champagne. Stop in Dijon, sample some mustard and wine and enjoy the pretty architecture in town. Move onto Saint-Etienne the next day and you’ll cut through Burgundy’s beautiful landscapes.

La Bonnette mountain pass in the Alps is serious roadtrip material ©ThinkstockPhotosLa Bonnette mountain pass in the Alps is serious roadtrip material ©ThinkstockPhotos

Col de la Bonnette

Located at 2807m high, this road in the Alps is the highest road in Europe and consequentially, offers incredible mountain views as it cuts through the Mercantour National Park. The Tour de France regularly takes this route, so the roads are smooth butt winding and sometimes quite narrow. It’s a great trip for people who love to drive and can be quite challenging at times.

The Alsace wine route takes you through the pretty town of Riquewihr ©ThinkstockPhotosThe Alsace wine route takes you through the pretty town of Riquewihr ©ThinkstockPhotos

The Alsace wine route

If you want to get up close and personal with the French vineyards, this route in Alsace is probably one of the most picturesque. Starting in Strasbourg and ending in Mulhouse, the route winds it way for 170km along the eastern foothills of the Vosges through pretty villages where you can stop to sample the local produce, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and over undulating vineyard-covered hills.

The breathtaking lavender fields in front of Senanque abbey ©ThinkstockPhotosThe breathtaking lavender fields in front of Senanque abbey ©ThinkstockPhotos

Provence’s lavender fields

The iconic purple-blue fields of lavender are a dream to witness when the flowers are blooming between the end of June and early August. The best way to see them is to drive through the Luberon national park. You can start in Carpentras, drive down to Gordes, and stop at the famous Abbaye de Senanque, then head east into the heart of the Luberon park.

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