"Good first!" ? the exclamation that sums up the journey undertaken towards Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, a wonderful region in the south of France. In fact, the first trip on the saddle of our El Andador, transformed into a sidecar, in the company of our Princess Luna? went beyond the pi? rosy expectations. Our concerns were related to capacity? mine to drive a sidecar every day for two weeks and to Luna's to resist in motion all this time.
We then leave for Nice, reached after a stage of over 700 km in one go. Among the most? beautiful that the city offers? birth of Giuseppe Garibaldi there? definitely the promenade (La Promenade des Anglais) with its long promenade characterized by tall palm trees and the famous blue chairs (chaises bleues) sitting on which? It is possible to admire the spectacle offered by the sea. Massena Square? between the squares more? representative of the city: white and gray tiles decorate the pavement dominated by seven statues of human figures which, at nightfall, are illuminated with colored lights. It represents the watershed between the city? new and the city? old, the latter, crossed by winding streets that flow into baroque squares until reaching the port area.
The following day we reach the Principality of Monaco, an independent sovereign state with a surrealistic charm. The feeling I had while walking around Monte Carlo, maniacally kept tidy and clean,? to enter a private house on tiptoe, that of the Grimaldi family. The historic center? housed on a rocky spur (Le Rocher); from the Royal Palace, narrow medieval streets branch off up to the cathedral, built in 1875 in white stone, which houses the tombs of Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
The deep gorges of the Verdon river (Le Gorges du Verdon), which make up the largest canyon. impressive in Europe, certainly represent one of the points of greatest attraction of our trip. The roads that run along the gorges allow me to fully enjoy the driving of my sidecar while offering visions of breathtaking landscapes thanks to the rock walls that fall overhanging into the emerald green river.
We touch Cannes, famous only for the film festival, the time necessary to see the insignificance of this city. On the other hand, Saint Tropez, a fishing village with a worldly vocation and a favorite destination for tourist tourists, is very delicious, and Port Grimaud, a fishing village with colorful houses overlooking the canals, hidden within high walls. , which hosts the annual Harley Davidson Euro Festival.
We head towards Marseille, along the road of the calanques (Les Calanques). The coast has high cliffs of white rock interspersed with numerous narrow and long inlets where a sea so transparent penetrates that it tempts you to dive. Marseille, dominated by the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde basilica, reached on foot after a demanding climb,? defined by many as a jewel to be discovered. Honestly, we did not appreciate it very much: the chaos, the garbage, the degradation and the high percentage of immigration, make it appear different to our eyes. The old port? surely the most? interesting to visit.
Our itinerary could not fail to include a stop in Aix-en-Provence, an elegant Provençal town that was the birthplace of the genius of painting Paul Cezanne. What attracts us to the town? the quiet lifestyle, the sixteenth-century architecture of the historic center, the cafes, shops and open-air markets full of typical products. Luna, on the other hand, really likes the jets of fountains which she literally takes in bites, thanks to the heat of these days.
Immersed in a countryside colored by the yellow of the sunflowers and the red of the poppies, Avignon "to visit" is concentrated in the shadow of the Palazzo dei Papi, a palace of extraordinary beauty, the residence of the pontiffs in the fourteenth century. In our opinion, in addition to the historic center bordered by amazing walls, the rest of the city? not worth a prolonged visit; we then continue our exploration around Avignon.
In the middle? road between Nimes and Avignon, we come across the marvelous engineering work that testifies to the majesty? of the Roman Empire: Pont du Gard, the famous bridge depicted on the five euro banknotes. We then leave for the Camargue, a natural park made up of sand, marshes and rice fields where pink flamingos walk peacefully in the water in search of their favorite food and white horses live in the wild. The photographic shots are wasted, interrupted only by a load of a nervous horse that makes me get on the sidecar and run away in a hurry.
We arrive at Apt, an excellent starting point for a tour dedicated to lavender which, at this time of the year, reaches its maximum splendor coloring itself with shades of purple and the intense scents of its flowers. Entire hills covered with a purple mantle delight our eyes. Considering that the period chosen for our trip coincides with the wedding anniversary, I could not offer my lady better accommodation: three nights at Château de Peyrolles, a castle from the 16th? century built on the remains of a Roman villa, home to several noble families. ? here that Luna, between a dip in the pool and a run on the estate, falls in love with Prince Dingo, a bold Labrador.
Coming from a winding and narrow street, the spectacular Abbey of S? Nanque, a Cistercian abbey dating back to 1148 immersed in lavender fields, is the protagonist of all the postcards of the region. From the thousand shades of purple offered by the lavender fields we then move on to the innumerable shades? of ocher admired in the village of Roussillon where the houses range from pink to orange, from yellow to red, to brown, pigments of the materials used in the buildings, coming from the ocher deposits of the area.
But a sudden malfunction in our El Andador forces us to stop the spell of the journey; apprehension and worry blurs past emotions in the past few days.
Despite the wound, our trusty steel steed brings us home safely, enduring a nonstop ride from Ventimiglia to Rome. Ours is a journey full of emotions, made up of enchanting places, excellent wines, over 3.000 kilometers traveled, all in the company of us? which I love the most: Lucia, the wonderful wife, Luna, the princess of the house, and my El Andador, a Harley Davidson Street Glide, now transformed into a sidecar.