A drive on the Massif des Maures, Arboretum de Gratteloup, Chartreuse de la Verne, Collobrieres, Frejus, Heyeres, La Mole, Le col des Fourches, Luxury Travel Consultant2, Maures, Notre Dame des Anges, Provence. Fall tour 2016
Between Frejus and Hyeres, the coast bulges out and up again to form the steep rolling heels and arcadian amphitheatres of the ancient massif des Maures. This mountain range is a geological oddball; The name Maures is derived from maouro, Provencal for black describing its dark deep forests of umbrella and Aleppo pines ( pines native to the Mediterranean region), chesnuts and cork. For a few centuries the latter two trees provided the main source of income of the few inland villages.
If you take a drive in the morning.
You will start in the village of Grimaud and take the D558 up to La Garde-Freinet . Continue 4 miles before turning left before Gonfaron and make a stop at the Village des Tortues to see the very rare Hermann tortoise ( Quartier plaine – Open 9am – 7pm daily and 6pm ( December – February). After that take D39 towards Collobrieres At the col des Fourches head up to Notre-Dame -des-Anges , The Maures ‘s highest point. There is an amazing chapel with outstanding views. Two miles before Collobrieres you will make a turn left ( D14) to the Chartreuse de la Verne , a Carthusian monastery of local stone ( Quartier Verne, 11 am -5pm ; Wednesday-Monday) . Then head back to Collobrieres . There is a place called La petite Fontaine, stop by for a drink or dinner, try the soupe au pistou or game in season , no thrills regional cooking. Place de la Republique. No credit cards – $$
If you take an afternoon drive.
Leave towards Pierrefeu, 1 mile later you will make a turn left towards Bormes Les Mimosas. This is a dramatic drive , between wooded slopes and plunging valleys will take you over the Col de Babao to the N98. You will have to make a turn left towards La Mole, make a stop at the arboretum de Gratteloup , a forest garden with 50 tree varieties.
Then you will continue to La Mole and make a turn right to the Col du Canadel and stop at the domaine du Rayol gardens. Upon return to Grimaud , enjoy a wonderful dinner at Le Coteau Fleuri , Place des Penitents. $$
Anne Suire / http://www.luxurytravelconsultant2.com