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Focus: South of France: planning the perfect road trip

1 - Ready or not here I come

South of France: planning the perfect road trip © Copyright

First and foremost, let us be agreed that you will not drive to the south of France. Unless you have ample time on your hands and are comfortable driving on the wrong side of the road as well as the wrong side of the car, it really is much wiser to make the most of Eurostar's services. What's more, the French don't take kindly to British number plates... and it's better for everyone if we just agree to get along for the moment. Most major cities in the south of France are just a hop and a skip away from London and tickets for the whole trip can be bought via Eurostar. Marseille can be reached in 5h30 flat, which, franchement, is less time than it would take you to pack up the car and board the ferry?If you get the first Eurostar from London (sleep on the train, that's what they're there for), and change in Paris you can reach the seaside city in time for a late lunch of fresh bouillabaisse in the port! If you have less time to spare, Eurostar will be running a direct summer service from London St Pancras to Avignon between 9th July 2011 and 10th September 2011. Change up some dolla before you set off (the Post Office offers commission-free currency conversion), and dig out last year's foreign coin collection (euros are preferable), as you'll need to have change ready to throw into the 'péage' machines on French toll roads. Splash out on an ipod car adapter - nothing beats driving to a summer soundtrack, and you can't always rely on French radio to fit the bill... We've included a few ideas to get you in the mood for sizzling barbeques next to the sparkling blue Med! Finally, remember that the whole world comes to a stop on Sundays and Mondays in France, so it might be worth planning to arrive on a Friday or Saturday.

The Beatles - Here Comes The Sun

Getting started: Marseille's hidden gems