If you follow me over on Instagram, you’ll know that I recently just returned from a road trip around Europe with my family. We started off in Sainte-Maxime, South of France, followed by Tuscany, a quick stop in Zurich, Switzerland, and then back to Reims, France before returning home to London. Keep reading for a full breakdown of the trip, where we stayed, where we ate, and the adventures we got up to!


We drove from London to Dover (Folkestone), got a Eurotunnel (Le shuttle) over to Calais, and drove to Sainte-Maxime, stopping overnight in Beaune, which is halfway down to the South of France.

The outside of our villa in St.Maxime

We stayed near the beach in Sainte-Maxime, in a villa found on VRBO, an upmarket, luxury villa rental platform (similar to Airbnb). I’d highly recommend staying in Sainte-Maxime if you’re travelling with kids as it’s way more laid back and convenient than St. Tropez and Gassin (which we still loved visiting nonetheless!). When we visited St. Tropez we drove which took around 40 minutes with traffic, but the other option is to get a ferry from the port in St. Maxime to St. Tropez, as getting an Uber out there is near impossible! Our villa was about a 30-minute walk to the port but if you stayed somewhere a bit closer, it’s a much quicker option as the ferry only takes 10 minutes.

Our time in Sainte-Maxime consisted of daily trips around the French Riviera, going to markets, exploring the quaint towns and visiting various beach clubs and restaurants. Some days we would have lunch at our villa then go out for dinner and vice versa. One of our favourite beach clubs in Sainte-Maxime was La Voile, located on La Nartelle beach, east of Sainte-Maxime, which was such a good spot for sunset dinners, plus, the interiors were gorgeous. Bivouak was another club we visited which had more of a lively beach club vibe, with DJ’s performing and an indoor pool. You can rent sunbeds on the beach and have lunch, or just go for a few drinks in the evening. Either way, I would highly recommend going if you’re in Sainte-Maxime!

Interiors at La Voile, Sainte-Maxime

Bivouak, Sainte-Maxime

Two more unforgettable spots were Le Girelier, a stunning restaurant just on the port of St. Tropez, an ideal location for a lunch in the sun or a sunset dinner, and LouLou, a quirky restaurant in Ramatuelle offering authentic dishes from both the French and Italian Riviera.

LouLou Restaurant, Ramatuelle

LouLou beach club and all the Gucci umbrellas!

Of course had to do some shopping during our stay! This was the outside of Jimmy Choo in St. Tropez, so gorgeous.

My last recommendation from all our visits in the South of France has to be Bello Visto in Gassin, a beautiful little town near St. Tropez. Bello Visto is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and hotel, just on top of a hill with breathtaking views of the coast. We stayed in the hotel 8 years ago and loved it, so thought it was only right to come back with the kids!

Outside of Bello Visto, so cute!


After a week in the SoF, we drove to Tuscany, Italy. Recommended to us by a friend, our villa was perched on top of the mountain in rural Camaoire (you can also book through VRBO.) If you are thinking of staying in the mountains, make sure to fully stock up on mosquito spray to keep the little critters away!

The view from our Italian villa!

During our stay, we had dinner at a small family-run restaurant, which was just a 5-minute drive from us. It had the most fantastic, authentic pizza and was a great people-watching spot where we got to see many locals. I must say the food in Italy generally was incredible, even at the gas station!

Dinner cooked at our villa by Romina (@ceragioliromina.privatechef on Instagram, couldn’t recommend enough!)

Me and my mini-me outside our villa.

Exploring Pietrasanta

Italian market in Lucca

We ventured out to Forte Dei Marmi twice, renting beach beds and umbrellas at Gilda on our first trip. This beach club was filled with white-washed wood furniture, orchids and cabanas, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea! The only thing I would say is to make sure you book your spot months in advance, as they get filled up super quickly. There are other beautiful beach clubs on the coast but they were fully booked, hence why the only place we have experienced was Gilda.

Gilda Restaurant, Forte de Marmi

Our second trip to Forte Dei Marmi consisted of wandering around and exploring the town centre. It reminded me a lot of Miami, with lots of luxury high-fashion stores and boutiques. The shops do close from 1-5 pm for siesta (and then reopen until 11 pm / 12am), definitely something to keep in mind if you’re planning a day of shopping! We then had a quick lunch in Caffè Principe, a must-visit spot with luxe interiors and light lunch choices. Next time I would love to visit 67 Sky Lounge, a rooftop spot for cocktails with outstanding views of the entire Versilia coast.

Also if you’re with kids, there is a massive playground two minutes from the town centre, extra handy for us as our kids needed a good run around after spending a couple of hours at the market in Forte dei Marmi (which runs every Wednesday).

Last but not least, we went to one of my favourite beach clubs in Tuscany, Eco del Mare located along the Lerici coast, true paradise! An idyllic setting with clear blue waters where you can see all the fish around you when swimming. It was Riviera heaven, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face and could have easily stayed there for a week!

Views at Eco del Mare, one of my highlights of the trip!


After a week in Italy, we drove up to Zurich to visit friends and the next day drove over to Reims: an unofficial capital of the Champagne region; many champagne houses headquartered there offer tastings and cellar tours such as the infamous Veuve Clicquot. If you’re interested in booking one of these tours, again make sure to do it well in advance as they get booked up very quickly.

As we were only there for a night, we stayed in the Best Western Premier Hotel de la Paix, which was so lovely and more on the affordable side. If you do want to go full luxury though, I would highly recommend Domaine Les Crayeres (restaurant pictured below!).

Our hotel in Reims

Dinner at Le Jardin with the fam in Reims!

On day 18, we drove back to London after completing nearly 4000 kilometres!

I also had a lot of questions about our dog, Coco, and if we took her along with us or not. Originally the plan was to take her, but in the end, we decided not to as we knew we’d be out and about doing different activities that weren’t necessarily dog friendly, and didn’t want to leave her alone for long periods of time. It was also very hot! I think my advice would be if you do want to take along a pet, plan in advance to go to places that are dog friendly so you can take them along with you.

So that wraps up our 18-day road trip around Europe. It was such a relaxing holiday spent with the family, which was much needed! I hope this post gives you some inspiration if you’re thinking of planning a similar kind of trip, and answers any questions you may have.

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