On our roadtrip, we drove from Barcelona through South France and up to Paris. It was an incredible drive and I highly recommend renting a car and taking your time.
The first big stop was to Avignon. For those non-Catholics, Avignon is a big deal in history because this was were the Pope resided from 1309 to 1377. Actually there were seven Popes during this period who lived here rather than Rome. It is quite an interesting history and you should check it out even if you aren’t Catholic.
The Papal Palace is really impressive and worth a few minutes to stop and check it out.
When we were there, many vendors were selling items outside and you can stop to get a quick bite and something to take home as well. As you probably know, lavender is everywhere and there are many shops dedicated to soaps, oils and just about anything else you can imagine lavender going in to.
Then we stopped off at Arles. Many people know Arles, but they just don’t realize it. Many of Van Gough’s paintings are set in Arles, including the go to link Cafe Terrace at Night. You can still go to the cafe and also see where he painted Starry Night Over the Rhone. Check out more here: http://www.vangoghgallery.com/in_his_steps/arles.html#.
Driving from Arles to Paris is beautiful. Little towns everywhere. It is long, but really worth it. Rent a car, take it easy and enjoy yourself.