MMM’s Rasa Dregva got behind the wheel of a Lamborghini when she took part in a rather special road trip through France!

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The trip was a family affair for Rasa (right)

Sat on the terrace of the 12th-century Abbaye De St Croix in between Avignon and Marseille in the South of France – now a delightful hotel – there can have been no better place to start an adventure. After all the Kent rain in recent months, it was like a slice of paradise. The historic building nestled within lush greenery was the backdrop as warm sunshine bathed us in an invigorating glow.

And we were not alone. Parked in the grounds were 23 stunning supercars – colourful machines packed with power under their bonnets and our chariots for what lay ahead. This was because I was embarking on a luxury car tour. The format was simple and irresistible: Drive through some of the most beautiful regions in France in some of the most breathtaking vehicles.

We’d take in vineyards, dramatic scenery, sleepy hamlets and part of the incredible coastline, then finish in the spiritual home of motorsport in time to witness the Monaco Historic Grand Prix™. Held two weeks before the F1 circus rolled into the principality, it would see cars from yesteryear take to the instantly recognisable street track and bring a blast from the past to thousands of fans.

But this road trip would be different to my last one because my two adult children, son Domas and daughter Vilte, were set to join me and my partner Simon Furlonger.

Now, obviously, given we were going to be travelling in two-seater Lamborghinis, that meant they would be in a different vehicle to my partner and I – which, for any mother, would cause anxiety.

To say they had been well drilled in how to drive such mechanical marvels, and the safety-first approach they must deploy in the weeks leading up to our departure, was something of an understatement!

Our vehicles had been shipped to France two weeks before our arrival. We jetted in direct to Marseille once the cars were safely there. Others had been braver than us – spending the previous two days driving their sports or classic cars all the way through France.

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Pic: © V Management

Before we revved our engines for the first time for our adrenaline-filled adventure, we soaked up the food, the wine, the weather and the scenery. We also had to refamiliarise ourselves with the old art of map-reading so we knew just where we had to travel to each day. Sat navs were not included!

Before we set off on each leg of the trip, we were given a briefing on what to look out for and the most spectacular roads to take. It’s safe to say motorways were not involved.

Our first stop was La Coquillade – a beautiful hotel and winery in Luberon. With a magnificent grand entrance, it had superb spa facilities and looked out to the vineyards. 

Day two dawned and we headed towards the Hotel Lou Calen – midway, inland, between Marseille and Cannes. It was something of a challenging day involving a lot of driving and lots of mistakes. Let’s just say the pressure of navigating these streets put a strain on the previously cordial relations in our car. 

We were not alone, however. When we caught up with others it quickly became apparent plenty more were in ‘not talking’ mode!

We stopped at the La Seguestero restaurant. Luxury, I’d argue, it wasn’t, but then the pressures of the morning drive were taking their toll. At this point, I was very much thinking these tours are no longer for me. But it wasn’t an opinion I’d keep by the time it was all over! 

The afternoon drive was simply breathtaking. We passed stunning lakes and gorges and once again it became a voyage to remember.

By the time we reached the Hôtel Lou Calen in Cotignac I had the added relief that we were to stay there for a couple of nights, and not having to pack every morning was something of a treat. As we dined on the terrace it allowed everyone to relax. 

The next day was an easy one. It was a three-and-a-half-hour drive to the incredible Château de Berne, deep in the Provence. This was a real highlight. Set in 515 hectares of olive groves and forests, the five-star retreat also has extensive vineyards. To top it off, it even boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant. True luxury. Blessed with good weather, we loved the splendour of the sprawling estate and the opulence of its rooms and décor. It was certainly one to remember.

The following day was our last behind the wheel. We were, finally, heading into Monaco. It wasn’t all plain sailing, though…

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Pic: © V Management

If you’ve ever seen the Monaco Grand Prix, you’ll be aware the city’s streets are narrow and its roundabouts are not the easiest to navigate. If you factor into that the crowds flocking to watch the Historic Grand Prix and the place was bordering on total chaos.

We were aiming to reach the Fairmont Hotel – one of Monte Carlo’s most prestigious, with views overlooking the French Riviera and close to the famous Monte Carlo Casino – but there was a problem because the road leading to the hotel is part of the race track. As a result it was closed, which meant a mass of cars, scooters and pedestrians all seeking an alternative route.

It was not helped by the local police pulling over both our cars on account of them not having front number plates (I thought they looked so much better without them). As we pulled over, hundreds of people gathered around to take pictures of our cars with the doors up. It was a surreal experience and we felt like celebrities. Or, at least, our cars did!

Driving in Monaco on a race weekend is not, I can confirm, for the faint-hearted. My hands were shaking and I cannot thank my children enough for successfully navigating us through the hordes. 

All I could think was that I needed a drink to steady my nerves. And lo, as we reached the hotel there was a bottle of cold Champagne waiting for me on a balcony overlooking one of the famous hairpin bends of the track. Now, I felt, with no more navigating needed, the holiday could truly begin. 

Our hotel meals were served in the famous Nikki Beach Monte Carlo restaurant on the seventh floor of the building, which gave breathtaking views of the city and sea. A truly magical experience.

And the next few days were spent absorbing the remarkable sights and sounds of the Monaco Historic Grand Prix.

If you’ve ever considered making a trip to watch it, I cannot recommend it enough. The atmosphere is electric. But, boy, the noise! 

Every morning we’d be woken by the guttural roar of an engine navigating that world famous hairpin. No wonder they call it the ‘music of Monaco’. 

To sum up, it wasn’t all plain sailing – I may never navigate again! But the experience of these few days, organised by V Management, was one to remember for years to come.

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