To make the most of a five-day trip to France, it's best to focus on a single region. While you may be tempted to cover more ground, sticking to one geographical area saves time, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by how diverse the sights and activities can be even within a close radius. For example, Bordeaux is known for its exemplary wines, but beaches and bike tours also await. And a road trip through Provence can span villages, vineyards, and the old-meets-new bustle of cosmopolitan Marseille.

Itinerary #1: French Riviera Getaway

This fast-paced road trip is not about lazing away on the beach (though there will be some time for that, too), rather it checks off several must-see destinations in France’s sunny southeast corner for those who like to be on the move.

Spend your first night in Menton near the Italian border
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Nice - Drive to Menton Menton
Day 2 Explore Menton - Drive to Saint Paul de Vence Saint Paul de Vence
Day 3 Explore Saint Paul de Vence - Drive to Port Grimaud Grimaud
Day 4 Explore Port Grimaud - Return to Nice Nice
Day 5 Depart Nice  


You'll first pick up your rental car in Nice and head to the medieval village of Eze perched on an impossibly steep peak with art galleries and mesmerizing views of the coast, especially from Jardin Exotique d’Èze, a cactus garden at the top of the village. Then visit some ancient castles in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin before continuing the journey to coastal Menton, arriving in time for a Mediterranean sunset. 

Next is a series of hilltop villages like Gourdon, Saint Paul de Vence, and Grasse, where you'll get plenty of exercise strolling through the meandering streets and nearby foothills. Then head back to the coast and stop in Port Grimaud, nicknamed 'Venice of Provence' with quaint shops and great restaurants for dinner. While here, you’ll have some time to visit the Massif des Maures, a vast mountain range with a plethora of hiking and biking trails. Alternatively, you can visit Collobrières, known as France's chestnut capital and search for local delicacies and tasty souvenirs. 

The trip loops back to Nice where you’ll have free time to explore beaches and popular attractions like the Promenade des Anglais, the Chagall Museum, and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Spend your last night dining on sumptuous seafood and enjoying the city's vibrant street life. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Bordeaux for Wine Enthusiasts

Oenophiles should consider this itinerary dedicated to the famous wine-growing region of Bordeaux. Your base for the entire trip is the pedestrian-friendly city of the same name, which is among France's most exciting, vibrant, and dynamic places.

Attend tours and tasting of some of Bordeaux's best vineyards
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bordeaux Bordeaux
Day 2 Farmer's Market Tour & Wine in the City Tour Bordeaux
Day 3 Wine & Bike Tour in Saint Emilion Bordeaux
Day 4 Beaches & Vineyards Tour Bordeaux
Day 5 Depart Bordeaux  


And at least half of the metropolis is UNESCO-listed, making it the largest urban world heritage site on the planet. You’ll have plenty of time to see the architecture on your own while sampling Bordeaux's hip coffee shops, food trucks, restaurants, and wine bars. 

You'll also take a private excursion to Bordeaux's Capucin Farmer's Market and learn about the riverfront port and its role in the wine trade from the Middle Ages to modern-day. A guide will also take you on the city's sleek, modern tram to visit a wine museum called Le Musée du Vin et du Négoce, housed in an 18th-century wine cellar.

The next few days are dedicated to exploring Bordeaux's surroundings starting with a bicycle ride through the vineyards of Saint Emilion, including two beautiful châteaux for tours and tastings. You'll also visit Arcachon’s Bay in the Atlantic Coast, climb Pyla's Sand Dune (the biggest sand dune in Europe), and taste fresh oysters at a local producer. The trip ends with a drive through the 'Château Route' of the Medoc where you’ll tour a Great Classified Growth estate—one of the most prestigious chateaux of Bordeaux. This is where you'll attend a detailed explanation about their winemaking process while tasting the estate's famous pours. Learn more

Itinerary #3: Normandy Coast Excursion

History buffs will likely be drawn to this itinerary focusing on Normandy, a region in northern France that spans an impressive timeline through the last nine centuries.

Mont Saint Michel dates back to the 8th century
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paris - City Tour - Transfer to Bayeux Bayeux
Day 2 Tour of Normandy's Landing Beaches Bayeux
Day 3 Historical Tour of Caen - Return to Bayeux Bayeux
Day 4 Mont Saint Michel Day-Trip Bayeux
Day 5 Transfer from Bayeux to Paris - Departure  


Your arrival starts in Paris where you’ll take a guided half-day tour of the city's highlights before catching a train to your home-base for the trip: Bayeux. This attractive town is crammed with beautiful 13th- to 18th-century buildings, including a fine gothic cathedral and great restaurants, which you can explore on your time. While here, you’ll also want to get a good look at the Bayeux Tapestry, an embroidered cloth stretching 229 feet (70 meters) depicting events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. You'll also have time to visit other sites related to William the Conqueror.

A few days of this trip are dedicated to touring some of Normandy’s best WWII sites starting with Normandy's landing sites during D-Day and the brave soldiers who fought for freedom in 1944. This includes Pointe du Hoc, a stunning promontory scarred by heavy aerial and naval bombardment, and Normandy’s coastal battlefield grounds including Omaha Beach, one of two landing areas where Americans lost thousands of lives. You'll also visit a German cemetery and the American cemetery in Colleville, where 9,387 tombs stretch across 170 acres. Your guide will also take you to Mémorial de Caen, a museum and war memorial with nearly 90 acres of gardens. 

Finish the adventure with a full-day tour of Mont Saint Michel, one of the most popular places to visit in France. This dramatic island topped by a gravity-defying medieval monastery offers a breathtaking view that is well worth the number of steps to arrive. If lucky, you might even meet one of the monks and hear their Gregorian Chants vibrating in the church at the time of the mass. Your guide will also take you through the narrow cobbled streets around the village where you can get close to the granite or half-timbered houses. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Loire Valley Château Tour

This itinerary focuses on the Loire Valley, a fertile region south of Paris dotted with hundreds of opulent châteaux (and their gardens) that once belonged to kings, queens, dukes, and influential artists.

Château d'Azay le Rideau
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paris - Train to Tours - Guided Excursion Amboise
Day 2 Chambord & Chenonceau Tour - Wine Tasting Amboise
Day 3 Chaumont sur Loire, Blois & Cheverny Tour Amboise
Day 4 Amboise Tour - Electric Bike Adventure Amboise
Day 5 Train to Paris - Depart France  


Arriving by train, you'll first visit Château Villandry, the last castle to have been built during the Renaissance in the Loire Valley. Next is Château d'Azay le Rideau, built on an island under the patronage of King Francis the 1st in the 16th century, with a subtle blend of French tradition and innovative Italian decor. If there's time left in the day, your guide will also show you around Tours for some of France's best culture and cuisine before heading to Amboise—your home base for exploring the Loire Valley.

Over the next several days you’ll tour more glorious chateaux including Château de Chambord with 400+ rooms and a stunning double spiral staircase leading to the royal apartments of François I and Louis XIV. There's also Château de Chenonceau, one of the most famous monuments in the Loire Valley thanks to its two-story gallery standing over the Loire River. Then there's the fortress of Chaumont sur Loire with stables considered at the end of the 19th century to be the most luxurious in Europe. 

It's not all about driving around to different chateaux though: There will be time for other activities including a wine tasting session in an 11th-century troglodyte cellar that formerly served as a quarry. You can also explore Amboise by foot and e-bike to discover the fascinating home where Leonardo da Vinci lived more than 500 years ago. While here, stroll in the picturesque green park and see where the artist organized magnificent parties for his good friend, King Francis 1st. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Ultimate Provençal Road Trip

Perhaps no other region encompasses France's exceptional beauty better than Provence. Get the most of your time with this self-drive itinerary which has you staying at a different overnight destination each night starting with France’s oldest city, Marseille.

Alfresco dining in Aix en Provence
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Marseille - Explore the City Marseille
Day 2 Drive to Aix en Provence - Cultural Tour Aix en Provence
Day 3 Drive to Les Baux de Provence & Saint Remy de Provence Saint Rémy de Provence
Day 4 Wine Tour in Gigondas & Chateauneuf du Pape - Drive to Avignon Avignon
Day 5 Return to Marseille - Depart Provence  


Park your car in Marseille and explore the city’s 2000-year-old history by foot including notable neighborhoods like the district of Le Panier. For a real French treat, wander to the Vieux-Port and order a pastis (anise-flavored apéritif) as the sun goes down.

Then make the pretty drive to Aix en Provence, a historic city set amidst Provençal villages and surrounding countryside famous for vineyards, lavender-blanketed fields, and limestone cliffs—iconic landscapes immortalized in the works of painters such as Cezanne and Picasso. Then visit Les Baux de Provence, dating back as far as 6,000 BCE, which is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. Stroll around this well-preserved township, visiting ancient churches and a 10th-century fortified castle, Château des Baux de Provence. You can also experience an unforgettable multimedia art show is held in a former quarry near the castle before continuing to nearby Saint Remy de Provence.

From here, you'll visit some of the best vineyards of the Rhône Valley including Châteauneuf du Pape. The ruins of the Pope's formal summer residence dominate this typical medieval village where no fewer than 13 varieties of grapes combine with the various soils to create a large palette of complex red wines and elegant white wines. This wine-themed day ends appropriately in Avignon where you can check out the city's eclectic dining scene ranging from relaxed bistros to notable Michelin-star tasting menus. Learn more

For more great trip ideas, check out all of our 5-day France tours and itineraries.