There's no need to choose between cultural sightseeing and gourmet tours on a trip to France — this 11-day tour offers both! Starting in Paris and ending up on the French Riviera, this exciting itinerary leads you through top museums, historic landmarks, colorful markets, and gourmet food shops in destinations like Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Cannes, and Nice. Admire paintings at the Louvre, take a Provençal cooking class, boat around the coves of Calanques National Park, and wander around the oldest quarters of medieval villages. This enticing trip plan has it all!

Highlights

  • See Paris' top landmarks on a dinner cruise down the Seine
  • Explore the world's largest art museum, the Louvre
  • Learn the basics of Provençal-style cooking in Aix-en-Provence 
  • Discover Calanques National Park on a half-day cruise
  • Taste pastries in the bakeries of Le Marais
  • Enjoy a gourmet food- and wine-focused tour of Nice

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paris & Dinner Cruise Paris
Day 2 Explore Palais Royal & Eiffel Tower Paris
Day 3 Taste Sweets in Le Marais & Afternoon at the Louvre Paris
Day 4 Transfer to Aix-en-Provence Aix-en-Provence
Day 5 Take a Provençal Cooking Class in Aix-en-Provence Aix-en-Provence
Day 6 Discover Marseille Marseille
Day 7 Enjoy a Half-Day Cruise in Calanques National Park Cannes
Day 8 Explore Cannes at Your Own Pace Cannes
Day 9 Tour Cannes & Travel to Nice Nice
Day 10 Go on a Gourmet Tour of Nice Nice
Day 11 Depart Nice - End of Trip  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paris & Dinner Cruise

Summit the Eiffel Tower today
The Eiffel Tower
Welcome to Paris, the City of Lights! This elegant capital boasts centuries of history and art. Take some time to settle in and relax at your hotel before heading out to explore the surrounding area before dinner. Paris is alive and thriving with activity, day and night! It's the perfect city to indulge in a little shopping in boutiques, strolling down narrow alleys, or stopping in a cozy café. In the evening, embark on a dinner cruise on the Seine River. You will see a number of Parisian monuments along the journey, including the Louvre Museum, Grand Palais, and the Eiffel Tower. At this time of the day, the city's lights reflect on the water, making Paris look more beautiful than ever.

Day 2: Explore Palais Royal & Eiffel Tower

Galerie Vivienne
Galerie Vivienne
Today you'll head to the First Arrondissement for a day full of delicacies. First, explore the Palais Royal, which once served as the personal residence for Cardinal Richelieu. Its gardens are now a favorite spot for Parisians and fashionistas to relax among picturesque arcades and fountains. Next, head to the Galerie Vivienne — one of the city's famed covered passageways, lined with beautiful mosaic-tiled floors and topped with a glass ceiling — for an exceptional lunch and wine tasting in an atmospheric 19th-century Parisian wine cellar. After lunch, explore the Galerie and other covered passages, such as the Passage des Panoramas or the Galerie Vero-Dodat. These gorgeous arcades were originally designed to help the Parisian bourgeoisie avoid getting muddy in the streets while they shopped. Peruse their pretty boutiques or simply wander their corridors, admiring the architecture.

In the evening, meet with your private guide for an exploration of the Trocadero Esplanade and Eiffel Tower. Start at the Trocadero to see its statues, monuments, and city views. Continue to the Iron Lady herself with skip-the-line tickets, giving you the most time to visit both floors and take in the incredible views from the top.

Day 3: Taste Sweets in Le Marais & Afternoon at the Louvre

Parisian Pastries
Parisian pastries in Le Marais

Eating pastries and enjoying art is synonymous with French culture, and you'll get to do plenty of both today! Start your morning with a tour of the beloved Le Marais neighborhood with a local guide, taking time to explore the best pastries and coffee in the area. You'll be able to sample macarons, pastries, chocolates, and more.

In the afternoon, it's time to explore the Louvre, the world's largest art museum. Get up close to the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa, then get some fresh air at the Tuileries Garden. In the evening, explore the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Day 4: Transfer to Aix-en-Provence

Saint-Sauveur Cathedral
Saint-Sauveur Cathedral
Take the high-speed train to your next destination: Aix-en-Provence! You'll have free time to explore this small city, the capital of Provence. Take a walk on the famous Cours Mirabeau, with its archway of sycamores shading sidewalk cafés and terraces. Browse through the city's famous fruit and flower markets. Visit Cezanne's studio and garden, where he painted some of his greatest masterpieces. Spend some time visiting the Caumont Art Centre, a cultural institution devoted to the fine arts. It's located in the former Hôtel de Caumont Mansion, a remarkable 17th-century building. Check out the Granet Museum, which displays more than 12,000 works and masterpieces of 17th to 21st-century paintings from the French School, several paintings by Cézanne, a sculpture gallery, and rooms devoted to archaeology. Discover the Archbishops' Palace, adjacent to St. Sauveur Cathedral, the former palace of the archbishops of Aix-en-Provence. It houses the Tapestry Museum on an upper floor. Enter the Pavillon Vendôme with its magnificent French-style gardens. In addition to a beautiful collection of portraits and furnishings, the museum displays contemporary and modern art exhibitions. In the evening, enjoy dinner on your own at one of the city's farm-to-table restaurants.

Day 5: Take a Provençal Cooking Class in Aix-en-Provence

Food market in Aix
An open-air market in Aix
Plan your trip to France
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
The southeastern French region of Provence is one of the most scenic in the country. It's a land of medieval villages, lavender fields, and endless olive groves and vineyards. But Provence is as much a way of life as it is a point on a map. Today you'll experience Provence's culture and rich way of life on a food tour and cooking class in one of the most beautiful towns in all of France, Aix-en-Provence. On this day-long cooking adventure, you'll browse the various food markets of Aix's Old Town and meet local purveyors. Enjoy learning about fresh regional produce, like herbes de Provence, olive oil, truffles, figs, honey, and more. Then, you'll bring these ingredients to the home of your host to prepare a feast using local recipes.
 
On the way to the country house, which follows a route that passes through the scenic Montaiguet Forest, you'll stop at a local chateau to select some regional wine to pair with your meal. Upon arriving at the country home, take a stroll around the property and search for wild aromatic herbs. Then it will be time to start the cooking class. Finally, after approximately two hours of cooking, it's time to sit down and enjoy your gastronomic creations.

Day 6: Discover Marseille

The district of Le Panier
The district of Le Panier
Travel from Aix-en-Provence to Marseille. Explore this historic Mediterranean city in the afternoon. With 2,600 years of history, this is France’s oldest city, founded on the site of the ancient Greek colony of Massalia around 600 BCE. Start in one of Marseille's most impressive and historic neighborhoods, the colorful district of Le Panier. This is the "old Marseille," where the city was founded. A working-class enclave located around the central port, it's the picture of Mediterranean beauty, with old plazas, ancient churches, and brightly colored facades on tenement buildings. You'll also find street art on the walls in the form of colorful frescoes. 


Other must-visit areas of Marseille include the waterfront, the hilltop basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, and the Roman monastic foundation of Saint-Victor Abbey. You can also follow a walkway to Fort Saint-Jean, a fortification dominating the port that was built in 1660 by Louis XIV. Be sure to pay a visit to the fascinating Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MUCEM), which features permanent exhibits devoted to the history of these regional societies from ancient times to the present day. You'll end the excursion in Vieux Port, in the heart of the city, where you can finish the day by enjoying a drink as the sun goes down.

Day 7: Enjoy a Half-Day Cruise in Calanques National Park

Calanques National Park near Cassis, Provence
Calanques National Park near Cassis, Provence
From Pointe Rouge, you'll board a boat for a half-day cruise around a series of inlets formed by limestone cliffs, which in turn created a series of beautiful little bays. In fact, the area has a very specific ecosystem that has been protected since 2012 when the coastal stretch was designated as Calanques National Park. The park extends toward Marseille, Cassis, and La Ciotat with endless trails and places to explore for every fitness level. 

You'll enter the park and glimpse its stunning limestone sea cliffs and hidden coves. The waters in these famous inlets are an irresistible kaleidoscope of blues that become milky turquoise and crystalline the further you get to shore. Try snorkeling or just enjoy the boat ride. Later in the day, take a coastal train from Marseille to Cannes, where you will spend the night.

Day 8: Explore Cannes at Your Own Pace

Cannes, France

Although these days it's better known as the host of the International Cannes Film Festival, Cannes has surprisingly humble roots as a modest fishing village. Sheltered by the Massif de l'Esterel and facing the sea, Cannes enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Spend the day exploring Cannes, starting at the Old Port in the heart of the city. Although it lost some of its nautical importance following the construction of the new and bigger Port Canto, the old port still welcomes yachts and boats with traditional rigging. Saint Pierre Quay, which dates to 1838, is a great place to break for lunch among the colorful buildings that line the water.

The Old Port and its quay mark the entrance to the Suquet, the oldest quarter and historic center of Cannes. Built on a hill, the Suquet invites you for a stroll along its steep medieval streets as you wander to the top viewpoints. Explore the colorful streets of the city center or enjoy an evening stroll along the water before spending the night at your hotel in town.

Day 9: Tour Cannes & Travel to Nice

Architecture in Grasse
Architecture in Grasse
Discover the Bay of Cannes, walking along the sandy beaches and the mythical Boulevard de la Croisette. Then escape to Grasse, known as the world capital of perfume. Enjoy a guided tour of a perfume factory and take a stroll in the heart of the old town before you head to "the jewel of Provence," Saint Paul de Vence. One of the most visited villages in France, it's been a meeting place for artists since the 1920s. Continue to Nice at the northern end of the French Riviera, near the border with Italy. Nicknamed "Nissa La Bella" (Nice the Beautiful) for its artistic spirit, grand plazas, and crescent-shaped pebble beaches, Nice is the French Riviera's most popular city. The narrow cobblestone streets of its colorful old town, Vieille Ville,  are lined with pastel-colored buildings and a plethora of shops selling everything from soap to wine.  Enjoy a relaxing evening stroll along the shore on the famous Promenade des Anglais, then head to a local restaurant for dinner. You'll spend the night at a hotel in town.

Day 10: Go on a Gourmet Tour of Nice

Fresh olives at the markets in Nice
Fresh olives at the market in Nice
Spend your morning on a gourmet tour of Nice. This guided walking tour starts in the morning and culminates around noon. Your local expert guide will lead you on an off-the-beaten-path tour that follows the narrow streets of Nice's colorful old town, Vieille Ville. All the while, your guide will introduce you to purveyors and market vendors who will treat you like a local while offering sweet and savory symbolic treats as they explain the history of Nice and its gastronomy.
 
In the afternoon, visit the Greek quarter — Nice was actually founded by the Ancient Greeks of the Massalia region in 350 BCE — and the Roman remains of an amphitheater and arena in the historic Cimiez neighborhood. This is also the location of two other notable landmarks: the opulent Excelsior Régina Palace, where Queen Victoria of England used to summer on the French Riviera, and the Musée Matisse, a museum showcasing the works of Nice's most famous painter, the expressionist master Henri Matisse.

Day 11: Depart Nice - End of Trip

Take a sunset stroll in Nice
Sunset in Nice
Today the trip comes to an end. You'll transfer to the airport to catch a flight out. Safe travels!

More France Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to France? Check out these other France itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.