Big city lights, resplendent chateaus, and medieval monasteries await you on this short but packed six-day road trip through eastern France. Start in Paris, then head south to Dijon — home of the famed mustard. Continue to Annecy for some time by the lake and a glimpse of snow-capped mountains.

Highlights

  • Explore highlights of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower
  • Visit the Ancy le Franc chateau
  • See a 12th-century monastery 
  • Go hiking around Lake Annecy

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to France! Arrive in Paris & Evening Eiffel Tower Tour Paris
Day 2 Drive from Paris to Dijon via Ancy le Franc & Fontenay Dijon
Day 3 Walking Tour of Dole — Home of Louis Pasteur Dijon
Day 4 Dijon to Annecy via le Château du Clos de Vougeot Annecy
Day 5 Walking Tour of Annecy & Afternoon Hike Around the Lake Annecy
Day 6 Au Revoir, France  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to France! Arrive in Paris & Evening Eiffel Tower Tour

Welcome to Paris!
Welcome to Paris!

Welcome to Paris, the City of Lights! This elegant capital boasts centuries of history, art, fashion and, of course, romance. Upon arrival, you'll be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel by private car. Take some time to settle in and relax before heading out to explore the streets near your accommodation before dinner.

Paris is alive and thriving with activity, day and night. It's the perfect city to indulge in a little shopping, with department stores like Lafayette and Printemps housing some of the best local designers around, and small boutique shops offering unique high-quality wares. 

Colorful boulevards and historic monuments invite visitors to stroll through the downtown, while narrow alleys and cozy cafes create a romantic atmosphere. For art lovers, spending time at Paris' smaller museums is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as the city has one of the most impressive art collections in the world. Alternatively, lazing around in the parks or at a sidewalk cafe on a sunny day is simply blissful. 

After settling into your hotel, head out for your first look at the city. Spend some time walking around downtown and enjoying the sights. In the evening, meet with your private guide for a 3.5-hour 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 2: Drive from Paris to Dijon via Ancy le Franc & Fontenay

Château d'Ancy-le-Franc
Château d'Ancy-le-Franc

In the morning, hit the road for your drive to Dijon, the capital of Burgundy. This is a particularly scenic drive, with plenty of small villages and peaceful countryside outside the window. Take your time this morning, stopping to admire the unique architecture and atmosphere of the small villages along your route. 

Stop at Ancy le Franc to visit its beautiful palace, formerly the lands of the Dukes of Burgundy. You'll travel back in time while exploring the royal chambers and the large collections of Renaissance murals and paintings. Stroll through the magnificent gardens of this palace and visit its lovely little chapel.

Afterward, head to nearby Fontenay Abbey, a historical monument whose history dates back to the 12th century. Spend some time exploring the building and nearby gardens, as well as the buildings that supported the abbey, including the church, dormitory, cloister, and forge. 

Afterward, continue your trip to Dijon where you'll spend the night.

Day 3: Walking Tour of Dole — Home of Louis Pasteur

Notre Dame Church in Dole
Notre Dame Church in Dole

This morning, head to the charming town of Dole for a walking tour with a local guide.

This town is ideally located at the gates of Jura, the hometown of Louis Pasteur, and boasts an important cultural heritage. Dole's story began in the medieval ages, which is evident in the city's architecture and polychrome stone decorations that were inspired by the Renaissance Era. The city is also famed for its culinary achievements: many chefs choose Dole to open their restaurants, and you can even find Michelin-starred restaurants in this little safe haven.

For almost 500 years, a beautifully restored stone vessel proudly overlooks the historic center: the tower bell of Notre Dame College. To make the best of your visit,  you'll follow the path of "le chat perché" - the perched cat. It will take you from Notre-Dame College, Hôtel-Dieu, to the Tanneurs Canal.

On the banks of the Canal des Tanneurs, you'll see the house where Louis Pasteur was born. This house in Dole presents Pasteur’s scientific work in a fun exhibit that explores each of his specialist fields of knowledge. Although chiefly known for his discovery of the rabies vaccine, Louis Pasteur also worked in a number of very different areas, studying a variety of subjects such as crystals, silkworm diseases, and fermentation in wine and beer. The exhibition presents personal objects and documents to show how Louis Pasteur, a native son of Dole, became the ultimate scientist who was known throughout the world.

The rest of the day is free to explore the city. Return to Dijon to spend the night.

Day 4: Dijon to Annecy via le Château du Clos de Vougeot

Château du Clos de Vougeot
Château du Clos de Vougeot

Today, continue your road trip. Your next destination is Annecy.

On your way there, stop at the beautiful Château du Clos de Vougeot, a vineyard hidden in the heart of Burgundy. Originally a farm established by local monks in the 12th century, the chateau's castle itself was built only four centuries later. Its unique atmosphere of medieval architecture and renowned vineyard attracts history and wine-lovers from all over the world.

Explore the traditional architecture of this castle, savor the locally produced wines, and snack on delicious appetizers prepared by the chef de cuisine.

After, continue to Annecy where you'll overnight.

Day 5: Walking Tour of Annecy & Afternoon Hike Around the Lake

Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc

This morning, your guide will pick you up for a walking tour of the city. 

Together, you will explore the historical center of Annecy: you will see the Palais de l'Isle, the famous Canal de Thiou, and savor the local cheese at one of the best cheese shops in France. 

After your lunch break, with the help of your local guide, choose from one of many hiking options to fill your afternoon. For an easier option, try out the trail to the Angon waterfall or through the Roc de Chere nature reserve.

If you're up for a bit more of a challenge, trek up to the Tournette and Parmelan mountain hut on a 5-hour, 5-mile (8 km) trail.  From the Tournette, you can see all the summits above Lake Annecy along with the Aravis Range and Mont Blanc. There are many ibexes on this trek that you can easily approach and photograph. Be careful however as you reach the summit: these same ibexes can trigger rockfalls.

Day 6: Au Revoir, France

After breakfast, take a private car or train transfer to the airport to catch your flight home. A bientôt!

More France Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to France? Check out these other 6-day France itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.

Looking for a different duration? Check out this 5-day version or this 7-day version of this itinerary. 

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

Map

Map of Eastern France Roadtrip: Paris, Dijon, &  Annecy - 6 Days
Map of Eastern France Roadtrip: Paris, Dijon, & Annecy - 6 Days