Spend an adventurous week driving through eastern France, starting in the city of lights. You'll see the Eiffel Tower and other Parisian highlights, then head to Dijon, stopping along the way to see several resplendent countryside chateaus. Continue to Annecy to spend some time by the lake, then end in medieval Lyon, where history and wine tasting await.

Highlights

  • Explore countryside Chateaux
  • Go wine tasting in the Beaujolais Region
  • See a 12th-century monastery 
  • Explore highlights of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower

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 Dijon to Annecy via le Château du Clos de Vougeot Annecy
Day 4 Walking Tour of Annecy & Afternoon Hike Around the Lake Annecy
Day 5 Annecy to Lyon & City Tour Lyon
Day 6 Beaujolais Tour & Wine Tasting Lyon
Day 7 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: 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 4: 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 5: Annecy to Lyon & City Tour

Presque Ile in Lyon
Presque Ile in Lyon

In the morning, make your way to Lyon, a 1.5-hour drive. 

Lyon is France's third most populous city—behind Paris and Marseille—and is more compact, allowing visitors to explore easily by foot. An excellent place to start is the city's UNESCO-listed Old Town and the Presque Ile—a piece of land surrounded by the Saône and Rhône Rivers. Here you can wander the narrow cobblestoned streets in search of the famous traboules (hidden passageways). Get a view of it all with a walk up to the Fourviere Basilica for a panorama of the whole city. 

Silk weaving is an important part of this city's history, explore ateliers (workshops) where this tradition is still alive.

In the afternoon, take a private walking tour to explore the city center. Start at the gothic Saint-Jean cathedral to discover a cobblestone labyrinth of courtyards, passageways, gothic staircases, and Italian galleries. 

For dinner, choose from hundreds of restaurants, from family-owned restaurants serving traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, informal brasseries, to Michelin-starred restaurants like the iconic Auberge de Collonges, founded by the famous chef Paul Bocuse.

Day 6: Beaujolais Tour & Wine Tasting

Crushing grapes for wine
Crushing grapes for wine

In the morning, enjoy your tour of Beaujolais, a historic province and wine-growing region just north of Lyon. 

Often compared to Tuscany, this beautiful countryside dotted with hilltop villages offers a gentle pace of life. Your cultural and gourmet itinerary leads you around the southern part of Beaujolais, which is famous for its Beaujolais Nouveau and golden stone, which lends a unique charm to the surrounding villages. 

Along the route, your knowledgable driver guide will pass on his or her passion for the region to you during this rural excursion. You'll also get an introduction to wine and meet with a winemaker who will invite you to enjoy a tasting experience.

The rest of your day is free to explore Lyon at your own pace.

Day 7: 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 7-day France itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.

Looking for a different duration? Check out this 6-day version or this 8-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, & Lyon - 7 Days
Map of Eastern France Roadtrip: Paris, Dijon, Annecy, & Lyon - 7 Days