For a family road trip that leads you through the diversity of French culture and history, look no further than this week-long itinerary. Start in Paris to savor its highlights and cuisine before driving to Normandy to encounter the moving legacy of the D-Day landings. See architectural and religious history on display in the abbeys of Caen and Mont-Saint-Michel, and learn about rogues of the past in Saint-Malo, all while you enjoy the fun of touring by segway and learning to "sand yacht" together.


  • See the lights of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower
  • Go on a treasure hunt through the world's largest art museum
  • Experience the moving legacy of Normandy's D-Day sites
  • Explore the cobbled streets of the "pirate" city of Saint-Malo

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paris, Evening Eiffel Tower Tour Paris
Day 2 Louvre Treasure Hunt & Patisserie Tour Paris
Day 3 Drive to Caen, Segway Tour Caen
Day 4 Family Tour of D-Day Sites Caen
Day 5 Drive to Saint-Malo via Mont-Saint-Michel  Saint-Malo
Day 6 Family Sand Yachting, Drive to Paris Saint-Malo
Day 7 Depart France  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paris, Evening Eiffel Tower Tour

Eiffel Tower
Take in the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower 

Welcome to Paris, the City of Lights! After you've settled into your accommodation, step out into streets steeped in centuries of history, art, fashion, and, of course, romance. Thriving with activity, day and night, there is something to please every family member. Shop in world-famous department stores like Lafayette or Printemps, explore one or two of the smaller museums, or for a charming playground and garden complete with a carousel, pony rides, and toy sailboats, try le Jardin du Luxembourg

In the evening, skip the queues and take a 3.5-hour guided tour of the Trocadero Esplanade, its statues and monuments, and the Eiffel Tower. Kids and adults alike will delight in seeing the iconic "Iron Lady" and viewing the lights of Paris from her topmost floor. Your guide will let you in on all the most interesting facts, stories, and secrets of the tower.

Day 2: Louvre Treasure Hunt & Patisserie Tour

Le Louvre
Sample the wares of the best pâtisseries (cake shops)

Begin your day at the world's largest art museum —Le Louvre. Although it is tempting simply to stand lost in wonder at the masterpieces before you, there is also work to be done: a family treasure hunt, culminating in a prize hidden under the glass pyramid! This is a guided tour that will bring art history to life for the whole family as you go on a scavenger hunt through a range of collections—Egypt and the Near East, ancient Greece and Rome, and the Renaissance. 

In the afternoon, head to one of the city's swankiest quarters: Saint-Germain-des-Pres, for a tour that will please the palates of every family member—visit the city's best confectioners and chocolatiers and take on the difficult task of picking a favorite between the crépes, crème brûlée, pain au chocolat, espresso, chocolates, and macarons. After dinner in a streetside café, take a refreshing walk along the Seine.
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Day 3: Drive to Caen, Segway Tour

Explore the city of Caen

After a fortifying family breakfast, pick up your rental car and drive west to Caen, Normandy. The city of Caen has become closely associated with World War II, specifically the D-Day and Normandy Landings, but its history stretches back over 1,000 years. A fun way to show the kids through the old town and its monuments, ruins, and squares is via a two-hour segway tour. 

Highlights include the River Orne, the two famous abbeys (l'Abbaye-aux-Hommes and l'Abbaye-aux-Dames), and the castle. After your tour, consider taking a closer look at the Church of Saint-Étienne and the Hospice of the Good Saviour (Bon Saveur). The kids will be amazed to learn that thousands of people sheltered and lived in these buildings during the months of bombings in 1944. While these buildings were spared, sadly, many others were destroyed, and much of the city you see has been reconstructed.

Day 4: Family Tour of D-Day Sites

World War II Bunker
World War II bunker, Normandy

Today brings an extraordinary opportunity for your whole family to learn about some of the most world-changing events of the last century. Walk through history as your guided tour takes you to the actual sites of scenes of war memorialized in films such as "The Longest Day" by Darryl Zanuck or "Saving Private Ryan" by Steven Spielberg. 

You and your children will learn about the Battle of Normandy and the five landing areas (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword, and Juno) and have an opportunity to remember those who gave their lives as you visit Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, and the D-Day Experience (an interactive 3D movie theater that chronicles the day's events). While this can naturally be emotional, your guide can ensure that the tour is age-appropriate. 

Day 5: Drive to Saint-Malo via Mont-Saint-Michel 

Mont St Michel

In the morning, head southwest toward Saint-Malo, stopping at Mont-Saint-Michel en route. Strikingly located high on an island surrounded by a natural tidal moat, you can head across the causeway on foot or take the kids by horse and cart. Spend some time exploring the remarkable abbey by guided tour before heading down into town to refresh yourselves at a café, browse the art galleries, or purchase souvenirs. 

This afternoon, continue to Saint-Malo, a long-time Corsaire haunt with a fiercely independent character. The kids will love pretending to be pirates as you take a guided tour of the cobblestoned streets and historical ramparts before stopping for a delicious seafood dinner. Enjoy an evening walk afterward—if you are fortunate, you may even strike a sea mist rolling in for a truly otherworldly experience.

Day 6: Family Sand Yachting, Drive to Paris

Sand yachting
Try sand yachting with the family

Today you'll drive back to Paris, but for a change of pace, stop again at Mont-Saint-Michel on the way and spend the morning sand yachting! Enjoy the speed and agility of yachting combined with the security of staying on land. Suitable for just about any age, double-seaters are available for families with kids under eight, so the youngest can share all the thrills—without any spills! 

Once you've worked up an appetite, have lunch at Mont-Saint-Michel and take another look around before hitting the road. Drive straight on to Paris to be in time for dinner, or break up the journey by stopping at Le Mans and visiting the 24 Hours of Le Mans museum to view 120 cars associated with this legendary race—a must for any racecar fans in the family.

Day 7: Depart France

Seine river cruise
Say farewell to Paris with a cruise on the Seine
Today is your last day in France. If time allows, explore Paris a little further. There are many child-friendly museums—try the Magic Museum (Musée de la Magie) or one of the many science museums. A boat trip on the Seine is popular with all ages and is a lovely way to see the city highlights. Take a hop-on-hop-off option and spend some extra time at your favorite sights before returning your car to the depot and departing from Charles de Gaulle airport. A bientôt!

More Great France Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to France? Check out these other France itineraries, explore other ways to spend a week in France with the family, or discover the best time to visit France.


Map of Family Road Trip in Western France: Paris, Caen & Saint-Malo - 7 Days
Map of Family Road Trip in Western France: Paris, Caen & Saint-Malo - 7 Days