Discover all the things that fairy tales are made of on this comprehensive, three-week tour of France. Start in Normandy, where you'll explore the rugged coastline and massive fortresses. Head to the Loire Valley for lavish châteaux, gardens, and vineyards, then turn south into the Dordogne and discover its unusual natural scenery. Continue to Lyon and immerse yourself in its "foodie" culture before embarking on a wine-tasting extravaganza between Châteauneuf and Burgundy.


  • Drive along the stunning Normandy coast and admire the iconic Mont Saint-Michel
  • See châteaux galore in the Loire Valley as you visit important castles of the region
  • Discover the Dordogne Valley and all of its mysterious medieval villages
  • Go wine tasting in the Loire Valley, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Burgundy

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paris, Drive to Rouen & Visit the Joan of Arc Museum Rouen
Day 2 Drive to Bayeux, Guided Walking Tour of Old Bayeux Bayeux
Day 3 Day Trip to Juno Beach & Canadian Sector Guided Tour Bayeux
Day 4 Drive to Saint-Malo via Mont Saint-Michel  Saint-Malo
Day 5 Explore the Emerald Coast, Saint-Malo & Cancale Walking Tours Saint-Malo
Day 6 Drive to Amboise via Château de Villandry  Amboise
Day 7 Bike Tour of Amboise & Visit to Vouvray  Amboise
Day 8 Châteaux de Chambord & Chenonceau  Amboise
Day 9 Visit Château Royal d'Amboise Amboise
Day 10 Drive to Sarlat-la-Canéda, Explore Sarlat Sarlat-la-Canéda
Day 11 Day Excursion in the Dordogne Valley Sarlat-la-Canéda
Day 12 Private Half-Day Tour to Rocamadour Sarlat-la-Canéda
Day 13 Drive to Carcassonne, Self-Guided Visit  Carcassonne
Day 14 Day Excursion to Toulouse Carcassonne
Day 15 Drive to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Day 16 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Wine Tasting Tour Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Day 17 Drive to Lyon, Self-Guided City Tour of Lyon Lyon
Day 18 Food Tour in Lyon Old Town, Optional Activities Lyon
Day 19 Drive to Beaune, Côtes de Nuit Wine Tour  Beaune
Day 20 Wine Tasting in Burgundy, Drive to Paris Paris
Day 21 Depart Paris  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paris, Drive to Rouen & Visit the Joan of Arc Museum

Self-guide visit of Joan of Arc Museum in Rouen - Historial
 Rouen's historical center

Welcome to Paris! When you arrive at the airport, you'll pick up your rental car and take the two-hour drive northwest to Rouen. Upon arrival, settle in at your hotel and then explore the city. Your first stop will be at the Historial Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc Museum), located in Rouen's historical center, not far from the Cathedral.

In a spectacular public space, this representation aims to help people discover the saga and incredible destiny of Joan of Arc and to highlight the myths constructed throughout the centuries concerning this prominent figure. Follow an interactive journey of technology and innovation laced with emotion. Learn how history and individuals have taken on, remembered, interpreted, and sometimes used this universal character.

Day 2: Drive to Bayeux, Guided Walking Tour of Old Bayeux

The channel in Bayeux
The channel in Bayeux

This morning, head west to the coast of Normandy, where you'll stop at Bayeux. You'll meet your guide in the center of town for a walking tour of the city. Admire the medieval architecture of Notre-Dame and the lace and porcelain that made the richness of Bayeux. Located next to the Bayeux Cathedral, the Museum of Art and History Baron Gerard (MAHB) will take you on a journey through the history of European art.

At the end of this tour, you will visit the world-renowned Museum of the Tapestry to see the magnificent Bayeaux Tapestry, which is almost 1,000 years old. Learn the history of how William, Duke of Normandy, became William the Conqueror, King of England. After lunch, you'll have the rest of the day free to explore this medieval town, and the best thing to do is to wander and discover its architectural details, such as its water wheels and half-timbered construction housing. You mustn't miss its open-air markets, which are a real spectacle.

Day 3: Day Trip to Juno Beach & Canadian Sector Guided Tour

See the landing beaches of Normandy

Bayeux is the perfect base for visiting Normandy's D-Day beaches. Today, drive to Juno Beach for a visit and learn all about the pivotal part it played in the Allied landings. On June 6th, 1944, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and the 2nd Armoured Brigade landed at Juno as part of "Operation Overlord" and saw heavy fighting. As the beach covers about 9 miles (14 km) and four villages, it deserves at least two stops at Courseulles and Bernières. Your guide will show you monuments dedicated to the soldiers and share exciting stories. You can also stop at the Juno Beach Center, the only Canadian museum in Normandy.

The Canadian Cemetery is located only a few miles away and is an authentic tribute to those who died for France's freedom. Quite heartbreaking, too, is a visit to the Ardenne Abbey, outside of Caen, where Nazi soldiers executed Canadian prisoners. After the tour, you'll return to Bayeux.

Day 4: Drive to Saint-Malo via Mont Saint-Michel 

Mont Saint Michel
Mont Saint-Michel

Today you'll drive southwest to discover Mont Saint-Michel, a granite island in the middle of a massive bay influenced by Europe's strongest tides. Legend has it that Archangel Saint Michael ordered the construction of an abbey here in 708. The abbey has evolved through time into a multistoried, awe-inspiring edifice. Upon entering, the tour takes you through the cloister, refectory, and other rooms before moving into the heart of the abbey. After your visit, wander the narrow circular streets which lead to the ramparts for stunning views. Before you leave, enjoy lunch in one of the quaint local restaurants.

Next, you'll continue west, hugging the coast until you reach the walls of Saint-Malo, constructed as early as the 12th century. A visit to the ramparts is essential in Saint-Malo, with magnificent views of the sea and the city just below. Next, visit the buildings it houses, such as the Town Hall, the Museum of History of Saint-Malo in the Grand Tower, and the Museum of Ethnography Saint-Malo in the General Tower. Afterward, go into the city to explore and find your hotel. Following a long day, have a hearty Breton crepe in one of the countless creperies in town.

Day 5: Explore the Emerald Coast, Saint-Malo & Cancale Walking Tours

Two walking tours on the Emerault Coast:  Saint Malo and Cancale (total 3.5-hours)
The Emerald Coast from Saint-Malo to Cancale 

Following the Emerald Coast from Saint-Malo to Cancale gives you an authentic taste of Brittany. Start in Saint-Malo with a private walking tour in the Intramuros (the historical center) and discover its rich history of pirates and shipowners, among other famous characters and adventures. Enjoy beautiful panoramas over the bay from the ramparts before driving east, hugging the coastline. It's only a 30-minute drive to Cancale so take the time to stop along the way and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Meet your guide at the small port of Cancale and learn the intriguing history of this small seaside town. Afterward, explore the beaches and hidden sandy coves as you take in views over the bay of Mont Saint-Michel. No visit would be complete without sampling a plate of oysters which are famous throughout France. 

Day 6: Drive to Amboise via Château de Villandry 

Self-drive → Amboise via Chateau de Villandry
Château de Villandry

Leave Saint-Malo this morning and go to your first stop, Château de Villandry. During this self-guided tour, you'll explore Villandry's gorgeous formal gardens, a beautiful and delicately-manicured landscape masterpiece. The ornamental Kitchen Garden, the Maze, and the Classical Water Garden must not be missed. Head next to the Loire Valley, where you'll find Amboise, which sits on the banks of the Loire River and will delight you with its picturesque architecture and authenticity. Nestled on the left bank, Amboise retains traces of its royal past.

The town's majestic château, with its terraces, overlooks the valley. When you arrive, benefit from wandering around this medieval village with its crooked rooftops and narrow streets that form a maze around Château Royal d'Amboise. If you want to learn more about the city's history, visit Musée de l'Hotel de Ville, the main museum, for its informative exhibits concerning its rich past.

Day 7: Bike Tour of Amboise & Visit to Vouvray

Self ride E-bike tour to Amboise & Vouvray vineyards
Bike along the Loire Valley

Make the most of a self-guided bike tour through the beautiful landscapes of Loire Valley. Take a ride at your own pace to discover the lovely town of Amboise and Vouvray. Learn everything about the impressive royal Château of Amboise and the fascinating Clos-Lucé where Leonardo da Vinci lived and died. Cycle along the Vouvray vineyards and learn about this world-famous wine appellation (wine categorization). Enjoy stunning views of the city of Tours and discover its impressive Cathedral. Take a guided visit followed by a wine tasting at one of the wine estate cellars on the way.

Day 8: Châteaux de Chambord & Chenonceau

Chenonceau castle and grounds
Chenonceau Castle 
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On a private group tour today, you'll visit two of the most important castles in the Loire Valley. Your first stop is Château de Chambord, a French-Renaissance fortress dating back to the early 16th century and the largest of the Loire Valley châteaux, with 440 rooms. This extravagant castle is one of France's most famous and recognizable. Take the grand double spiral staircase to the second floor to see the royal apartments of François I and Louis XIV. Continue up to the terraces, where you'll find views of the surrounding gardens, forests, and moats. 
Stop for lunch, then continue to Château de Chenonceau, which spans across the Cher River with a history defined by a nearly uninterrupted succession of women. The château in its current form was built between 1513 and 1517 by Thomas Bohier and his wife, Catherine Briçonnet. Since, a long line of women, including Queen Catherine de Medici and patron of the arts Louise Dupin have owned and restored the château. It's so well-loved that it's the second-most visited château in France, after Versaille. After a look inside, stroll the castle's park to find the Labyrinth, the Diane garden, and its fountains.

Day 9: Visit Château Royal d'Amboise

Chateau de Amboise
View of Château d'Amboise
A place of residence for French kings from the 15th to the 19th centuries, the destiny of the Château Royal d'Amboise is inextricably linked to the history of France. Leonardo da Vinci, invited by Francois the 1st, spent the last three years of his life here, and his tomb is preserved at the château. On a self-guided tour, visit this royal château and partake in a journey through expressions of French-style luxury. From its balconies, roofs, and terraced gardens, you'll take in the Loire landscape and delight in what the kings enjoyed. You'll have the rest of the day free, so rest up and prepare for a change of scenery tomorrow.

Day 10: Drive to Sarlat-la-Canéda, Explore Sarlat

Welcome to Sarlat!
Welcome to Sarlat-la-Canéda, the land of duck and foie gras

Hop in the car early to make the four-hour drive south to Sarlat-la-Canéda, a picturesque tangle of honey-colored buildings, alleyways, and secret squares that make up the beautiful town. Boasting some of the region's best-preserved medieval architecture, it's a popular base for exploring the Vézère Valley and a favorite location for film directors. As the region has a high concentration of duck and goose farms, markets sell various goose-based products. Sarlat hosts an annual goose festival, the "Fest'Oie," when live birds and market stalls fill the streets, and Sarlat's top chefs prepare an outdoor banquet.

Once settled in, start your visit on Rue de la Republique, the town's main artery. Turn off often to get lost in the maze of narrow streets on either side. You'll find the Cathedral with its lovely Place de Payrou and discover delightful shady squares with shops and restaurants sprinkled about as you continue. Don't forget to look up from time to time as you'll see the roofs of this medieval village are often in lauze, (thick-cut stone tiles), typical for this region. For dinner, you must try a "gastronomic" restaurant offering traditional recipes, including duck, foie gras, and truffles.

Day 11: Day Excursion in the Dordogne Valley

La Roque-Gageac, Dordogne
La Roque-Gageac, Dordogne

Go day-tripping today and dive into the medieval atmosphere of the Dordogne Valley and its picturesque villages. Your private driver-guide will pick you up in the morning at your accommodation in Sarlat-la-Canéda. During your excursion, you'll have many options available to visit. Stroll through the narrow streets of La Roque-Gageac and visit its 14th-century church, known for its bell tower, Perigord-style lauze roof, and exotic garden. Sail on a traditional gabarre (barge) on the Dordogne River, and visit the medieval war museum of Castelnaud Castle.

After lunch, walk through Domme, the bastide (fortified town) of the medieval period overlooking the Dordogne Valley, and visit its troglodyte (or cave) chapel. Discover the castle of Beynac, a medieval wonder very well preserved. You won't want to miss the Romanesque Chapel of Carsac and the village of Montfort. Admire the hanging gardens of Marqueyssac. Lastly, discover a walnut oil mill and its museum.

Day 12: Private Half-Day Tour to Rocamadour

Private half-day tour to Rocamadour
Don't miss the one-of-a-kind Rocamadour
Meet your guide at your hotel and take the one-hour drive through the majestic landscapes of the Dordogne Valley before arriving at Rocamadour, nestled in the Alzou Canyon, a thousand-year-old historical UNESCO site. During this guided tour, you'll learn about this small cliff top village. Reach the sanctuary by climbing the 216 steps of the grand pilgrim's staircase. Discover the miraculous chapel, its black virgin, the coffin of Saint- Amadour, and the legendary sword of Durandal. Return by crossing the wild landscapes of the Causses du Quercy and visit Souillac's Romanesque church.

Day 13: Drive to Carcassonne, Self Guided Visit

Carcassonne's medieval fortress

Make the three-hour drive south to the fortified city of Carcassonne, which looks like something out of a children's storybook when seen from afar. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, it's most people's idea of the perfect medieval castle. Once you've checked in to your hotel and had lunch, spend the afternoon exploring this well-preserved, reconstructed defense fortress. You'll be transported back to the Middle Ages, when the city's defenses were used to keep its occupants safe from attack.

See the city's 52 towers (35 internal walls and 17 external). Walk down misleading stairs that sent enemy troops into a state of confusion, and immerse yourself into the atmosphere of holy wars that raged in the city during the time of the Cathars (a medieval Christian sect).

Day 14: Day Excursion to Toulouse

Day at leisure : visit of Toulouse
Toulouse's distinctive rose-colored buildings
Visit the historic center of Toulouse to discover its main monuments and relaxed atmosphere. Stroll La Ville Rose (the pink city) and find the Place du Capitole at the heart of the town. Walk the banks of the Garonne, notably the Henri Martin Promenade, and see the docks of the Daurade. Cross the bridge, Pont Saint-Pierre, and have breathtaking views of the dome of the hospital La Grave and the Brienne Canal. Toulouse is a lively city where there is always something going on. Wander the streets and have lunch at one of its countless restaurants or just people-watch in one of its many squares or along the river. 

Day 15: Drive to Saint- Rémy-de-Provence

Lavender field in Provence
A village street in Provence

It's time to leave Carcasonne and drive three hours south to Provence. Between Avignon and Arles, within the majestic setting of the Alpilles, lies Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Once you've checked in at your hotel, explore the winding streets of the historic center, with its shaded boulevards, squares adorned with old fountains, cafés, terraces, and restaurants, all invitations to enjoy the Provençal way of life.

If you're up for it, visit the archaeological site of Glanum and the ancient monuments, such as the Triumphal Arch and the Jules Mausoleum, exceptional legacies of Late Antiquity. The town, which witnessed the birth of Nostradamus, was and still is a source of inspiration for many artists. Seduced by the setting and the town's atmosphere, many have chosen to live here, and numerous studios and art galleries thrive in the town center.

Day 16: Châteauneuf-du-Pape Wine Tasting Tour

The vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
The vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

You'll get to tour another world-renowned wine-growing region in France today! This time, you'll visit the southern Rhône Valley, particularly a sun-drenched Provence appellation called Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This region makes red and white wines with up to 13 different grapes and is primarily known for its bold Grenache-based blends.

Make the short drive to Avignon, and meet your local guide, who will lead you on the scenic drive through the Rhône's vineyards to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Learn about the wines, grape varieties, and terroir before sampling some of the finest wines from the region at two different wine estates. Play with your five senses during this winery tour and tasting. You'll explore the small village and, from the ruins of the Pope's summer residence, enjoy a panoramic view over the Rhône river valley and the vineyards. You'll return to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence late afternoon.

Day 17: Drive to Lyon, Self-Guided City Tour 

Saint Georges church and footbridge across Saone river
Saint Georges Church and footbridge across Saône river

Today you'll drive to Lyon, France's third most populous city. Ranked behind Paris and Marseille, it is more compact, allowing you to explore easily by foot. Once you've settled in at your hotel, take a self-guided tour of the city. An excellent place to start is the city's UNESCO-listed Old Town and the Presqu'île, which is a piece of land surrounded by the Saône and Rhône Rivers. Begin at the Gothic Saint Jean-Baptiste Cathedral and discover a labyrinth of courtyards and passageways.

Here you can wander the narrow cobblestone streets in search of the famous traboules (hidden passageways). Get a view of it all by walking up to the Fourviere Basilica for a panorama of the whole city. Lyon is known for culinary excellence. The options are endless, from coq au vin (wine-braised chicken) to the city's most famous sausage rosette de Lyon. For dinner, choose among hundreds of restaurants, from family-owned bistros serving traditional Lyonnaise cuisine and informal brasseries to Michelin-starred restaurants like the iconic Auberge de Collonges, founded by chef Paul Bocuse.

Day 18: Food Tour in Lyon Old Town, Optional Activities

Bouchon lyonnais
Bouchon Lyonnais

Start your day with a guided walk through Old Lyon. You will learn about the local heritage as your guide will take you through the famous medieval-covered passageways. You cannot visit Lyon without talking about food, so the tour will be punctuated with several tastings of local specialties. It's the perfect occasion to speak about Lyonnaise gastronomy and discover its traditional recipes and gourmet secrets, like the famous Paul Bocuse Covered Market, where one can find high-quality ingredients and products. Afterward, visit one of the many bouchons (traditional restaurants) for an authentic lunch.

If you're thirsty for more, the southern part of Beaujolais is only a few miles north of Lyon. Known worldwide for its famous Beaujolais Nouveau, it is also the "Land of the Golden Stones" because the village's limestone buildings turn a beautiful ocher color as the sun sets. You could do a bit of wine tasting or visit Oingt, a 12th-century village classified as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France. Discover the charms of its medieval monuments, then return to Lyon.

Day 19: Drive to Beaune, Côtes de Nuit Wine Tour

Hospices de Beaune
Hospices de Beaune

It's a two-hour drive north to Beaune, where thousands of red and white wines are stored in over 62 miles (100 km) of tunnels and wine cellars underneath the city. The town is concentrated around the magnificent Hospices de Beaune, a charitable hospital founded in the 15th century. Once you are within the walls, there are many cobbled and pedestrian streets to explore at your leisure. The famous Hospice is one of the highlights of seeing Beaune. Although the exterior of the building is purposely austere, upon entering the courtyard, you'll be fascinated by the dazzling colored roofs. 

Your guided tour begins along the "Route des Grands Crus" of Côte de Nuits. You'll stop at Romanée Conti for a prestigious wine tasting in a private cellar, where you can enjoy a selection of Burgundy wines from various estates. You'll also get advice on wine and food pairings according to tradition. Afterward, stop at Gevrey-Chambertin, one of the eight major wine villages, and discover an estate rooted in several generations. Visit the cellars composed of oak barrels and old vintages. To make this oenological trip unforgettable, enjoy a private tasting of pinot noirs made with respect for the terroir and tradition.

Day 20: Wine Tasting in Burgundy, Drive to Paris

Free time in Burgundy!
Get lost in the vineyards

This is the last full day of your tour, so explore the region as you wish. Drive through Bourgogne (Burgundy), which offers some of France's most gorgeous countryside with rolling green hills dotted with mustard fields and medieval villages. Visit the region's towns, such as the capital, Dijon. This city has maintained a glorious architectural heritage that goes back to the Renaissance, the Middle Ages, and  Gallo-Roman and Celtic antiquity.

Continue wine tasting among Burgundy's vineyards which have been granted UNESCO World Heritage status in recognition of the region's centuries-old history of viticulture and its wine-growing terroir (land). There's no need for reservations; wine tasting is always available here. Burgundy is a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors. So cycle through venerable vineyards, hike the wild reaches of the Parc Naturel Régional du Morvan, glide along tranquil waterways in a canal boat, or float above it all in a hot-air balloon. In the afternoon, drive to Paris in preparation for your return home tomorrow.

Day 21: Depart Paris

Home Sweet Home !
Au revoir Paris!

After breakfast, make your way to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, drop off your vehicle and catch your flight to your final destination. Bon voyage!

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