This diverse 9-day itinerary introduces you to four distinct and enchanting regions of France. Begin in iconic Paris to stroll elegant avenues and cruise down the Seine—then catch a train west to Normandy to explore the medieval history and D-Day beaches of Bayeux. Continue to Provence, where you'll discover the ancient port of Marseille and the colorful market town of Aix-en-Provence, then hop over to the sun-soaked Riviera to end your adventure on a gastronomic tour of Nice.

Highlights

  • Admire the City of Lights from a scenic dinner cruise down the Seine
  • Discover history-steeped Bayeux & Tour the D-Day Beaches & Sites 
  • Explore the bustling Mediterranean port of Marseille
  • Get a taste of Provençal culture on a tour of Aix-en-Provence
  • Embark on a gastronomic odyssey through Nice's open-air markets

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paris, Seine Dinner Cruise Paris
Day 2 Free Day in Paris Paris
Day 3 Train to Bayeux & the Calvados Region Bayeux
Day 4 Tour of D-Day Sites Bayeux
Day 5 Guided Walking Tour of Bayeux, Train to Marseille Marseille
Day 6 Explore Marseille, Taste of Aix en Provence Market Tour Marseille
Day 7 Train to Nice: Welcome to the Riviera Nice
Day 8 Nice Gourmet Foodie Tour, Explore Monaco, Monte Carlo & Eze Nice
Day 9 Depart Nice  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paris, Seine Dinner Cruise

Summit the Eiffel Tower today
Welcome to the City of Light

Bienvenue à Paris! 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. After settling into your hotel, head out for your first look at the city. 

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. 

As evening falls, you'll board a luxury yacht for an evening on the Seine. Cruise down the river as you enjoy a gourmet dinner and watch the city lights go by.

Day 2: Free Day in Paris

Notre Dame in spring
Notre Dame in spring
Paris is an inexhaustible source of culture and leisure, from incredible monuments to gastronomy. Beyond traditional tours, new ways to visit the capital have emerged in recent years. Pick from the following unique options to make the most of your time in the French capital: 
 
  • Walk along the Seine riverbanks between the Musée d’Orsay and the Pont d’Alma.

  • Visit the Grande Mosque de Paris, then rejuvenate on the patio among the wisteria and rosettes of mosaics with a mint green tea.

  • Sample village life at the Butte aux Cailles, a ten minutes walk south of busy Place d'Italie, where you'll find a slightly counter-cultural enclave with cobbled streets and laidback bars.

  • See street art in Belleville, from the Rue Sainte-Marthe and its candy-colored shop fronts to the Rue Denoyez with an ever-changing array of tags and artwork.

  • Engage in a sensory experience at the Atelier des Lumières, a former foundry reinvented in a space of digital art that offers a striking immersive exhibition.

  • Walk along the Canal Saint-Martin past art galleries and peaceful shaded banks.

  • Escape the crowds in Buttes-Chaumont, one of the city's loveliest green spaces.

  • Take a stroll along Petite Ceinture, a disused railway line that runs for miles around the inner city. Several of its stretches are now urban bio-diversity trails.

  • For lunch, there's nothing better than the warm atmosphere of the Belleville neighborhood.

  • On a rainy day, visit the Catacombs and explore the seedy underbelly of Paris.

  • For a tropical getaway in the city visit the greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes.
In the evening, choose from a few options. Head to the Palais de Tokyo (an art museum) for a drink at Les Grands Verres before viewing art until well past midnight, or see the lights of Paris at night with a flight on the Ballon de Paris, one of the world's largest air balloons. 

Day 3: Train to Bayeux & the Calvados Region

Notre Dame Cathedral in Bayeux
The soaring Gothic facade of Notre Dame Cathedral in Bayeux

Bid Paris farewell this morning and head to the Gare Saint-Lazare station to board a train west to the Calvados region of Normandy and the historic city of Bayeux.

After checking in to your hotel, spend the afternoon discovering the city at your own pace. A very attractive and historic town, Bayeux makes an ideal base for exploring the nearby WWII landing beaches. Home to the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry, the town is also crammed with 13th- to 18th-century buildings, including a fine Gothic cathedral.

Day 4: Tour of D-Day Sites

Celebration of 75 year anniversary of D-Day in Sainte Mere
At the celebration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Sainte Mere
Today is a full day to discover the powerful legacy of D-Day on Normandy's landscape, as well as its effect on the world. Your local specialist, an expert on the Battle of Normandy and the five landing areas (the beaches of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword, and Juno), will walk you through an emotional day. You'll navigate famous scenes of war, memorialized by the films like The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan.

Pay tribute to the armed forces who fought to end the war on this day 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). At the end of the full-day tour, return to Bayeux for the evening.

Day 5: Guided Walking Tour of Bayeux, Train to Marseille

Water mill in the Old Town
A historic watermill in the Old Town of Bayeux
Meet your guide this morning for a walking tour of the city. One of today's highlights includes visiting the famous Tapestry Museum, which houses some of the world's finest works. In the cathedral, you'll find the star attraction: the renowned Tapisserie de Bayeux, a tapestry completed in the 11th-century that portrays the events leading up to the infamous Norman invasion of England, plus the event itself in 1066.

As the first town liberated and secured by the Allies after D-Day, and one of the only places to have emerged from WWII nearly unscathed, Bayeux retains much of its old architecture, including the grandiose 13th-century Norman-Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame

Spend the day exploring the city's narrow streets, lined with traditional wooden-framed Norman houses, and admire the gothic cathedral. In the afternoon, visit the Museum of Art and History Baron Gerard to learn about the lace and porcelain that made Bayeux so rich.
 
Afterward, you'll head to the train station to catch the 6.5-hour train to Marseille with a change in Paris. Upon arrival in the ancient port city on the Mediterranean coast, you'll transfer to your hotel for the evening. If you feel like exploring, head to Vieux Port, in the heart of the city, where you can grab dinner and finish the day by enjoying a good pastis or beer as the sun goes down.

Day 6: Explore Marseille, Taste of Aix en Provence Market Tour

The district of Le Panier
Marseille's Le Panier district

This morning you'll explore historic Marseille at your leisure. "Historic" might even be an understatement—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.

Marseille's most impressive and historic neighborhoods are a great place to start, like the colorful district of Le Panier. This is the "old Marseille," where the city was founded. It's a working-class enclave on the central port and is 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.

In the afternoon you'll meet your tour guide for a taste of the Provence lifestyle! Heading 35-minutes north to the charming city of Aix en Provence, you'll embark on a walking tour as you discover the best markets in Provence. Stroll along the Cours Mirabeau lined with 17th and 18th-century private mansions, where large plane trees provide shade on hot summer days. Continue to the Old Town to discover cobbled streets packed with shops, architectural and religious sites, bustling squares, and refreshing fountains. Then it's on to the numerous colorful markets that take place daily in the center of the city. Here you'll wander through myriad stalls of local produce, pastries, and specialty foods, brought to market by their growers and bakers. With the help of your guide, you'll discover and sample Provençal delicacies like calissons, nougat, and tapenade, as you soak up the ambiance of a traditional day at the market.
 
When you've had your fill of Provence's finest culinary offerings, you'll return to Marseille for the evening.

Day 7: Train to Nice: Welcome to the Riviera

Seaside in Nice
Nice's famous sweeping beaches and palm-lined promenades

Today you'll continue your journey with a 3-hour train journey east along the coast to Nice. Sitting at the northern end of the French Riviera, near the border with Italy, Nice is known for its artistic spirit, grand plazas, and crescent-shaped pebble beaches. Inarguably 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. 

Get settled into your hotel then spend the rest of the day exploring the city on your own. As evening falls, enjoy a relaxing evening stroll along the shore on the famous Promenade des Anglais, then head to a local restaurant for a welcome dinner. 

Day 8: Nice Gourmet Foodie Tour, Explore Monaco, Monte Carlo & Eze 

Fresh olives at the markets in Nice
Fresh olives at the markets in Nice

Savor the sights and sounds of Nice's open-air markets with a guided walking tour that embarks in the morning and culminates around noon. Your local expert guide will lead you through a gastronomic odyssey that will surprise and delight your palate with delicious flavors both familiar and exotic. Much of this adventure is 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.

After lunch, you'll journey 12 miles (20 km) along the coast to the city-state of Monaco, for a guided tour of one of the world's smallest countries. Visit the famous Monte Carlo district with its legendary casino and see Prince Rainier's car collection, then continue to the Rocher de Monaco (Rock of Monaco). This is the location of the town's oldest neighborhood, the medieval Old Town. From here, the views of the sunny coast are unparalleled. Learn about this community's history and anecdotes about the dynasty which has reigned there for decades.

Proceed to the medieval village of Eze, which perches high above the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to its location and history, it's a popular destination with painters and artists. Explore the famous Chapelle Sainte-Croix and the ruins of the ancient castle, which allude to the city's strategic location on the coast. After a stroll through the town's peaceful gardens, you'll be driven back to Nice for the evening. 

Day 9: Depart Nice

Take a sunset stroll in Nice
Sunset over Nice
Enjoy a final leisurely breakfast in the Riviera sunshine before transferring to the airport to catch your departing flight. Bon voyage!

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