Ideal for food, wine, and culture enthusiasts, this trip travels at a relaxed pace from Paris to Nice over the span of two weeks. Start off with several days in the 'City of Lights' and the French culinary mecca of Lyon. Then pick up a car in Avignon to experience Provence's vineyards and lavender fields at your own speed. Finish the adventure indulging on Mediterranean views and fresh seafood in the French Riviera.

Highlights

  • Get to know Parisian monuments and trendy neighborhoods like Le Marais
  • Join a culinary-themed walking tour in Lyon, the gastronomy capital of France
  • Sample two famous wine-growing regions: Beaujolais & Chateauneuf du Pape
  • Learn how to make Provençal recipes during a cooking excursion with a local chef
  • Create your own scent in Grasse, the perfume capital of the world

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paris - Explore the City Paris
Day 2 Ile de la Cité & Latin Quarter Walking Tour Paris
Day 3 Le Louvre Museum Tour Paris
Day 4 Le Marais Walking Tour Paris
Day 5 Train from Paris to Lyon Lyon
Day 6 Culinary Walking Tour in Lyon Lyon
Day 7 Beaujolais Tour & Wine Tasting Lyon
Day 8 Train from Lyon to Avignon Avignon
Day 9 Châteauneuf du Pape Tour & Wine Tasting Avignon
Day 10 Drive from Avignon to Aix en Provence Aix en Provence
Day 11 Cooking Class in Aix en Provence Aix en Provence
Day 12 Drive from Aix en Provence to Nice Nice
Day 13 Perfume Tour in Grasse Nice
Day 14 Depart Nice  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paris - Explore the City

Sunset skyline aerial view from the L'Arc de Triomphe
Sunset view from the L'Arc de Triomphe

Welcome to Paris, the City of Lights! Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by a private driver and transferred to your accommodation where you can drop off your luggage and hit the streets.

Synonymous with food, culture, fashion, and architecture, Paris needs no introduction. Despite being the dream destination for millions of people each year, the French capital still has plenty of hidden secrets to offer. Monument-lined boulevards, museums, classical bistros, and boutiques are now enhanced by a new wave of multimedia galleries, creative wine bars, design shops, and tech start-ups.

A good place to spend your first evening is by visiting the 1050-foot (320-m) tall Eiffel Tower, conceived by Gustave Eiffel as a temporary exhibit for the 1889 World's Fair. Luckily, the art nouveau tower's popularity assured its survival.

It's advised to prebook your tickets online, which gives you access to the lifts that reach the first two floors and the summit. It's a timed entry ticket, but be aware that you can spend some time in line because of security checkings and the number of tourists. Another option is to climb as far as the 2nd floor via the south pillar's 704 stairs (no prebooking needed). 

Day 2: Ile de la Cité & Latin Quarter Walking Tour

Cafe in the Ile de la Cité
Cafe in the Ile de la Cité

After breakfast, you'll start the day with a two-hour walking tour of Paris that includes the Ile de la Cité along with an in-depth exploration of the world-famous Notre Dame Cathedral. Your dedicated expert guide and history addict will retrace the building of this 12th-century medieval gem and tell you all about the long-forgotten details lurking in the shadows.

Then, you'll cross the Seine river to discover the northern edge of the vibrant Latin Quarter and wander some of the oldest streets of Paris. Last but not least, your guide will take you to the neighborhood's most iconic intellectual hotspot: a bookstore called Shakespeare & Co!

Following the tour, you are free to continue exploring the city on your own.

Day 3: Le Louvre Museum Tour

Le Louvre Museum
The Pyramid at Le Louvre Museum

This morning you'll have free time to enjoy Paris on your own before you meet a guide for a two-hour excursion inside Le Louvre Museum.

Once a royal palace—and now the largest museum in the world—Le Louvre hides in its walls centuries of secrets, vile crimes, and mysterious masterpieces. It could take several days to see all the masterpieces displayed at the Louvre but with a guide by your side, you will be able to catch the best parts of the impressive museum. Among the favorites, you'll discover the secrets of Da Vinci, Delacroix, and the works of the ancient Greeks. 

After this cultural visit, you are free to relax with some fresh air in the Tuileries Gardens, conveniently located across the street. Then consider a trip to the Champs Elysees and the majestic Arc de Triomphe.

Day 4: Le Marais Walking Tour

Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris

Today, you join a guided walking tour in Le Marais where you can dive deep into one of Paris's trendiest and most historic districts.

Located in the 4th arrondissement, the area is filled with leafy streets, hip boutiques, galleries, cafés, and nightlife. This is also the place to visit if you want to discover hidden treasures such as private mansions and medieval squares, along with more symbolic places such as the Place des Vosges. This grassy area (great for picnics) is home to elegant arcades and the Musée Victor Hugo, where the writer lived.

Your guide will offer local suggestions and anecdotes along the way about what makes this quartier so unique.

Day 5: Train from Paris to Lyon

The Palais de la Bourse in Lyon
The Palais de la Bourse in Lyon

It's time to make your way to France's capital of gastronomy! At the designated time, you'll take a direct train to Lyon where you'll have the afternoon to discover this beautiful city at your own pace.

Lyon is France's third most populous city behind Paris and Marseille is more compact allowing visitors to explore easily by foot. A good place to start is the city's UNESCO-listed Old Town and the Presque Ile—a piece of land surrounded by the two rivers of Saône and Rhône. This is where you can wander the narrow cobblestoned streets in search of the famous traboules (hidden passageways). Also recommended is a walk up to the Fourviere Basilica for a wonderful panorama of the whole city. 

As for dinner, you will find yourself in the midst of hundreds of restaurants where you can choose between a range of family-owned restaurants serving traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, informal brasseries, and Michelin-starred restaurant like the iconic Auberge de Collonges, founded by the famous chef Paul Bocuse.

Day 6: Culinary Walking Tour in Lyon

Old Lyon
A street in Old Lyon

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll meet a local guide to explore Lyon's fantastic culinary scene.

This unique walking tour explores the historic right bank of the Saône, known for its Renaissance architecture. The route, which includes tasting experiences along the way, will offer you the chance to admire this bourgeois architecture greatly influenced by its neighbor, Italy. In fact, the charm of Lyon's squares and streets will likely transport you to the end of the Middle Ages.

At the end of the tour, you can spend some free time checking out the city's outstanding museums, great shops, and lively bars thanks to a thriving student population. 

Day 7: Beaujolais Tour & Wine Tasting

Beaujolais region
A vineyard in the Beaujolais region

After breakfast, a private guide will pick you up for a 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.

Following the tour, you'll be returned to your hotel in Lyon.

Day 8: Train from Lyon to Avignon

Train to Avignon
Stay two nights in Avignon

This morning, at the designated time, you'll transfer to the rail station for a direct train to the beautiful city of Avignon in the heart of Provence. Upon arrival, you will also pick up your rental car at the train station.

Avignon invites you for a stay beyond all imagination. You'll have the rest of the day to explore this medieval city that housed the Pope in the 14th century. While here you can visit the soaring Palais des Papes—the largest Gothic palace in history and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A tour of the palace, which includes the popes' private apartments with their fabulous frescoes, is a must.

You'll also have time to explore the city's pretty squares and the medieval bridge along the Rhone River. Keep in mind that during July, thousands of visitors flock to Avignon for France's largest art festival.

Day 9: Châteauneuf du Pape Tour & Wine Tasting

A chateau near Châteauneuf du Pape
A chateau near Châteauneuf du Pape

Today, you'll get a chance to tour another world-renowned wine-growing region in France—this time in the southern Rhône valley, particularly a sun-drenched Provence appellation called Châteauneuf du Pape. The region makes both red and white wines with up to 13 different grapes and is especially known for its bold Grenache-based blends.

During this excursion, you'll walk through a vineyard with an expert to learn more about the grape's specific terroir including characteristics and the origin of the formation of soils, as well as the connection between the climate and the grape varieties. You will also take part in tasting sessions at two family-run wineries before returning to Avignon for the evening.

Day 10: Drive from Avignon to Aix en Provence

Les Baux de Provence
Les Baux de Provence

Today is a free day where you can drive around Provence and explore the region on your own as you make your way to Aix en Provence

Consider driving to the Alpilles, an enchanting natural site northwest in the Bouches du Rhône department. This chain of limestone mountains offers panoramic views that stretch across Provence. Things to see in the area include the citadel of Les Baux de Provence, the Carrière de Lumières, the ancient Roman site of Glanum, and the antique shops in Saint Rémy de Provence.

Meanwhile, the Luberon (next door to Alpilles) offers similar landscapes of gentle hills covered with olive trees, oak forests, and lavender fields, which blossom from early June to mid-August. The Luberon has an even higher density of perched, spectacular villages such as Gordes, Bonnieux, Roussillon, and Lourmarin

In the afternoon, you will arrive in Aix en Provence, the eastern gate of Provence. This town once housed the famous post-impressionist painter Paul Cezanne. A walking trail links sites including his childhood home, Jas de Bouffan, and his former studio, Atelier Cézanne. In fact, "Aix" inspired a lot of artists with its fountains and iconic Saint Victoire mountain.

Day 11: Cooking Class in Aix en Provence

Outdoor market
Hit the markets in Aix en Provence

Today you will take part in a Provençal-style cooking class! 

This full-day adventure starts in the morning where you'll meet your host and chef who will help you browse the myriad food markets of Aix's Old Town. You'll encounter local purveyors along the way and pick up some of the fresh regional produce.

You and your group will then bring the ingredients to the home of your host to work on recipes and prepare the feast. Last but not least, this friendly and funny experience will end with the sharing and tasting of your culinary works of art in the most convivial local way. 

At the end of the class, you'll have the rest of the day to enjoy Aix at leisure.

Day 12: Drive from Aix en Provence to Nice

Nice
Nice's Mediterranean setting

Today, you'll make the scenic drive to the city of Nice on the French Riviera. Upon arrival, you'll have the rest of the day to explore at your own pace. 

With old-world opulence, year-round sunshine, and a stunning seaside location, Nice is the unofficial capital of the Côte d'Azur, and a must-see for every visitor. The city has been a retreat for high-rollers since the 19th century and today offers fabulous markets, glorious architecture, and excellent dining options. 

A good place to start is by visiting Nice's old town, or Vieux Nice. Wander through its maze of narrow lanes and architectural gems, such as the Cathédral Sainte-Réparate, Opera House, and Palais du Justice and an awe-inspiring bell tower. You can also visit the city's daily market called Cours Saleya featuring a vast array of products from handcrafted carvings to fresh flowers and quality fruit and vegetables. 

From here, you can walk along the Promenade des Anglais, a boulevard fronting the bay lined with grand cafes and hotels. If hitting the beach is a priority, simply head to the pebbly shores and soak in the Mediterranean views. 

Perhaps you want to finish the day with a sunset drink at the port as you watch boats bobbing in the harbor. As for dinner, Nice offers a large concentration of restaurants to choose from; the city is known for dishes made with olives and seafood, like salade niçoise.

Day 13: Perfume Tour in Grasse

Architecture in Grasse
Renaissance architecture in Grasse

Today, you'll drive to Grasse, a charming village north of Nice that happens to be the perfume capital of the world. During your visit, you can explore the historic city center where shops and vendors sell the region's culinary specialties like Provencal stew, aioli, anchoïade, herbes de Provence, olive oil, truffle, figs, honey, and (of course) wine. 

But the real art of Grasse is found in its perfume industry. This local legacy since the 18th century is defined by luxury, refinement, and the supreme quality of ingredients used to make Grasse's famous fragrances. This artisanal trade has been passed down over generations and is revealed in its many perfumeries—one of which you'll visit today.

During the session, you'll learn about the architecture of a good perfume where your guide will evaluate your unique olfactory sensitivities and explain the classifications of the large families of scents along with their typical components. Then, he or she will conclude by describing the basic principles of creating a harmonious formula.

Then create your own unique fragrance, for woman, man or unisex, before heading back to Nice with your very own bottle personalized with the name you have chosen for your new creation. This unique formula will be preserved in a confidential database for future orders.

Day 14: Depart Nice

Goodbye, Nice!
Goodbye, Nice!

It's time to say goodbye to the South of France! Enjoy your last moments by taking a seaside stroll in Nice or shopping for souvenirs. At the designated time, you'll drop off the rental car and transfer to Nice Côte d'Azur Airport for your departure flight. Safe travels!

Map

Map of Paris, Lyon, Nice & Provence - 14 Days
Map of Paris, Lyon, Nice & Provence - 14 Days