You will be delighted by this trip in Paris, Normandy, Bordeaux and the Dordogne region. This is a subtle mix of French history and culture, wine and flavors, and some bucolic landscapes such as the Atlantic coast and Dordogne perched villages. A great road trip adventure for the whole family!

Highlights

  • Explore and relax with a well-balanced itinerary
  • Discover with small group and private excursions
  • Treat your tastebuds with many food and wine tastings 
  • Relax in comfortable, charming, and well-located hotels

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Rendez-vous with the Iron Lady - Welcome to France. Paris
Day 2 Meeting the royalty Paris
Day 3 The treasures of the Louvre Paris
Day 4 Delicious Paris Paris
Day 5 Travel to the Atlantic coast Bayeux
Day 6 The Landing Beaches Bayeux
Day 7 Mont Saint-Michel, the jewel of the ocean Bayeux
Day 8 Going South to Bordeaux, the French capital of wine Bordeaux
Day 9 Awake your taste buds in Bordeaux Bordeaux
Day 10 Exploring on your own Bordeaux
Day 11 Beautiful Dordogne Sarlat
Day 12 Travel back to prehistory in Dordogne Sarlat
Day 13 Last day in the Dordogne region Paris
Day 14 Time to say au revoir  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to France

The Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower at sunset

At your arrival at the airport, enjoy greetings and a private transfer to your accommodation. After your check into your hotel in the afternoon, the rest of the day is free for you to relax.

Tonight you have an important meeting with a French icon: the Eiffel Tower. You will enjoy a visit to the top of the Iron Lady, most stunning at sunset when the lights of the capital are slowly changing in the sky and on the streets.

From the esplanade to the summit you will experience a whole series of emotions. Soak in the breathtakingly unique views of Paris from every floor, feel the goosebumps as you walk the glass floor on the 1st floor, experience the incredible ascent by stairway or lift, the indescribable awe at the tons of iron above you as you stand on the esplanade. And the Eiffel Tower always has something to offer, day or night, summer or winter.

Day 2: Meeting the royalty

Versailles gardens
Gardens at the Palace of Versailles

Today is at leisure for you to discover the capital at your own pace. 

You may wish to book a private tour at Versailles, where you will meet with your guide in the lobby of your hotel to travel back in time over the centuries to explore what life was like living in the splendor of Versailles and amongst the Kings & Queens of France. Alongside a specialist in family tours and an accredited historian, your family will discover the magnificence of Versailles from the ornate painted ceilings and glistening golden doorways, closed on private royal quarters, to the resplendent Hall of Mirrors, the ultimate demonstration of power and prestige.

As you explore the hidden details of the Palace and the enchanting palace gardens, your guide will bring to life Versailles in all its glory.

Day 3: The treasures of the Louvre

The Louvre museum
The Louvre museum

Use the morning to explore the city at your own leisure. Then, in the afternoon, make your own way to the museum for your tour. It could take several days, even weeks, 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 this impressive museum.

Embark on a historical adventure by joining a tour of the Louvre with a local art history expert and family tour specialist. Alongside your guide, you’ll explore the world’s most iconic museum with a tour tailored to the interests of your whole family. What is the Louvre and what treasures does it hide?

Aside from introducing you to the classics such as the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace, your guide may adapt the itinerary to your family’s expectations, ages, and attention spans. This family-friendly tour will be centered on observing and comprehending the enchanting surroundings in a former palace and understanding the masterpieces through enthralling stories accessible to all. 

Spend the rest of the day exploring and relaxing at your own pace.

Day 4: Delicious Paris

Canal St Martin
Canal Saint-Martin

You may choose to spend the day exploring at your leisure, or join one of several available food tours for a delicious walking tour of Paris.

If the best way to your heart is through your stomach, then the best way to discover the heart of Paris is through its food. Where do Parisians go to find the best cheese, charcuterie, wine, bread and pastries? Discover local merchants waiting to tantalize your taste buds. After exploring the North Marais & Temple district, stroll along the picturesque Canal Saint-Martin, where your foodie fantasy concludes in a fromagerie for a mouth-watering cheese & wine pairing.

Day 5: Travel to the Atlantic coast

Bayeux
Bayeux

Today you will leave Paris to start your adventure on the Atlantic coast. Your private driver will pick you up at your hotel and drive you to the train station. Take your train from Paris St Lazare to Caen in Normandy. At your arrival at the train station, make your own way to the rental agency and pick up your rental car.

Start your family road trip by driving to your new accommodation in Bayeux (approximately 22 miles, a 40-minute drive). 

Two cross-Channel invasions, almost 900 years apart, gave Bayeux a front-row seat at defining moments in Western history. The dramatic story of the Norman invasion of England in 1066 is told in 58 vivid scenes by the world-famous and quite astonishing Bayeux Tapestry, embroidered just a few years after William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, became William the Conqueror, King of England.

Day 6: The Landing Beaches

American cemetery
American cemetery

This day is dedicated to remember and to retrace the past of the brave soldiers who fought for the freedom of our country in 1944.  

In the morning, join a tour of the most notable of the landing beaches. You will first reach the coastal battlefield area of Omaha Beach. Here, listen to your guide as you are taken back in time to hear the tale of one of the boldest and most successful large-scale invasions in military history. Omaha was by far the toughest assignment in Overlord. It was the most heavily defended of all the beaches; its bunkers, fighting positions, and obstacles were intended to repel any Allied landing.

After a short drive, you will be taken to the Pointe du Hoc site. Located between Utah & Omaha beaches, this prominent position along the coast of Normandy was a focal point of the amphibious assault by U.S. forces during the early morning hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944. Here, Lt. Col. James E. Rudder, commanding the 2nd Ranger Battalion, received the mission to land at 6:30 am, scale the 100-foot cliffs, and disable the German positions. Lt. Col. Max F. Schneider’s 5th Ranger Battalion would follow and reinforce them.

End the tour with a stop at the Normandy American Cemetery. Located in Colleville-sur-Mer, on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 as the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. Here you will have some time to walk around and pay homage, but also visit the Visitor Center that provides a fuller array of visitor services to put the D-Day landings in perspective as one of the greatest military achievements in history.

After the visit, your driver/guide will drive you back to your hotel.

Day 7: Mont Saint-Michel, the jewel of the ocean

Mont Saint Michel
Mont Saint-Michel

Today is at your leisure to explore the Normandy region at your own pace.

You can also enjoy a trip to one of France's most iconic monuments: the monastery at Mont Saint-Michel. Surrounded by an immense bay, the Mount houses a religious sanctuary dating from the 8th century. Since then, the abbey has evolved through time into a multi-storied, awe-inspiring edifice. This is the platform in front of the abbey church and from here your leg muscles will be rewarded with a wonderful view of the bay.

Upon entering the abbey, you’ll effectively ascend through time as you wander along the cloister, getting a feel for the monastic life by continuing through the refectory and the visitor’s hall. The tour takes you through several other rooms before leading to the north-south staircase which is the main pathway through the heart of the abbey and which leads to the walking room. You’ll cross through the Knight’s Hall and end up in the chaplaincy.

After such a trip through history you’ll want to have a bite to eat in one of the many restaurants on the Mount. Afterwards, you may enjoy a circular trip along the ramparts to enjoy the stunning views and explore numerous hidden architectural elements of this magnificent site.

Day 8: Going south to Bordeaux, the French capital of wine

City of Bordeaux
City of Bordeaux

Whenever you want during the day, drive from Normandy to Bordeaux (approximately 348 miles, a 6 hour-drive).

Enjoy some time at leisure to explore the city on your own.

The city of Bordeaux is among France's most exciting, vibrant and dynamic cities. Half the city (over 11 squar miles) is UNESCO-listed, making it the largest urban UNESCO World Heritage site; while world-class architects have designed a bevy of striking new buildings – the Herzog & de Meuron stadium (2015), decanter-shaped La Cité du Vin (2016), and Jean-Jacques Bosc bridge (2018) across the Garonne River included. Bolstered by its high-spirited university student population and 5 million visitors annually, La Belle Bordeaux scarcely sleeps: think barista-run coffee shops, super-food food trucks, an exceptional dining scene, and more fine wine than you could ever possibly drink. Santé.

Day 9: Awaken your taste buds in Bordeaux

Capucin's market in Bordeaux
Capucins Market in Bordeaux

In the afternoon, meet your guide for a great gourmet tour of Bordeaux. This tour focuses on savoring the sumptuous flavors of Bordeaux with scenic and historic promenades linking your tastings. You will visit one of the oldest and most famous cheese shops in Bordeaux, visiting their cheese caves located in the stone-vaulted cellars of a XVth century convent. Here you will find a treasure trove of cheeses being gently aged to their optimal maturity, with the aging process being explained by one of their expert staff. You will also enjoy a tasting of cheeses while enjoying the atmosphere of the ancient underground caves. 

Then you will visit a world-renowned Bordelaise company known for their resurrection of the canelé, the dessert originally prepared by the nuns for school children. You will learn about the history of this traditional dessert and how its creation in Bordeaux is related to wine. You will enjoy a relaxing moment sampling this and other interesting desserts, as well as a hot beverage.

Then you will finish with the pleasure of a wine tasting in a small boutique wine bar, where you will taste Bordeaux wines each with its own unique style, selected for and introduced by their wine steward.

Day 10: Exploring on your own

Bordeaux by bike
Bordeaux by bike

Explore and discover the beautiful Bordeaux or the surrounding region at your own pace.

Day 11: Beautiful Dordogne

Sarlat la Caneda
Sarlat-la-Caneda

Today you will drive to your next stop, the Dordogne region and to the small town of Sarlat-la-Caneda (approximately 131 miles, a 2 hour and 40-minute drive).

After you check in to your hotel, take the rest of the day to explore this charming village on your own.

A picturesque tangle of honey-colored buildings, alleyways, and secret squares make up the beautiful town of Sarlat-la-Canéda. 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. It's also firmly on the tourist radar, so you will have the opportunity to appreciate the town's charms among the hustle and bustle of summer, especially on market days.

Markets sell a smorgasbord of goose-based products and Sarlat hosts an annual goose festival, the Fest'oie (early March), when live birds and market stalls fill the streets and Sarlat's top chefs prepare an outdoor banquet.

This afternoon, consider enjoying some great outdoor activities that the Dordogne region is perfect for, such as renting a canoe and paddling from Carsac to Beynac (about 10 miles, 3 hours), where you will discover the beauties of the Périgord Noir. See six castles and three villages called ‘the most beautiful villages of France’ that dot both banks of the river.

If paddling isn’t quite your speed, try rock-climbing in Dordogne. A forest of green oaks on the hillside and, at the foot, the valley of the Céou. Nearby, the landscape of the Dordogne is dominated by the Château de Castelnaud. From there a small path rises to the rock faces you will discover under the guidance of an instructor. As you climb, enjoy remarkable views of the castle.

Day 12: Travel back to prehistory in Dordogne

Paleolithic art
Paleolithic art

In the morning, your guide will pick you up at your hotel for your full-day tour of the Paleolithic art in the Dordogne.

Some 15,000 years BCE, unknown artists created breathtaking cave paintings, of which the most extraordinary are found in the Dordogne area. During this day tour, you will be introduced to this fascinating art and to the people who made it.

Begin the day in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil for a guided visit of the National Prehistory Museum. Opened in 2004, this national museum possesses the largest collection of prehistoric artifacts in the world.

Continue to Montignac where you will visit Lascaux IV cave, a perfect reproduction of the original cave. Opened in 2016, Lascaux IV is a triumph of technology. Unlike any other cave visits, Lascaux IV employs different set designs, displays, state-of-the-art interactive workshops and immersive technology to bring it to life. In fact, the atmosphere inside the replica cave is just like that of a real cave: dark, damp, and muffled.

Finally, end the tour with the visit of the Rouffignac cave which possesses original and authentic etchings and drawings. The Rouffignac cave was mentioned as early as 1575 by François de Belleforest in his Cosmographie universelle. In the 19th century, the cave became known as a tourist attraction. Famous archaeologists like Henri Breuil, André Glory, and Edouard-Alfred Martel had visited the cave in the early 20th century, but it was only in 1956 when Louis-René Nougier and Romain Robert, two prehistorians from the Pyrenees, rediscovered and confirmed the cave art.

After your visit, return to Sarlat.

Day 13: Last day in the Dordogne region

The Dordogne region
The Dordogne region

This morning is at leisure to explore the region on your own one last time before heading back to Paris (approximately 330 miles, a five-and-a-half hour drive).

Drop off your rental car at the agency close the airport and make your own way to your hotel (usually there is free shuttle service available from the airport).

Check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing.

Day 14: Time to say au revoir

Home, sweet home!
Farewell, France

Today is your last day in France. Pack your bags and make your own way from your hotel to the airport, via a free shuttle service, where you will catch your international flight and begin your journey home.

Map

Map of Discover France: Paris, Normandy, Bordeaux, the Dordogne Region - 14 Days
Map of Discover France: Paris, Normandy, Bordeaux, the Dordogne Region - 14 Days