If France is known for anything, its distinct cultural norms that shift and vary from north to south, east to west. A few must-see aspects of French culture include art, literature, and architecture. Paris is an excellent hub for culture, as you can explore museums, attend performances, and sip coffee in famed literary cafes. Leave Paris behind to chase art in Normandy, stopping at Claude Monet's gardens and chateaus in the Loire Valley. Then, make your way south to enjoy the unique culture of Provence and the French Riviera.
Art & Literature
Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Hemingway, de Beauvoir, da Vinci, Rousseau, Dumas—all these famous names and more called France home and used French culture as an influence. Explore Paris's literary scene, discover da Vinci's final resting place, and visit the gardens of Monet.
Follow Claude Monet to Honfleur & Giverny
Follow in the footsteps of the great painter Claude Monet to the charming Norman cities of Honfleur and Giverny. Honfleur inspired many of the great Impressionists painters, including Courbet, Eugène Boudin, and, of course, Monet. Peruse the city's art galleries and many artistic sites, including St Siméon Farm, where painters stayed in the 19th century. Then head to Giverny, where you can tour Claude Monet's house and gardens and visit the Impressionism Museum. Read More
Paris Literature Tour
See the city of Paris through the eyes of your favorite writers and artists with a literature tour. You'll visit the famed Shakespeare & Company bookstore and the literary haunts of Boulevard Saint-Germain while hearing enlightening tales of your favorite authors' lives, loves, and, occasionally, lunacy. Many renowned storytellers used the bustling, chic, and intimate streets of Paris as their muse, including Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Simone de Beauvoir, Victor Hugo, and more. Read More
Cabaret Dinner at Chez Michou in Paris
Enjoy dinner and a show at Chez Michou Cabaret, a cozy atmosphere set on the Rue des Martyrs in Montmartre. Enjoy stunning imitations, humor, and burlesque, all enacted in the purest tradition with professionalism and hilarious self-deprecation. Although it's a small space, this little cabaret has welcomed some big stars, as it's the perfect place to let the woes of everyday life melt away. Read More
An Afternoon with Da Vinci in Amboise
Explore the grand mansion where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years—the Chateau du Close Luce in Amboise. Start with a tour of the palace's interior, where you can imagine the daily life of da Vinci and view some of his famous works. Then wander through Leonardo's Garden, a unique open-air museum where you can interact with many of da Vinci's inventions. Read More
Gardens, Chateaus, & Villages
Dive a bit deeper into French culture by visiting some of the country's famed villages, many offering cultural experiences in manicured gardens and majestic chateaus.
Avignon & Hilltop Villages of the Luberon
France's Luberon Region is filled with unique cultural experiences. Start in the medieval city of Avignon for a walking tour and visit the UNESCO Le Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) and Pont Saint-Bénézet bridge. Then explore some of the area's beloved hilltop villages and historical sites, including L'Isle Sur la Sorgue with its outdoor markets, Gordes with its fortified castle, and the 12th-century Abbey of Notre Dame de Sénanque surrounded by lavender fields. Read More
Villandry Château: Gardens Tour & Lunch
Visit two chateaus in the Loire Valley, the Villandry Chateau with a masterpiece of manicured gardens, and the family-owned Chateau de L'Islette. Transport yourself back in time to the 18th century and explore the splendid rooms of these palaces, L'Islette still lived in by a private family. After the tours, enjoy a lunch of regional delicacies and Loire wine in the park near one chateau. Read More
How to Craft the Perfect Cultural Itinerary in France
France and culture are synonymous, so whatever you choose to do with your time in the country, you'll enjoy unique and diverse cultural experiences. Of course, it's best to divide your vacation amongst cities and villages, so you get a little bit of everything. Some popular combinations include Paris & Normandy; Paris, Normandy, & the Loire Valley; Provence & the French Riviera; and Paris & Provence.
How much time you spend in France will depend on how many regions and experiences you combine. If you plan to stick to a single area, give yourself one week to make the most of your time. On the other hand, if you'd like to include more villages or extend the distance of your trip, plan for at least two weeks in France.
Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include cultural experiences in France: