If you're a history buff, France is an excellent destination for you. From north to south, east to west, you'll find endless history to explore. Discover castles, chateaus, and palaces owned by royal families and the country's elite; stroll along medieval cobbled streets as you peruse quaint villages; learn about Paris's golden years and its most devastating; and marvel at architecture spanning centuries.
Most trips to France start and/or end in Paris, the perfect city for a little historical exploration. Admire the architecture that made Paris one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and learn about some of its most devastating years during WWII.
WWII Walking Tour
The 20th century was one of the most trying yet hopeful times in Paris, and you'll learn why with a WWII walking tour through the city. Although the devastating German occupation changed Paris, it was confronted with citizen resistance and, eventually, liberation. Visit some of the most significant WWII sites, including the Place de la Concorde, the Champs-Elysées, and the Opéra Garnier. Read More
Covered Passages of Paris Tour
Sneak away from the tourist crowds and discover a hidden side of Paris: the city's 19th century Covered Passages. Established in the 1800s, nobles used these glass-roofed and paved arcades for shopping and strolling away from the dusty, exposed streets. Today, Parisians still enjoy exploring them, hunting for a hidden brasserie, one-of-a-kind bookstore, or offbeat art gallery. Join them and imagine what it was like to walk these passages so long ago. Read More
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Castles & Villages
There's no shortage of castles, villas, chateaus, palaces, or quintessential villages with gorgeous architecture spanning centuries in France.
The Castle of Blois
The Château Royal de Blois, also known as the royal castle of Blois, housed many famous French residents (including seven kings and ten queens) and featured architectural styles from 16th to the 19th century. Enjoy a tour of the Blois castle, learning about its significance, as it belonged to the assassinated Louis I, Duke of Orléans. The court also hosted the Treaty of Blois and several Calvinists. Further, spend time visiting the rooms where the wives of Kings Henry II and IV spent their days. Read More
Treasures of Provence
Explore the treasures of historic Provence with a mini-tour through the region. Start with the city of Arles, known for its ancient sites (including a Roman amphitheater) and art. Stop at the famous scenes of Van Gogh's work, including The Yellow House and The Night Cafe. Next, head to Les Baux de Provence, one of the most scenic hilltop villages, to experience the Carrières de Lumières sound and light show. Other highlights include the town of Saint Rémy de Provence and the beloved Alpilles wine region. Read More
Villages of Dordogne
Explore the picturesque and historic villages of the Dordogne River, starting with Domme, a fortified medieval town set in a trapezoid shape. It's considered one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France (The Most Beautiful Villages of France) and has unique historical stories, so a walking tour is necessary. Other highlights include a river cruise, a 12th-century castle in the village of Beynac, and tales of France's Hundred Years' War. Read More
Avignon & Hilltop Villages of the Luberon
France's Luberon Region is filled with a unique history. Start in the medieval city of Avignon, famous for its 14th-century Le Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) and the Pont Saint-Bénézet bridge. You can also visit Avignon Cathedral and the Place de l'Horloge, Avignon's main square. Then, visit a few of the beloved hilltop villages, including L'Isle Sur la Sorgue and Gordes, plus make a stop at the 12th-century Abbey of Notre Dame de Sénanque. Read More
How to Craft the Perfect Historical Itinerary in France
Because the entire country teems with historical nods and importance, it's easy to sprinkle some historical experiences into any trip. Most likely, you'll start or end your vacation in Paris, which is a great hub for history. When deciding how many days to spend in Paris, try to give yourself three or four to truly see it all and enjoy a day trip or two. If you'd like to add another historical region to your Paris adventure, aim for one week for neighboring areas and two weeks for cross-country adventures.
Some popular additions include Normandy for more WWII history, the Loire Valley for its castles and chateaus, and the French Riviera for its historic villages.
Past kimkim travelers enjoyed the following itineraries that include historical experiences in France: