Ignite your senses — and taste buds — with this delicious tour of Paris and the picturesque Loire Valley, home to countless castles and gastronomic delights. Discover iconic Parisian highlights and delve into local flavor with wine tasting, a cooking class, and more. After, board a train through the magnificent French countryside to explore the Loire Valley's castles and vineyards, and sail through the sky on an unforgettable hot-air balloon ride.
France Travel Insights
Though the nights are a little longer and the days cooler, December kicks off La Calendale Christmas season in Provence brightening spirits. Every village, town, and city gets a festive makeover of twinkling lights, lively window displays, and bustling Christmas markets. Plus, it's time to hit the slopes of the Southern Alps now that the ski season is underway.
Summer is a distant memory with cooling temperatures and changing foliage. The vineyards of Provence transform into a blaze of gold, bronze, and red while towns and villages celebrate the "primeur" tastings of the season’s harvest from months earlier. And with the Toussaint holidays, you can expect reduced hours at major sites and attractions.
Even though it’s the rainiest month of the year, it’s still Provence. That means the showers are short and heavy, leaving you time to enjoy the bouts of sunshine. Plus, the Mediterranean Sea is pleasant enough to entice beachgoers and harvest festivals are plenty. Let this monthly guide help you find the best places to visit and things to do.
July is undoubtedly the busiest time of the year and for good reason, as the weather is beach-perfect, the festival season is in full swing, and Provence's famous lavender fields are blooming. This is also the month of France's biggest holiday, Bastille Day, with celebrations all over the region. Read on for more tips on where to go and what to expect in Provence this month.
There’s a welcome change in the air as August’s chaos turns into September’s calm. Temperatures taper off as the month progresses and the holidaymakers migrate home. Plus, the vineyard's darkened vines bear grapes ready for the picking: it’s the start of the vendange (grape harvest) season!
If you can’t beat the crowds, you might as well don your party hat (or swimsuit!) and join in the revelry. August sees plenty of festivals, the French join tourists on their holidays, and the extensive coastline teem with beachgoers and traffic. To avoid disappointment, book activities and restaurants in advance and read on as this guide will tell you what to do and where to go.
Despite the heat, soaring prices, and crowds, June offers sublime beach-perfect weather tempting the first bathers into the sea. Not to mention a chock-full roster of festivals and events, including the popular Fête de la Musique. Read this monthly guide to learn more.
Hands down May is one of the loveliest months of the year to visit Provence as the warm weather draws in the sun-seekers looking to enjoy the beaches along the French Riviera, as well as partake in the host of activities on offer everywhere else. With so much to do and so much to see let this monthly guide help you plan your Provençal adventure.
April transitions to Provence's shoulder season when visitor numbers increase, yet there are still bargains to be had. The weather is warm during the day and though there are plenty of April showers, they're short and give way to clear blue skies that characterize the south coast. Wildflowers and trees bloom inviting skiers to trade in their ski boots for hiking gear and Arles' marks the start of the bullfighting season with its Easter Feria.
There's something for everyone in March: winter sports on the slopes of the Southern Alps, white water rafting along the Ubaye River, and the cultural delights of Nice's Vieille Ville (Old Town). Spring is here and with that comes warmer weather, blooming flowers, and lively parties for Carnaval.
February in Provence offers much to the intrepid traveler, no matter the interest. Snowy adventures on the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, blossoming yellow mimosa trees along the southern coast, and festivals to welcome in the spring season pop up in places like Menton and Tourrettes-sur-Loup. Find out what to do and where to go with this February guide.
The Mediterranean coast remains quiet with near-empty beaches offering a serene environment in a part of France that is crazy busy the rest of the year. Meanwhile, the Provençal Christmas season continues seeing plenty of food and wine festivals, among others, there's the much-sought-after black truffle. Hit the slopes of any of the stellar resorts, shop the winter sales, and discover cultural delights within Lourmarin's Château walls.
Spend ten days taking in some of the top treasures in France from north to south. You'll start off exploring Paris with local guides to see both its star attractions and secret spots, then head to the historic city of Marseille. Continue to the famed French Riviera and the seaside city of Nice to end your trip in the sun.
You can cover some serious ground with two weeks in France, spending multiple days in up to three different regions (plus time in Paris). For example, pair the South of France and the Provençal countryside with a few days of hiking in the French Alps. Or stick within a smaller radius, perhaps with a western road trip through Normany and Bourdeaux. From canoeing the Dordogne River to shucking oysters on the wild islands of Brittany's coast—your options are plentiful.
This two-week adventure covers a great deal of ground while offering a range of unique excursions that capitalize on France's culture, cuisine, and scenery. Start the trip in Nice where you'll take a cooking class and check out towns along the Mediterranean coast. Then pick up a rental car and make your way to Provence, followed by Annecy at the foot of the French Alps. This is where you'll hike for two days—while staying at a mountain hut—before finishing in Paris, the 'City of Lights'.
For a solid France itinerary that covers two regions plus Paris, a 10-day trip is a great choice. With less time, a well-rounded trip is still within reach, especially if you're willing to forego time in Paris to see more of the country. And of course, the lucky travelers with two weeks or more will have no shortage of things to see and do. Check out some possible itineraries from 5 to 14 days below.
To make the most of a five-day trip to France, it's best to focus on a single region. While you may be tempted to cover more ground, sticking to one geographical area saves time, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by how diverse the sights and activities can be even within a close radius. For example, Bordeaux is known for its exemplary wines, but beaches and bike tours also await. And a road trip through Provence can span villages, vineyards, and the old-meets-new bustle of cosmopolitan Marseille.
One week in France is enough time to explore Paris plus the highlights of one other region. Wine aficionados can spend a few days in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley, history buffs should consider Normandy, and travelers with leisure in mind will enjoy Nice and the glitzy South of France. If you've already done Paris, you can skip it altogether in lieu of more regional delights—head straight to Marseilles, for example, and spend your whole trip immersed in the culture and food of Provence.
Planning a ten-day trip to France? If variety is what you're after, start (or end) your trip with three days in Paris, and split the rest of your time between two other areas. Provence pairs well with the French Riviera, or opt to chase the wines of Bordeaux with castles and history in the Loire Valley. That said, each region and city in France contains multitudes, and you can easily spend your whole trip exploring one place: travel by train through the French Alps, hopping from town to charming town, or stick to the beautiful Provençal countryside.
No matter where you find yourself in France this month, there's a host of events and fun outdoor activities to experience, especially now that the weather is often great. Hike and bike rugged mountain terrain of Mont Ventoux, kayak down the Verdon River in the south of France, and sip full-bodied wines of the Rhône Valley. Read this monthly guide to learn more.
April is a fabulous month to visit France. The weather is delightfully sunny and warm in the south and mild elsewhere, the flowers are in bloom, and the shoulder-season prices still offer a bargain. Now is a great time to get yourself to the Loire Valley to discover the ornate châteaux that are strewn throughout the region. Find out what more there is to do and where else to go with this April guide.
One of the lasts months to visit France on a budget, this low-season month packs a punch. From winter sports on world-class slopes and cozy après-ski environs to fewer crowds competing for Mona Lisa's attention, there's something for everyone in March. Read this monthly guide for more.
February in France may be right in the middle of the chillier off-season, but those who venture here during this month are in for some pleasant surprises and wild parties. Not only are there fewer crowds to contend with but all across the country, the French welcome in the spring with one of the biggest celebrations of the year: Carnaval.
Colder than other months of the year, January is the perfect post-holiday month for cultural exploration, strolling the French Riviera without the crowds, and hitting the slopes of any of the top-notch mountains and resorts. And bonus, the world's longest-running carnival begins, enlivening the town of Limoux in southwestern France. Find out what to do and where to go with this January guide.
December attracts Christmas and New Year visitors looking to spend the holidays in style. This is a great month to discover important works of art in world-class museums, sip hot chocolate while wandering the colorful stalls of German-influenced markets, and welcome in the New Year with a champagne toast and firework display over the Eiffel Tower.
Cold, grey, and rainy, November is best suited for urban and cultural exploration: museums and galleries, food and wine. While this may seem like a less than ideal time to visit weather-wise, there are fewer crowds, cheaper accommodation, and world-class wines and truffles to be had. There's even a festival celebrating the release of new wine, mere weeks after the grape harvest. Read on to learn more.
September feels like an extension of warm and sunny August with the added bonus of diminishing crowds. Now is the time to tour wine country and explore the French Riviera, and if you're looking for a hotel or flight deal, you'll want to plan your trip closer to the end of the month. Let this guide help you find the best places to visit and things to do.
Though the weather is a little cooler and greyer, October is still one of the best times of year to discover France. Most attractions remain open, and you won't have to compete with hordes of holiday-makers like in the peak seasons. Discover France as you taste seasonal delicacies, explore vineyard-covered wine country and historic châteaux, and immerse yourself in cultural events like Nuit Blanche in Paris.
France in August is warm, sunny, and crowded. But if you know where to go, you can plan the perfect summer holiday that all but ensures great weather and great adventure. And if you want to get in some beach time, read on to learn more on where to go for that less-frequented option.
July is the warmest month of the year; the sea is its most inviting, the sky is its most clear, and all across the country there is an exciting event taking place, like the grueling Tour de France. It's the perfect month for getting outdoors to see and do it all. This is also the month of France's biggest holiday, Bastille Day, with celebrations all over the country. This monthly guide will tell you what to do and where to go (and how to beat the inevitable crowds).
June is an excellent time of year to visit France, now that the weather is consistently warm (on land and in the sea!), the flowers are in bloom, and there are exciting festivals and cultural events taking place throughout the country. Yet, opportunities to snag airfare or accommodation deals are dwindling, and the crowds of tourists are ever-growing—so the earlier you can go in the month, the better. Read on for more tips on where to go and what to expect in France this month.
This epic trip loops around three beloved regions in France with a nice mix of free time and guided tours. Start in Normandy to visit historical sites—spanning 900 years—between Bayeux and Omaha Beach. Next is Brittany where you'll have free time (and a car) to explore the wild, rugged coastline at your own pace. Then experience UNESCO-listed villages and castles in the Loire Valley before finishing with two days in Paris.
This 10-day adventure combines three of France's easternmost gems starting with its capital of gastronomy: Lyon. While here, you'll explore an outstanding dining scene, visit nearby vineyards, and meet farmers and artisans. Then train to Annecy, a beautiful medieval town nicknamed the 'Venice of France'. Finish in Chamonix, next to the tallest peak in France—Mont Blanc—with opportunities to hit the trails for stunning views.
This relaxing 5-day jaunt focuses on the Loire Valley, a fertile region south of Paris dotted with hundreds of opulent châteaux (many that are UNESCO-listed) that once belonged to kings, queens, dukes, and influential artists. Enjoy a series of full-day private tours where you'll explore the area's best estates, gardens, game reserves, vineyards, and charming towns, especially Amboise—your home base for the trip.
Ideal for history buffs, this Northern France itinerary spans an impressive timeline from the Norman invasion of England in 1066 to the D-Day landings of 1944. With the help of local guides, you'll experience the island monastery of Mont Saint Michel, pay respects at transfixing WWII memorials and museums, and enjoy free time in the evenings to explore the charming city of Bayeux—your home base for the trip.
Traveling by train, this weeklong French adventure covers three destinations with a focus on history, architecture, food, and wine. Start in Bordeaux to experience the city's UNESCO-listed streets and world-renowned vineyards. Then head to Amboise for stunning castles and gardens surrounded by bucolic landscapes. Finish with two nights in Paris and let local experts show you the quintessential attractions.
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.
This spectacular road-trip adventure through Western France provides a subtle mix of history, culture, cuisine, wine, and outdoor activity—and plenty of picturesque landscapes between stops. Over the course of two weeks, you'll spend quality time in Paris, Normandy, Bordeaux, and the Dordogne region with a combination of tours led by English-speaking local guides and free time to explore on your own.
This epic 10-day French adventure kicks off in Paris for three days of culture and cuisine in the 'City of Lights'. Then, drive yourself to the Normandy coast to visit Mont Saint Michel and other historical sites—spanning 900 years—between Bayeux and Omaha Beach. Next is the Loire Valley where you'll explore charming towns and gorgeous castles before returning to Paris (by train) for one more night on the town.
History buffs will love this Northern France itinerary, which spans an impressive timeline from the Norman invasion of England in 1066 to the D-Day landings of 1944. With the help of local guides, you'll experience the island monastery of Mont Saint Michel, visit transfixing WWII memorials, photograph spectacular cliffs, and enjoy free time in the evenings to dine in a range of charming port cities.
Experience the quintessential highlights of the Provence region from the Mediterranean Sea to the deepest gorge in France (Gorges du Verdon) on this self-drive itinerary. Along with a mix of outdoor activities and cultural tours, you'll have plenty of free time to explore charming villages, famous vineyards, and UNESCO-listed monuments at your own pace for an adventure to remember.
This exciting, yet easy-going itinerary is the perfect introduction to France—especially for groups and families (ages 10 and up). Over the course of two weeks, you'll spend quality time in Paris, the Loire Valley, Provence, and the French Riviera with a fun mix of educational tours led by local guides and free time to explore on your own.
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!
This 10-day itinerary is ideal for those seeking the splendor of French wine, history, and gastronomy. Traveling by train, you'll start in Bordeaux for architecture—both old and new—and tastings at some of the best vineyards in the world. Next is the Loire Valley for a range of gorgeous castles surrounded by bucolic landscapes. Finish the adventure in Paris and experience top sites with the help of a local expert.
This weeklong itinerary splits its time between the French Riviera and the City of Lights for a great introduction to France. Starting in Nice, you'll explore on your own before a local guide shows you around Monaco, Cannes, and Antibes (to name a few). Then, fly to Paris where you'll cruise along the Seine, skip the line at Versailles, and summit the Eiffel Tower—at sunset!—to complete the adventure.
Get behind the wheel in the South of France during this weeklong road trip through the Provence region. Starting in Marseille, you'll swim in the Mediterranean, tour cafés and vineyards in Aix en Provence, and explore a range of picturesque hilltop villages in the Luberon. At the end of each day, hang your hat on some of the most charming hotels in France while choosing between exquisite dining options.
Perfect for first-timers, this weeklong itinerary kicks off in the French capital where you'll summit the Eiffel Tower, gain skip-the-line access at Le Louvre, and sample some of Paris's best bakeries and chocolatiers. Then, ride a high-speed train to Avignon—your base for exploring the Provence region with canoeing and biking tours as well as a trip to a national park along the Mediterranean to finish the adventure
Perhaps no other region encompasses France's exceptional beauty better than Provence. During this 5-day self-drive itinerary, you'll experience the highlights with stops in emblematic cities such as Marseille and Aix-en-Provence as well as traditional villages in the scenic countryside. Finish the adventure in medieval Avignon coupled with a wine tasting in nearby Chateauneuf du Pape.
This 5-day itinerary is the perfect introduction to Bordeaux—hub of the famed wine-growing region in southwest France. Known for its stunning architecture (both old and new), this lively UNESCO-listed city will be your base for a series of tours to markets, vineyards, beaches, and beautiful chateaux around the region which you'll explore with the help of friendly English-speaking guides.