Chenonceaux at dusk

arc de triomphe
Mont Saint Michel
Chambord castle
bordeaux vineyards
French village
canal du midi
French beach
Lavender fields Provence
French street

France Tour ItineraryFrance Tour Itinerary

This France Tour itinerary can be shortened or extended, commenced at any time or combined with other tours and cruises to create a truly personalised holiday.

(Inclusions in italics)

Day 1  Paris: See the famous sites of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Champs Elysees, Palais Royal and River Seine during a sightseeing tour of your choice. Stroll along the tree-shaded boulevards, explore hidden alleyways and open air markets and soak up the Parisienne ambience.

Day 2  Paris: Skip the long queue at the Eiffel Tower and enjoy panoramic views of Paris while lunching at the restaurant on the first level. After lunch you can take the lift up to the second level or to the summit (at own expense) for the ultimate Eiffel Tower experience. In the afternoon visit the Louvre and admire the world famous art works, like the fabled Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

Day 3  Paris: Head out to Versailles Palace with its magnificent Hall of Mirrors, gardens and fountains. In the evening say farewell to the city of dreams during a sunset cruise with champagne (or snack) on the Seine River. 

Day 4  Saint-Malo: Feel that you have stepped back in time as you stroll through the cobble-stoned streets of the old pirate town of Saint-Malo. Walk the ramparts of this walled city or at low tide cross to the rocky islet of Ile du Grand Be.

Day 5  Saint-Malo - Mont Saint-Michel: On this day you will be visiting one of France’s most stunning sights: Mont Saint-Michel. A short train journey will take you to Dol de Bretagne from where the shuttle will take you to Mont Saint Michel.

The medieval Abbey of Mont Saint Michel is perched on this magical island and you will have plenty of time to explore this holy mount, the bay and the Benedictine Abbey.

Extend your stay in Saint-Malo and venture further afield to discover Brittany’s heritage and countryside. Visit nearby Dinan, the most attractive and best preserved small town in Brittany with its ramparts, half-timbered houses, art galleries and craft shops.

Day 6  Tours: Take the afternoon to enjoy bustling Tours. Visit the Cathedral St Gatien, which is an absolute ‘show stopper’ with its twin towers, flying buttresses, magnificent stained glass windows and gargoyles. 

Day 7  Tours - Loire valley : During this all day excursion into the Loire valley and the visit to 2 castles witness the glamour and grandeur of French royalty and aristocracy, and gain insights into "castle life" in these Renaissance riverside castles. The largest of the Loire castles, the turreted Chambord Castle, was built for King Francois I as a hunting lodge. Cheverny Castle is the most beautifully furnished of the Loire Valley castles, with a fine collection of 17th-Century furniture. Chenonceau Chateau was built in 1513 over the River Cher in traditional Renaissance style.

The tour includes the visit to one or two castles (varied throughout the week), visits to picturesque towns and gardens, a wine tasting in a cellar cave and lunch in a family estate vineyard. (Itineraries vary throughout the week).

Day 8 Sarlat: It is no co-incidence that Sarlat has been the location of many movie shoots. Walk among the honey-coloured buildings, secret squares and well preserved medieval architecture of this beautiful ancient town. 

Day 9 Sarlat - Dordogne Villages: During your half-day small group tour (max 8 persons) you will be taken to the fortified medieval town of Domme. Then on to La Roque de Gageac, a picturesque township nestled between the sheer cliffs and the Dordogne River, from where you can enjoy a relaxing cruise on an authentic ‘Gabarre’ and admire the majestic castles that line the river. Your final destination on this excursion is the village of Beynac with its austere castle perched on top of a limestone cliff. 

Alternative Day 8 & 9 Puy du Fou theme park: If you are travelling with children, or are just a big kid at heart, then head to ‘Puy du Fou’ instead of Sarlat. This medieval theme park in the French countryside has obtained many awards as being the best theme park in the world. Read more here…. 

Day 10  Bordeaux: The UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Bordeaux, located along the French section of the ‘Santiago de Compostela’ pilgrimage trail, has numerous historic buildings, among them the Palais Rohan and the spectacular neo-classical Grand Theatre.

Day 11  Bordeaux - St Emilion: Your guided small-group tour will  take you to the medieval village of Saint Emilion, named after an 8th Century Breton monk whose followers started the wine production in this area. Walk along the original city walls, climb the steep cobblestone streets and explore wine cellars, artisan studios, craft shops and visit the famous underground church which is carved out of solid limestone. 

Before returning to Bordeaux you will partake in a wine tasting in a chateau and learn about the techniques used to produce this world-famous wine.

If you have extra time to explore the surrounding countryside, take an excursion into the famous wine-growing area of Bordeaux or visit the fishing village of Arcachon.

Day 12 Carcassonne: On arrival in Carcassonne head into the medieval walled city, which, with its towers, turrets and moats looks like something out of a children’s story book. Take a boat trip on the Canal du Midi. Pass through the locks, discover the towpaths and enjoy the views of vineyards and hamlets. 

Day 13 Carcassonne: Special features of this village are the 12th century hump-backed bridge, the covered market surrounded by 14th – 16th Century houses and the 8th Century Abbey. Explore the narrow streets that are filled with art and craft shops and  enjoy the atmospheric eateries before returning to Carcassonne.

Optional extension: Barging on the Canal du Midi

Slip into a lower gear for a week and go barging on the Canal du Midi, the queen of France’s waterways. Float past sleepy villages, medieval fortifications, fields of sunflowers, poppies and lavender, the lush vineyards of the Languedoc wine region and riverside markets.

Moor your boat below overhanging willow trees and awake to the sound of water lapping against the side of the barge. Stop at quaint villages to restock your supplies with local delicacies, negotiate lochs and cycle along the tow path. Meander through the ‘Petit Camargue’, a natural wetland, frequented by flamingos, herons and wild horses.

The canal can be experienced with a self-drive barge or as a cruise, complete with skipper and gourmet chef.

Day 14  Nice / French Riviera: Arrive in bustling Nice, the heart of the French Riviera and take a leisurely afternoon stroll along the azure blue sea of the Bay of Angels. Explore ‘Old Nice’ with its abundance of colours and fragrances. Visit the flower and food market and walk the fabled ‘Promenade des Anglais’.

Day 15  Nice - Monaco or Antibes: Take the train to nearby Monaco, the world’s second smallest country and see how the rich and famous live in this glitzy and glamorous principality. Browse the chic boutiques, see the casino and take a guided tour of the Prince’s Palace. Watch the ‘Changing of the Guard’ at 11:55am and enjoy the breath-taking views of the port and the Mediterranean. 

Alternatively head to Antibes and be enchanted by the 16th Century ramparts, narrow cobble-stoned streets and covered outdoor market of this quintessential Mediterranean town. If you don’t want to leave the Cote d’Azur without a swim in the Mediterranean then the sandy beaches at nearby Juan-les-Pins is the place to be.

Day 16  Avignon:  Avignon from the well-known nursery rhyme, was famous as the refuge for Popes fleeing the corruption in Rome in the 14th Century. The Popes’ Palace is the world’s largest Gothic edifice; it is of an immense scale, with 3m thick walls, numerous watchtowers and fortifications.

There are many other things to see in Avignon: Charming leafy squares and boulevards, Notre Dame Cathedral with is golden statue of the Virgin Mary, ornate buildings and the hilltop ‘Rocher des Doms’ offering magnificent views of the Rhone River.

Day 17  Avignon - ProvenceDuring a half-day tour you will be driven to picturesque hilltop villages of Provence. Stroll in the narrow streets of colourful Roussillon, built on top of an ochre cliff and Gordes, entirely constructed of dry stones from the surrounding mountains.

Visit the lavender museum and learn more about this famous aromatic plant which grows wild in the mountains and is under cultivations in the fields. Mid -June to mid-July you will stop at Senanque Abbey, famous for its lavender fields in full bloom.

Day 18 Annecy / French Alps: This ‘Venice of the Savoie’, as Annecy is sometimes called, is built around a 14th Century fairy-tale turreted chateau and is dissected by numerous canals and streams. The Alpine views are absolutely breathtaking and the amazing turquoise coloured lake is surrounded by wooded and sometimes snow-capped mountains. The old town is an absolute delight with its pastel coloured houses and geranium filled window flower boxes. 

Day 19 Annecy / French Alps: Discover the beauty of the lake and its lake-side villages during a lunch or dinner cruise. From the boat enjoy a relaxing meal in the panorama restaurant and savour traditional French cuisine.

Add extra days to your stay in Annecy. Take an excursion to nearby Geneva in Switzerland, go hiking in the Alpine mountains, cycle around the lake or sail on a catamaran for an unforgettable sunset cruise with the most stunning backdrop. A truly memorable experience to round off your dream tour of France.

Day 20 return journey to Paris

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