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Top Trip Memories

  • Sailing down the Rhone on a river cruise ship sipping a glass of wine while watching the French countryside glide by.
  • Hitting the highlights at the massive Louvre museum in Paris followed by a stroll along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower.
  • Taking a dip in the sea with the beautiful people at a resort town on the Riviera.
  • Visiting the beaches of Normandy stormed by Allied troops in World War II while on a cruise along the Seine.
  • Trekking through the Pyrenees to the Spanish border for incredible mountain views.
  • Relaxing at a sidewalk cafe in Provence leisurely sipping a cafe au lait in the sunshine.
  • Dining at a bistro where the waiter adds up your bill on the butcher paper spread across your table.
  • Marveling at the royal finery and expansive gardens at the Palace of Versailles.
  • Biking through Bordeaux or Burgundy and stopping to taste the vintages at a centuries old winery.
  • Enjoying the mix of French and German cultures in Alsace-Lorraine.
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Tour Tips

  • France is so rich in cultural opportunities and activities of all sorts that you can’t expect to see it all in one trip. Pick a tour that visits a region or two and get to know that area well, then return to other regions you want to visit on subsequent tours.
  • On a tour of France, you can choose anything from luxury on down to basic accommodations, dining, and transportation -- something to fit every budget.
  • Specialty tours are a good way to experience France: culinary, wine, art and architecture, walking, biking, World War II history, even religious pilgrimages are all available.
  • Don’t overlook river and barge cruises, which offer a convenient, leisurely way to see the country, stopping both at important ports such as Rouen and Lyon and small villages as well.
  • Don’t be put off from visiting France by the reputation of French people -- especially Parisians -- as rude to visitors. A simple greeting such as “bonjour, madame,” and a smile will almost always win you good service and a return
  • When planning your tour, keep in mind that almost all of France goes on vacation during the entire month of August, so for the full French experience you may want to pick a different month.
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France Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.6 out of 5

97%

recommend

573 Reviews

  • Excellent 415
  • Great 124
  • Average 21
  • Disappointing 7
  • Terrible 6

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.6
  • Guide
    4.6
  • Activities
    4.6
  • Lodging
    4.6
  • Transportation
    4.6
  • Meals
    4.6

Tour Reviews

Rich learning experience

The France - Provence Untour

5.0
November 2016
Untours
Recommend: Yes
Overall, it was a rich learning experience for us. All Untours staff have been exceptionally helpful and kind. Hosts are warm and welcoming and respond to requests, even though a mutual language is minimal. We love being able to adjust our pace as we desire. We enjoy discovering the local restaurants and markets. (It seems we always find the most fun places on the last day or two or our stay!)
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Alpine cols of the Tour de France

Alpine Cols of the Tour de France

5.0
November 2016
Untours
Recommend: Yes
I backed up from the Pyrenean coast to coast two days earlier. In comparison this is a much easier tour with less kilometres per day. The scenery is stunning and the climbs are achievable if you can do all of the seven peaks climbs in Australia. I took my own bike which was not a hassle and provided comfortable, confident riding which was an advantage as the descents are long. Go prepared with at least one set of winter gear, we needed it on one day.
Climbing alpe d'huez after 72km on the last day and being in the 50th percentile on strava, as I am not a climber.

Thierry was motivated and fun. Would often provide further riding for those who were keen after the main ride which I took the opportunity to do on one day when we headed back over the mountains into Italy. It was nice to have an official photographer.

This is much easier than the Pyrenean coast to coast if you are deciding on which to do and are not a fit rider.

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Alpine Cols of the Tour de France

Alpine Cols of the Tour de France

5.0
November 2016
Untours
Recommend: Yes
This is one trip that I won’t forget in a hurry. The climbs were tough, but the distances just about right to give some time off in the afternoon to relax and recover. The scenery was simply stunning and the descents were thrilling. Apart from one day when things turned a bit grim on the Galibier, the weather was warm, sunny and perfect for cycling. It was great having the minibus as backup, stopping at different locations each night and the group leader was excellent. I was a little perturbed about going on my own, but really needn't have been. The group were a nice mix of ages, abilities and nationalities and very easy to get on with. Highly recommended.
It pretty much all was, but the ascents of the Col d'Izoard and Col de la Crox de Fer were exceptional.

Our group leader was very friendly and helpful, as well as being knowledgeable about the local area and all things bike-related.

The weather may suddenly take a turn for the worse, so bring winter gear as back-up. We needed it on one day, when temperatures plummeted to 7 deg.C and snow fell on the Galibier.

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Beautiful Dordogne August 2016

Dordogne Family Activity Week

5.0
November 2016
Untours
Recommend: Yes
There are many reasons why we loved our family activity week in France. The locations were stunning, the variety of activities mixed with the culture, history, food, and a fantastic leader worked perfectly for us. We particularly enjoyed meeting a really great group of families who were fun, like minded and felt like a real dream team. The holiday fulfilled all my expectations and more, we came away feeling inspired, invigorated and very happy. Thank you Exodus!
Swimming upstream in the Dordogne at 7.30am. Paul our leader guiding the way before stopping to watch 3 hot air balloons touch the water and rise off and away into the distance. The turbo swim back down stream was exhilarating to say the least!

Paul was great. We were a group of strong characters in every way, and he was able to manage all our varied needs and speeds to keep us on schedule and make sure we got everything that the trip promised.

The pace can be quite challenging on the day one trek and cycle for the less 'active' or the youngest of the children. But despite this ALL the children managed it with a sense of real achievement

I think the trip would benefit from an assistant for Paul.

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Fantastic cycling adventure

Self-Guided Cycling in Provence & the Luberon

5.0
November 2016
Untours
Recommend: Yes
This was an amazing cycling trip through the Luberon National Park and Provence. Every day took us through beautiful countryside and there were plenty of opportunities to stop for coffee and experience Provencal village life. All the hotels were good quality the jewel in the crown being the two nights at Charembeau, an amazing setting and lovely people. We cycled in early September and it was into the mid thirties somedays, we were told this was unseasonable hot and it was a bit too warm one day. We hired the hybrid bikes which were ideal as some road surfaces would not have been ideal for road bikes. The swimming pools at two of the hotels were great to cool down in after a day cycling. We did have a slight problem on arrival with the first night hotel booking and bike hire but this was quickly resolved by Exodus. Overall the organisation was very good and we were able to navigate using the trip notes.
Cycling up Mont Ventoux, the last 6k from Chalet Reynard was tough.

N/a

If you are not good in heat consider spring or autumn. If going in the summer start cycling early, some shops shut at lunch but we had no problems getting food and drink. Take picnics there are many places to enjoy brilliant views.

This is an amazing cycling experience on mostly quiet roads. The food was amazing and the tour gives you the chance to see a part of France you otherwise may not visit.

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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


Classic Itineraries

Highlights of France in 1 Week

Day 1-2, Paris: Visit the Eiffel Tower, Louvre museum, stroll the Champs Elysees, and enjoy the bustle of one of the world’s most popular and picturesque cities.

Day 3, Normandy: Take a day to visit the historic Normandy beaches and learn about the pivotal WWII events that took place there.

Day 4-5, Dijon: Absorb the art culture, visit a country chateau, and marvel at the incredible architecture.

Day 6-7, Provence: Scenic drives, wine tasting, picnics, and rustic country French cuisine.

Trips that follow this itinerary:

Paris & Normandy with Uniworld - 8 Days, premium trip

Highlights of France with Intrepid - 9 Days, premium trip

Jewels of France with Globus - 8 Days, value trip

Or see All One Week France Itineraries

Highlights of France in 2 Weeks

Day 1-2, Paris: Visit the Eiffel Tower, Louvre museum, stroll the Champs Elysees, and enjoy the bustle of one of the world’s most popular and picturesque cities.

Day 3, Normandy: On the way to Normandy, stop in Giverny to visit the Monet House and Gardens. Rouen, Notre Dame cathedral.

Day 4, Mont St. Michel: Spend a day at this UNESCO World Heritage Site, exploring the Abbey.

Day 5, Normandy Beaches: Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Bayeux Tapestry.

Day 6-7, Loire Valley: Villandry, wine tasting at Chateau de Chambord and Saumur.

Day 8-9, Paris: Return to Paris for a few days. Take a day trip to tour Versailles.

Day 10, Avignon: Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Provence. Admire the gothic architecture of Avignon, visit the Palais des Papes and Pont d’Avignon.

Day 11, Provence: Saint-Remy-de-Provence, Les Baux-de-Provence, Church of St. Vincent.

Day 12, Marseille to Cassis: Enjoy a walking tour of Marseille, a vibrant city and the second largest in France. Continue onto the cliffside fishing town of Cassis.

Day 13-14, Nice: Spend your last two days in Nice. Enjoy the beauty of the Cote D’Azur, Promenade des Anglais with its Baroque architecture. See Colline du Chateau and visit the Picasso museum in Antibes.

Tours that follow this itinerary:

Unforgettable France with Smartours - 14 Days, value trip

La France with Globus - 15 Days, premium trip

Frances Finest with Viking River Cruises - 15 Days, luxury trip

Or see All France in Two Weeks Itineraries

1 Week Cycling Tour in Provence

France is one of the most popular cycling destinations in the world, with it’s gorgeous views and country roads. Just be careful not to drink too much wine along the way!

Day 1, Avignon: Picturesque classic French countryside, wine tasting.

Day 2-3, Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Experience a more forested landscape, biking on beautiful country roads, before reaching the Rhone wine country. Enjoy the classic wines of the region, and French country cuisine.

Day 4-5, St. Remy: Visit the idyllic French village of Les Baux, enjoy farm style picnics, and beautiful art galleries.

Day 6, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer: Cycle along the seashore all day, have dinner in Arles before departing the tour.

Tours that follow this itinerary:

Provence Biking Private with Butterfield & Robinson - 6 Days, luxury trip

Cycle Provence with Intrepid - 8 Days, value trip

Provence Bike Tour with Duvine Cycling - 6 Days, luxury tour

Or see All Cycling Tours in France

France Trips & Tour Advice

France is by far the most visited country in the world. And that’s no surprise -- when you have Paris, the Riviera, Provence, Burgundy, the Loire Valley, Normandy, the Pyrenees, the Seine, the Rhone, and some of the world’s best food and wine, you’re going to draw crowds. Whether you tour France by river cruise, culinary tour, or bike tour you’re sure to agree: Viva La France!

With more than 80 million visitors annually from around the world, France draws far more foreign tourists than any other country.

Paris trip, of course, is on most everyone’s itinerary, with sights like the Louvre (so huge it could easily take a month to cover beyond the Mona Lisa), Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, the Latin Quarter, the Marais, and the Seine with its Bateaux Mouches boats and dozens of bridges offering a walkway or river ride through the center of it all. 

Beyond Paris

But as wonderful as it is, Paris is just a start. Not far away stands the splendid Palace of Versailles, where the Sun KIng, Louis XIV, and Marie Antoinette held court in the days preceding the French Revolution. Also nearby is Chartres Cathedral, featuring some of the finest stained-glass windows in Europe.

A bit farther takes you southwest of Paris to the Loire Valley, site of a number of wineries and chateaux. And northwest lies a series of towns and cities along the Seine that inspired artists like Van Gogh and Monet and where Joan of Arc died at the stake in the 14th century.

The Seine leads to Normandy, on the English Channel, site of distinctive architecture, lovely seaside villages, Mont-St-Michel (the remarkable fortress surrounded by water and reachable only at low tide) and beaches that were crucial to the Allied invasion of then-Nazi-occupied France in World War II some 60 years ago.

River Cruises

Paris to Normandy is one of the major river cruising routes in France. Other popular routes include Lyon -- one of France’s gastronomic capitals -- south to the Mediterranean, which goes along the Rhone River through Burgundy wine country; and routes that travel through the Bordeaux wine regions on France’s west coast.

All offer a relaxed but informative way to tour France, since all the river cruises feature numerous port stops, many with guided tours included.

The Riviera and Provence

Tour along the Mediterranean Sea, the glamorous and sometimes ostentatious French Riviera beach resorts include Cannes (site of the film festival), Nice (the largest city), Cap Ferrat, and St. Tropez. The Riviera is just part of sunny Provence in southeastern France, which is tucked between the Rhone River, Italy, the Alps and the Mediterranean. It’s a land where sea air, mountain gorges, vineyards, Medieval villages Roman ruins, olive groves and lavender fields combine to create a sensuous medley of sights, scents and tastes.

The light in Provence is so striking that painters such as Van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso were all drawn here, immortalizing the landscapes, architecture, and people. Provence is home as well to France’s second largest city and major port, Marseilles, which displays North African influences and is known for bouillabaisse, the local fish stew. All this has helped make Provence France’s number one tourist destination beyond Paris.

And Much More

France also has mountain playgrounds in the Alps bordering Switzerland and the Pyrenees bordering Spain; the French-German influenced province of Alsace-Lorraine centered in Strasbourg, and other magnificent cities such as Avignon, Toulouse, Dijon, Nantes, and Lille.

In fact, every corner of the country contains picturesque villages, inviting bistros and cafes, the aromas of fresh-baked baguettes and croissants, the clink of wine glasses, and roadways and paths just waiting to be explored on foot, by bike, or by motor. With such a wealth of attractions to choose from, you can rely on Stride to help you find the right tour for your upcoming voyage touristique. 

Related Guides

Continent:

Europe

Local Attractions: 

Eiffel Tower, Palace of Versailles, Mont Saint-Michel, Gorge du Verdon, St Tropez and Many More

Top Activities:

Historic Sightseeing, River Cruises, Cycling & Biking and Culinary & Wine Tasting

Similar Destinations:      

Italy, Germany, Spain & Ireland

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