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So you’ve got a trip planned for two weeks in France. Now what? Well, the good news is you have arrived at the right place. This blog is all about France, and it is run by locals who spend a lot of time exploring the country. We have an endless list of suggestions to make your 2-week trip to France a memorable one.
While 2 weeks in France isn’t long enough to see it all, it is certainly a good amount of time to see some of the main highlights.
Two Weeks in France Itinerary by Train
While you could easily spend two months (or all your life!) exploring all France has to offer, this 2 weeks in France itinerary is designed as a highlights itinerary to see the country for the first time.
This France itinerary 2 weeks includes some of the main cities in France and a bit of the French countryside, the Atlantic coast, and the Mediterranean Sea. All the longer distances of these 2 weeks in France suggested itinerary can be covered by train, which is a fast and comfortable way to travel between the major cities in France. As for the day trips, the best way to organize is through small group guided tours. Try to book train tickets and tours online well in advance to be sure to get the best train connections and deals.
2 Weeks in France by Train Itinerary
Days 1-4 – Paris (Day trip to Versailles)
Days 4-7 – Bordeaux (Day trips to Saint Émilion and Arcachon Bay)
Days 8-10 – Marseille
Days 10-12 – Avignon (Day trip to lavender fields and villages of Provence)
Days 12-14 – Lyon
Arriving in Paris
The first stop in your 2 weeks in France by train itinerary is Paris, the French capital and France’s most iconic city.
If you have the budget, go for a hotel with Eiffel Tower views. A good (and cheaper) alternative is Hotel Dupond-Smith at Le Marais. This is a central hotel, with great facilities, that always gets the best reviews.
Once you have settled into your accommodation, waste no time in getting to know this city. We suggest this Paris 2-day itinerary which covers the city’s main highlights such as Cité, the Louvre Museum, Montmartre, the Latin Quarter, and of course the Eiffel Tower.
Because you will have a bit more than 2 full days in Paris, you can take it easier and spend more time in some of these places or add to your itinerary some of these 50 iconic things to do in Paris.
Day Trip to Versailles
On the fourth day of your visit to France, take a guided tour or a train out to see the beautiful Versailles Palace and Gardens.
A trip to Versailles deserves a day in full. You can decide to visit just the Palace and the Gardens or buy a Versailles Pass to visit also the Queen’s Estate, with the Trianons and the Queen’s Hamlet.
We recommend reading this Versailles Quick Guide to find the best way for visiting Versailles on a day trip from Paris.
As you arrive in Bordeaux after a short 2-hour train ride from Paris, hop on a bus or taxi to reach your hotel.
Bordeaux has a wide range of good hotels with comfortable rooms and great facilities. We recommend Le Boutique Hotel, an 18th-century private mansion surrounding a lush garden, located in the shopping Golden Triangle. Another great option is the top-rated Hotel de Tourny, in the heart of the historic district. It has a cozy atmosphere and a beautiful patio.
Once you’ve settled into your accommodation, be sure to wander around this elegant city, renowned for its remarkable architectural unity dating back to the 18th century. Place de la Bourse is a must-see and the famous Rue Sainte Catherine, the main pedestrian artery of the town center, is a shopper’s delight.
Day Trip to Saint Émilion
On the next day be sure to take a guided tour to Saint Émilion, a picturesque town and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that remarkably preserved its medieval vestiges. In Saint Émilion most probably you will end up tasting some more wine but in a place home of some of the best wines in the world, this is not bad at all!
Day Trip to Arcachon Bay
The Bay of Arcachon is a beautiful place to visit on a day trip to Bordeaux. This little inland sea, open to the ocean, is known for its exceptional natural heritage, and upscale resorts.
While there, make sure to taste some oysters and mussels, the region’s specialties, and climb up to the top of Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe.
Today starts early, ideally with the 6:30 am train between Bordeaux and Marseille. In a little less than 6 hours, you will have crossed the country from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, from Nouvelle Aquitaine to the heart of Provence.
Marseille is the capital of Provence and the country’s second-biggest city. Marseille is a very interesting city to explore, quite different from the other main cities in France. We recommend following this Marseille 2-day itinerary which covers the city’s main highlights such as Notre Dame de la Garde, the Old Port, or the historical neighborhood of Le Panier. Be sure to get a taste of the Provençal cuisine in one of the restaurants recommended in our Marseille city guide.
For your stay in Marseille, we recommend booking at Hotel la Résidence du Vieux Port, with the perfect location right on the banks of the Old Port, and the perfect view. Alex Hotel & Spa is a good option too, conveniently located next to the train station, and with a good quality-price relationship.
After your time in Marseille, board on one of the first trains to Avignon (35 min) for a different taste of Provence.
This charming city on the South bank of the Rhône River was for a brief moment in time the center of the catholic world, as the popes left Rome and came to live in Avignon. The Papal Palace, home of seven popes, is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a must-see of Avignon.
In Avignon, Hotel Central has a great location near the train station, and it comes with a pleasant front garden and an on-site bar. For something really special check out Hotel Cloitre Saint Louis Avignon. This hotel is set in a 16th-century building, featuring arches and vaulted ceilings, and it has a beautiful garden and an outdoor swimming pool.
Once you arrive at your hotel, take the time to book a tour to explore the most picturesque villages of Provence, if you haven’t already done so in advance.
Enjoy 1 day in Avignon. Here everything is within walking distance and you can easily explore the city while strolling through its small cobblestone lanes. Be sure to wander along the Pont d’Avignon (the famous bridge) or at least admire it from afar.
Day Trip Highlights of Provence
Enjoy a day tour exploring the lavender fields (if it is the right season) and some of the most beautiful villages in Provence. If you are visiting this area in June or July, this top-rated lavender tour includes the 12th-century Senaque Abbey and its surrounding lavender fields plus the oh-so-pretty village of Roussillon. Out of this period, we recommend this Best of Provence tour that takes you to the Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard and the picturesque villages of Roussillon, Les Baux de Provence, and Gordes.
After your time in Avignon and surrounds, a TGV train will take you from Avignon to Lyon in only one hour which means almost a first full day to explore the city. Situated in the country’s east near the Alps, the third-largest city and major tourist destination offers yet another side to France.
Two days in Lyon is a good amount of time to explore the city’s main highlights. Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) is the city’s most popular area for tourists. This district has been the best preserved of all of Lyon’s neighborhoods, and visitors today can admire its Renaissance architecture and alleyways and some fascinating cultural museums like the Gadagne Museum which houses both the Historical Museum of Lyon and the Museum of Puppetry Art.
Lyon has also been recognized as the food capital of France (and the world according to some!). If you are a food lover we strongly recommend this food tour to learn more about the local gastronomy.
Don’t know where to stay in Lyon? Hotel l’Abbaye is an authentic spot, intimate and full of charms.
Lyon – Paris
Unfortunately, these 2 weeks in France by train are finishing today and it’s time to take the last train back to Paris. With a TGV train, you will reach the French capital in less than 2 hours. If you are not traveling back home until the next day, perhaps you can stop at Dijon, leave your luggage in the luggage storage facilities and do a quick visit to the city before boarding on the very last train to Paris.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your French adventure today!
Join France Bucket List – The France Travel Planning Facebook Group
You are also welcome to join France Bucket List our France Travel Planning Facebook Group – it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Paris or France!