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Best French Road Trips
If you have got wheels, wanderlust, and some free time, there’s nothing like a road trip in France to make you appreciate the diversity of the country at a more relaxed pace. Plus French road trips are fun! From the Alps to the French Riviera, from the Atlantic Ocean to cute medieval villages inland, France by car means unforgettable routes that will plunge you straight into the country’s heart and soul.
We’ve made a fair few of our own road trips through France, and you can find more France road trip ideas here. For this post, however, we asked other experienced travelers and friends to help us to complete the list of best road trips in France. The following road trip itineraries can be easily combined, shortened, or extended, and they are suitable for all types of travelers.
PRACTICAL INFO | DRIVING IN FRANCE
Getting around France by car
If you are hitting the French roads for the first time, have a look at our Driving in France Guide.
We recommend booking your car with DiscoverCars.com. This site is great because it takes all major rental companies, such as Hertz, Avis, and more, and compares prices for you. This helps to ensure that you get a great price without all the time and work. Check out our best tips for renting a car in France.
Whether you’re looking to hug the coast or drive through some of the world’s best vineyards, or lavender fields, find your adventure and plan your trip with our France Road Trip Planner e-books. All you need to supply is a car and a killer playlist.
- Duration: 6 days
- Suggested route: Mulhouse – Colmar – Strasbourg
- Region covered: Grand Est
- Best for: sightseeing, small towns, nature, landscapes, French wine
The Alsace Wine Route, in the region of Grand Est, is one of the best road trips in France and one of the oldest and most famous wine routes in France. This France road trip itinerary from Mulhouse to Strasbourg takes 6 days, and it is the perfect road trip for those who love pretty small towns, picturesque landscapes, and wine – Click here to rent a car in Mulhouse
This French road trip starts in Mulhouse, where you will book a hotel for one night. Hotel Bristol is super central, and comfortable and it has secure parking for cars/motorbikes at a small extra cost. Stroll around Mulhouse’s Old Town with beautiful architecture. Mulhouse has two great museums, La Cité de l’Automobile and La Cité du Train. Depending on your interests and the time available in Mulhouse, visit one museum or both.
From Mulhouse, drive to Colmar and book a hotel for three nights. The James Boutique Hotel is central and with beautiful and cozy rooms and common spaces. Take the time to explore Colmar’s pretty streets and historical sights; it is the most beautiful town in Alsace! In Colmar, you can take your first wine tasting tour to learn about the wines of Alsace.
Use Colmar as a base to explore the beautiful town of Kaysersberg on day 3 and the towns of Riquewihr plus Eguisheim on day 4, with more wine tastings. Riquewihr and Eguisheim are very small, so if you start early in the morning, you can also squeeze a short hike through the surrounding vineyards.
On day 5 drive from Colmar to Strasbourg where you will spend your last two nights of this road trip in France. For this last stop, we recommend the Hotel Cathédrale with incredible views over the cathedral and with public parking available nearby.
Before arriving in Strasbourg, stop at the impressive Château de Haut-Koenisgsbourg, one of the best castles in France. Then in Strasbourg, use this Strasbourg itinerary for two days which covers the city’s main sights.
OTHER FRENCH ROAD TRIPS NEARBY
- Duration: 7 to 10 days
- Suggested route: Paris – Lyon – Valence – Avignon – Marseille – Nice
- Region covered: Ile-de-France, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
- Best for: sightseeing, food, and wine
This scenic drive Paris to Nice is one of the best road trips in France starting from Paris. It takes ten days and it is an ideal road trip for those who love history, architecture, food, and good wine – Click here to rent a car in Paris
Arrive in Paris and book a hotel for three nights. Handsome Hotel by Elegancia is super comfortable and is situated close to the main sights. Spend four days in Paris, dedicating one of these days to visiting Versailles from Paris.
From Paris, drive to Beaune where you will spend one night. On the way, you can visit Auxerre, which is a beautiful Burgundian village with some wonderful historic sights. For a night in Beaune, book at the boutique hotel Abbaye de Maizieres, a 12th-century former Cistercian Abbey located in the historical center of Beaune.
Continue south to Lyon, where you are going to sleep for one night. Hotel de l’Abbaye is an authentic spot, intimate, and full of charms. Take the time to visit the Old Town and climb up to Fourvière Hill for some fresh air and great views.
From Lyon, drive to Avignon in Provence. Spend one day in Avignon visiting the Palace of the Popes and other sights, and tasting the local cuisine. Hotel Central is a great option for your night in Avignon.
From Avignon continue south to Marseille for another day of sightseeing. One day to visit Marseille is really short, we recommend spending at least two days. For your time in Marseille, have a look at this Marseille 2-day itinerary and pick the sights and activities you like most. The hotel La Résidence du Vieux Port has the perfect location for your visit to Marseille.
The last stop of this road trip through France is Nice, where you can use this list of best things to do in Nice to visit the city. Hotel La Pérouse Nice Baie des Anges is a great option and comes with the best view of Nice, over the Baie des Anges.
- Duration: 5 days
- Suggested route: Paris – Rouen – Etretat – Honfleur – Cabourg
- Regions covered: Normandy
- Best for: history, small towns, seaside resorts
This 5-day Normandy road trip is a good combination of history, sightseeing, and relaxing walks. This French road trip through Normandy starts from Paris and covers some of the most beautiful sights in the region – Click here to rent a car in Paris
The first stop of this Paris to Normandy road trip is Giverny to visit Monet’s House and Garden. Then, in the afternoon, head to Les Andelys to explore this picturesque town and the Château Gaillard. Château Gaillard is a medieval fortress built in the 12th century under the rule of King Richard the Lionheart. The castle is located on the top of a high cliff, and it dominates one of the meanders of the Seine Valley.
After exploring Les Andelys, drive to Rouen, where you will spend the next two nights. For your stay in Rouen, book at the Best Western Plus Hotel Litteraire Gustave Flaubert, a central hotel inspired by the French poet born and raised in this city.
The second day is dedicated to visiting Rouen, which boasts the best medieval center in all of France and an impressive Gothic cathedral.
On the third day, drive from Rouen to Étretat trough the beautiful Parc Naturel Régional des Boucles de la Seine. On the way, stop at Jumièges Abbey to visit the ruins o this magnificent building. In the afternoon, visit Étretat, a picturesque town on the Alabaster Coast and world-famous for its impressive chalky cliffs. For a unique stay in Étretat, Domaine Saint Clair – Le Donjon is an excellent option, located 500m from the beach.
Day 4 of this Normandy road trip explores Honfleur. This pretty coastal town on the Seine’s estuary is one of Normandy’s top places to visit. For your night in Honfleur, book at Villa du Cèdre, a property full of charm with a garden and swimming pool.
The last day of this Paris – Normandy road trip explores two of the most beautiful seaside resorts of the Côte Fleurie: Deauville and Cabourg. Both towns are well known for their beautiful sandy beaches and Belle Époque villas.
- Duration: 4 days
- Suggested route: Paris – Reims – Epernay – Troyes – Provins
- Regions covered: Grand Est, Ile-de-France
- Best for: history, small towns, champagne wine
This 4-day Champagne itinerary from Paris is another beautiful road trip France has to offer. It explores the historical region of Champagne, well known for its rolling hills, historical sites, and sparkling wine with the same name. This Champagne itinerary is a good combination of sightseeing, beautiful landscapes, and (of course) champagne – Click here to rent a car in Paris
On day one, drive from Paris to Reims. On the way, do a short stop at La Ferté sous Jouarre. This small town, and more precisely its abbey, hosts two wonderful Merovingian crypts from the 7th century listed as historical monuments.
Dedicate the rest of the day to exploring Reims, the capital of Champagne, with many historical gems to visit. The city is well known for its Gothic cathedral, the coronation place for most of the Kings of France. For your night in Reims, we recommend the Domaine Les Crayères, a mythical property in the city nestled in seven hectares of park, 300m from Pommery Champagne House.
Day two of this road trip through the Champagne region explores Epernay and its surroundings. Epernay is best known as the main ‘warehouse’ for champagne wines. Not far from Epernay, there’s the Abbey of Hautvillers, where Dom Perignon is buried. Dom Perignon (1638-1715) was a Benedictine monk credited with the revolutionary champagne method, which transforms a still wine (without bubbles) into sparkling wine.
Leave Epernay and Hautvillers direction to Troyes and stop at Château De Rilly for the night. This lovely château-hotel in the heart of the vineyards of Champagne has individually decorated rooms with period furniture and magnificent grounds.
On the third day of this Champagne road trip visit Troyes. This city was one of France’s most important fair towns during medieval times, a center for hosiery and cloth making. Stroll around the Old Town and admire its beautiful architecture half-timbered houses.
After exploring Troyes, drive west to Provins, where you will spend one night. For your stay in Provins, book at Demeure des Vieux Bains, a stunning historical property with comfortable rooms and beautiful gardens.
During the last day of this Champagne road trip, explore Provins, another medieval fair town. Provins is well-known for its medieval festival (yearly, in June) and its underground city, a vast network of tunnels and passages from the 13th century that connected all the houses.
- Duration: 5 to 6 days
- Suggested route: Carcassonne – Cucugnan – Narbonne – Carcassonne
- Regions covered: Occitanie
- Best for: history, medieval châteaux, small towns
This Cathar Country road trip from Carcassone in Southern France takes five to six days and is an ideal trip for those who love history, medieval castles, and small towns. For the history of the Cathar and a complete description of the Cathar sites, check out the detailed itinerary – Click here to rent a car in Carcassone
Arrive at Carcassone and book a hotel for two nights. Mercure Carcassonne La Cité is super comfortable and has a refreshing swimming pool. The hotel also boasts amazing views of the walled citadel from the garden and some rooms.
Take a day to explore the medieval Cité de Carcassonne, one of the most important Cathar sites and one of the main targets during the first Cathar Crusade in 1209.
Day 2 of this road trip in Southern France visits the charming medieval town of Mirepoix, and then Château de Monségur, where the last Cathars who did not surrender were burnt alive. Spend the night at the Logis Auberge du Vigneron, in Cucugnan, with fabulous views of the surrounding valley.
On day 3, visit Château de Peyrepertuse and Château de Quéribus, two fabulous hilltop fortresses and Cathar sites. Then drive to Fontjoncouse, a gorgeous oh-so typical French village in the heart of the Aude department conveniently located close to the next Cathar sites. Book a room (or a full cottage) for one night at Le Petit Clos, a charming guesthouse with a swimming pool, terrace, and garden.
The next day of this France road trip, visit Fontfroide Abbey and the medieval village of Lagrasse with the Benedictine Abbey of St Mary of Orbieu. Both abbeys had an important role in the Cathar crusades, and they are interesting to visit.
On the last day of this Cathar road trip, drive to Minerve, a pretty medieval village where you can see a replica of one of the catapults used by the Crusaders. Then, visit Châteaux de Lastours, an ensemble of four Cathar castles with a spectacular setting at the top of a rocky spur, before driving back to Carcassonne.
- Duration: 4 days
- Suggested route: Beaune – Vougeot – Dijon
- Regions covered: Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
- Best for: sightseeing, landscapes, small towns, food, and wine.
This itinerary covering part of the Route des Grands Crus is one of the best wine road trips France has to offer. This Burgundy road trip from Beaune to Dijon takes four days and is an ideal road trip for wine lovers who also enjoy small towns and beautiful landscapes – Click here to rent a car in Beaune
Arrive at Beaune the day before and book a hotel for 2 nights. Château de Challanges, a gorgeous 19th-century country house set in 7 hectares is perfect for a relaxing stay.
Take a day to explore medieval Beaune, the capital of wines of Burgundy. Be sure to cover Les Hospices de Beaune, a jewel of Burgundian architecture, and La Maison des Climats to learn more about the climats of Burgundy.
From Beaune, drive to Vougeot, where you will spend one night. For something special, book at Château de Gilly, a 14h-16th century château with moats, French-style gardens, and a dining room with a magnificent vaulted ceiling.
On the way to Vougeot, stop at Nuits-Saint-Georges, a lively small town with a long history of wine-making. Visit the town, and perhaps a domaine for some wine tastings.
In the afternoon visit the Abbey of Cîteaux, the founder of the Cistercian order in France. It was its abbot who spotted the best kind of soils and selected certain grape varieties, improving the quality of the wines.
On day 3, visit the Château Clos de Vougeot, a must of any Burgundy wine route. In the 14th century, the monks of the Abbey of Cîteaux built the first walls separating vineyards, known as clos, contributing like this to the promotion of the wines of the region. Clos de Vougeot was the first clos built by the monks, and the visit reveals the winemaking genius of the monks in the Middle Ages.
In the afternoon, drive to Gevrey-Chambertin, a small village home to nine Burgundy Grands Crus and perfect for a stroll and some wine tastings. Then, drive to Dijon where you will spend one night. The Grand Hotel La Cloche Dijon is a good option, conveniently located close to all the main attractions.
On the last day of this Burgundy road trip visit Dijon, the historical capital of Burgundy. Dijon was home to the Dukes of Burgundy and as such, it has an interesting cultural and architectural heritage. Follow the owl trail which takes you to Dijon’s main sights like the Hôtel des Ducs de Bourgogne, built in the 14th-15h centuries.
OTHER FRENCH ROAD TRIPS NEARBY
- Duration: 4 days
- Suggested route: Paris – Baume-les-Messieurs – Château-Chalon – Dole
- Regions covered: Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
- Best for: landscapes, small towns, hiking
This road trip around France takes four days, and it is the ideal road trip for those who love nature and good food & wine. This Jura road trip from Paris covers the region of the lakes and waterfalls of the Jura, a department of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in Eastern France – Click here to rent a car in Paris
From Paris, drive to Baume-Les-Messieurs, a picturesque village in the heart of a blind valley. Take a stroll to explore the village and its main sights and then head to the Cascade des Tufs, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Jura.
For the first night, book a hotel in one of the villages nearby. La Maison du Lac Chalain, in Doucier, is a good option and it has an excellent restaurant perfect to taste the regional cuisine.
The second day is dedicated to exploring some of the best lakes and waterfalls of the Jura. The hike to the Belvédère des 4 lacs and Pic de l’Aigle (12 Km) is one of the area’s main highlights. If you start the day early, you can also hike to the Cascades du Hérisson, a beautiful 4 km trail that links many waterfalls.
Then drive to Château-Chalon, another pretty village in the Jura, where you are going to spend the night. Les Relais des Abbesses is a beautiful, historical property in the heart of the village and it has a terrasse with magnificent views over the Jurassic plateau.
Spend the morning of the third day visiting Château-Chalon, one of the villages with the label ‘most beautiful villages in France’. In the afternoon, head to Dole, which was the capital of the County of Burgundy until its annexation to the Kingdom of France.
Dole is a picturesque city bordered by the Doubs river, a city of canals and interesting architecture from the 16th century. Dole’s old center is a confusion of alleyways edged by Renaissance homes with turrets and courtyards. Book a night at Hotel de la Cloche, a charming property with an excellent location for exploring the city on the last day of this road trip.
OTHER FRENCH ROAD TRIPS NEARBY
Loire Valley Road Trip from Nantes
- Duration: 5 days
- Suggested route: Nantes – Saumur – Amboise – Angers
- Regions covered: Pays de la Loire and Centre Val de Loire
- Best for: Renaissance châteaux, small towns, French wine
This Loire Valley road trip from Nantes Airport to Chambord and the best Loire Valley Castles takes five days and is an ideal French road trip for those who love history, architecture, food, and wine – Click here to rent a car at Nantes Airport
Arrive at Nantes Airport and drive about 90 minutes to Saumur. Book a hotel in Saumur for two nights. Hotel St. Pierre is super comfortable, has a great historical feel, and is situated right on the main square. Dine at Michelin-starred Le Gambetta to treat yourself to an amazing French meal.
From Saumur, drive to Château d’Usse (the castle that inspired Sleeping Beauty) with a stop at Château Miniere for a walk among the vines and some wine tasting on the way. The sumptuous and artistic gardens at Chateau Villandry are also a must-see and easily accessible from Saumur.
Continue east along the Loire Valley to Amboise for two nights. Hotel Le Manoir St. Thomas is a great choice of hotel and even features a suit of armor to guard the lobby. Amboise is home to Château de Clos Luce where Da Vinci spent the final years of his life. From Amboise, drive to the Loire Valley’s most iconic chateaux including Château Chenonceau and Château Chambord. Enjoy dinner in Blois followed by the exciting light show after dark at Château Royal de Blois.
On the return to Nantes Airport, break up the more than 3-hour drive with a stop in Angers to see the Apocalypse Tapestries at Château d’Angers. Chateau d’Angers resembles a menacing fortress rather than an elegant chateau and is an excellent counterpoint to the other places visited on this Loire Valley Itinerary.
By Jennifer (aka Dr. J) | Sidewalk Safari
OTHER FRENCH ROAD TRIPS NEARBY
West Coast of France Road Trip
- Duration: 10 days
- Suggested route: Etretat – Ile de Ré – Bordeaux – Biarritz
- Regions covered: Normandy and Nouvelle Aquitaine
- Best for: architecture, sightseeing, nature, and landscapes
Stunning landscapes, old cities, and historically important places are all part of a road trip along the west coast of France. Whether you camp or stay in hotels, this west coast of France road trip will be epic.
Start this France west coast road trip in Étretat, known for its huge chalk cliffs. Enjoy a breathtaking walk on the cliffs and finish off with a delicious seafood dish in one of the seafront restaurants of this pleasant village.
The next stop is the WW2 beaches of D-day, such as Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. Visiting this place will leave an everlasting impression. The last stop in Normandy is Mont-Saint-Michel, the medieval abbey that speaks to anyone’s imagination. It is built on a rock in the sea and can only be reached by a bridge during high tide.
This road trip through the west coast skips the region of Brittany. The next stop of this itinerary is the island of Ile-de-Ré in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine.
Ile-de-Ré is a fantastic small Island, right off the coast, reachable by a toll bridge. The island is known for oysters, the local drink Pinot, salt production, and the lighthouse watching over its rugged coastline. Rent a bike, as this is the main way of transport on the island.
After a 1 or 2 day visit to Bordeaux, continue your journey to Arcachon and Dune du Pilat. This dune is the highest and biggest dune in Europe. Walking across it will give you the feeling of being in a desert. Enjoy the sunset on top of the dune while watching over the Bassin of Arcachon. A moment you’ll never forget. End this west coast of France road trip with a visit to Biarritz, close to the Spanish border, and go surf in the Atlantic waters.
By Hellen | the Global Wizards
- Duration: 3 days
- Suggested route: Aix-en-Provence – Valensole – Verdon Natural Regional Park
- Regions covered: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
- Best for: nature, and landscapes
If you are looking for southern France road trip ideas, you will love this itinerary from Aix-en-Provence to the Verdon Natural Regional Park, considered one of the most scenic drives in France – Click here to rent a car in Aix-en-Provence
Did you know that there was a Grand Canyon in France? Yep. Well, it’s not as big, but when you get there, you’ll have the same feeling. It’s called the Gorges du Verdon or Verdon Gorge, and it’s a stunning rocky landscape with towering cliffs, where a turquoise-green river meanders at the bottom.
To start this south of France road trip, you can drive from Aix-en-Provence or any nearby major cities: Marseille, Nice, or even Cannes. The trip takes three days to complete, with one day in Valensole and the lavender fields, one day driving around the different lakes, and one day driving the epic road on top of the Gorges du Verdon. Here are the major stops on this trip:
–Valensole is famous for its lavender fields, which bloom from the end of June to the end of July. Valensole is a cute little village where you can spend the night after exploring the fields around.
–Esparron de Verdon, and Lac Quinson de Verdon, are two small lakes with absolutely no crowds. Lac Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon is the main lake in the area and the perfect place to stop for a while and relax on the beach.
–Gorges du Verdon is the main attraction around here, France’s Grand Canyon. Drive on top of the gorges on an epic scenic route (Route des Crêtes), and enjoy one of the most beautiful landscapes in France.
–Sillans la Cascade. Before you leave, check out this secret waterfall, it is absolutely worth the trip!
One of the best places to establish your home base while you explore the area is the village of Valensole, for the ultimate traditional French experience. The bed & breakfast Les Terrasses de Valensole is exceptional.
By Kevin | Kevmrc
Gorges du Tarn Road Trip
- Duration: 4 days
- Suggested route: Millau – La Malène – Florac
- Regions covered: Occitanie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
- Best for: nature, landscapes, and small towns
Les Gorges du Tarn is another beautiful south of France road trip. This 4-day itinerary will take you through The Causses, and The Cévennes, a region that offers the ultimate scenery for an amazing road trip: from deep gorges with hairpin bends to wide-open pastoral landscapes. Because of its uniqueness, the region has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List.
This French road trip starts and ends in Millau. On the first day, visit the world’s tallest bridge – Millau Viaduct –, and the tiny village of Payre. Stay the first night in Millau and use the evening to explore this beautiful medieval city. Hotel des Causses in Millau is comfortable, central, and has an on-site restaurant.
The next day head to the heart of the Gorges du Tarn. The road (D809, D907, and D907bis) follows the bends of the River Tarn, which has cut deeply into the cliffs forming this stunning canyon. You’ll be passing through lots of lovely villages along the Tarn.
At Les Vignes, take the D46 road to Point Sublime, from where you will have the most breathtaking view over the canyon. Go back to Les Vignes and follow the road towards La Malène. On the way, stop at Pas de Soucy for some more amazing views.
You can stay the second night at La Malène. The B&B Relais des Monts is a beautiful building in lovely surroundings and has a pool perfect for a fresh bath after the drive.
On day 3, head to Sainte-Enimie – a postcard beautiful village. On the way, you can stop at Saint-Chélly-du-Tarn. After Sainte-Enimie, continue to Florac, where you can spend the third night. Grand Hotel du Parc has a perfect and relaxing setting in Cévennes National Park.
The next day take D16 and D63 to the famous cave Aven Armand. You’ll be crossing Causse Méjean, a plateau with a totally different landscape from the canyons. After the cave, stop at the nearby Medieval Farm (Ferme Caussenarde d’Autrefois).
Afterward, continue to Meyrueis on D986 and at Meyrueis take D996 to Le Rozier. Follow the road along the canyon on La Jonte River – Gorges de la Jonte. Stop at Le Rozier and Peyrelau – two lovely places where La Jonte flows into Tarn. Afterward, continue to Millau.
By Daniela | Ipanema Travels
- Duration: 7-10 days
- Suggested route: Cannes – Antibes – Nice – Monaco
- Regions covered: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
- Best for: landscapes, and sightseeing
This French Riviera road trip from Cannes is one of the most scenic drives in France and one of the best road trips in France, with the French Riviera coastline being dotted with picturesque towns and pristine coves along the way – Click here to rent a car in Cannes
One of the best starting points for this French road trip along the Côte d’Azur is Cannes as not only is this easily accessible, but it is a city filled with glitz and glamour that will make you feel as though you’ve arrived in the French Riviera in style! Spend your first night (or two) here soaking up the atmosphere before moving on towards Nice.
On your way to Nice, you might want to stop off in Antibes. This is a lovely place to unwind after the buzz of Cannes and you can enjoy a relaxing lunch and spend your afternoon at the Picasso Museum. If you want to hike the Cap d’Antibes and spend an extra day on the beach, consider staying a night in Antibes itself.
Next, you’ll drive to Nice, where you can explore the city’s narrow streets, bustling markets, and ochre-colored architecture. After spending 2 days in Nice and around, you can drive on to Monaco, stopping off at the medieval village of Eze and perhaps Villefranche-sur-Mer. You can then choose whether you want to stay in Monaco for a chic casino break or move on to Menton, a small foodie town on the French /Italian border.
The distances between the destinations are relatively short, so you can easily tick off two places in one day. We would suggest spending at least seven days on this French Riviera road trip, but of course, you can spend much longer delving into this stunning French region.
By Chrisoula | Historic European Castles
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