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One Week in France – 6 Ways to Spend 7 Days in France

04/08/2023

Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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France Itinerary 7 Days: 6 Ideas for a Week in France

Trying to decide how to spend one week in France isn’t an easy task. After all, there are so many different ways to spend 7 days in France that you will need to leave some of the places on your France bucket list for another time.

That being said, you can take an amazing trip to France in a week and travel back home with the feeling you had a fantastic taste of the country.

What to do in France for a week? We’ve broken down 6 ways to spend 1 week in France so that you can choose the best France itinerary for you. From the classic France itinerary 7 days to French itineraries that explore lesser-known areas, here are 6 incredible ways to spend a week in France!

France by Train

All these France in one-week itineraries are very easy to organize by train, with direct train connections most of the time. France by train is a fun and easy way to visit the country that we recommend for one week in France.

If you visit France in one week, make sure to book the train tickets between the main stops online well in advance: TGV train connections between the main cities sell out very fast! – Check out our Train Travel Guide

Option 1: Paris – Marseille – Nice

Marseille - France

This 1 week France itinerary visits Paris and two of the most vibrant cities in Southern France. With this Paris and South of France itinerary 7 days, explore the French capital and some of the best places in Provence and the French Riviera.

Stop 1 | Paris (2 days)

In Paris, you will want to visit some of the city’s main sights, perhaps with a couple of leisure strolls around the most picturesque areas.

Paris highlights:

For your stay in Paris, book at the Handsome Hotel by Elegancia. Located just 800 meters from the Louvre, this hotel offers its guests great facilities and always gets the best reviews – Click here to book your stay at Handsome Hotel by Elegancia

Stop 2 | Marseille (2 days)

Marseille’s main station is Marseille St Charles, and it is well connected to Paris by TGV trains. Count on it taking 3 hrs 30 min from Paris Gare de Lyon train station.

Click here to book your train tickets to Marseille

Marseille is the capital of the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, a vibrant port city with a strong character and some interesting sights. For your visit to Marseille, follow this Marseille 2-day itinerary or choose what to see from the list below.

Marseille highlights

For your second day in the city, there are many beautiful Marseille day trips to choose from. We recommend exploring the amazing Calanques de Marseille Cassis with a catamaran cruise with lunch. You can also rent a boat from the Port of Marseille (with or without a skipper) for you and your crew.

For your stay in Marseille, Hotel la Résidence du Vieux Port is a good option, with the perfect location – on the banks of the Old Port – and the best view of Marseille – Click here to book your stay at Hotel la Résidence du Vieux Port

Stop 3 | Nice (3 days)

Nice’s main station is Nice Ville, and it is well connected to Marseille by TGV trains. Count on it taking 2 hrs 45 min from Marseille St Charles train station.

Click here to book your train tickets to Nice

Nice in the French Riviera is a glitzy and glamourous city perfect for the last days of your 1 week in France. Take the time to explore Nice’s Old Town with its colorful buildings and baroque churches, and of course, have a stroll on the famous Promenade des Anglais!

Nice highlights:

Spend two days in Nice and use the third day to see something else. The list of beautiful day trips from Nice is long, so you will be spoilt for choice! If you spend a week in France between mid-June and mid-July, you can even consider a day trip to see the lavender fields in Provence.

For your stay in Nice, book at the Hotel La Pérouse Nice Baie des Anges. This 4-star hotel is nestled into the Colline du Château, and it comes with a great view over the Baie des Anges – Click here to book your stay at Hotel La Pérouse Nice Baie des Anges

Option 2: Paris – Lyon – Annecy

This beautiful France 7-day itinerary visits three of the most beautiful cities in France. This is a cultural & sightseeing itinerary, with a couple of more relaxing days in the French Alps at the end of the trip.

Stop 1 | Paris (3 days)

For your two days in Paris, check out this 2-day Paris itinerary or pick a few things from this list of the best things to do in Paris.

Stop 2 | Lyon (2 days)

Lyon’s main stations are Lyon Perrache and Lyon Part Dieu, both well connected to Paris by TGV trains. We prefer to travel to Lyon Perrache because it is closer to the city center. Count on it taking 2 hrs from Paris Gare de Lyon train station to Lyon.

Click here to book your train tickets to Lyon

Lyon is a beautiful and cultural city, bisected by the river Rhône from north to south. The city has an interesting Roman heritage, fantastic museums, and it is also an excellent place for enjoying good food and wine.

Lyon highlights:

For your visit to Lyon, steal this 2 days in Lyon itinerary. There are many great day trips from Lyon, so you can also decide to spend the second day visiting another place. We recommend this wine tour to the Rhône Valley with tastings and transportation.

For your stay in Lyon, book at Villa Florentine. This former convent, located in the heart of Old Lyon, offers elegant guest rooms and fabulous panoramic views of the city – Click here to book your stay at Villa Florentine

Stop 3 | Annecy (2 days)

Annecy is connected to Lyon by regional trains. Count on it taking 2 hours from Lyon Part Dieu train station. Beware that some trains have a change of trains in Aix-en-Provence for a total train journey of 2 hrs 30 minutes.

Click here to book your train tickets to Annecy

We cannot imagine a better place to finish this 7-day France itinerary than Annecy. Located by the lake of the same name and surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Annecy will likely steal your heart. For your visit to Annecy, we recommend this Annecy itinerary that explores the Old Town and the lake’s surroundings.

Annecy highlights:

For your stay in Annecy, book a room at the beautiful Black Bass Hotel, located by the lake just out of Annecy. The hotel has comfortable and stylish rooms and beautiful grounds – Click here to book your stay at the Black Bass Hotel

Option 3: Paris – Colmar – Strasbourg

Colmar - Alsace

This 7 days in France itinerary explores Paris and the region of Alsace in Eastern France. Alsace is well known for its picturesque villages, Christmas markets, and good wines.

Stop 1 | Paris (3 days)

If this is your first time in Paris, you will find this itinerary for 3 days in Paris useful. You can also use the 2-day itinerary proposed in Option 2 and choose one of these day trips from Paris for the third day.

Stop 2 | Colmar (2 days)

Colmar is connected to Paris by TGV trains (SNCF) or German ICE trains. There are 2-3 daily direct connections, while the rest of the connections imply a change of trains in Strasbourg. Count on it taking 2 hrs 50 min from Paris Gare de l’Est train station.

Click here to book your train tickets to Colmar

Colmar is one of the prettiest cities in the Grand Est region and all of France. It has beautiful architecture of half-timbered houses, quaint canals, and many interesting sites.

Colmar highlights:

Use the first day in Colmar to explore the city and take a day tour on day 2. This Alsace Villages Tour and Wine Tasting visits pretty villages, the medieval Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg, and it comes with some wine tastings at a typical wine bar.

For your stay in Colmar, book at the Hotel Le Colombier, a charming property located in the district of Little Venice, with spacious and stylish rooms, a bar, and a garden – Click here to book your stay at Hotel Le Colombier

Stop 3 | Strasbourg (2 days)

Strasbourg is connected to Colmar by regional trains (TER) and TGV trains. The Swiss Railways also cover this connection. Count on it taking 33 min from Colmar to Strasbourg.

Click here to book your train tickets to Strasbourg

Strasbourg is the capital of the Grand Est region, a beautiful and dynamic city well worth visiting during 1 week in France. Strasbourg’s Old Town is listed as UNESCO World Heritage, and Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the best Gothic cathedrals in France.

Strasbourg highlights:

Check out this Strasbourg in 2 days itinerary for your stay in the city. In Strasbourg, book two nights at the Hotel Cathédrale, located just opposite Notre Dame de Strasbourgand with incredible and spectacular views over the cathedral – Click here to book your stay at Hotel Cathédrale

Option 4: Paris – Blois – Tours

Château de Chambord - Loire Valley

This beautiful France 1 week itinerary through the Loire Valley explores Paris, two medieval cities, and some of the best châteaux in France.

Stop 1 | Paris (3 days)

Start your France in 7 days itinerary in the French capital. For your stay in Paris, use the 3-day itinerary proposed in Option 3 or the 2-day itinerary proposed in Option 2 plus a day trip from Paris. We recommend a day trip to Versailles.

Stop 2 | Blois (2 days)

Blois is connected to Paris by regional trains (TER). Count on it taking 1 hr 24 min from Paris Austerlitz train station. Some of the trains Paris – Blois imply a change of trains in Orléans. In this case, count on it taking 2 hours from Paris to Blois.

Click here to book your train tickets to Blois

Blois is a vibrant city by the Loire River, in Central France, with a beautiful Old Town from medieval times. Blois is home to the Château de Blois, the Loire’s finest in-town château.

Blois highlights:

For your second day in Blois, take a day trip to Château de Chambord. Bus #2 leaves from Blois Sanitas bus station to Chambord Route de Thoury. From there, it’s a 9 min walk to the Château.

For your night in Blois, the Hotel Louise de Savoie is a good option with a central location and comfortable rooms furnished with traditional furniture – Click here to book your night at Hotel Louise de Savoie

Stop 3 | Tours (2 days)

Tours’ main station is Saint-Pierre des Corps, and it is well connected to Blois by regional trains (TER). Count on it taking 35 min from Blois train station.

Click here to book your train tickets to Tours

Tours is the largest city in the Centre-Val-de-Loire region. The city has a rich historic past (it was the capital of the kingdom of France for a short time). It is also a lively city, with many restaurants, bars, and busy terraces outside as soon as the beautiful days arrive. 

Tours highlights:

  • Old Town
  • Saint-Gatien Cathedral
  • Olivier Debré Contemporary Art Center
  • Place Plumereau
  • Musée du Compagnonnage

Use the first day in Tours to explore the city. For the second day, take a Loire Valley Wine Tour or a Loire Valley castle tour. This top-rated guided tour with transportation explores Château de Chenonceau, the Royal Castle of Amboise, and Château of Close de Lucé, where Leonardo Da Vinci spent his final years.

For your stay in Tours, Best Western Central Hotel is a good option. Located close to the main sights, the hotel offers comfortable rooms and a pretty garden with a terrace – Click here to book your stay at Best Western Central Hotel

Option 5: Paris – Bordeaux – Toulouse

Toulouse - France

This France travel itinerary 7 days explores Paris and two of the most beautiful places in Western France, with the possibility of many interesting day trips.

Stop 1 | Paris (2 days)

For your two days in the French capital, you can use the 2-day itinerary proposed in Option 2 or this itinerary for Paris in one day plus one of these day trips from Paris by train.

Stop 2 | Bordeaux (3 days)

Bordeaux’s main station is Bordeaux Saint-Jean, and it is well connected to Paris by TGV trains. Count on it taking 2 hrs 11 min from Paris Montparnasse train station.

Click here to book your train tickets to Bordeaux

Bordeaux is the capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, world-famous for its red wines. Bordeaux is home to the Cité du Vin and a beautiful collection of 17th-century private mansions.

Bordeaux highlights:

  • The Port of the Moon (UNESCO perimeter)
  • Place de la Bourse
  • The Water Mirror
  • The Cité du Vin

Bordeaux is also a great base to explore the wine country or the Atlantic Ocean on day trips. We recommend visiting Saint Émilion, world-known for its wines, and the Bay of Arcachon with Dune du Pilat.

For your stay in Bordeaux, we recommend the Yndo Hotel, set in a 19th-century private mansion in the heart of Bordeaux – Click here to book your stay at Yndo Hotel

Stop 3 | Toulouse (2 days)

Toulouse’s main station is Toulouse Matabiau, and it is well connected to Bordeaux by Intercités trains. Count on it taking 2 hrs 10 min from Bordeaux St-Jean train station.

Click here to book your train tickets to Toulouse

Toulouse is one of the best cities in Southern France. Set on the Garonne River banks, the Occitanie region’s capital is a lively city with pretty little squares, elegant private mansions, interesting museums, and beautiful parks.

Toulouse highlights:

You can visit Toulouse in one day and use the second day to visit medieval Carcassonne (check out this guided tour which always has good ratings). The journey to Carcassonne takes only 1 hour, and you will love the citadel and the history of the Cathars and the Crusaders behind it.

For your stay in Toulouse, the Ibis Styles Toulouse Capitole has an unbeatable location on the city’s main square, and it offers an excellent breakfast in a pleasant open space – Click here to book your stay at Ibis Styles Toulouse Capitole

Option 6: Rennes – Quimper – Vannes

Vannes - Gulf of Morbihan

This France itinerary 7 days visits the region of Bretagne (Brittany) in Western France. Explore three of the most beautiful cities in Brittany with a couple of day trips.

This one week in France itinerary starts from Rennes, Bretagne’s capital. Direct trains connect Paris to Rennes in 1.5 hours. Rennes Airport (RNS) has good connections with some cities in the UK. It is also possible to travel to Brittany by train from England, taking the London-Rennes train line.

Stop 1 | Rennes (2 days)

Regularly elected as one of the most pleasant cities in France to live in, Rennes is a young and dynamic city with a rich historical heritage. Rennes’ Old Town is very charming, with half-timbered houses from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, cobbled streets, and its festive atmosphere. The Musée de Bretagne is an excellent introduction to the history of Rennes and Brittany.

Rennes highlights:

  • Old Town & Cathédrale Saint Pierre
  • Banks of the Vilaine River (on foot or by bike)
  • Musée de Bretagne
  • Parc du Thabor
  • Opéra de Rennes
  • Portes Mordelaises (vestiges of Rennes’ ramparts)

For your stay in Rennes, book at Le Paris Brest Hotel, with a central location near the Old Town and the train station,  a clean and functional room, and an excellent breakfast – Click here to book a room at Le Paris Brest Hotel

Stop 2 | Quimper (2 days)

Quimper’s train station is Gare de Quimper, and it is well connected to Rennes by regional trains (TER). Count on it taking 2 hrs 30 min from Rennes train station.

Click here to book your train tickets to Quimper

Quimper is the capital of the department of Finistère, where Brittany sinks into the Atlantic Ocean. The traditional capital of the Pays de Cornouaille, located ten kilometers from the coast, this town listed as a “Town of Art and History” does not lack charms to attract the curious traveler: cobbled streets winding between the half-timbered houses and the banks of the Odet River are a true invitation to promenade.

Quimper highlights:

  • Old Quimper & Cathédrale Saint-Corentin
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper
  • Jardin de la Paix
  • Halles Saint-François de Quimper (food market)
  • Jardin de la Retraite
  • Hike up Mont Frugy for great views (the trail starts from the Tourism Office)

For your stay in Quimper, book at the Hotel Ginkgo. Located in the heart of the Priory of Quimper in a listed character building. The hotel also has a garden and a terrace, perfect for a relaxing moment after your explorations – Click here to book your stay at Hotel Ginkgo

Stop 3 | Vannes (3 days)

Vannes train station is Gare de Vannes, and it is well connected to Quimper by TGV trains. Count on it taking 1 hour from Gare de Quimper.

Click here to book your train tickets to Vannes

Medieval Vannes, in the Gulf of Morbihan, is one of the best preserved walled cities in France. The city center boasts beautiful medieval architecture of half-timbered houses, private mansions, and religious buildings. Outside the walls, there’s the marina which is also great for an afternoon stroll or a harbor-side meal to get a taste of Brittany’s gastronomy.

Vannes highlights:

  • Old Town and Cathédrale Saint-Pierre
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts de Vannes
  • Stroll around the port

Use one day to explore the city. For days 2 and 3, you can explore the islands of the Gulf of Morbihan – Ile-aux-Moines or Ile d’Arz – both easy to reach by ferry. There’s also the option to rent a boat with or without a skipper at the port of Vannes

From Vannes, you can also visit the Carnac alignments. It’s a 45-min bus journey with BreizhCo (line 01) to Carnac, then a 15-minute walk to the archaeological site.

For your stay in Vannes, book at Quality Hotel La Marebaudière Vannes Centre, which is central and surrounded by beautiful gardens. Here, bikes are available for free, and they are perfect for exploring the surroundings of Vannes – Click here to book your stay at Quality Hotel La Marebaudière

So there you have it, our selection of the best French itineraries for 7 days in France by train. Which itinerary do you like most?

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