You must carefully organise your trip to France if you just have a week to spend there. How can I travel a lot while still taking in the country’s various areas and top sights? This manual aims to assist you in completing that task.
You don’t need to switch hotels every day because your week in France starts in Paris and gives you the choice of day visits to Champagne and Normandy. Additionally, you now have a base in the capital to fully enjoy all that it has to offer. After there, we go south to Provence and the French Riviera before turning north to Lyon. Return to the French capital on your final day to continue your exploration there before your voyage comes to an end.
One Week Itinerary for France
Day 1: Paris
Greetings from France! Drop off your bags at your hotel after landing at Charles de Gaulle or Orly airport and taking your Airport Transfer to the city, and then pick up breakfast or lunch at a French bakery. Then, it’s time for you to begin your journey. Make sure you have a map or access to online directions before purchasing any Paris metro tickets.
Your first day starts with a sightseeing boat along the Seine River that gives you an instructive audio tour and an early look at some of the city’s most popular landmarks. Pick a cruise that fits your preferences and price range.
Take the subway or walk to the Latin Quarter next, where you can explore the centuries-old streets that are renowned for their picturesque details and rich history. Along with visiting the region’s major attractions, we advise casually strolling and stumbling upon peaceful areas to explore at random.
Dinner at a storied brasserie in the city is a great way to end the day. If the weather is nice, you can even eat outside on the patio. At the peak of the season, make a reservation.
Something Special in Night: Paris Dinner Cruise
Looking for a unique way to experience the magic of Paris at night? Look no further than the Paris Dinner Cruise. While many visitors to the city opt for a standard boat tour, the dinner cruise offers a more intimate and memorable experience.
Picture yourself dining on exquisite French cuisine, sipping on fine wine, and taking in the stunning views of the Seine River and Parisian landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. With a dinner cruise, you can enjoy the romantic ambience of Paris while indulging in a gourmet meal.
But it’s not just the food that sets the Paris Dinner Cruise apart from other boat tours. The elegant atmosphere, live entertainment, and personalized service all add to the special experience. With smaller group sizes and attentive staff, you’re sure to feel pampered and well taken care of throughout the evening.
So, if you’re looking for something truly unique and unforgettable in Paris, consider the Paris Dinner Cruise. With its combination of delicious cuisine, stunning views, and top-notch service, it’s an experience that’s not to be missed.
Day 2: Day Trip to Mont St-Michel or Giverny
It’s time to use the capital’s convenient location to see other, equally fascinating areas.
Given that you only have one day to see the best of Normandy, we advise deciding between taking a bus excursion to Mont St. Michel or taking a spin around Monet’s Gardens at Giverny. While Mont St. Michel is excellent all year long, Giverny is favoured in the spring and early summer.
Giverny: The French impressionist master Claude Monet lived in Giverny for a long time. It is situated on the outskirts of Normandy and is just over an hour by train and short shuttle from Paris. He painted his well-known “Waterlilies” series here, which was motivated by his own Japanese-style gardens. To really appreciate the scenery, arrive around late morning.
The best way to see Mont-St-Michel in a day, unless you want to rent a car, is to join a bus trip like the ones provided by Viator. The majority of tours depart early in the morning and include lunch in addition to round-trip transportation to the historic monastery and UNESCO World Heritage site. Before heading back to Paris, explore the historic location and the surrounding bay’s natural splendours.
Day 3: Day Trip to Champagne
On day three, you’ll board a train once more for a quick day journey to the Champagne area in eastern France. From the Gare de l’Est, inexpensive trains to the area leave almost hourly for key cities like Reims and Troyes.
Champagne is most known for its famed sparkling wines, but it also has a lot to offer in terms of modern architecture, history, food, and lifestyle. We advise concentrating on the cathedral city of Reims and the neighbouring Epernay because it’s challenging to visit all of the area’s highlights in a single day. A brief train, bus, or taxi ride will get you between the two (about 30 minutes).
After admiring the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral in Reims, be sure to see les crayeres, a vast network of chalk quarries that partly serve as storage facilities for a number of wine manufacturers. These were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of their historical significance.
Consider joining a guided bus tour to Champagne that includes tastings at numerous renowned cellars and vineyards, lunch, cultural attractions, and round-trip transportation from Paris if you want to experience as many of the region’s highlights in a single day as you can.
I have talked about this in detail on my post below.
Read More: Day Trip to Champagne from Paris
Day 4: Nice
For a new perspective on France, travel to the south of the country. Your fourth stop is Nice, a historic city on the French Riviera and Mediterranean. To save time, we advise taking a quick, direct flight out of Paris. Daily flights are provided by Lufthansa, Easyjet, and Air France you can check out which one is cheaper here.
Drop off your luggage and stroll along the 2.5-mile boardwalk known as the Promenade des Anglais, which runs from the Old Town in the east to the airport in the west. Admire the crystal-clear ocean and structures that showcase Belle-Epoque architecture from the 18th century, such as the renowned Le Negresco hotel.
Take the boardwalk to Nice’s Old Town (Vieux Nice), which boasts the Opéra de Nice, winding cobblestone alleyways, 17th-century squares including the Place Rossetti, and a variety of stores selling typical Provencal goods and souvenirs. Browse the locally produced goods there, like soaps scented with lavender and olive oil.
To get to the Colline du Château, often known as Castle Hill, climb the stairs (or Art Deco elevator) at the end of the Quai des États-Unis. Here, inside a fortress that has since been demolished, was where the ancient, mediaeval city of Nice was situated. Enjoy stunning views of Old Town and the Baie des Anges from here (Angel Bay).
Get a taste of regional cuisine at one of Nice’s greatest restaurants for supper. Consider returning to the Promenade des Anglais for a nightcap and relaxing with a cocktail and a view of the water at establishments like Waka and Movida.
Day 5: Aix-en-Provence
Your second day in the region calls for you to travel a little inland to Aix-en-Provence. Train service is available from Nice to Aix; the journey takes about three hours and thirty minutes, so we advise leaving early in the day to maximise your time at your destination.
Paul Cézanne, who lived in Aix, had a special affection for the city and is now closely linked to it. He painted a great deal of landscapes of Aix and the area’s natural beauty, capturing what is renowned as light that is unmatched, according to many. Take a stroll along the Cézanne Trail to begin your exploration of the area, which will help you both get familiar with some of Aix’s most well-known landmarks and learn a little bit about its artistic heritage.
Next, stop by Place Richelme, a food market open every day in the town’s cherished market square. Enjoy the bustling yet laid-back Provencal scenes on the plaza as you peruse the market stalls and take in the dappled sunshine reflecting off the warm stone structures.
If the weather is suitable, you can enjoy lunch al fresco at one of the quaint eateries or brasseries lining the square.
Day 6: Lyon
Take a quick bite to eat before boarding the TGV train from Aix-en-Provence to Lyon. It takes one hour and ten minutes to complete the trek.
In terms of both population and cultural heritage, Lyon, which is located in the Rhone Valley and surrounded by stunning vineyards, is one of France’s most significant cities. The late Paul Bocuse and other great chefs call it their home. It has a long and distinguished history, having served as Gaul’s Roman capital.
Explore the city by foot, by local bus, or by metro after settling into your accommodation. We especially advise visiting Old Lyon (Vieux Lyon) at the Saone river’s banks. Visit the magnificent St-Jean Cathedral and stroll through the streets from the mediaeval and Renaissance periods before going on a guided tour of the neighborhood’s “traboules,” which were previously used by silk workers to transport textiles. They were used by French resistance members to hide from the Gestapo during World War II.
A 15 BC theatre is one of two well-preserved Roman theatres that cap the hill at Fourvière; if time permits, visit the Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilization to see them.
Day 7: Return to Paris
On your penultimate day, return to Paris for one last opportunity to experience the city. From Lyon to Paris, you’ll travel on the TGV train, which will take about two and a half hours.
You might show up right about lunchtime. If so, we advise going to the lavish restaurant Le Train Bleu, which is located on the second level of the Gare de Lyon station, for lunch. It offers a memorable, classic Parisian dining experience with its opulent, expansive dining room and traditional menu.
Next, it’s time to take a brief tour of the right bank. To get to Hotel de Ville, use the metro (line 1). Before touring the Marais region with its intact Renaissance homes and attractive streets, get off and admire Paris City Hall.
In conclusion, France is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture that is worth exploring. This one-week itinerary provides a great overview of some of the must-see sights and experiences. From the romantic streets of Paris to the stunning beaches of the French Riviera, there is something for everyone. However, keep in mind that there is so much more to discover in this wonderful country.
So pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in France!