Best of France Tour in 2 Weeks: Luxury & Indulgence

A 14 day trip to France 
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The aroma of lavender sweeps across the hillside. Lily pads blossom with graceful petals reflecting in the tranquil pond. A lingering taste of cocoa coats your tongue as you look out to the vast azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Mountains tower over lush valleys adorned with historic castles. Vines carpet the hillside bending over the horizon. This best of France tour in 2 weeks is hand tailored to offer you the most luxurious lifestyle in a country notable for understanding opulence, whether in décor, cuisine, art, or taking the time to savor a single moment in everyday life.

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Paris, Versailles, Giverny, Bordeaux, Aix en Provence, Avignon, Monaco, Nice, Sarlat, Lascaux Caves, Vence, Menerbes, Gordes, Marseille, Saint Emilion, Tremolat

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Parisian Charm

The River Seine winds through the historic architecture of the Parisian cityscape. Sacre Coeur stands like a pearl atop the crown of the central hillside of Montmartre overlooking the rooftops. The Eiffel Tower adds to the skyline of the historic city, standing with cathedral spires and palaces. Couples sit on the cobblestone walkways lining the riverbanks, sipping on wine and snacking on decadent cheeses. Life has a way of slowing down when you arrive in Paris.

You meet your private transfer at the airport for your hotel transfer. The city’s beauty is immediately recognizable, sweeping you into its folds of enticing pastries, rich chocolates, indulgent gastronomy, lively markets, and embracing lifestyle. After you check into your hotel, your guide meets you in the lobby ready to show you the beauty surrounding your centrally located accommodation.

The Eiffel Tower was erected in 1889 as the entrance archway to the World’s Fair. The edifice is now a pinnacle of Paris, standing 1,063 feet at the edge of the park Champs de Mars. The scent of fresh crepes emanates from a crepe stand near the stairs leading down to the Seine. You marvel at the size and beauty of the statue. Seeing the structure lets you know you have officially arrived in Paris.

What’s Included: transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 2: A Taste of Paris

In the morning, the sunshine washes over the city and casts a light on the pockets of lush greenery allowing a touch of the countryside into the expansive cityscape. People linger under umbrella-shaded tables looking out to the streets of Paris, sipping espresso and eating freshly baked croissants.

Your guide meets you in the hotel lobby to begin your culinary exploration of one of the most gourmet cities in the world. After visiting the famous Poilane Bakery, you arrive at the street market on Rue de Buci. Locals crowd the street. The aroma of fresh flowers emanates from the nearby florists. Large display cases showcase the elegant cakes made fresh that morning. People point out their preferred seafood, sit at a table, and wait for the waiter to bring their dish to them prepared how they prefer. The scent of butter and garlic overtake the marketplace.

When you reach Da Rosa, you settle in at a table and into the bistro ambiance. Your guide explains the connection of the cheese and ham selections from across Western Europe. Your guide orders a collection of tastings that allow you to savor the Parisian quality of dining.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 3: The Majesty In and Around Paris

There is something splendid about the way the light shines over Paris and the way the emerald leaves shade the wide boulevards. After breakfast, one of our Giverny and Versailles tour operators will arrange for a guide to meet you at your hotel. You will go out of the city proper to the charming gardens of Giverny. The gardens inspired Claude Monet to capture the image of nature. The village is 46 miles outside of Paris and has protected the exquisite gardens in their original state. Monet’s pastel-pink house stands against the symmetrically designed gardens erupting with blossoming flowers. The Water Garden is where the painter captured his famous lily pond.

The Japanese Bridge has been rebuilt to capture its original classical edge arching over the tranquil water. Wisterias paint portions of the greenery purple. Azaleas cast shades of pink and red across the banks of the pond. A floral air encompasses you. Your guide explains about the gardens, the artist that loved them, and how the flowers were organized according to color. In the calm ripples of the water, you can see the flower petals reflected in the surface, making the vivacious pigments of nature wonderfully inescapable.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Graceful Countryside

Today, you once again feel the desire to do as the Parisians do throughout the day, embrace the morning with a frothy cappuccino and watch the city pass you by. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the train station at Montparnasse. You board the comforts of your first-class cabin and watch the city fade into the rolling lush grass around the Île-de-France. When you come closer to Bordeaux, the grassland turns to vines, stretching across the horizon to elegant chateaus. The city has an urban grace and undeniable provincial charm bending around the Garonne River.

Your private guide meets you at the train station, helps you check in to your hotel, and escorts you the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte. The chateau is renowned around the world for its delicate red wines and aromatically complex white wines. The chateau is located in the countryside just outside the city center. The gravel courtyard welcomes you to the property. Elegant ivy climbs across the façade.  A small fountain trickles into a stone pool at the center of the plaza. The history of the vines on the property dates back to the 14th century.

The rustic ambiance contains a charm of its own. You stroll through the vineyard for a look at the diverse soil, noticing the gravelly top layer heavy with limestone. The different types of earth help give the grapes a unique flavor and aroma throughout the growing and fermentation process. You see clay around the north facing vineyards, which contain a larger population of white wines. When you get a chance to taste the Chateau Smith Huat Lafitte White, you notice a brightness in the aroma hinting at white fruit and flowers, reminiscent of peach and apricot with a hint of star anise.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 5: A Road Lined with Vines

The beauty of the countryside around Bordeaux is immaculate. The sunlight captures the jade hues of the verdant landscape. After breakfast, your private guide meets you at your hotel to lead you on a luxurious tasting tour of the Saint Emilion Route des Vins.

At the Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, you find a winery known for its Premier grand cru class, and situated on the border of the of the Saint-Émilion region. The chateau has cultivated wines since the Middle Ages, originally started by monks. The wine in its current configuration began in the 18th century. Your guide and wine connoisseur lead you through the tasting process of the vines, including the proper glasses to use, the proper color of the wine, from a lemon gold or amber white to a purple or red brick red. Your guide even teaches you how to swirl your wine properly to get the needed aeration into the liquid before taking a deep breath to find the variety of aromas captured in each glass. The vineyard sits on 54 acres and has a series of deep caves that have been used as wine cellars throughout the centuries due to the consistent cool temperature. When you sip the grand cru classé, you find notes of plum and cocoa with a decadent earthy finish.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Into the Medoc

Your guide and wine expert meet you in the morning to once again take you into the countryside and outside of the city of Bordeaux. Today, you venture deeper into the rural reaches of the vines to the Médoc region, noted mostly for the wines produced on the left bank of the Gironde River. There are over 1,500 vineyards in the region cutting away from the pine forests and sandy beaches along the Atlantic coast.

In the afternoon, you arrive at Chateau Pontet-Canet, a property whose wine production dates back to the mid 19th century. The chateau has a classic ambiance emanating from the 18th century façade. Your guide leads you through the grounds showing you the cellars filled with wine barrels. The aroma of stone and wood filters through the air. The cellar is cool compared to the countryside sunshine. With around 200 acres of vineyards, the greenery looks like it stretches past the horizon. Your guide pours you a taste of the Chateau Pontet-Canet, and you immediately find the scent of black fruits and cocoa.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Step into the Middle Ages

You leave the stunning city of Bordeaux and make your way to the classically French region of Dordogne, which claims to be the “Land of 1,001 Chateaux.” En route to Dordogne, your guide escorts you to the charming medieval village of St-Émilion. The village stands above a row of vineyards known for their rich, red color. The entire region and the small village took their name from a Benedictine monk who settled in a nearby cave. The limestone buildings reflect the draping sunlight.

A Romanesque nave constructed in the 12th century continues to dominate the former Collégiale. The Chateau Roy boasts 118 steps to the top of the King’s Tower. The window opens to a panoramic view of Dordogne. The Dordogne River brushes past the distant countryside. The spire of the cathedral stands high above the historic rooftops. You take in the exquisite view of the countryside. You reach the town of Tremolat where you can indulge in a tasting of one of the region’s most famous dishes, Foie Gras.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Caves of the Past

The Dordogne River bends dramatically around powerful cliffs and vibrant rolling hills. Tremolat sits on the bank of the bend next to the lush forest where you can hear current brush the dangling blades of grass. Your guide meets you at your hotel taking you into the forest near the medieval village of Montignac. The forest hid the now famous Lascaux Caves for millennia, a complex of caverns discovered in 1940 and dating back over 17,000 years. Your guide leads you into the cave where you can see a collection of models representing the life of those living in the cave.

You continue into the Great Hall. Your guide casts a flashlight over the dim, rugged walls illuminating the painted scenes with over 2,000 figures. You notice the various sized bulls, along with numerous stags decorating the space. One of the bulls reaches a length of 17 feet long and remains the largest discovered animal depicted in any cave art scene across the globe. Your feet grip the smooth stone floor. The more images your guide shows you, the more speechless you become. The splendor of medieval villages and verdant vineyards was enchanting; the wonder of prehistoric cave drawings at your fingertips is something even more special.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Classic Countryside

The cobblestone streets of your medieval rural paradise wind around historic buildings and underneath church spires. The hills rush around the village separating the small towns around Dordogne. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel to escort you to the Bordeaux airport for your brief flight to Marseille. 

The port city has a vibrant energy consistent with its depth of history and cutting-edge cosmopolitan atmosphere. Your private transfer awaits your arrival at the airport before taking you to the chic, yet classic, leafy boulevards of Aix-en-Provence. Moss decorates charming, decorative fountains. Mansions dating to the 17th and 18th centuries outline public plazas. Locals sit outside terraced cafes and sip decadent espressos. The city has a provincial appeal wrapped in a fashionable outer layer, filled with luxurious restaurants and charming streets.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 10: Capital Flavors

Aix-en-Provence is known for Provencal cuisine and known for preserving the taste of simple seasonal flavors and textures. A tomato hums, garlic sings, and saffron conducts a symphony accompanied by the endless aroma of lavender sweeping in from the encompassing countryside. Your gourmet guide meets you at the hotel to lead you on a half-day tour of the city’s uproarious tastes based on the natural elegance of the ingredients. You walk along the Cours Mirabeau where you find horse-drawn carriages trotting down the cobblestones. The street connects Mazarin Quarter and the historic commercial neighborhood of town. Leaves dangle over the boulevard shading the walkways, terraces, and collection of bookshops. College aged students relax in the shade sipping coffee and talking about what they’re reading next.

You reach the open-air market on Place Richelme to find an unparalleled farmers’ market. Women pull two-wheeled carts through the aisles, sampling each piece of produce before buying. Peppers radiate red and green. Eggplants have a luscious purple exterior. You find a large grouping of small strawberries bursting with sweetness, along with ripe figs waiting to be eaten. One man sells variations of aged goat cheese, including a variety blended with honey. The market easily enchants you with its countryside and local charm.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 11: Sampling Provencal

In the morning, your guide meets you at the hotel and takes you out of the chic city streets of Aix-en-Provence to discover the surrounding wonders of Provence around Luberon. The hills turn into the mountains and lead to the citadel housing the village of Gordes. The city sits atop a tiered hillside overlooking the Rivers Sorgue and Calavon. The pale sandstone color almost blends into the landscape, breaking through the trees to resemble rocky outcrops. The village is often awarded the Plus Beaux Villages de France, “The Most Beautiful Village in France,” due to its enchanting architecture and unique setting.

Artists, including Chagall, used the setting for inspiration whether looking in or looking out over the 16th century Chateau de Gordes. Imposing towers add a storybook quality to the already enchanting atmosphere of the village. The streets are narrow, and the arcades arch over the stone, opening up to a panorama of the mountains stretching across Luberon.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 12: Countryside to Coastline

After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to the train station where you board your first-class train cabin to the coastal city of Nice. The azure waters of the Mediterranean shimmer against the beach. Buildings shaping Old Town emanate grace and date back to the 19th century. The foothills of the Maritime Alps brush up against the edges of the city.

Your guide meets you at the train station and takes you to your hotel in Eze Village, just outside of Nice and venturing into the principality of Monaco. The colorful sovereign state is a single square mile in size, showering the coastline and mountains with glitz, glamor, and natural elegance. Boutiques and luxury hotels line the twisting cobbled streets with views out to the cobalt sea.

The Prince’s Palace was erected over a 13th century Genovese fortress. The main façade contains elements of Renaissance palaces. The wings spread out over the citadel looking over the water. Towers rise behind the classical facades adding to the historic fortress accents that remain. The state apartments were constructed over the course of centuries, from the 16th to the late 20th, consolidating the ornate quality of the 18th century décor. You can hear the ocean splashing against the cliffs below. The scent of sea breeze sweeps over the ramparts. The palace is emblematic of historic regalia displayed with a natural sense of aplomb.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 13: Crowning the Riviera

You wake up in the luxury of the Èze, perched on the impenetrable peak overlooking the Riviera. Stone houses wind up the meandering lanes, interspersed by boutique galleries and cafes. After breakfast, your guide leads you through the cobbled and enchanting streets of Nice set alongside the Cote d’Azure, Azure Coast, a place that has inspired artists and writers, musicians and sculptors combined.

The narrow streets of Old Town showcase the historic beauty of Nice. Alleys curve into open squares. Red-tiled roofs glint in the sunlight cast against the sparkling blue water. The floral aroma of the flower market springs from Cours Saleya where a daily flower and food market decorates the square in the morning. Your guide escorts you through the city at a leisurely pace, allowing you to enjoy the enchantment set in the names of the buildings invoking images of guilds set with a background of picturesque mountains or panoramic waters.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 14: Luxurious Goodbyes

In the morning, you wake up with a view of rosy, medieval buildings cast over a verdant hillside set against the azure waters of the Mediterranean. Across the bending coastline, you can see Nice and its quiet marina. Graceful aromas fill the air stemming from the Fragonard Perfume Museum. There is no better view offered along the hillside than at the lookout in the Exotic Gardens, where trickling fountains and manicured terraces accompany your picture-perfect panorama.

Soon your guide will meet you at the hotel ready to whisk you to the Nice Côte d’Azure International Airport for your flight home. But for now, you can relax with a flaky croissant and enjoy the pristine slice of life.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Price 

Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized France vacation packages, excluding international flights:

  • 5-star: USD $400 - $1,000+ per person per day
  • 4-star: Minimum USD $350 per person per day
  • 3-star: Minimum USD $300 per person per day

The customized package will include hotels, airport transfers and other transportation within France, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.