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10 Best Road Trips in France To Take in 2023

Thinking of traveling in France by car? Great idea! Check out this selection of the best road trips in France (with itineraries and tips).

It’s not a case that France is such a popular destination. From cool cities to a dramatic coastline, from tall mountains to castles, it has a bit for everything. And what better way to explore this country than by taking a road trip through France? Some of the best road trips in Europe are indeed in France!

I’ve gone on a few road trips myself, but to make this post as comprehensive as possible I asked a few fellow bloggers to help me create a list of the best France road trips. This result is an incredible series of road trip itineraries for all tastes. No matter your interests, there’s a road trip for you.

The road trips you’ll find here are mostly to be done in around one week, but they go from 3 days to 2 weeks in length, so I’m sure you’ll find something that fits just right for you. Check out this epic list of France road trip ideas!

RENTING A CAR IN FRANCE

Unless you’re coming from a neighboring country, renting a car will be the way to go for your road trip. No worries though: renting a car in France is extremely easy and hassle free, and you’ll find rental car agencies in every airport and mid-size cities.

As always, I suggest renting a car in advance through a trusted agency such as Sixt France. Fran and I just came back from a road trip through Eastern France (itinerary down below) and rented a car through Sixt France for 17 days. We found a good deal through their website and the whole process was seamless, from the pick up to the drop off. A truly recommended company.

Of course, these road trips through France are best completed by car, but if for any reasons you can’t or don’t want to drive, some of them would be possible by rail, maybe by buying a rail pass. Of course you’d have to tweak your itinerary a little, but this list can still be useful for finding inspiration.

BEST ROAD TRIPS IN FRANCE

An Eastern France Tour

A road trip through Eastern France will bring you through incredible cities and cute in an impossible way villages, from the Alps to the Mediterranean sea. You’ll drive through an incredible mix of landscapes!

Highlights of the trip:
• Discover what makes Paris the most visited city in the world.
• Get an extra dose of cuteness by exploring Strasbourg and the villages of Alsace.
• View glaciers and the Mont Blanc from up close in the French Alps.
• Enjoy a mix of beach towns and medieval villages in the French Riviera.

Fly to Paris and spend a few days exploring the city. I personally recommend a minimum of 3 full days to begin to scratch the surface at least!

A few thing you can’t miss are of course the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower, and a half-day trip to Versailles, but part of the charm of Paris is simply in its narrow alleys and streets. Take a few hours to walk around the Seine River, and don’t miss Montmartre, my personal favorite part of the city.

Then, rent a car and head to Strasbourg and the Alsace region. Spend 3-4 days exploring Strasbourg, home to 20 European institutions, and the super cute villages of Alsace such as Colmar, Riquewihr, and Ribeuavillé. These villages and Strasbourg become even more unique during the winter with their Christmas markets, but they are unmissable in any other season as well. We fell head over heels in love with Alsace!

Next stop: the French Alps. Base yourself in a town such as Chamonix and spend a few days enjoying the beautiful nature of the Alps. In the winter it’ll be skiers paradise, while in the summer there are plenty of hikes and activities to keep everyone entertained. Unmissable taking the cable car to Aiguille du Midi and from there the panoramic cable car over the glaciers to the Italian side of the Mont Blanc. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Let’s change completely landscape for the last stop in the French Riviera. A mix of beaches, glitzy towns and medieval villages awaits you. Take a few days to explore the city of Nice and the beach towns of Cannes, Villefranche-sur-Mer, and Saint Tropez.

Visit the tiny state of Monaco with its yachts and historical city center, and don’t miss the medieval villages of Eze and Saint Paul de Vence before dropping off your rental car in Nice.

Recommended length: 2 weeks.

The Ultimate South France Road Trip

South of France has got it all, from lavender fields to glitzy beach towns and charming villages.

With 10 days at your disposal, you can plan an incredible South France road trip through the French Riviera, Provence and Camargue.

Highlights of the trip:
• Explore the glitzy French Riviera in Cannes, Saint Tropez and Monaco.
• Be charmed by the beautiful villages in Provence.
• Take instagrammable photos at the lavender fields in Valensole.
• Explore the ancient history of Avignon.
• Go rafting, canyoning, or kayaking at the biggest canyon in France.

Start your road trip in Nice. Wander around the Old Town and head to the Castle Hill for incredible views over the city.

The next day, you’ll be visiting the richest country in the world: Monaco. One stop you can’t miss is the infamous Montecarlo Casino. In the afternoon, visit the medieval hilltop village of Eze, then hit the road again and drive towards Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, where you can enjoy the beach and sunset.

On day 3, head to Saint Paul de Vence, with its cobbled streets and flowers, is my personal favorite village in the area. Visit a perfume factory in Grasse, then enjoy some beach time at La Garoupe

The next couple of days will be spent visiting the France of the rich and famous: Antibes, Cannes and Saint Tropez all have streets filled with boutique and luxury shops and marinas filled with yachts, but also charming, cobbled old towns. 

After a stop in Hyeres, it’s time to head to Provence. Day 6 and 7 are all about the perched, picture perfect villages in Provence such as Moustiers-Sainte-Marie,  Gordes, and Les Beaux de Provence, but you’ll also get to take some instagrammable shots at the lavender fields and visit Gorges du Verdon, the largest river canyon in France. It’s a pretty packed itinerary, but you’ll thank me later!

Start the 8th day of your road trip by visiting the City of Popes, Avignon, where you can admire a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Pink lakes anyone? Your next stop will be The Pink Lakes of Aigues-Mortes, followed by the city of Van Gogh, Arles.

The next day, go hiking or kayaking at Parc National de Calanque, which can be reached by boat, and explore Cassis. Its port is postcard-ready with its candy colored buildings. End your south of France itinerary in Marseille.

READ MORE: The Perfect South France Itinerary for 10 Days

Recommended length: 10 days.

West Coast of France Road Trip: From Bordeaux to Biarritz

by Pauline, Beeloved City

If you want to discover the French Atlantic coast and the basque country, a west coast of France road trip from Bordeaux to Biarritz will be perfect for you!
Although you can drive through the regional park of Les Landes, the most scenic way is the coastal drive. You’ll love driving the west coast of France!

Highlights of the trip:
• Walk up the dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe.
• Go surfing in Hossegor.
• Go wine tasting in Bordeaux.
• Grab lunch in Biarritz town centre.

You will be starting in Bordeaux, France’s wine capital! The city centre is very pretty. Make sure you check out the Place de la Bourse and rue Saint Catherine. It’s also, of course, a great place to go wine tasting.

From Bordeaux, head to Arcachon. This popular seaside destination is perfect for beach lovers. While you are there, make sure to go to the Dune du Pilat. It’s the tallest sand dune in Europe! It’s beautiful and there are many things you can do there. Paragliding, sand surfing… the Dune du Pilat has it all.

You can then keep going along the coast and stop in the beautiful towns of Mimizan, Moliets, Vieux-Boucau, and Hossegor.
The French Atlantic coast is a paradise for surfers. If you feel like hitting the waves, Hossegor and Cap Breton will be fabulous places to do so. 

South West France is also home to picturesque villages. If you want to discover the French and Basque culture, make sure to stop in Bayonne. If you are travelling during the summer, you will also find the famous feria there. Bayonne Feria is an amazing festival. A must do.

Finally, you will reach Biarritz. This pretty coastal town is perfect if you are looking for a relaxing holiday. The beach is the most popular attraction but the town centre itself is also very nice. You can go for a stroll and walk in the cute little boutiques. Another great thing to do is walking to the lighthouse.

Recommended length: one week.

Brittany Road Trip

Brittany isn’t as popular as other destinations in France for international visitors, and a road trip through Brittany isn’t one of the most famous French road trip routes, but it doesn’t mean the region doesn’t have anything to offer. Quite the opposite!

This region with a strong Celtic background, in fact, features hills and valleys, forests, charming small town and cities full of personality, without counting the longest coastline in France that offers pebble beaches and dramatic cliffs.

This itinerary through southern and central Brittany can be done on its own, or can be an extension of a road trip through Normandy.

Highlights of the trip:
• Be wowed by The Machines of Nantes.
• Sail to the islands of the Gulf of Morbihan.
• Spend a night at the incredible Yves Rocher spa hotel in La Gacilly.
• Explore the mythical Brocéliande, the forest of King Arthur.
• Discover the charming city of Rennes.

port of Hoedic

Fly to Nantes (or to Paris and take a train to Nantes) and start your road trip from here. Nantes isn’t officially part of Brittany, but culturally is much closer to this region. Spend a full day here visiting the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, the LU Tower, and of course The Machines of the Isle of Nantes.

Head then to Port Navalo, a getaway to the Gulf of Morbihan. Spend a couple of days eating oysters, sailing to the islands (Ile de Hoedic is so incredibly charming!) and visiting Vannes, a preserved medieval town.

Head then to La Gacilly.  The town is known for its annual outdoor photo festival, which takes place from June to September every year, plus it’s home to some beautiful botanical gardens. You can also spend the night or go for a spa treatment at the beautiful and eco-friendly La Grée des Landes hotel by Yves Rocher.

Your next destination is the area of Brocéliande, famous for its legends. The legend says this is the location of the mythical Brocéliande, the forest of King Arthur. Visit the Door of Secrets, a unique scenography taking place in the abbey of Paimpont, and visit the fairytale castle of Comper.

Your last destination on this Brittany road trip is Rennes, the capital of this region. Wandering around the historic city center with its timber-framed houses is the best way to enjoy this super charming, pocket-sized city.

Recommended length: one week.

Loire Valley Road Trip

by Maartje & Sebastiaan, The Orange Backpack

The Loire Valley sums up the best of France. The area is famous for its high concentration of French fairytale castles. Add picturesque villages and beautiful landscapes to that and you’ll have the perfect road trip in France.

Highlights of the trip:
• Learn about royal rivalries at Chateau de Chenonceau.
• Visit the biggest castle in the Loire Valley, partly designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
• Discover the Loire highlight that inspired the writer of Sleeping Beauty.
• Explore the hunting grounds of Chateau de Cheverny.

Your Loire Valley road trip starts in Saumur, a lovely historic town on the river bank. Continue to the Fontevraud Abbey, one of the biggest monasteries in Europe, and visit the Azay-le-Rideau castle, located on the Indre, next.

Your second day will bring you to Villandry, one of the most romantic Loire palaces with it’s lush gardens. Spend your afternoon and evening at the charming city of Tours.

The most beautiful castle in the Loire Valley is on your schedule for the third day. Chateau de Chenonceau was a gift of the French king to his mistress, while his wife got a much smaller castle at Chaumont. First thing the queen did after her husband died? She kicked out the mistress and took over the castle. The queens original castle at Chaumont is your next stop for today. Spend the night in the lovely city of Blois.

Your fourth day is about two more castles. Chateau de Cheverny is a Loire highlight with its extensive hunting grounds, original castle with authentic period rooms and unique dog kennels.

Finish your Loire road trip, one of the best driving routes through France, at the most famous castle of all: Chambord. It has more than 400 rooms and is known for its double spiral staircase designed by Leonardo da Vinci.

Recommended length: 4 days or more.

French Riviera Road Trip

The French Riviera is known for being glitzy and glamorous, but it’s more than just that. In this 5-day French Riviera itinerary, you’ll get to explore charming towns like Eze, live the high life in Montecarlo, and explore the beach of Nice and Antibes. Plus, it’s one of the most scenic drives in France!

If you have more than 5 days available, I recommend you to check out this South France itinerary which also includes the region of Provence, or maybe you can head to Italy and go on a Northern Italy road trip.

Highlights of the trip:
• Go on a sightseeing cruise in Nice.
• Explore one more country: Monte Carlo.
• Discover super charming, floral-decorated Saint Paul de Vence.
• Wander around Le Suquet in Cannes.
• Stroll through pastel buildings and mega-yachts in Saint Tropez.

Start your trip in Nice. You can fly directly here or even fly to Paris and take the high speed train to Nice. Explore the Old Town and head to Castle Hill for gorgeous views. Depending on your interests, you can also go on a sightseeing cruise or check out the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Start the second day by visiting a new country: Monte Carlo! Don’t miss the changing of the guard ceremony at the Prince Palace and the port with all those luxurious yachts, and try the famous Casino if you’re feeling lucky.
In the afternoon, head to Eze, a charming, clifftop medieval village. Finish the day with a drink and great sunset views at Saint Jean Cap Ferrat.

On day 3 you’ll get to see the charming towns of Saint Paul de Vence and Grasse, where you could also try to make your own perfume. Plus, there’s beach time at La Garoupe.

Start the next day with a stroll through the cobblestone streets of Antibes, then take the ferry to the island of Saint-Marguerite. Finish the day in Cannes; walk to the Le Suquet, the old quarter of Cannes, and to the famous Boulevard de la Croisette.

On your last day, visit Saint Tropez, home to the rich and famous, and finish your France road trip itinerary in the charming city of Hyeres.

Recommended length: 5 days

Normandy Road Trip

by Chris, Explore Now or Never

A road trip through the beautiful Normandy region is one of the best driving routes in France, and truly a bucket list experience. On this northern France road trip, you’ll visit a world-famous garden, drive tiny rural roads trough verdant, green meadows past quaint Normand villages and the famed D-Day beaches. Look for the telltale timbered houses and be sure to stop for cider or cheese at a local farm. Complete your tour at stunning UNESCO World Heritage site Mont-Saint-Michel.

Highlights of the trip:
• See Monet’s spectacular garden Giverny in person.
• Tour the D-Day landing beaches, a bucket list experience.
• Explore the mystical Mont Saint-Michel monastery, one of France’s most magical sites.

From Paris, head directly to Monet’s historic home and famed garden in Giverny. As you stand and admire the water lilies just in front of the little green bridge, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into one of his Impressionist paintings.

From there, drive to the quaint fishing village of Honfleur on Normandy’s northern coast, where the Seine River meets the English channel. The beautiful harbor here is lined with charming medieval architecture. It’s the perfect picturesque spot to spend the night. En route, stop into Rouen to peek into the gorgeous Cathedrale Notre Dame de Rouen, famously painted by Monet.

Drive on to Bayeux, which makes a perfect base for a one or two day visit to the famous Normandy D-Day landing beaches. While you can visit on your own, a day tour here truly brings the tragedy and glory of D-Day to life. With more time, see the famous Bayeux tapestry in the tiny museum in the village.

Your final stop is Mont Saint-Michel just before the Brittany region. Located on an island just one kilometer off the northwestern coast of France, this incredible monastery is a striking site to see when the tide is out.

Recommended length: 3 to 4 days.

Road Trip through the Dordogne

by Ivan, Mind the Travel

There are few places in the world more picture-perfect than the Dordogne 
area in the southwest of France. Picturesque medieval villages, prehistoric cave paintings, vineyards, and laid back country life are what you’ll find here. The Dordogne, just an hour and a half from Bordeaux, is the perfect place for a road trip.

Highlights of the trip:
• Stroll the romantic gas-lit lanes of romantic Sarlat.
• Check out a large exhibit of historic weaponry in Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle.
• Enjoy a beverage and stunning views on the terrace at L’Esplanade in Domme.
• Marvel at iconic Château de Beynac perching on top of cliff.
• Check out Maison Forte de Reignac, the only surviving cave castle in France.
• Indulge on local foie gras and black truffles.
• See prehistoric cave paintings in Lascaux.
• Hit the Saturday street market in Perigueux to get a taste of the region.

Start off your Dordogne road trip in Bordeaux, a Mecca for wine lovers. Take a bike tour of Bordeaux to fully appreciate the city, or splash around in the world’s largest reflecting pool, Miroir d’Eau.

The next day head to not-far-away Lascaux Caves near Montignac – enjoy over 600 paintings on the ceilings and walls. The age of the paintings has  been estimated at around 17,000 years ago!

Head then to Sarlat le Caneda. Situated in the region called the Perigord Noir in the Sout West of France, this quintessentially romantic city is a great base for exploring the prettiest villages in the Dordogne – Domme, Beynac and La Roque-Gageac.

On day 5 take a day trip to Lacave, a beautiful village that was already  populated in the Paleolithic era. From here you can visit the magical cliff-side village of Rocamadour and Grottes de Lacave with impressive  stalactites and stalagmites.

Start your next day by visiting Terrasson-Lavilledieu, home to several  noteworthy monuments such as Saint-Sour Church, the Old Bridge, and  “Jardins de I’Imaginaire”.

It goes without saying that Dordogne is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. With a number of hiking trails and footpaths that run through the countryside, the Dordogne Valley is recognized for its outstanding natural beauty, crystal clear rivers, an immensely rich cultural heritage, which has been so well conserved. It’s no surprise that walking and hiking is such a massively popular activity here.

Recommended length: 7-10 days

Alsace Road Trip: The Alsace Wine Route

by Elisa, France Bucket List

The Wine Route of Alsace is one of the most famous wine routes in France and also the oldest. It is located in the historical region of Alsace – today part of the new region Grand Est-, in Eastern France. On this east France road trip, get ready to explore picturesque villages, medieval châteaux, gorgeous countryside, and of course, the best Alsatian wines!

Highlights of the trip:
• Cycle around the charming, heritage-rich city of Strasbourg.
• Go wine tasting and visit multiple vineyards on the way.
• Visit colorful fairy-tale villages like Colmar.

Starting from Strasbourg, the capital, the Alsace Wine Route winds through sloping valleys along the foothills of the Vosges for more than 170km, crossing the entire wine region from Marlenheim to Thann and meeting some 1000 producers.

Along the way, you can visit colorful fairy-tale villages like Colmar, Kaisesberg, Eiguisheim, or Ribeauville.  Apart from sightseeing, the region offers great hikes in the forest or through the vineyards so it is possible to combine nature and culture.

For the Alsace Wine Route, it is suggested to spend a minimum of 4 full days. This minimum itinerary includes one full day in Strasbourg and another full day in Colmar for sightseeing.

But of course, there’s so much to see and do that it is possible to extend your road trip doing other activities like wine tasting sessions, hiking, biking, or visiting medieval fortresses. You can set your base camp in Strasbourg or Colmar and organize day trips around these two cities.

Recommended length: a minimum of 4 full days.

Route des Grandes Alpes through the French Alps

by Kat, Wandering Bird

One of the most well-known road trips in Europe is the Route des Grandes Alpes, in south-east France. 

It’s possible to drive this route (one of the most scenic routes in France) by car and stop along the way at one of the many beautiful towns, but a better option is to plan a motorhome trip and wild camp up a mountain in the middle of nowhere, with the stars twinkling overhead.

Highlights of the trip:
• Explore picturesque Lake Annecy.
• Wandering around the Gorge du Fier.
• Go up Mont Blanc in a cable car.
• Enjoy breathtaking mountain views every way you turn.
• See the Milky Way at night.

The whole Route des Grandes Alpes takes you from Lake Leman to the Mediterranean passing through 16 Alps passes. It runs from Thonon-les-Bains towards Menton at French Riviera, but you can just do a part of it, or keep going and visiting the French Riviera as well afterwards.

Some of the things you’ll get to experience on this French Alps road trip will be exploring picturesque Lake Annecy, wandering around the Gorge du Fier, and going up Mont Blanc in a cable car. You’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking mountain views every way you turn and at night you’ll see the Milky Way. Pretty dreamy, uh?

The trip can take anywhere from 3-5 days and the best times are either late Spring or early Autumn- (May/ June or September/ October.) 

It’s not possible to do the whole route in winter due to snow closing the roads and we recommend avoiding July and August due to the sheer number of tourists and cyclists who visit the area. There’s also the Tour de France, which passes through the area each July and turns everything into chaos! 

Recommended length: 3 to 5 days.


Hopefully you’ll be inspired by this list of great road trips in France! Ready to get on the road?

OH WAIT, HERE’S MORE ROAD TRIP INSPO!

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  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.

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