15 Top France Road Trips You Need to Plan Now

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Who doesn’t love a road trip? It is always a popular thing to do in the US, but did you know there are some epic France road trips too?

While France has a great train system, there are some smaller towns and places that you just can’t get to without a car. Also, going on a driving holiday in France is the perfect opportunity to travel deeper and understand more about the culture and topography of this incredible country. 

The first road trip that I took in France was to the South of France in 7 days. And it was epic. We got to visit the villages of the Luberon, enjoy the scenery along the road, and pop over to places without waiting on trains. 

I loved it so much that I’m currently planning another road trip this fall… and the next year…and likely the year after that. 

So if you want to explore France even further, here are the 15 best Road Trips in France that you’ll want to plan now. 

Cucuron during a Luberon Road Trip

15 Best Road Trips in France

Here is a quick look at the 15 road trips around France: 

  1. Provence road trip
  2. Highlights of Normandy road trip
  3. Explore Brittany
  4. Pyrenees road trip
  5. Rhone-Alpes road trip
  6. Burgundy road trip
  7. Castles and wine of the Loire Valley
  8. Dordogne road trip
  9. French Riviera road trip
  10. Nouvelle-Aquitaine road trip
  11. Explore the Alsace
  12. Champagne road trip
  13. Island time in Corsica
  14. Ile de France road trip
  15. Paris to Nice road trip

Okay, for more details, keep reading below! 

1. Provence Road Trip

Senanque Abbey in Provence

Suggested Route: Avignon–Luberon Villages–Aix-en-Provence–Cannes–Nice

Days Needed: 7-10 days

Great Place to Stay: La Mirande in Avignon

When to Go: June-September

Highlights: Lavender fields, beaches, and markets

Distance: Approx. 417 km

Provence is easily one of the most popular road trip destinations in France, and it isn’t challenging to see why. With lavender fields, colorful towns, and charming markets, who wouldn’t want to visit this region of France?

And having a car makes it even better! This means you can stop in smaller cities like Roussillon for the Ochre Trail or even visit the iconic Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque with its purple lavender. 

Hiking the Ochre Trail in Roussillon

I have a whole guide about the perfect 7-day Provence road trip, including stops in Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Cassis, Cannes, and Nice. It honestly makes for the most epic time as you explore the Luberon villages, shop at markets, and get some sun and sand along the beaches in Cannes. 

And if you have more than the 7 days that I had, definitely make a stop at the perfume capital of the world, Grasse, perhaps explore the Valensole, or go boating at Gorges du Verdon. 

2. Highlights of Normandy

Mont Saint Michel 34

Suggested Route: Rouen–Etretat–Honfleur–Deauville–Caen–Bayeux–Mont Saint Michel

Days Needed: 7-10 days

Great Place to Stay: Villa Augeval Hotel & Spa in Deauville

When to Go: June-September

Highlights: D-Day Beaches, Cider Route, Etretat, and Mont Saint Michel

Distance: Approx. 348 km

While many people think of the D-Day Beaches when it comes to visiting Normandy, there is actually SO much more to see! 

There are lovely Atlantic beaches, the dreamy Mont Saint Michel abbey and tidal island, the fun and delicious Cider Route, and you cannot forget the beautiful town of Etretat with its stunning rock formations along the sea.

Oh, and don’t forget to try all the amazing cheeses from the region including Neufchatel and Camembert as well as all the apple products! 

Etretat Cliffs 2

You’d need at least 7 days to see most of this, but 10 days is definitely a great idea so you can slow down and take it all in. 

In this road trip, you’ll want to start in Rouen and explore Etretat on the way to Honfleur and Deauville. Then, you’ll explore the Cider Route near Caen, visit the D-Day beaches from Bayeux, and end up admiring Mont Saint Michel. 

PS- if you drive from Paris to Normandy, you definitely need to stop by Giverny on the way to see the Monet Gardens! 

3. Western France/Brittany Road Trip

Saint-Malo

Suggested Route: Dinan–Mont Saint Michel–Saint-Malo–Brest–Carnac–Rennes

Days Needed: 10 days

Great Place to Stay: Hotel Beaufort in Saint-Malo

When to Go: June-September

Highlights: Beaches, Mont Saint Michel, Alignments of Carnac, and Medieval towns

Distance: Approx. 668 km

Searching for a fantastic 10-day France road trip? Definitely check out Brittany. Between its Medieval towns, ancient structures like the Alignments of Carnac, and the lovely beaches, you’ll never want to leave this place. 

Stroll along the streets of Dinan and Rennes, be awe-inspired by the Alignments of Carnac, a structure that is older than Stone Henge, and even admire the walled old town of Saint-Malo as well as the Rose Granite Coast. 

Alignments of Carnac

While in Brittany, you’ll also want to partake in their tasty cuisine including crepes and galettes, seafood, kouign-amman, and definitely try the cider. 

In this France road trip itinerary, you’ll start in Dinan before exploring Mont Saint Michel, visiting Saint-Malo, relaxing in Brest, visiting the Alignments of Carnac, and ending in Rennes. 

4. Pyrenees Road Trip

Lourdes

Suggested Route: Biarritz–Larrau–Lourdes–Saint-Lary-Soulan–Ax-Les-Thermes–Carcassonne–Perpignan

Days Needed: 10 days

Great Place to Stay: Belfry & Spa By Ligne St Barth in Lourdes

When to Go: June-September

Highlights: Epic hiking, mountains, and pilgrimage sites

Distance: Approx. 745 km

For those who want to get off the beaten path, definitely head to the Pyrenees. This place has so much charm and great places to go hiking! 

Plus, you’ll get to enjoy time in the French Basque countryside, where you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the Spanish influence as you explore. 

Biarritz

Start out in the beach town of Biarritz before heading to Larrau for the Holzarte Footbridge. After that, make the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes and the grotto in the famed town of Lourdes, then go to Saint-Lary Soulan in the heart of the Pyrenees for great hiking, relax in the spa town of Ax-Les-Thermes, swing by the fortified city of Carcassonne because you’re not too far from it, an end in the city of Perpignan. 

5. Rhone-Alpes Road Trip

Palais de L'ile in Annecy France

Suggested Route: Lyon–Annecy–Aix-les-Bains–Chambery–Chamonix

Days Needed: 7 days

Great Place to Stay: Cour des Loges in Lyon

When to Go: June-September

Highlights: Epic hiking, mountains, charming alpine towns, and Savoie wine

Distance: Approx. 344 km

For those who love epic mountains and stunning lakes, you’ll fall head over heels for a French Alps road trip! 

Start out in Lyon for a day or two to explore the gastronomic capital of the world! Then, explore the endlessly charming town of Annecy and get out on Lake Annecy to admire the views of the Alps in the background. 

Ariel view of Lake Bourget near Aix-Les-Bains

After this, hop over to Aix-les-Bains for some time enjoying Lake Bourget and the spas in this spa town. Then, for the chance to hike amongst vineyards and in the hills, stay in the town of Chambery in the Savoie region and book a tour with Alpes Flaveurs at [email protected]

And lastly, for epic hikes in one of the most beautiful towns in the Alps, head to Chamonix. 

6. Burgundy Road Trip

Whimsical carousel and band playing in the middle of Dijon - Dijon in a weekend

Suggested Route: Dijon–Chablis–Beaune–Macon–Cluny

Days Needed: 7 days

Great Place to Stay: Abbaye de Maizieres in Beaune

When to Go: June-October

Highlights: Wine, food, and stunning countryside

Distance: Approx. 388 km

For foodies and wine lovers alike, you’ll love a road trip around Burgundy. Start out in Dijon for a day or two to see all that this amazing city has to offer. Hint: this definitely includes delicious delicacies including Dijon mustard and Creme de Cassis. 

Then, head to Chablis for its lovely wine before spending a couple of days in Beaune, where you can bike along vineyards and into charming villages in the heart of the Burgundy wine region. 

Entrance to Beaune via a bike path in Burgundy

Then, head south to Macon for more wine and the charming city itself before ending in Cluny where you can admire the stunning Abbaye de Cluny. 

This is a great itinerary for those looking to drive to places and then perhaps bike along the vineyards. Do not drink and drive of course! 

Plus, this wine region is full of great towns to stop in along your road trip! 

7. Loire Valley Road Trip

Chateau de Chambord | Best Weekend Trips From Paris

Suggested Route: Tours–Amboise–Blois–Orleans

Days Needed: 5 days

Great Place to Stay: Chateau d-Artigny in Montbazon

When to Go: May-September

Highlights: Castles, wine, and beautiful rivers

Distance: Approx. 176 km

Want to feel like you’re waking up in a fairytale for 5 days? This is the best 5 day road trip in France for you! 

Start out in Tours before continuing on to Amboise, Blois, and ending in Orleans. Don’t worry, you’re not just town-hopping here! There is a lot to see along the way! 

Stop in to see stunning castles like Chateau de Chenonceau, Chateau d’Amboise, Chateau de Blois, Chateau de Cheverny, and even Chateau de Chambord. 

Kat twirling in a white patterened dress in front of Chateau de Chenonceau

If you want to enjoy the views from the water, definitely rent a canoe and paddle along the Cher River, eventually going underneath Chateau de Chenonceau! 

Then wrap up the trip in Orleans where you can see the famous statue of Joan of Arc as well as the charming stone and half-timbered houses in the old town. 

8. Dordogne Road Trip

Castelnaud-La-Chapelle

Suggested Route: Perigueux–Montignac–Sarlat-La-Caneda–Rocamadour 

Days Needed: 5 days

Great Place to Stay: Chateau de la Treyne in La Treyne

When to Go: May-September

Highlights: Castles, historic caves, and beautiful scenery

Distance: Approx. 220 km

For castles in a more off-the-beaten-path destination, head over to the Dordogne region. This area is known as the “Land of 1001 castles,” meaning you’ll have plenty of options to fill up your time exploring on this road trip. 

Start out in the town of Periguex, where you can visit a Gallo-Roman museum, and you can also spend the day hiking and exploring the Perigord-Limousin Natural Regional Park.

After that, head to Montignac for the famous Lascaux Caves. These are prehistoric caves with several cave paintings inside. While you can’t go in the real caves, you can see a replica of the caves nearby to appreciate the history. 

Beynac-Et-Cazenac

Then, for the chance to explore the many castles in the area, you’ll want to stay in towns like Sarlat-La-Caneda and Rocamadour. Visit some chateaus like Chateau de Baynac, Chateau de Montal, and Chateau de Rocamadour. 

And, of course, you can’t miss the chance to stay in another castle hotel like at Chateau de la Treyne

9. A French Riviera Road Trip is One of the Shorter of the France Road Trips

South of France Itinerary in Cassis

Suggested Route: Cassis-Cannes-Antibes-Nice

Days Needed: 5 days

Great Place to Stay: Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice

When to Go: May-September

Highlights: Beaches, gorgeous towns, and day trip options

Distance: Approx. 216 km

Have a shorter time in Provence and want to skip straight to the beach? Then no problem! This 5-day French Riviera itinerary is perfect for you! 

Spend a day exploring the beaches and Calanques in Cassis before driving to Cannes for some time spent at a beach club and exploring the city. Then go to Antibes to relax the day before spending the last 2 days in Nice. 

Festival du Plage in Cannes

If you want, you can spend 1 day in Nice and then take a day trip on the last day to anywhere from Monaco to Villefranche-sur-Mer. 

Either way, this is a great itinerary to enjoy the cities and beaches of the Mediterranean in France.

10. Nouvelle-Aquitaine Road Trip

Bordeaux prettiest towns in France

Suggested Route: Cognac–Montignac–Beynac-et-Cazenac–Bordeaux–Biarritz

Days Needed: 7 days

Great Place to Stay: Hotel de Tourny in Bordeaux

When to Go: May-September

Highlights: Wine, cognac, history, and beaches

Distance: Approx. 589 km

Nouvelle-Aquitaine is the largest administrative region in France, so you could certainly spend weeks exploring and still have more to see. 

However, for a good feel of the area, start out in the place where cognac is made: around Cognac. 

Then, you’ll want to head to Montignac to explore the historic Lascaux Caves replica before stopping in Beynac-et-Cazenac for the epic Chateau de Beynac, among other historic castles nearby. 

After that, it is time to spend a couple of days in Bordeaux to sample all the delicious Bordeaux wine and perhaps learn a little more about it at the Cite du Vin wine museum. Be sure to go on a wine-tasting tour to sample the best wines and visit lovely vineyards! 

Vineyards in Bordeaux

Then, wrap up your trip near the Spanish border in the town of Biarritz. Enjoy the beaches and scenery in the area as you relax or even take up surfing. 

11. Alsace Road Trip

Colmar Christmas Markets | Best Alsace Christmas Markets

Suggested Route: Strasbourg–Obernai–Colmar–Kaysersberg–Riquewihr–Ribeauville

Days Needed: 5 days

Great Place to Stay: Hotel Hannong in Strasbourg

When to Go: November-December or June-July

Highlights: Christmas markets, wine route, and beautiful towns

Distance: Approx. 125 km

While many of the France road trips listed above are perfect for summer and early fall, this one is actually best done during the holiday season. Mostly because the Christmas markets in the Alsace are epic! 

Also, if you don’t want to drive this one, you can do this via train and public transport as well. However, with a car, you certainly have more flexibility. 

Start out in Strasbourg for a few nights and spend a full day exploring the city and its Christmas markets if you’re there during that season. Then, on the second day, you’ll want to explore the Alsace Wine Route either with your car (have a sober driver!) or on a tour. This is the tour we took and loved it! 

Then, you’ll want to take a day trip to Obernai, which I honestly think has the best Christmas market. If you go mid-week, there are no crowds, and it’s just lovely. 

Views of Obernai in the Alsace

After that, head to Colmar and admire this charming town for a day before spending your last day visiting the smaller towns in the Alsace region including Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, and Ribeauville. These towns also have incredible Christmas markets! 

While you can take the Navettes de Noel bus to these small towns from Colmar during the holiday season, you’ll find much more flexibility with your own car. Many of these smaller towns only have markets on the weekends, so plan your route accordingly. 

12. Champagne Road Trip

Tasting at Moet & Chandon - Things to do in Epernay

Suggested Route: Paris–Chatillon-sur-Marne–Epernay–Hautvillers–Ay-Champagne–Reims

Days Needed: 5 days

Great Place to Stay: Les Suites du 33 in Epernay

When to Go: April through October

Highlights: Champagne cellars and lovely scenery

Distance: Approx. 191 km

While you could certainly do a quick day trip over to Champagne from Paris, I highly recommend spending at least 4-5 days here. 

This is also a great Paris road trip idea, as you can easily drive from Paris to Champagne and explore! 

Depart Paris and begin your journey in the smaller town of Chatillon-sur-Marne. Here, you’ll find smaller Champagne houses including Champagne Pierlot Fils, Champagne Smej Vely, and Champagne Charlier & Fils. 

After a day spent here, definitely head to Epernay for a day where you can enjoy tastings along the famous Ave de Champagne at places like Moet et Chandon, Champagne Esterlin, and Perrier Jouet. 

Reims Cathedral

Then, from Epernay, you can head to Hautvillers to see the famed Hautvillers Abbey where Dom Perignon, one of the perfecters of sparkling wine, was a monk. 

After that, explore Ay-Champagne for more great Champagne tastings at places like Champagne Bollinger, Champagne Egrot, and Champagne Henri Giraud.

Then finally, you’ll end in Reims where you can take a day to explore the city, including the Reims Cathedral, and spend another day Champagne tasting at Vevue Clicquot, Champagne Ruinart, and Champagne Pommery. 

Note that for many tours and tastings, you’ll need to reserve your spot ahead of time. I suggest doing this via the Champagne Houses’ website. You can also check Champagne-Booking.com to book tours and tastings. 

13. Island Time in Corsica Road Trip

10 Days in France - Corsica beaches

Suggested Route: Ajaccio–Bonifacio–Porto-Vecchio–Calvi–Ajaccio

Days Needed: 10 days

Great Place to Stay: Hotel Casadelmar in Porto-Vecchio

When to Go: May through September

Highlights: Beaches, hiking, mountains

Distance: Approx. 360 km

I couldn’t leave out the island of Corsica during this France road trip guide! This island is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea just above Sardinia. 

With its seascapes and mountainous terrain, you’ll absolutely love taking a longer 10-day road trip here. Start out in Ajaccio, as this is likely where you’ll come in from the ferry or via plane. Spend a day or two here before going to Bonifacio, with its iconic beaches and the gorgeous Citadelle de Bonifacio. 

Corsica from above showing a beach and boat in the water

After that, go up north to Porto-Vecchio for more beaches and a chance to take a day trip to the Lavezzi Archipelago

Then, you’ll wrap up the trip in Calvi, where you can explore the town and enjoy some nearby hiking. 

Lastly, to end your trip, you’ll have to head back to Ajaccio to catch a plane or ferry back to mainland France. 

14. Ile de France Road Trip

Hall of Mirrors - Paris to Versailles Day Trip Itinerary

Suggested Route: Paris–Provins–Fontainbleu–Versailles–Paris

Days Needed: 5 days

Great Place to Stay: Hotel des Artes–Montmartre in Paris

When to Go: April through October

Highlights: Paris, Versailles, and other charming towns and parks

Distance: Approx. 271 km

If you want to stick close to Paris, then why not explore Ile de France, the region Paris is located in? 

Start your road trip going from Paris to Provins, where you can admire the Medieval architecture and ramparts of the town. Seriously, it is well worth spending a day here to see the epic ramparts, tunnels, towers, and more around this place. 

Paris Skyline

Then, you’ll head to Fountainbleu for a couple of days to explore the Chateau de Fontainbleau as well as hike in the Fontainbleau forest. 

Then, you’ll spend a couple of days exploring the amazing town of Versailles and, of course, the Chateau de Versailles. Yes, this is an easy day trip from Paris, but honestly, if you really want to enjoy both the town and the whole estate, it is worth a couple of days! 

After that, you’re back in Paris! 

15. Ultimate Paris to Nice Road Trip

South of France Itinerary - Nice

Suggested Route: Paris–Dijon–Lyon–Annecy–Avignon–Aix-en-Provence–Cannes–Nice

Days Needed: 14 days

Great Place to Stay: Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice

When to Go: May through September

Highlights: Get to visit a ton of France including cities, mountains, and beaches

Distance: Approx. 1,258 km

Okay, the final one on the list of the best road trips in France has to be an epic 2-week long road trip from Paris to Nice. 

And you’ll want a full two weeks as this drive takes quite some time, and you’ll want to stop and explore along the way! 

Start out in Paris for a couple of days to see the main sights, before you continue on to Dijon for a couple of days to see the highlights of the city as well as stop in the town of Beaune to explore the vineyards of Burgundy. 

Hilly country town in Burgundy

After that, drive down to Lyon for a couple of days to enjoy this gastronomy capital and the beautiful old city before stopping by Annecy for a day to enjoy the alpine lake views and charming farmers market (if you time your trip here on a Tuesday, Friday, or Sunday). 

Up next, you’ll head down to Avignon for a couple of days where you can explore the town, visit the wine region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and even see the stunning Pont du Gard. 

After that, take a day to see Aix-en-Provence or perhaps the Luberon villages. Then, you’ll spend 2 days in Cannes for beach time and to explore the town before wrapping up your trip with a couple of days in Nice. 

Other Tips For the Best France Road Trips

Kat at the Gordes Lookout

Before you hop in the car to explore the best driving routes through France, here are some things to note:

  1. Need a car? It is easy to rent a car! I like Auto Europe for finding the best deals! 
  2. You may need an international driver’s license. While I wasn’t asked last time for it, it is a good idea to get one ahead of time if you’re coming from the US as I was. You can get this at AAA.
  3. Learn some rules of the road. For me, it was nice to drive on the right side of the road like we do in the US, but there are some differences in rules. This is a good resource to read up on before your trip. 
  4. Do not drive while drinking. Some of these France road trips include stops in wine regions. I recommend either having a sober driver, hiring a driver for the day, or going on a wine tour. France has strict laws when it comes to drinking and driving, so just don’t do it. 
  5. Don’t rush it. Maybe you find something awesome along your route and want to take a detour. Don’t pack in too much so you can make time for things like that.

A road trip around France is a lot of fun! Whether you dream of exploring the lavender fields of Provence or visiting the mountain towns in the Alps, these are the 15 best France road trips that you’ll want to start planning now. 

Which of the France road trips would you most like to go on?

Want more France travel inspiration? Check out these posts:

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These are the 15 top France road trips to take | France Road Trip Itinerary | France Road Trip Route | Road Trip Sud France | South of France Road Trip | Northern France Road Trip | French Alps Road Trip | French Road Trip | French Countryside Road Trip | French Wine Road Trip | French Coast Road Trip | Driving in France | Where to Visit in France
These are the 15 top France road trips to take | France Road Trip Itinerary | France Road Trip Route | Road Trip Sud France | South of France Road Trip | Northern France Road Trip | French Alps Road Trip | French Road Trip | French Countryside Road Trip | French Wine Road Trip | French Coast Road Trip | Driving in France | Where to Visit in France
These are the 15 top France road trips to take | France Road Trip Itinerary | France Road Trip Route | Road Trip Sud France | South of France Road Trip | Northern France Road Trip | French Alps Road Trip | French Road Trip | French Countryside Road Trip | French Wine Road Trip | French Coast Road Trip | Driving in France | Where to Visit in France

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