France is a country for all seasons. It rarely runs to the extremes. The average summer temperatures are from 55 to 75 Fahrenheit. In winter, the temperature hovers around 36 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Besides, there’s something for everyone in France. From Disneyland Paris, the iconic Eiffel Tower and the sidewalk cafes in Paris to the mountains, wineries, and countryside farms, France’s attractions continue to draw millions each year. 89 million visitors were there in 2017, making France the most visited country in the world.
France has long been associated with fashion, art, wine, food, and romance. But how do you get a real taste of France if you only have two weeks?
That’s the question most Trippy users asked including Michelle who was planning a two-week honeymoon to France. Her question:
I am going on a honeymoon to France end of may beginning of June for two weeks. We are starting in Paris for 2-3 days and ending in Monte Carlo for 2-3 days we have about a week in between, what are some good quaint places to go in between?
Explore Paris and take a day trip to Versailles
Spend at least three nights in Paris. Polly Beam from Washington DC suggested:
First, I’d consider spending more time in Paris. There are some great day trips from the city like Versailles and Giverny.
Alex Jorge from the UK wrote:
Near Paris, Versailles is a great place to plan an overnight so that you can experience the town after the day-tourists visiting the palace leave. Fontainebleau is another beautiful option, a forested area with a stunning castle.
Linger at a sidewalk cafe in Paris, enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of eau minerale, and people watch. Take a stroll along Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, visit the Louvre Museum and the Musee d’Orsay and of course, go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and enjoy the panoramic views of Paris.
For the best views of the Eiffel Tower from your hotel, stay at the following (recommended by Architectural Digest):
- Hotel Montaigne
- La Bourdonnais
- Splendid Etoile
- Hotel San Régis
- The Peninsula Paris
- Hotel LeWatt Paris
For day trips, join a tour of Chateau de Versailles and the gardens. Located about 12 miles from Paris city center, Versailles is one of the most visited places in France. Visit the Royal Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, the Chapel, the Royal Opera and the Museum of the History of France. Don’t miss the gardens decorated with fountains, statues and more.
Located at the intersection of the Rhone and Soane rivers in the Rhone Alpes region, Lyon is France’s second largest city and the capital of gastronomy and gateway to the Beaujolais wine region. It offers lots of places to relax, eat and enjoy local wine.
Having at least two days in Lyon is ideal.
Trippy user Alex Jorge wrote:
About midway on your journey is Lyon, a cathedral city and one of the largest metro areas in France. The old town is one of the oldest medieval centers of Europe, this is also a foodie destination, and a must stop if you are into culinary delights.
Jackie from London said:
Check out, Lyon! It is only 2 hours on the TGV from Paris and a great place to relax, eat and drink for a few days. You can also do some great 1-2 day trips to Annecy and Vienne.
For a traditional and typical Lyon experience, visit a Bouchon.
Brasserie le Nord is a great restaurant, but try my favorite restaurant in the world called Cousin Cousine & Co. located at 1 Grande Rue des Feuillants, 69001, Lyon. Taxi drivers do not know this little street, so I would get out at Place l’Opera (Opera House) or the Hotel de Ville (the town hall) and walk up a couple of blocks. If you are willing, try the Tartar de Beouf!
Take a French river cruise in the Provence Region
Trippy user, Laura Kubler Miller from Kansas City replied:
My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on a French river cruise traveling up the Rhone a couple of years ago. We started in Avignon and ended up in Chalon-sur-Saone on a Viking boat, but there are a number of companies that do this. While it wasn’t specifically a “wine cruise,” we drank wine from the region throughout the whole tour, and it was delicious. The food on the boat was good. I wouldn’t say great, but we certainly enjoyed every bite.
Or join a 7-day Tauck cruise from Lyon on the Rhone River through Viviers, Arles, Avignon, Roussillon, and Valence. See the walled city of Viviers, take a walking tour of the historic Arles and visit the first-century Roman arena. Also, see Avignon’s fortified walls, the cathedral, and palace, take a stroll on the streets of Roussillon, view the vineyards and go for wine tasting at the village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and enjoy wine, cheese and local cuisine in Valence.
Most of these river cruises are around one week long.
Tour the Provence region
If cruising is not something you like to do, you can take a self-drive tour or a group tour to the Provence region, in southeastern France. Enjoy the landscapes that captured Cezanne and Van Gogh.
Provence has many hiking trails and cycling paths on the country roads.
Victoria Ancheva from Riga recommended the following places in Provence:
Saint-Remy-de-Provence and Bonnieux (scenes from the movie “A Good Year” with Russell Crowe). Les Baux-de-Provence is a beautiful little village; I am sure you will love it. Check Mont Ventoux – one of the most beautiful mountains where one of the most significant natural mineral water sources is.
There is one of the most romantic little towns called Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Arles is also a must-see. And also the small village of Paradou. Château d’Estoublon is a beautiful estate with olive grove, wine, but I think they make the most amazing fig confiture ever! (Château d’Estoublon – Route de Maussane – 13990 Fontvieille)
WalkInnProvence.com recommends a few activities when visiting Provence and here are three I picked:
1. Visit the Provencal vineyards, enjoy wine tasting especially the famous rose wines of Tavel.
2. Enjoy the rolling lavender fields of Provence if you’re visiting between mid-June to mid-July. Lavender tours are available in Luberon, Valensole, and north of Aix en Provence. The Senanque Abbey, a 12th-century run by Cistercian monks is the best place to see and smell lavender in Provence in June.
3. Climb Mont Ventoux, the highest mountain in Provence and venue for Tour de France. Get panoramic views of the Alps at the top.
Relax at a beach resort in the French Riviera
Trippy user Alex wrote:
My personal preference is for skipping Marseilles and Nice all together, and focussing instead on smaller towns and villages, perhaps doing one final stop in Saint-Tropez.
In Saint Tropez, Trippy user Victoria recommended:
Fréjus, Grimaud and Port Grimaud for the beach. For less touristy check Le Thoronet, Draguignan.