France in 2-3 days

Head straight to Paris, there’s little point trying to see more of France if you’ve only got a long weekend. Two days in the capital still won’t be enough but it will be the best two days of your life. If you’ve got an extra day, take the one-hour train trip to the the former home of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette — the Palace of Versailles.

The Palace of Versailles

Open: Tuesday to Sunday 9am-5.30pm 1st November to 31 March, Tuesday to Sunday 9am-6.30pm 1st April to 31st October

Closed: Mondays

Tickets: Adult Passport  €18, Musical Fountain & Garden Show Passport €25, Adult Palace only €15

In 7-9 days

If you’ve got a week or so to spend in France your best bet is to pick a few regions to explore. Start your trip in Paris and spend a minimum of two days in the capital before heading to the countryside or beach.

Example: Paris to Nice

France’s excellent train network means you can leave Paris and be in Marseille in just over three hours. If you’ve got a night to spare enjoy Marseille before heading to Provence.

Use Avignon as a base to explore Provence. In a day tour from Avignon you can visit the medieval towns of Gordes and Les Baux-de-Provence as well as the amazing Pont du Gard — a Roman-built aqueduct. Van Gogh admirers may also want to visit Arles — where the artist lived during his most prolific years — while others may want to bypass Arles and head to Aix-en-Provence.

After three or four days in Provence, head down to the French Riviera to relax on the beach and explore Nice, Cannes and Monaco.


Two weeks +

If you’re lucky enough to have more than two weeks in France, consider staying longer in Paris and taking a trip to the Champagne region for an overnight stay in Reims.

Head back through Paris and down into the Loire Valley. Spend as long as you can in this Unesco World Heritage Site before continuing on to Bordeaux.

Spend two nights in Bordeaux and factor in a day trip (or overnight stay) to the surrounding wine regions — St Emilion is a popular destination. Surfers may want to continue south to Biarritz. Or else head east to Provence and the French Riviera — stopping en route for a night or two in the walled city of Carcassonne.