You may not be a fan of vacation packages and organized holiday tours. Heck, I wasn’t. But after doing some extensive research on the best France tours, and seeing just how sophisticated and downright interesting they are, I have to admit I’ve changed my mind. Check out these France tours below, and see if you too don’t come away seriously considering booking (at least) one of them. And if you’ve been on any great France vacation tours, feel free to let me know in the comments.
Les Domaines de l’Ane offers half-day through 7-day treks through the Alpes Mancelles, Pays d’Auge and even as far as Mont Saint-Michel. Don’t feel like walking? It’s okay – they have donkeys to ride! And quirky, cool accommodations for the longer treks.
This is a great way to spend some time in nature, and see a part of France that not many do – and in a way that not many do. I mean, look at that picture! Can you even imagine? There are also kid-friendly donkey rides as well, so if you’re in the Mont Saint-Michel area, consider this as a fun diversion.
The Sarthe département, in the Loire Valley, has a great deal on a weekend tour for wine lovers.
For just €83 per person, you get a night in an 18th-century mill-turned-4-star-chambre d’hôtes, a tour of a local AOC vineyard, a gourmet dinner, breakfast the next morning, and a lot of other little treats and activities including chocolates and a bottle of the wine to take home with you (or at least back to the hotel!).
This is a great idea for a side trip during a vacation to Paris. It’s run by the tourism council of Sarthe, so it’s going to be mostly if not all in French. But if you can get by with the language, this is definitely worth it.
Based between Angers and Saumur in the Loire Valley, le tasting room offers excellent wine tasting tours – and they’ve got you Paris fans in mind: “hop on the direct TGV service from Montparnasse and we can have you sitting with a glass of something delicious by 10am.” These are clearly my kind of people.
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They also have weekend and 3-day breaks as well, if you want an overnighter. Strolling through vineyards and delicious meals… sigh.
And if you need further inspiration, check this out: Beautiful foliage and great wines in the Loire Valley.
If you’re into a road trip to see the Loire Valley and want to add a little flair, Cabriolet Touring offers several weekend itineraries for Anjou, Sarthe and Touraine to go along with your choice of classic sports car.
Don’t worry, they all include GPS! And their itineraries include the full routes and directions.
This would be the perfect surprise for someone who loves to drive – or who wants to channel their inner Steve McQueen. Make sure to do this if you’re visiting the castles of the Loire.
If an entire vacation tour is more your speed, I really love the look of this Kensington Tours 7-day private French Riviera tour. It starts in Nice and ends in Monte Carlo, which is a compact enough area of the country that you’ll spend your time seeing stuff and not just traveling from place to place. To me, that’s an important factor in choosing full vacation packages.
And it includes a helicopter ride! So awesome.
They also take you to a lot of places while still providing a high-quality, private feel.
Raison d’Art is located near Vaour in the Midi-Pyrenees, and has a unique twist on the normal “tours.” They base vacations out of their 200-year-old farmhouse, and host different activities mixed with sightseeing – from fitness and cooking retreats for adults to teen art vacations, which sounds about a thousand percent better than any summer camp I’ve ever heard.
It’s run by a couple who are passionate about what they do, so check them out!
And if you’re looking for an idea for another destination in the Pyrenees, check out Corbières:
Wintertime fun can be had in La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand and Samoens, with half-week packages (Thurs-Mon or Mon-Thurs) that include lift passes, accommodations and close proximity to Annecy, France and Geneva, Switzerland. And they have host snowshoe walks, so dreamy and such a unique way to see the area.
Oh, and if you’re not into skiing and such, they have discounts (and activities) for non-skiers. Ski Weekender is your host with the most.