A Fall Getaway to the Loire Valley

The so-called “Garden of France” is arguably at its best in the fall when it is blanketed in hues of yellow, gold, and deep oranges. From aboard a boat to on a bike and even from a hot air balloon, there are many ways to take in the stunning autumn scenery. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s top recommendations for a fall getaway to the Loire Valley.


A Fall Getaway to the Loire Valley

Experience Fall in the Chinon Vineyards with a Picnic and Boat Cruise

a fall getaway to the loire valley chinon vineyards

When you arrive at the winery in Chinon you’ll be greeted by a stunning display of golden vines. This will be a wonderful day for you to get to know this wine-producing region of the Loire Valley, to discover the banks of the Vienne River with its fabulous, colorful views, to taste local products, and most importantly to meet with the passionate producers.

Start your visit to the wine estate with a carriage ride in the vineyards. Afterwards, you’ll sit down to enjoy a chef-prepared gastronomic picnic on the banks of the Vienne River. If the weather is too chilly, there’s an option to enjoy the picnic in a troglodytic cellar. The day will finish with a ride in a traditional Loire Valley gabare boat along the Vienne River. The perfect opportunity to capture the Loire Valley in all its fall glory!

Private Guided Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Châteaux

fall in the loire valley hot air balloon

What better way to discover the magnificent Loire Valley châteaux than with a hot air balloon ride over them? This experience is sure to be an unforgettable one, and a wonderful addition to a fall getaway in the Loire Valley. Your guide will lead the way from the moment you are picked up at your hotel and will be sure to transmit his passion for the region. Admire the absolutely breathtaking views of the châteaux and the splendid fall colors during the one-hour ride. A highlight is sure to be the aperitif from up above with great local products.

After the ride is concluded, your guide will take your for a visit to either the Château de Chenonceau or the Chateau d’Amboise.

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley
fall getaway in the loire valley relais de chambord

Relais de Chambord

Located in Chambord, a 4 minute walk from the château, this small and refined 4-star boutique hotel was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte and is situated in an unrivaled location. With captivating views around almost every turn, you will get to know each turret and spire of the castle’s famous rooftop skyline from your hotel.

The stylish rooms, full of natural light, are equipped with a high-end comfort combining velvet, wood, ceramics, and lamps. Every room is unique, and each one slightly different in a charming and individual way. Some rooms offer a view of the Château de Chambord, while others overlook the Cosson River, Place Saint-Louis, or the forest.

A buffet breakfast is served every morning. The restaurant prepares modern French cuisine. You can also have lunch at the bar, with its menu of snacks.

The hotel’s wellness area is open every day and has a hammam, sauna, outdoor jacuzzi, and tea room.

Visit the Château de Villandry, Château de L’Islette, and the Vouvray Wine Region

chateau de villandry fall

Enjoy a comprehensive day of discovering the best of the Loire Valley in just one day. You’ll have the opportunity to visit two fabulous châteaux and two Vouvray wine estates.

Start your day with the stunning Château de Villandry, a Renaissance jewel of a château with plenty of French heritage. During the tour, you will travel in time from the Renaissance to 18th-century France. One of the highlights of your day will surely be the exploration of Villandry’s gorgeous formal gardens. This beautiful and delicately-manicured landscape masterpiece will be especially decked out for the fall for a unique perspective.

Afterwards, you’ll be off to the private Château de L’Islette. As you drive up, you’ll be amazed by the sight unfolding in front of you. The French family that inherited this historical château still lives there today.

Finally, you will head to Vouvray to discover the beautiful wine area filled with passionate winegrowers. Vouvray is well-known for its sparkling and white wines. You’ll meet a genuine French winemaker in a charming family-run estate. During this visit, you will improve your knowledge of winemaking. And before saying au revoir, you will share an aperitif à la française made up of local products like cheese, rillettes, and fresh baguette, paired with local wine of course!

Discover the Loire Valley by Bike

loire valley fall

Before the biking begins, you’ll begin your day with a visit to one of the last châteaux built during the Renaissance period. The gardens are absolutely wonderful and not to be missed while in the region.

You’ll then bike along the banks of the Loire River to an old fisherman’s village, where you’ll will stop for a picnic lunch on the riverside, complete with local delicacies and some wine. You’ll want to bring a camera along to capture the beautiful fall reflections on the Loire River.

Afterwards, ride to Rigny-Ussé where you can admire the exceptional exterior architecture of the Renaissance castle. The view of the château from the bridge over the Indre River is quite simply stunning, especially when the trees are yellow. At the end of the day, stop at a vineyard in Vouvray to visit a cellar and taste the region’s delicious local sparkling wine. It’ll be an excellent way to cap off a memorable fall day in the Loire Valley.

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley
les sources de cheverny

Les Sources de Cheverny

Tucked away in its own private estate, this 5-star hotel is the quintessential French château. Exuding 18th-century elegance, the striking hotel balances bygone grandeur with a homely charm.

Soft light from tall, gothic windows creates a restful space. An open fire welcomes guests into the dramatic lobby. The 26 rooms and 23 suites pair sumptuous fabrics with stripped wood panelling to create a sense of contemporary luxury. Beyond the twists and turrets of the building the beautiful lawns and gardens are waiting to be explored. The historic building offers rooms with a classic “château” feeling, whereas the cottages nearby offer a more modern decor.

As the sun starts to go down, it’s time for a cocktail in the courtyard. Then, you can head into one of the two restaurants and take your pick of mouth-watering menus inspired by the season’s finest local produce.

Days are made for relaxing by the pool, or indulging at the Caudalie Spa. Private coaching and yoga classes are available on request.


We hope these recommendations for a fall getaway to the Loire Valley help inspire a future trip. We would love to help you plan a dream vacation to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, and Normandy. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

Fall in France 2022: What to See and Do

Fall in France brings out some of the best of the country from the crisp weather and stunning fall colors to special seasonal foods and more. It truly is a wonderful time to visit and you can’t go wrong with almost any region. We’ve identified some of our top picks for what to see and do during fall in France in 2022.


Fall in France 2022: What to See and Do

Normandy: Authentic Cider and Cheese Tour

normandy cider cheese tour

Fall is a great time to discover Normandy with fewer crowds compared to the summertime. No trip to the region would be complete without at least a day spent tasting some of the gourmet regional specialties, namely ciders and cheeses.

The morning is dedicated to learning about Norman cheeses, in particular the famous Camembert de Normandie. Meet the last Camembert farmer in the village that gave it its name. You will taste the best products and see the cows and the production in detail. You will also discover the making of two other Normandy PDO cheeses: Pont l’Évêque and Livarot.

After stopping for a fabulous picnic lunch, you’ll be learning all about ciders: apple, pear, pommeau, and Calvados. You will see all the steps of the production in remarkable places. Learn about the traditional raw cider, the 50-year-aged Calvados, and more. This delicious day ends in one of the most beautiful villages in France with colorful half-timbered buildings and great shopping.

Where to Stay in Normandy
chateau d'audrieu

Château d’Audrieu

Gaiety and elegance are the two words that automatically spring to mind to describe this magnificent 5-star 18th-century château-hotel, a listed building set among exquisite French gardens and parkland.

Ever since becoming a hotel in 1976, Audrieu has been a fine example of good taste and the symbol of the French art of living. Period fireplaces and furniture give a personal touch to this ancestral home. Stay in one of its suites and rooms, some of them with original wainscoting, and enjoy a combination of luxury, space, and comfort.

Treat yourself to superb, innovative cuisine in the gastronomic restaurant. For your utmost pleasure, the hotel also features a design bar serving light dishes as well as salted or sweet “Croque en Bouches” to go with your drink, served inside or on the terrace.

Unwind in the hotel’s charming gardens or take a dip in the heated outdoor swimming pool. A charging station for electric cars is available at this property.

Paris: Colorful Modern Art Museums

fall in paris

While the trees in Paris are filled with beautiful colored leaves in the fall, rain can be common, especially further into the season. A great way to escape the rainy weather is with a museum visit. Classics like the Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are always wonderful options and are always ever-changing thanks to temporary exhibits. However, if you’ve had enough of the gray skies, consider the Centre Pompidou for colorful modern and contemporary art or the intimate and beautiful Musée Picasso in the heart of the Marais.

Burgundy: Fall Along The Wine Trails

fall in burgundy

For wine lovers, the Burgundy wine trails are a highlight no matter what time of year. The visits are especially spectacular drenched in the gorgeous fall colors. Our local wine expert guides will lead you through the renowned estates and surrounding scenery. A wonderful day can be spent exploring the Côte de Nuits vineyards.

The Côte de Nuits is known as the Champs-Élysées of Burgundy – the best of the best. For lovers of Pinot Noir, this is truly a paradise. While it is a small area, there are plenty of terroirs and an incredible variation of parcels and vines that make it renowned around the world. Along the Route des Grands Crus you will discover Morey-Saint-Denis, Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot, and Nuit Saint Georges. During this incredible day, you will taste 20 wines in total including 14 Premiers and Grands Crus – red and white wines and young and old vintages.

Loire Valley: A Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride

loire valley hot air balloon

For a unique perspective of the majestic Loire Valley châteaux, we recommend taking a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Imagine floating above on a misty fall morning with gorgeous golden light touching the vineyards, forest, rivers, and châteaux below. The region is especially stunning with fall coloring. This fabulous experience ends with breakfast and you’ll have the rest of the day to continue exploring!

Bordeaux: Market Visit, Cooking Class, and Lunch

fall market foods france

Southwest France is a region known for fabulous fall foods including foie gras, truffles, and walnuts. During a private market visit, cooking class, and lunch in Bordeaux, you’ll have the opportunity to learn even more about and taste these delicious fall specialties. A chef will lead you on this experience that is both gourmet and a unique look into life in France.

Provence: Visit Chateauneuf-du-Pape with a Local Wine Expert

chateauneuf de pape

During the fall, you can take in the mesmerizing beauty of the historic Châteauneuf-du-Pape village and vineyards dressed in a layer of gold. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is famous for powerful, full-bodied red wines, made from the southern Rhône grape trio of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Besides the golden leaves, you’ll find distinct lightly colored stones amongst the vines: a spectacular fall combination. Throughout the day your local wine expert guide will take you to meet with three winemakers. You’ll stop for lunch in a charming Provençal restaurant. Afterward, you will get the chance to make local confectioneries in copper cauldrons!

Where to Stay in Provence
hotel villa gallici

Villa Gallici

This intimate 5-star hotel in Aix-en-Provence is just a few minutes walk to the historic center. The elegant design is evocative of a bygone era with antique furniture, ornate woodwork, and fine textiles.

Rooms and suites are large, feature modern amenities, and offer a view over the garden. Some include a terrace.

Guests enjoy access to a spa and wellness area, a large garden, and an outdoor heated pool.

There is a gourmet restaurant onsite that combines Provençal classics with modern cuisine.


Ready to experience fall in France? There’s still time to make it this year! Our travel designers are standing by and can help you book any of these activities and create the perfect fall itinerary in France. Some of our most popular fall destinations include Normandy, Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, and Southern France.

A Weekend Getaway to the Loire Valley

The lush Loire Valley is known as the “Garden of France.” The region is filled with seemingly endless châteaux. This is no surprise as the area was a retreat for French royalty in the 15th and 16th centuries. With a prime location just a couple of hours from Paris it’s easy to enjoy a weekend getaway to the Loire Valley.


A Weekend Getaway to the Loire Valley

How to Get to the Loire Valley

a weekend getaway to the loire valley

The Loire Valley is easily accessible from Paris, making it a perfect destination for a weekend getaway. A train ride from central Paris to Tours is just over an hour long. By car, the drive is about two and a half hours from Paris. Relax and let a private driver take you and enjoy the scenery on the way. Having access to a private driver or car while in the Loire Valley is also beneficial, as the various châteaux, gardens, and wineries are a bit spread out.

Begin the weekend with a special vineyard tour, wine tasting, and candlelit dinner inside a troglodyte cave. Set alongside the banks of the Vienne River, you’ll have the opportunity to soak in the fascinating views. You’ll meet a team of passionate wine producers and enjoy a tasting with local products. Then, sit down and enjoy a gourmet candlelit meal prepared by a gastronomic chef inside a troglodyte cave.

Day One: Private Guided Visit to Three Fabulous Châteaux with a Wine Tasting

château de chenonceau

Your private driver and licensed guide will pick you up from your hotel for a wonderful day of châteaux, stunning gardens, and wine tastings.

Begin your day at Château de Chenonceau, the prestigious castle surrounded by water. Known as the “Château des Dames,” it was mainly women who decided the château’s destiny and history. Built by Kathrine Briçonnet in 1513, it was later enriched and transformed by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici, to name but a few. Revisit the period between the Renaissance and the 17th century on your promenade through the royal domain. You’ll cover it all from the ancient keep and the remains of the medieval fortified mill to Diane de Poitiers’ Renaissance gardens.

Lunch will be in the picturesque medieval town of Amboise before a walk around the Royal Château d’Amboise. The château is an architectural wonder that transitions from Gothic to Renaissance styles and was the residence of Charles VIII and Francois I. See Saint Hubert Chapel, the final resting place of the great Leonardo da Vinci and Château du Clos Lucé, da Vinci’s last residence.

In the afternoon, visit the Château de Villandry. The very extensive gardens are sure to be a highlight of the visit. Although the château is best known for its French formal garden, you’ll also see the vegetable garden, the ornamental garden, the water garden, the “Jardin du Soleil” and the herb garden.

The day will finish with a relaxing stop at a vineyard to sample a few delightful local wines. 

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley
relais de chambord hotel

Relais de Chambord

Just a four minute walk from the Château de Chambord, this small and refined 4-star boutique hotel was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte. It is set in a truly unrivaled location. With captivating views around almost every turn, you will get to know each turret and spire of the castle’s famous rooftop skyline from your hotel.

The stylish rooms beam with natural light. Every room is unique and offers a slightly different charm thanks to the velvets, woods, ceramics and lighting used. Some rooms offer a view of the Château de Chambord, while others overlook the Cosson River, Place Saint-Louis or the forest.

Enjoy the daily buffet breakfast. The restaurant prepares modern French cuisine. You can also have lunch at the bar.

The hotel’s wellness area is open every day and has a hammam, sauna, outdoor jacuzzi, and tea room.

Day Two: Full Day Private Wine Tour of Clos Roussely, Caves Plou and Vouvray

a weekend getaway to the loire valley vineyards

With the Loire River, the north meets the south in this part of France. Wines in this region have both a freshness and roundness and are produced using both traditional and modern methods. Thanks to the mild climate and all of the different “terroirs,” there is a wonderful diversity of wines: 11 grape varieties and 50 appellations and PDO for 70,000 hectares of vineyards.

There is a large choice among the fruity and delicate rosés, reds ranging from easy-drinking to complex, and whites ranging from dry to sweet. Also, don’t miss the Crémants, wonderful sparkling wines produced in the same way as Champagne. Most Loire Valley wines use a single grape variety, making them ideal for food pairings.

The Loire Valley winemakers will be happy and proud to welcome you to share their passion. Your private guide will lead you through this unique day in the heart of outstanding landscapes or in spectacular troglodyte cellars.

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley
les sources de cheverny hotel

Les Sources de Cheverny

Tucked away in its own private estate, this 5-star hotel is the quintessential French château. Exuding 18th-century elegance, this striking hotel balances bygone grandeur with a homely charm.

Soft light from tall, gothic windows creates a restful space. An open fire welcomes guests into the dramatic lobby. The 26 rooms and 23 suites pair sumptuous fabrics with stripped wood paneling to create a sense of contemporary luxury. Beyond the twists and turrets of the building, beautiful lawns and gardens await exploration. The historic building offers rooms with a classic “château” feeling, whereas the cottages nearby are more modern.

As the sun starts to go down, enjoy a cocktail in the courtyard. Then, you can head into one of the two restaurants and choose between the menus inspired by the season’s finest local produce.

Spend a day relaxing by the pool or indulging at the Caudalie spa. Private trainers and yoga classes are available on request.


Take advantage of the Loire Valley’s central location in France and enjoy a weekend getaway. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process.

France from the Water: Cruises in Every Region

For a unique perspective of France, one of the best things to do is take in the scenery from the water. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s list of fabulous cruises in every region.


France from the Water: Cruises in Every Region

Full-Day Cruise Along the Côte d’Azur

cote d'azur cruise france from the water

Embark in Cannes for a fabulous full-day cruise along the Côte d’Azur. Here you will truly see the best of France from the water! Travel to Monaco where you’ll disembark and have time to enjoy. Discover the city, do some shopping, and enjoy a fabulous lunch in the port. After lunch, head towards Mala Bay for a relaxing afternoon swim in the crystal clear waters. Pass by the stunning Villefranche-sur-Mer bay with views of the port and colorful village. The special cruise will culminate with a view of the sun setting over Cannes.

Traditional Pinasse Boat Tour from Arcachon

arcachon cruise

Enjoy the highlights of the breathtaking Arcachon Bay on a traditional pinasse boat. Sail through the small channels, past oyster beds, picture-perfect beaches, l’Île aux Oiseaux (Bird Island), and Lège-Cap Ferret’s charming villages. While on board you’ll be able to sip champagne and enjoy a fabulous picnic of local dishes. It is sure to be a memorable day!

Where to Stay in Bordeaux
les sources de caudalie
Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Les Sources de Caudalie

Located between vineyards and forests, just 20 minutes from Bordeaux’s city center, this 5-star hotel was designed using recycled local materials to create a collection of state-of-the-art buildings that are perfectly in tune with the idyllic surroundings.

Each of the rooms boasts a unique decor, featuring antiques, collectible furniture, and fine draperies. Most of them have a terrace or a balcony with a beautiful view on the vineyards or on the lake.

Set in a former orangery, modeled on an ornamental, 18th-century glasshouse, the two Michelin-star restaurant invites you to savor the chef’s brilliant cuisine. On nice days, enjoy lunch or dinner in the sunshine, on the terrace overlooking the lake and the vine-covered slopes.

The spa offers unique treatments combining the virtues of natural hot spring water with the most recent scientific discoveries of the benefits of grapes and grapevines.

Private Champagne Cruise along the Marne River

champagne cruise france from the water

Experience the Champagne region differently: while sipping Champagne and cruising in a lovely wooden boat from the 1920s. Your local, knowledgeable skipper will take you along one of the great French rivers to meet France’s most celebrated wine. Travel from one village to the next as you discover a serene and peaceful way to see the vineyards from a different angle. There will of course be plenty of Champagne included with the cruise, but you will also get to enjoy a picnic with regional specialties.

Discover Cassis and the Calanques on a Luxury Boat with a Skipper  

calanques

Enjoy full-day aboard a luxury boat as your skipper takes you to see the fabulous Calanques National Park and Cassis. The Calanques are white limestone cliffs interspersed with secluded coves and beaches. The National Park stretches between Marseille and Cassis’s coastline and offers a playground for hiking, snorkeling, sunbathing, and, of course, sailing. Afterwards, discover the gorgeous Cassis port. Stop for lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant with a breathtaking view over Cap Canaille. During the afternoon your skipper will show you the best places to snorkel and swim in the area!

Experience the Loire Valley’s Domaine de Noiré Vineyards with A Picnic and Boat Cruise

gabare cruise loire valley

This unique experience will truly immerse you in the best of the Loire Valley with fabulous scenery, an up-close look at a vineyard, a picnic with local products, and a cruise on a traditional boat. Start with a visit of Chinon before arriving at the Domaine de Noiré to get to know all of the work that goes into producing wine. You’ll take a carriage ride through the vineyards to reach a gastronomic, chef-prepared picnic along the banks of the Vienne River. After lunch, cruise the Vienne River and take in the unusual views from a traditional gabare boat.

Cruise on an a Traditional Sailboat from Cancale

france from the water cancale saint malo

Your expert local guide is a dyed-in-the-wool Breton passionate about sailing. He will take you aboard on his traditional Breton sail boat. The boat is one of the first copies of the legendary regional fishing boats that date back to the 18th century. Your captain is not only a skilled and certified sailing instructor, but is also passionate about Breton history. On this authentic and quite atypical cruise, discover an unusual look at France from the water. Take in the the regional heritage, listen to historical anecdotes, relive the 18th-century lives of fishermen, and observe the flora and fauna from the unique perspective off this magnificent bay. Cancale is the self-proclaimed oyster capital of France. You should not miss the occasion to treat yourself to a tasting paired with a fine glass of white at one of the many stalls on the harbor!

Where to Stay in Brittany
villa tri men

Villa Tri Men
This lovely 4-star property is surrounded by magnificent grounds, overlooking the estuary of the Odet river, next to Sainte-Marine port.

An elegant bourgeois house originally built in 1913 and transformed into a hotel in 2003, this villa offers decor to perfectly match its history. The villa was renovated in 2018, adding more charm and comfort to a place with so much character and history. There are 16 rooms and three cottages and a Michelin-starred restaurant, Les Trois Rochers.

Sainte-Marine is a small welcoming port between wild nature, magnificent beaches and local culture. It possesses a unique atmosphere that will make you come and come back.

The Ultimate Dinner Cruise in Paris

ducasse sur seine paris

Enjoy a unique six-course meal experience aboard the most prestigious boat on the Seine River, beloved chef Alain Ducasse’s Ducasse Sur Seine. Your table is reserved with the most beautiful view on the entire boat. Arrive early and enjoy a glass of Champagne on the deck of the boat overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Soon you’ll be off, quietly cruising along the Seine River in a 100% electric boat. Throughout the entire cruise you’ll delight in spectacular views over the most beautiful landmarks of the capital along the journey.

In-between courses take a moment to step outside on the deck of the boat and enjoy the amazing scenery as you pass by. You’ll see it all from the Musée d’Orsay, Musée du Louvre, and Notre Dame to the famous bridges of Paris, and of course the Eiffel Tower. True Parisian romance at its best, this exceptional cruise and experience is sure to be one you’ll never forget.


We hope we’ve inspired you see France from the water. Fabulous cruises await you in each region! French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

France by Bike

In the past, discovering France by bike used to be reserved only for the adventurous. Now, with the rising popularity of e-bikes, it’s possible for almost anyone to enjoy biking in France, families included. Read on to discover the best ways to experience the gorgeous scenery and culture in France by bike.


France by Bike

Discover Nice’s Fabulous Panoramic Views from an E-Bike

france by bike nice
Paul Foulonneau | 3SO L’Agence

This bike tour will bring you to Nice’s most beautiful viewpoints. It’s usually a place that’s difficult to reach, but thanks to your electric bike you’ll be able to easily climb to one of the most magnificent panoramic views along the Côte d’Azur.

The ride is not only filled with scenery, but will give you a wonderful overview of the city of Nice. Start the tour at the Port of Nice. You’ll then ride uphill on the “Castle Hill,” from where you can admire the beautiful views of the City and the Italian Alps. Next, pass by the lovely Place Masséna located just at the gates of the old town. Finish with Place Garibaldi before heading back to the port.

Provençal Charm Bike Tour with Wine and Olive Oil Tastings

provence bike

The day begins in the fabled town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The town is renowned for its most famous visitor: Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh spent the last year of his life in Saint-Rémy, tirelessly painting the countryside and completing some of his most important works.

After discovering Saint-Rémy, cycle along the base of the Alpilles mountains where the chiseled limestone cliffs meet vast olive groves. Stop for a tasting of some of the region’s most coveted olive oils. Rounding the mountains, you’ll pass the sleepy villages of Saint-Étienne and Fontvieille. The charming square in Fontvieille practically begs for a pause café. Afterwards, take seldom-used roads to climb through the heart of the Alpilles.

You’ll then reach the perched medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence, listed among the most beautiful villages in France. Take the time to visit the village and enjoy a leisurely lunch before the real fun begins: enjoy a wine tasting at a small, family-run estate before cycling back to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

Where to Stay in Provence
villa gallici provence hotel

Villa Gallici

This intimate 5-star hotel in Aix-en-Provence is just a few minutes walk to the historic center. The elegant design is evocative of a bygone era with antique furniture, ornate woodwork, and fine textiles.

Rooms and suites are large, feature modern amenities, and offer a view over the garden. Some also include a terrace.

Guests can enjoy access to a spa and wellness area, a large garden, and an outdoor heated pool. There is also a gourmet restaurant onsite, which combines Provençal classics with modern cuisine.

Private Guided Bike Tour Along the Banks of the Seine River in Paris

france by bike paris

Take in the most iconic sights of the French capital while cruising along the banks of the Seine River, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Starting on the Rive Droite (Right Bank) of the Seine. Cross the Pont Notre-Dame to kick off this adventure and discover Paris’ winding history. From Notre Dame Cathedral to the Eiffel Tower and from the Palais de Chaillot to the Musée du Louvre – you will enjoy the most beautiful perspectives that the city has to offer.

During the tour, your professional guide will point out the prestigious monuments and multiple treasures of Paris. Discover fascinating facts and trivia about the beautiful old streets, monuments, and people. There will be plenty of opportunities to take photographs along the way.

Full-Day of History and Wine in Saint-Émilion

saint emilion bike tour

The day begins with a guided walking tour through the charming UNESCO World Heritage classified village of Saint-Émilion, which dates from the Middle Ages. You’ll discover much of its fascinating history. Then, it’ll be time to start pedaling to the first château: a beautiful and charming family-run estate located in the heart of Saint-Émilion vineyards.

After a delightful lunch, visit the vat house and cellar where you will discover the traditional way of making wine. Afterwards, you’ll take an easy ride through the beautiful vineyards and see prestigious properties such as Château Pétrus or Château Cheval Blanc – regarded among the best wineries in Bordeaux. Stop for a visit and tasting at a Classified Growth château on the edge of Saint-Émilion to learn more about the winemaking process from grape to bottle. Enjoy a final tasting to finish off the day.

Discover the Châteaux, Wine, and Scenery of the Loire Valley by Bike

loire valley bike tour

Discover some of the most incredible châteaux in France by bike. Visit the Château de Villandry, one of the last châteaux built during the Renaissance period, where you will see one of the finest examples of Renaissance garden design in all of France. Afterwards, bike along the banks of the Loire River to an old fisherman’s village. Stop for a picnic lunch on the riverside, complete with local delicacies and wine.

Next, play amateur photographer in Rigny-Ussé where you can admire the exceptional exterior architecture of the Renaissance castle. The view of the château from the bridge over the Indre is quite simply stunning. At the end of the day, stop in one of the vineyards in Vouvray to visit a cellar and taste the delicious local sparkling wine of the Loire terroir.

Biking and Kayaking in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

isle sur la sorgue

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the antique capital of Provence, is also known as the Provençal Venice. Its quays are lined with ancient waterwheels, and the whole village is set on a tiny island surrounded by the emerald waters of the Sorgue River. After taking in the town’s picturesque streets, ride into the heart of the countryside. Quickly the town gives way to farmland: ancient farmhouses are surrounded by apple and pear orchards. You’ll be completely off the beaten-path. The guide will lead you through small and flat country roads with very little traffic.

Stop for lunch at a restaurant in Fontaine de Vaucluse, a pretty village centered around a beautiful greenish-blue pool water from the Sorgue River. After lunch, ride to Lagnes where you’ll descend the clear emerald colored Sorgue River by canoe before returning back at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. 

Where to Stay in Burgundy
hotel le cep burgundy

Hôtel Le Cep

Ideally situated in the heart of medieval Beaune, just minutes away from the famous Hospices de Beaune and the Notre-Dame Basilica, this 5-star hotel is a genuine institution. The hotel owes its charm to the merging of two private mansions and their historical 16th century courtyards.

The 62 rooms, of which 32 are suites, are all decorated with antiques collected throughout the years and each room is named after a Burgundian village or Grand Cru wine.

The restaurant proposes a cuisine that is mainly influenced by the region as well as traditional dishes from Burgundy that are revisited by the Chef. The setting is heartwarming, refined and the decor contemporary.

At the end of the day, guests can settle down to enjoy a drink or regional Cru. In the winter, enjoy the comfortable atmosphere whilst sipping a glass of wine in front of the fireplace, and in the summer relax in the sun-bathed 16th century courtyard. The hotel’s luxurious spa offers a wide range of treatments and massages.

Full-Day Private Wine and Bike Tour in Burgundy

burgundy biking

Discover the terroir and vineyards of the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy by bike. You’ll pedal through the vineyards and experience the wine and terroir of the region. Cycle through some of the most prestigious vineyards in the world while admiring the authentic and traditional landscapes. Between châteaux, estates, and vineyards you’ll absorb plenty of history and culture thanks to your wine and cycling professional guide.

Start the day with a visit and tasting at Château de Chassagne-Montrachet. Next, bike to Puligny-Montrachet for lunch at a traditional restaurant, or enjoy a picnic outside weather permitting. Afterwards, continue your journey back to Beaune with a stop at Pommard for another tasting. Throughout the day you’ll see some of the most beautiful landscapes and villages in Burgundy such as Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet and more.


We hope we’ve inspired you to discover France by bike. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

Favorite Family-Friendly Tours in France

When planning a vacation that will be special for the entire family, it’s important to keep in mind specific activities that will be engaging for both young and old. French Side Travel has put together a list of some of our favorite family-friendly tours in France that are sure to make your vacation unforgettable.


Favorite Family-Friendly Tours in France

Walk in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel with A Private Guide

private walking tour mont saint michel

Take the opportunity to discover the other side of Mont Saint-Michel during a walk along the shore. Step into the water and sand, dance on the quicksand, and admire the landscapes and natural beauty of the Bay. Your private guided walk departs from Mont Saint-Michel, so it is the perfect activity to combine with a visit to the abbey. You’ll walk towards the Rocher de Tombelaine and back to Mont Saint-Michel. It’s also possible to include a seaside treasure hunt to discover the local sea creatures.

Discover the Beauty, History, and Culture of Provence in a Day

provence favorite family-friendly tours in france

You will depart for Lourmarin, ideally on a Friday, which is market day, and have free time to discover one of the most beautiful villages of the Luberon. Don’t miss the Renaissance castle, beautiful vineyards (which you can visit and have a tasting organized), or the quaint galleries and artisanal shops. Stop for lunch in an exceptionally charming village like Lauris, Oppède-le-Vieux, Ménerbes, Goult or Gordes. Afterwards, you will continue the day by taking the Combe, a winding road, to discover from near or far the perched villages of Bonnieux, Lacoste, Ménerbes, Oppède-le-Vieux, Roussillon and Gordes. From the Marquis de Sade to Vasarely, they all have a unique story to tell, and by the end of the day you will know many of them!

Family-Friendly Stays in Provence
Le Vallon de Valrugues & Spa

Le Vallon de Valrugues & Spa

Located 600 meters from the center of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, this luxurious and refined 5 star hotel offers exceptional villas, a gourmet restaurant, a bistro, a bar, an outdoor swimming pool and a 500 m² spa. The village of Les Baux-de-Provence is 10 km away.

Rooms, suites and villas have air conditioning, free Wi-Fi connection, as well as flat-screen satellite television. Offering a view of the surroundings and the Alpilles National Park, some rooms also have a terrace. Some suite and villas also have a private pool.

The gourmet restaurant prepares menus with a Provençal theme, created by the using local seasonal products. The bistro is open for lunch in high season. In summer, you can enjoy a poolside bar with smoothies, ice cream and milkshakes. A shuttle service drive you to the center of the village and back. The spa offers individual or duo massage room, perfect for a relaxing time with your loved one!

Scenic Horseback Ride in Camargue Followed by a Picnic on the Beach

favorite family-friendly tours in france camargue

Accompanied by Laurent, an expert gardian nicknamed “Peù Blanc,” you will ride across over 1,235 acres of land. Discover the natural beauty of Camargue with its terrain divided between rice paddies and pastures. The famous white horses will take you for a ride off the beaten path and bring you close to the Camargue bulls. Experienced riders will even be able to accompany the gardians in the sorting of the bulls. No matter your age or level of experience, the Camargue cowboys will be happy to share their work and passion with you! This special ride will end in Piemenson with a picnic on the natural beach.

Private Guided Chocolate Tour in Bordeaux

chocolate tour in bordeaux

Feel the charm of the city like a real resident, while tasting the best products of Bordeaux in a unique atelier that will share all of its fabrication secrets with you. Enjoy delicious samples of incredibly refined chocolates in this completely chocolate food tour. From the origin of coco beans to the tasty finished product, you’ll discover the history of chocolate in the moon harbor of Bordeaux. This tour is a great option for foodies as well as those who would just like to experience a unique experience and walking tour in Bordeaux.

A Day On the Water: Private Boat Tour of Cassis and the Calanques National Park

cassis private boat ride

Cassis and the Calanques are two spots that are absolutely not to be missed in Provence. You’ll depart from Marseille’s picturesque Vieux Port for a day on the water and see this stretch of spectacular coastline on a private boat. Explore the forgotten coves, tiny ports, and soaring cliffs of the Calanques National Park. Snorkelers will enjoy the turquoise waters and marine life. You’ll stop for lunch in Cassis where you can dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant with a breathtaking view of Cape Canaille, France’s highest marine cliff.

Pedal Through Paris during a Private Guided E-Bike Tour of the City of Light

bike tour of paris

See the real Paris during this fabulous guided e-bike tour. You might come across a hidden game of pétanque at the oldest Parisian monument as you discover all the twists and turns of the Marais. Marvel at the Jardins des Plantes and effortlessly climb the slopes of the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève. Get a look at the student life of the Latin Quarter and then the artists’ cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Next, follow the grandeur of the Obelisk in Place de la Concorde and travel in time on your way to Les Champs-Élysées. Amidst all the bustle and excitement of this legendary city, your guide will reveal the relaxing calm of the quiet refuges of Paris. This is a perfect opportunity to take beautiful snapshots and unforgettable memories back home!

Family Friendly Stays in the Loire Valley
les sources de cheverny

Les Sources de Cheverny

Tucked away in its own private estate, this 5-star hotel is the quintessential French château. Exuding 18th-century elegance, this striking hotel balances bygone grandeur with a homely charm.

Soft light from tall, gothic windows creates a restful space. An open fire welcomes guests into the dramatic lobby. While 26 rooms and 23 suites pair sumptuous fabrics with stripped wood panelling to create a sense of contemporary luxury. Beyond the twists and turrets of the building, beautiful lawns and gardens are waiting to be explored. The historic building offers room with classic Chateau feeling, whereas the cottages nearby offer more modern decoration.

As the sun starts to go down, it’s time for a cocktail in the courtyard. Then, you can head into one of the two restaurants and take your pick from mouth-watering menus inspired by the season’s finest local produce.

Days are made for relaxing by the pool, or indulging at the spa Caudalie. Private coaching and yoga classes are available on request.

Private Kid-Friendly Cultural Driving Tour in the Loire Valley

favorite family friendly tours in france loire valley

Your licensed driver-guide will pick up you at your hotel for a unique day experiencing the best of the Loire Valley. Discover a private château and stroll through its splendid gardens. Children will be invited to dress up in medieval costumes and enjoy a treasure hunt or a workshop. For lunch, you’ll enjoy a farm-to-table meal made entirely with products from the castle’s garden in the magnificent setting of the park. To finish the day, you’ll stop in Chinon to trace Joan of Arc’s footsteps.

Full-Day Tour of Provence’s Lavender Fields

provence lavender

Visit the high plateau to experience one of Provence’s emblematic sites: the blooming, fragrant lavender fields. From mid-June to August, the high plateau blooms in breathtaking purple. Enjoy scenic routes away from the crowds. Get ready to take beautiful photos!

The tour includes the Albion plateau, and the villages of Sault and Banon. The wild nature surrounds Sault, perched on a rocky promontory. It dominates a plain dedicated to agriculture where lavender predominates offering in summer a unique palette of colors. Leaning against the Albion plateau, between the mountains of Lure and Ventoux, Banon has an authentic and natural character. Surrounded by fields of lavender, plains, and hills delicately perfumed by aromatic plants, a checkerboard of striking colors is drawn around the village.

Private Scavenger Hunt to Discover the World’s Most Famous Museum from a Different Angle

family friendly louvre scavenger hunt

One of our ultimate favorite family-friendly tours in France is a private scavenger hunt at the Musée du Louvre. While adults take in the highlights of the historic museum with its many treasures, children will get their own specially-designed booklets and a pencil. They’ll look for clues and answer questions as they walk through the different wings of the museum. At the end of the scavenger hunt, the children will be rewarded with a surprise gift.

Private Walking Tour of Old Lyon with a Storyteller

lyon walking tour

Follow the guide-storyteller in the secret covered passageways of Old Lyon. You’ll learn about the incredible adventure of Petit Pierre, and his thirst for science. This adventure allows you to discover the Lyon of the Renaissance, the great Lyonnais figures of the 16th century and the magic of this district.

“Our story begins in the time of King François I. Petit Pierre was an orphan who knew the constellations by heart. One day, he heard the young Louise Labbé talking about Copernicus’ discoveries. He decided that he had to go further, to know more. To do so, he was helped by a mysterious magic book. But first, he had to reckon with the wiles of the evil master Nicolas”.

Guaranteed emotion and thrills! The story is fictional, but based on real historical elements, and includes historical characters. We recommend this visit for children from 6 to 12 years old, as well as for their parents!


We hope this list of our favorite family-friendly tours in France is helpful when choosing a vacation that will be memorable for your children. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

Five Unique Summer Experiences in France: Part Two

With summer travel planning in full-swing, we’re excited to share part two of our list of five unique summer experiences in France. Read on to discover more about this year’s Tour de France and Tour des Femmes, Fête Nationale, and more.


Five Unique Summer Experiences in France: Part Two

Via Ferrata – Hiking and Rock Climbing with a View of Mont Blanc

via ferrata chamonix unique summer expriences in france

Beginners and experienced climbers, adults and children alike can enjoy the fun of the vertical world of via ferrata. This activity is a cross between hiking and rock climbing. Go along routes equipped with cables, ladders, and rope bridges and across rock faces and crags. This particular via ferrata route looks directly at the stunning Mont Blanc. The Chamonix Valley is a wonderful place to experience this unique activity, and the Evettes via ferrata guarantees enormous fun and adventure. You’ll safely push your limits on a varied route with a professional guide.

Celebrate La Fête Nationale – Bastille Day

fête nationale fireworks paris
Photo Courtesy of Groupe F


The French Fête Nationale marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789, a turning point in the French revolution. It also marks the Fête de la Fédération, which celebrates the unity of the French people on July 14th, 1790. Since 1880, July 14th has officially been the Fête Nationale. It symbolizes the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the French Republic. Celebrations are held throughout France. In major cities like Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, and Toulouse, you’ll find military parades, games, shows and entertainment for the whole family. There are spectacular fireworks shows as well, especially in Paris at the Eiffel Tower.

Where to Stay in Paris
hotel la reserve paris

Hôtel La Réserve

This palace hotel is housed in a mansion dating from 1854, once owned by couturier Pierre Cardin.

Behind its ruby-red doors, it offers guests a world of Haussmann charm and rooms with stunning views of Paris’s finest landmarks. The elegant and stylish decoration was designed by Jacques Garcia.

Practical and aesthetically pleasing, the 26 suites and 14 rooms seamlessly combine tradition with modern technology. It is also worth noting that La Réserve Paris is the first palace hotel to offer a personal butler service for every room. There is special attention to make guests feel as though they are staying in a private home.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the world’s most beautiful avenue, this discrete and spacious establishment also has a private library and a smoking room.

Chef Jérôme Banctel oversees the kitchens at both Le Gabriel restaurant and La Pagode de Cos brasserie. The restaurant serves contemporary French cuisine with Asian influences.

Tour de France and Tour des Femmes

tour de france unique summer experiences in france
REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

The 109th edition of the Tour de France is back again this year from July 1st to July 24th. The race is set to depart in Denmark and also includes stops in Belgium and Switzerland. This year’s race will cover 2,067 miles of cycling and span four mountain ranges. If you happen to be in Paris on July 24th, don’t miss the final stage of the Tour de France. The finish line is on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Spectators can cheer on the riders around Place de la Concorde and the Quai des Tuileries. The end of the Tour de France in Paris marks the beginning of the Tour des Femmes, the first women’s cycle stage race around France. The Tour des Femmes takes place from July 24th to July 31st.

Kayaking or Canoeing in the Dordogne

kayaking in the dordogne unique summer experiences in france

Begin your journey in either a kayak or canoe at Saint Vincent de Cosse, just next to Beynac-et-Cazenac, which many consider to be one of the most beautiful villages in France. Nestled between the Dordogne River and an immense rocky promontory, the village is not to be missed. With stone-paved streets, houses in light-colored stones, and a château, you’ll be in for a total immersion in medieval times. A shuttle will take you to your preferred starting point on the Dordogne River. From there, you’ll start discovering the amazing villages and châteaux on both sides of the river. You’ll have your pick between three different tours: a half day tour, a 4-5 hour tour, and a full day tour. A perfectly unique summer experience in France indeed!

Where to Stay in the Dordogne
chateau de la treyne

Château de la Treyne

The exceptionally located 4-star hotel is set on a rocky bluff and mirrored in the Dordogne, beneath a wooded hillside covered with boxwood and truffle oaks.

The hotel’s combination of authenticity and refinement is a perfect expression of contemporary luxury, in a sublime and relaxing setting. It offers guests the opportunity to step back in time with all of the comforts and amenities of modern life.

All Suites and deluxe rooms are equipped to the highest standard. A tempting menu of seasonal dishes, using only the best locally sourced ingredients, is served daily at their Michelin-starred restaurant.

Loire Valley Bike, Wine, and Châteaux Tour

loire valley cycling wine and biking

Join a licensed guide for an incredible private tour and day experiencing the best of the Loire Valley’s biking, wine, and châteaux. Stop at the Château de Villandry, one of the last châteaux built during the Renaissance period. There you’ll discover perhaps the most breathtaking example of Renaissance garden design in all of France. Afterwards, bike along the banks of the Loire River to an old fisherman’s village. You’ll stop for a picnic lunch on the riverside with local delicacies and wine.

Play amateur photographer in Rigny-Ussé where you can admire the exceptional exterior architecture of the Renaissance château. The view of the château from the bridge over the Indre is quite simply stunning. To finish the day, stop in the Vouvray vineyards to visit a cellar and taste the delicious local sparkling wine. A simply wonderful way to have a unique summer experience and experience some of the best of France all in a day!


We hope part two of five unique summer experiences in France helps inspire a trip later this year. We would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

Spring Break in France: Our Top Destinations

Spring Break is a popular time to visit France. Mild temperatures, blooming flowers, and fewer crowds than during the summer are just a few of the reasons why it’s a great time to travel. French Side Travel is sharing our top destinations for spending a Spring Break in France that will be a hit with the entire family.


Spring Break in France: Our Top Destinations

Paris

spring break in pariis

Visiting Paris in the spring really is as wonderful as it sounds. To see the city covered with blooming flowers in various shades of pinks will make you feel like you are living la vie en rose. A spring break trip to Paris will please the whole family thanks to the large number of different museums, tours, and activities.

Please the history buff with private guided tours to museums. French Side Travel can arrange an exclusive visit to the Louvre where you will be welcomed by the head of a department in the museum and accompanied by a security guard throughout your visit to facilitate access.

We can also arrange a special VIP tour at the Château de Versailles. You will discover the classic Versailles experience covering the most famous parts of the Palace: the Chapel, the Hall of Mirrors, the Queen’s apartment and the gardens. You will also have private and VIP access to places that are not accessible to regular visitors, including the Louis XV and Louis XVI’s apartments.

For an authentic look into the French art de vivre, don’t miss a market visit, cooking class, and lunch or dinner. You’ll get to go to a local Parisian market and shop for the ingredients to prepare your meal. You’ll learn about the specific Parisian market culture, seasonal produce, and food in France. Afterwards, you’ll return to the cooking school to practice both basic and advanced French cooking techniques while creating a three-course meal. Finally, you’ll sit around the table to savor your creations with wine, and hear stories all about French culture and gastronomy. It’s truly a unique experience!

Where to Stay in Paris

hotel monsieur george paris

Monsieur George Hotel and Spa

This 5-star hotel has 46 rooms and suites distributed throughout six floors. Each floor has its own ambience and decor, with adjoining rooms available for families. Suites on the upper floors have views that capture all of Paris with merely a glance. Closer to earth is the Garden Suite, a lush duplex sanctuary.

The restaurant and bar invites guests to enjoy special moments with refreshing breakfasts, lunches, snacks, aperitifs, dinners and night-caps. The menus are constantly updated by a young, enthusiastic head chef, with a focus on freshness, creativity, and tradition.

The hotel also has a spa and a famous yoga club, hailed as the ultimate benchmark for health and well-being. It offers custom services including special in-room yoga courses, fitness and massage sessions, and a wide variety of aesthetic services.

Normandy

honfleur spring break in france

Whether you have several days to dedicate to the region or just want to take a day trip, Normandy is a fabulous Spring Break option. Visit the charming coastal towns like Honfleur, Deauville, and Trouville and indulge in the delicious local seafood. The half-timbered architecture is picturesque.

Take a full day to see the profound and impactful World War II D-Day landing beaches and memorials. There are both private and shared tour options that depart from Paris daily, or you could spend the night in an authentic château just outside of Bayeux.

Mont-Saint-Michel is one of the most popular places in France to visit. It seemingly rises out of the surrounding bay. Climb to the top for a tour of the Abbey and incredible views. You can even spend the night on Mont-Saint-Michel to experience the magic without crowds.

Bordeaux

arcachon

In just two and a half hours via a high speed train from Paris, you can be worlds away in beautiful Bordeaux. Explore the lovely city with its rich history and allure. We recommend discovering Bordeaux with a gourmet walking tour – you’ll see all of the fabulous highlights as well as sample some of the region’s specialty foods and of course taste wines.

The city of Bordeaux is also a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside. Take day trips to renowned wine regions like the Médoc or Saint-Émilion. Or head west towards the Atlantic to discover the picturesque beaches of Arcachon. Visit the Dune de Pilat, which is the tallest sand dune in Europe. You can spend a lovely Spring Break day on a boat exploring the Arcachon Bay, and even visiting with an oyster farmer for a tasting.

Provence

saint remy

For art, wine, and culture lovers, Provence is a must. Spring Break is a wonderful time to visit before the crowds set in – the area truly feels untouched. Enjoy the relaxing place with great weather, incredible history, and a fantastic art legacy.

Nestled between the sea and mountains, Van Gogh and Cézanne immortalized Provence’s beauty on canvas. Throughout the year you’ll find striking colors: azure skies, bright pastel facades, and deep purple lavender fields and vibrant yellow sunflowers in the summer.

Wine fanatics can’t miss the powerful Côte-du-Rhône reds and the refreshing Aix-en-Provence rosés. History buffs should explore the exceptional Roman ruins in Arles and Saint-Remy, and the Gothic Palais des Papes in Avignon. You’ll want to spend as much time outdoors as possible during your stay!

Where to Stay in Provence

hotel villa la coste

Villa La Coste

Situated halfway between the historic town of Aix en Provence, home of Cézanne, and the famous Luberon Nature Park, this 5-star hotel is set in the heart of a biodynamic vineyard. It’s an international destination for art, architecture and natural beauty.

The property features 28 Villa Suites, surrounded by gardens, herbs, and flowers. Each opens onto a spacious terrace offering expansive views over vines and valley. The hotel’s contemporary architecture is emphasized by local materials and embraces the natural setting.

The close-to-nature philosophy runs through in each of the four contrasting restaurants, all of which feature organic produce.

The spa conveys contemporary elegance, keeping with the spirit of the property. Treatments are 100% natural and feature regional ingredients. Think oils from Provençal plants and flowers, mineral salts, clays, and more. The perfect destination for a Spring Break and retreat in France!


We hope this list of French Side Travel’s top Spring Break destinations to visit will help inspire a future trip. We would love to help you plan a dream trip to France in the coming year with a custom itinerary. Some of our favorite regions in France include Bordeaux, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

What to Do in the Loire Valley in 2022

The Loire Valley, known as the Garden of France, is one of the lushest regions in the entire country. You’ll find yourself begging to be outdoors no matter the season. Imagine exploring the endless châteaux and their gardens, tasting delicious wines, and taking in the scenery from a bike or a boat to name a few possibilities. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s list of what to do in the Loire Valley in 2022.


What to Do in the Loire Valley in 2022

Discover Lesser-Known Loire Valley Châteaux

chateau de villandry

The Loire Valley is synonymous with châteaux. Because of the central geographical location as well as the economic importance of the Loire River for trade, French Kings built numerous castles in the Loire Valley during the 15th and 16th centuries. Famous names like Château de Chenonceau, Château de Chambord, and Château d’Amboise come to mind for most visitors, but it’s the lesser-known châteaux that really delight. Don’t miss the fabulous gardens at Château de Villandry or Leonardo da Vinci’s last home, the Château du Clos Lucé. Read French Side Travel’s list of 10 Essential Loire Valley Châteaux here.

chateau de beauregard
Photo Courtesy of Blois-Chambord Tourist Office

Private Late Afternoon Guided Driving Tour of Château de Beauregard with a Wine Tasting 

Start your visit with a private guided tour of the château. Afterwards, you’ll be whisked away to one of the terraces of the château, far from any other visitors, to meet for a wine tasting and pairing with local cheeses.

An oenologist will teach you all about the château’s wine philosophy of “pleasure and emotion.” Bask in an unforgettable moment as though you were the king or queen of the castle!

Explore the Loire Valley Vineyards

what to do in the loire valley in 2022

The Loire River is France’s longest wine route – it stretches for 600 miles from the Atlantic Coast to Sancerre in central France. The mild micro-climates and different terroirs lead to a wonderful, diverse selection of wines produced. Think dry and sweet whites, fruity and delicate rosés, complex reds, and sparkling Crémants.

There are eleven different types of grapes in the Loire Valley and Cabernet Franc, Chenin, Melon de Bourgogne, and Sauvignon are among the most popular varietals. Many wines are made with a single grape variety, which makes them perfect for pairing with different foods.

Cellars are often located in extensive troglodyte galleries: former quarries dug to supply building material for the valley’s châteaux. They make for a fascinating place to sample the region’s fine wine or cool off on a summer day. Among the dozens of Loire Valley AOCs, Vouvray and Chinon are two of the best-known.

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley:

manoir les minimes

Manoir Les Minimes

Located on the banks of the Loire, this charming 5-star hotel offers spacious rooms with views of the Château d’Amboise and Loire River.

As soon as you arrive at the hotel you’ll feel the warmth and spirit of the building, built on the foundations of the old Minimes medieval monastery. The entire hotel has been recently refurbished. Every room and every space has been designed to make travelers from around the world to feel at ease and at home, wherever they are from.

In the warmer months take advantage of the large terrace, perfect for enjoying a glass of wine from the bar on a summer’s evening.
The location of this hotel is perfect for discovering the historic city center, and cycling through the Loire Valley, Touraine and its many vineyards.

Take a Ride Along the Loire River in a Traditional French Barge

what to do in the loire valley in 2022 boat ride
© Collection Watier/Maxppp

A favorite French Side Travel experience is a cruise along the Loire River in a traditional “toue” boat. The boat design hasn’t changed much over the centuries. It’s essentially a large rowing boat with a sail and a flat base, making it ideal for navigating the Loire’s sandbanks. Each cruise is different depending on the weather and navigating conditions.

Come aboard for a simple cruise along the river or add a picnic with local specialty foods and wines. For the early-risers, there’s an unforgettable cruise at dawn to watch the world come alive. Sunset cruises are equally as special.

Have an Authentic Gourmet Experience in Tours

local experience in tours loire valley

Travelers are craving unique and authentic experiences now more than ever. One of French Side Travel’s favorite experiences in the Loire Valley in 2022 is a private guided visit of Tours and the market followed by lunch in an authentic French home. You’ll spend your day with your local host for the day to learn all about l’art de vivre as well as food in the Loire Valley.

Start by visiting the medieval center of Tours. Visit a fabulous covered market to taste and shop for the best seasonal products including cheeses, charcuteries, wines and more. After the market visit, you will head to your guide’s home in neighboring village for lunch. Spend the afternoon enjoying a delicious meal and relaxing on the terrace and learning about the French language and life. There is also the option to explore a nearby château if you wish. This unique look into French life is sure to be a highlight of any trip.

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley:

domaine de la tortinere

Domaine de la Tortinière

Enjoy the beautiful luxury 4-star château-hôtel centrally located in the heart of the Loire Valley.

The charming bedrooms combine classic style with modern comfort and conveniences. Some rooms offer magnificent views over the Indre Valley.

Guests can enjoy gastronomic meals outdoors or in the dining room at the restaurant before setting off to explore the Loire Valley châteaux. Your fairytale stay in this genuine château is sure to be a memorable one!

Soak Up the Scenery on a Bicycle

loire valley bike ride

The Loire Valley is an excellent region for cycling, whether you want to explore the countryside on your own or with a guide. If you want to stay close to town, don’t miss cycling Tours. You’ll see its historic neighborhoods with half-timbered houses, the bustling Place Plumereau and Saint-Gatien Cathedral, as well as the new Olivier Debré Contemporary Art Center.

For those who prefer the countryside, let a guide lead you along the banks of the Loire River. You’ll stop at an old fisherman’s village for a picnic lunch on the riverside, complete with local delicacies and wine. Next you’ll be off to the picture-perfect Rigny-Ussé where you can admire the exceptional exterior architecture of the renaissance castle. The view of the château from the bridge over the Indre River is quite simply stunning. Finish the day’s ride with a stop at an organic Vouvray vineyard that dates from 1875. You’ll tour the cellar and stop off at a serene spot for a typical French apéritif.

See the Loire Valley on Horseback
loire valley horseback riding
Photo Courtesy of D. Templier CRT Centre – Val de Loire

See the Loire Valley on Horseback

Enjoy a full day on horseback, exploring between rivers and forest, apple trees, and vineyards. The ride is named for all of the flowers and castles you’ll see. Stop for lunch near the delightful French gardens of Chateau Villandry. After the lunch, you’ll be treated to a visit in the gardens, alone or accompanied by your guide.

In the afternoon, continue your horseback ride to discover more of the beautiful landscapes. You’ll finish by returning next to the Loire, the last wild river in France.


We hope this list of what to do in the Loire Valley in 2022 will help inspire future travel to this wonderful region. We would love to help you plan a dream trip to France in the coming year with a custom itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Bordeaux, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

The Five Most Romantic Things to Do in France

In honor of the upcoming Saint-Valentin (Valentine’s Day) we’ve put together a list of the five most romantic things to do in France. Paris specifically is known as the City of Love, but there are plenty of other dreamy corners of France to discover as well. Whether a honeymoon, anniversary, or simply a special trip with someone you love, France is filled with romance.


The Five Most Romantic Things to Do in France

Check in to A Secluded Hotel

One of our five most romantic things to do in France is heading to the French countryside and checking in to a superb hotel away from it all. The options are plenty from just outside Paris to Champagne, Provence and beyond. A few of our favorites to add to your list include:

Les Maisons de Bricourt

les maisons de bricourt

Two of the boutique hotels form Les Maisons de Bricourt in Brittany have sweeping panoramic views of the sea.

Château Richeux, built in the 1920s, faces Mont-Saint-Michel. The endless hues of blue, green and grey of the sea, sky, and earth merge into one. The restaurant features products from local small-scale fishermen and farmers. The bread served is made with local organic flour and is kneaded and baked in-house. This culinary commitment earned the chef two Michelin stars in 2019. Take a walk in the park, which runs downhill towards the beach and enjoy the magic of the Mont-Saint-Michel bay.

Les Rimains is a haven located on the cliffs of Cancale. Four romantic rooms bask in Mont-Saint-Michel Bay magical light. Simple and elegant, each room faces the sea. There is a coastal path known as the Lovers’ Trail. It offers the most beautiful views over the bay and the oyster beds, which are clearly visible in the translucent water. Bordered by yellow flowers, pines, and fragrant eucalyptus, the path offers a look into local life.

Les Sources de Cheverny

les sources de cheverny

Tucked away in its own private estate, this 5-star hotel in the Loire Valley is the quintessential French château. Exuding 18th-century elegance, this striking hotel balances bygone grandeur with a homely charm. An open fire welcomes guests into the dramatic lobby filled with soft light from tall, gothic windows. Beyond the twists and turrets of the building, beautiful lawns and gardens are waiting to be explored.

Spend your days touring the surrounding Loire Valley châteaux. Or simply enjoy relaxing by the pool and indulging in treatments at the Caudalie spa. When the sun starts to go down, head for a cocktail in the courtyard. Then finish your evening at one of the two restaurants featuring menus inspired by the season’s finest local produce.

Les Sources de Caudalie

les sources de caudalie

Just 20 minutes from Bordeaux’s city center, Les Sources de Caudalie is located between Grand Cru vineyards and forests. This 5-star hotel features a special Vinothérapie Spa, a two Michelin starred restaurant, a casual restaurant in the old washing house, a wine bar, a lounge and more.

There are plenty of activities to enjoy at Les Sources de Caudalie. Enjoy the spa with unique treatments using water from the natural hot spring. Take a cooking class with a two star Michelin chef. Enjoy a wine tasting with the head sommelier at the wine bar or take a mixology class at the bar. And of course, use the hotel as a base to explore the fabulous Bordeaux region.

hotel de paris monte carlo
Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo

Valentine’s Day in Monaco
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a romantic dinner in Monaco? Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer is rolling out the red carpet, ready for your very own love story.

Picture your intimate dinner: a celebratory atmosphere, maybe? Or perhaps a cozy alcove or a luxury dining experience? When it comes to bringing you joy, the creativity shown by Monaco’s top restaurants knows no bounds.

Whether you prefer an intimate in-room dining experience, a mix of gourmet food and gaming, or perhaps a gastronomic experience, there is something to delight surely every couple.

Take a Private Champagne Cruise Down the Seine River

seine river cruise five most romantic things to do in france

Another of our five most romantic things to do in France is take a Seine River cruise. Not many people can say they’ve had the opportunity to see the Seine River from a beautiful Venetian water taxi. The cruise offers you a unique, tailor-made look at one of the most beautiful waterways in the world. Enjoy the unforgettable views of Paris including the Musée du Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, and bridges from aboard your private boat.

Step inside the private salon, with tinted windows to respect your privacy, and pop a bottle of Cristal or Dom Pérignon champagne to mark this special occasion. Private breakfast cruises are also available if you’d like to have your morning croissant, coffee, and fresh-squeezed orange juice aboard.

Take a Drive Along the Côte d’Azur Coast in a Classic Car

rent a classic car on the riviera: one of the five most romantic things to do in france
Copyright Christian Horan Photography

Enjoy your time in the French Riviera as it was in years past with an exciting sightseeing tour in a vintage convertible car. Your drive can be chauffeured or you can be the pilot. We suggest a drive from Nice to Monaco with stops along the way in Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, and Èze to name a few.

You’ll see beautiful seaside resorts, towns with Belle Époque charm, medieval villages filled with quaint shops and restaurants, and pure Côte d’Azur luxury. French Side Travel can arrange for a professional photographer to meet you along the way for a special photoshoot to document the old-world French Riviera magic.

Spend a Weekend in Champagne

wekeend trip to champagne five most romantic things to do in france

The perfect romantic excursion from Paris is a weekend trip to Champagne. Taste world-class Champagnes, soak in the unique history and culture of the region, and relax and unwind at a fabulous hotel. It has all the makings of a wonderful, intimate getaway.

Take a full-day private guided tour of Champagne. Enjoy a commented drive along the Champagne scenic roads and discover the villages that are part of the Champagne appellation area. Stop at the charming UNESCO-listed small town of Hautvillers, where you can visit the church where the famous monk Dom Pierre Pérignon is buried. You’ll then visit a family-run boutique Premier Cru winery to learn about how the well-known beverage is made and enjoy tastings. Next, uncover the secrets behind the signature taste of Dom Pérignon in an exclusive visit. You will taste some of their finest Champagnes in a private salon. Finally, visit the oldest producer of Champagne: Ruinart to learn about the fascinating history.

royal champagne hotel and spa
Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa

Where to Stay in Champagne: Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa
In the heart of a vineyard, this former coach house (one of Napoleon’s favorite stopovers) is the perfect base from which to explore the glorious Champagne wineries. Be sure to visit the wine cellar, which boasts no fewer than 220 exceptional brut and rosé vintages and crus. The best place to taste them is on the terrace overlooking the vines, which extend as far as the eye can see.

All the 47 luxurious rooms have magical Champagne views. The interiors take inspiration from the natural and cultural heritage of the region. Traditional materials are favored to create a sleek and graphic mise-en-scene.

Vegetables are grown in the gardens and meat is delivered daily by local farmers. This commitment makes fine dining in the Michelin-starred contemporary restaurant exciting. Be sure to take time to indulge in the spa, which overlooks the vines.

Indulge with a Private Seaside Cabana on the French Riviera

private cabana club dauphin

With a guestbook signed by everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Winston Churchill, and an enviable perch overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the palatial spread of the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat has been the epitome of Côte d’Azur chic for more than a century. Make the most of the hotel’s luxurious grounds and fully experience all the beauty of Cap-Ferrat, a wooded peninsula that juts out into the glistening blue waters of the Mediterranean.

A highlight of the property is the Club Dauphin, one of the world’s most beautiful swimming pools. The infinity pool overlooks the sparkling Mediterranean Sea just below. For an extra special experience, treat yourself to a private seaside cabana to enjoy a moment of solitude amongst the tranquil setting. You can also reserve the Dauphin Lounge to enjoy the service of a dedicated butler who will prepare cocktails and serve lunch in your own private outdoor dining room.

fireworks in cannes
Dinner and Fireworks Cruise from Cannes

Summer Catamaran Cruise with Dinner and Fireworks from Cannes
Spend an incredible evening on a three-hour catamaran dinner cruise departing from Cannes. Imagine sipping on a glass of wine and taking in coastal views as you sail across the Bay of Cannes at twilight. Take in views of the Lérins Islands archipelago and the Riviera coastline as the color fades from the sky and lights sparkle along the shore. 

You’ll then enjoy a sumptuous buffet dinner on board. For a dazzling finale to the evening, watch a firework display from the deck with the twinkling lights of the Riviera coastline as a backdrop. This is surely an unforgettable addition to a romantic Côte d’Azur trip.


Whether you’re planning a honeymoon, anniversary trip, birthday trip, or simply a special trip with someone you love, we hope this list of the five most romantic things to do in France inspires you. We would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Normandy, Bordeaux, the South of France, the Loire Valley and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

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