Visiting Paris in the Winter

Don’t let the colder temperatures deter you, visiting Paris in the winter is a wonderful idea. You can experience Christmas markets, taste plenty of seasonal foods and drinks, and finish your holiday shopping – all with the City of Light decked in holiday lights and decorations in the background. We’re sharing some of the highlights of visiting Paris in the winter.


Visiting Paris in the Winter

Take in the Holiday Lights and Decorations

visiting paris during the winter notre dame decorations

They take holiday lights and decorations very seriously in the City of Light. As a result, pretty much anywhere you go you’ll be struck by the magic of the season. Even small boutiques and neighborhoods participate in decorating – the results are charming and make Paris feel like a small village.

However, don’t miss the holiday lights and decorations found along the major avenues and places in Paris. Highlights year after year include the sparking white lights on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the glamorous Avenue Montaigne, the striking Place Vendôme, and the whimsical Boulevard Saint Germain.

paris by night 2cv

Illumination Tour of Paris with A Glass of Champagne in a Classic French Car

Paris, City of Light, is never more stunning than at night, when she truly lives up to her name. With illuminated avenues and spot-lit monuments Paris takes on a fairy-tale dimension. The city becomes extra magical during the holiday season!

You’ll be welcomed with a glass of champagne and visit Paris in a classic Citroën 2CV with an English-speaking guide. See the highlights of central Paris including the Avenue des Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Trocadéro, the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides, Pont Alexandre III, the Petit and Grand Palais, the Place de la Concorde, the Garnier Opera, the Place Vendôme, the Louvre, the Île de la Cité, and the Notre Dame Cathedral. You’ll also enjoy a stunning perspective of the city from the top, at the balcony in Montmartre. Truly the perfect way to see all of the holiday lights!

See the Christmas Markets in Paris

paris christmas market in the tuileries

A must-see when visiting Paris in the winter is one or more of the fabulous Christmas markets in Paris. You’ll find the markets sprinkled throughout the city. Each is different and provides a festive mix of ways to take in the holiday spirit. We recommend getting a cup of hot chocolate and wandering the various stalls. You’ll find holiday decorations, regional and seasonal food specialties, music, sometimes rides and attractions and just general merriment!

Some of our favorite Christmas Markets in Paris can be found in the following locations: the Tuileries Garden (formerly along the Champs-Élysées), Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Saint-Sulpice, Place de la Nation, Place des Abesses in Montmartre, Gare de l’Est and Trocadéro.

Get Your Holiday Shopping Done

galeries lafayette christmas tree 2022

Year-round, the shopping is fabulous in Paris. Once the department stores and boutiques install their famous holiday window and interior displays they become nearly impossible to resist. And what better way to surprise someone on your list than with a special gift from Paris? The Grands Magasins, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps have some of the most impressive window displays in the city year after year, and the Christmas tree inside Galeries Lafayette is truly incredible. Don’t miss the tree’s light and animation show every half-hour.

On the Left Bank you’ll find the oldest department store in Paris, Le Bon Marché, which always has impressive window displays and decorations. The fabulous Samaritaine reopened in 2021 after extensive renovations and features a striking holiday display blended with intricate architectural details.

samaritaine christmas

Private Guided Visit of La Samaritaine

Over the past 150 years, Samaritaine has sparked fond memories for many Parisians – from climbing the theatrical steps that lead to its renowned glass roof to shopping for unexpected gifts in the company of loved ones.

Graced with state-of-the-art architecture and exquisite historical features, the landmark has been gloriously reimagined, fusing original Art Nouveau and Art Deco details with contemporary newness. Located in the beating heart of Paris, this iconic landmark will become a must-visit destination for locals and travelers to indulge in what is quintessentially the Parisian experience.

In this tour, your guide will tell you all about the history of La Samaritaine, its architecture, the renovations which have been recently done and also what’s in store for La Samaritaine in the near future.

Taste Traditional French Christmas Foods and Drinks

vin chaud and chocolat chaud

Throughout the holiday season you’ll find seasonal foods and drinks sprinkled throughout restaurant and café menus, bakeries, as well as in markets and grocery stores. There’s always plenty of seafood including oysters, scallops, smoked salmon and lobster, as well as foie gras and capon. Bûche de Noël is a favorite dessert. Many of the city’s top pastry chef’s each create a version with their own special touch.

To drink you’ll find the Alsatian specialty vin chaud at many cafés and Christmas markets. There’s no better way to warm up than with a glass of mulled wine. Chocolat chaud is also a must. Angelina is known for their thick and rich version of hot chocolate, but we also love chocolate master Jacques Genin’s delicious version of the drink. For people-watching, you can’t beat a cup of hot chocolate at Café de Flore.

And of course, when in France, Champagne is always a good idea. Stop for a glass at a café or restaurant, treat yourself to an exceptional setting at a hotel bar, or better yet, enjoy a private Champagne tasting in a magnificent cellar to learn even more about this delicate drink.

galerie vivienne christmas decorations

Luxury Christmas Food & Decoration Private Walking Tour

Get into the Christmas magic with this exceptional walking tour. Your itinerary will start at the Grands Magasins, where you will discover what makes Christmas in Paris so special: food, wine and decorations. We’ll enter into a paradise of gourmet connoisseurs for an oyster and white wine tasting. Next, we’ll discover the best of Christmas foods all in one place (cheese, salmon, caviar, foie gras, chocolate, gingerbread and more).

After the tasting, you will admire the Christmas lights, decorations and trees in the stores. We’ll continue our walk to Madeleine where we’ll see the church as well as numerous gourmet shops.

Finally, we will take the little streets and passages, full of Christmas lights and decorations until we reach one of Paris’ best wine bars for a foie gras and champagne tasting!

Where to Stay in Paris During the Winter

hotel san regis christmas

To maximize your holiday spirit and experience in Paris during the winter we recommend staying in the heart of the city. The five-star Hotel San Régis is located just off of the Champs-Elysées and close to the Arc de Triomphe. You’ll have the best of Paris during the holidays at your fingertips with incredible access to Christmas markets, lights and decorations, shopping and more. After a long day, wind down with a drink at the bar or stroll the adjacent Avenue Montaigne to take in the impressive holiday displays.

For interior design fanatics, the 5-star Château Voltaire is a dream. The hotel is a tribute to the Parisian art de vivre. Three buildings dating from from the 17th and 18th centuries were combined to create the hotel. You’ll be steps away from the gorgeous Palais Garnier opera house, lively Jardin des Tuileries, and sophisticated shopping on Place Vendôme.

chateau voltaire hotel paris
© Romeo Ballancourt

Ready to visit Paris in the winter? There’s still time to plan a trip for this year! Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you.

Christmas in France: Must-See Highlights by Region

The holiday season in France is something that every traveller should experience at least once. Starting in mid-November there is an unrivaled festive atmosphere that overtakes the country. Whether you’re coming to get some shopping done in Paris, visit the Christmas Markets in Strasbourg, or to see the Loire Valley châteaux decorated, there’s truly something extraordinary almost anywhere you go. We’re breaking down the Christmas in France must-see highlights down by region.


Christmas in France: Must-See Highlights by Region

Lyon: Fête des Lumières

lyon fete des lumieres 2022
Photo Courtesy of the City of Lyon

For four nights in December, a variety of different artists take over Lyon for the Fête des Lumières. You’ll be able to discover illuminations on buildings, streets, squares and parks throughout the city. The 2022 Fête des Lumieres runs from December 8th to 11th. You can find more information here.

Paris: Christmas Shopping

galeries lafayette paris christmas

There’s so much to do in the French capital during the holidays that we have an entire post about visiting Paris in the winter. One activity that brings a lot of seasonal highlights together is Christmas shopping. Whether you’re visiting the Grand Magasin department stores or one of the Christmas markets you’ll be sure to take in the festive decorations and lights, and you’ll be able to bring back gifts from Paris!

Île de France: Vaux-le-Vicomte

christmas in france vaux le vicomte
Photo by Yann Pirioux

While the Château de Versailles doesn’t decorate for Christmas, one stunning castle in the Paris region that does is Vaux-le-Vicomte. Visitors will discover illuminations in both the gardens and the château. Inside, decorations have a gourmet theme this year. Rooms will be scented with gingerbread and cinnamon. To complete the cozy atmosphere, fireplaces will be lit and carriage rides will be offered. This year the festivities go from November 19th until December 31st (closed on December 25th). Reservations are required.

vaux le vicomte christmas
Photo Courtesy of Vaux-le-Vicomte

Private Guided Christmas Tour of Vaux-le-Vicomte with Afternoon Tea or Cocktail in a Private Room

After the castle is closed to the public, discover the State Rooms and the private apartments in peace. Your private guide will recount the tales from the heyday of the estate; from its creation by Nicolas Fouquet, through its operation in the 18th and 19th century, until its opening to visitors in 1968 thanks to the current owners, the De Vogüe family.

Afterwards, enjoy an extraordinary moment of relaxation in the Salon Le Brun. There will be a monumental projection specially set up for you! An evening fit for a King and Queen!

Strasbourg: Christmas Market

strasbourg christmas market 2022

The Christmas Markets in and around Strasbourg are without a doubt a holiday must-see. With more than 300 market stalls, miles of garlands of light, the majestic Big Tree, and dazzling shows and concerts there is nothing quite like the Strasbourg Christmas Market. This year the market is open from November 25th until December 24th at 6:00 pm. The After-Christmas Village at Louise Weiss Square will be open until January 1st 2023.

Loire Valley: Christmas Châteaux

loire valley christmas 2022

The Loire Valley châteaux are marvelous year round (we’ve identified our ten favorites here). During the holidays, many of the châteaux are decorated both inside and out. From Saturday December 3rd through Monday January 2nd, seven of the largest châteaux in the Loire region are celebrating the spirit of the end-of-year festivities through exceptional tours and events. You’ll see Christmas trees, festive wreaths, and holiday tables dressed to the nines. It’s truly a wonderful time of the year in the Loire Valley and especially fun for families.

Normandy: Christmas Markets and Light Shows

christmas in normandy rouen christmas market
Photo Courtesy of Normandy Tourism

In a region known for gourmet specialties including hearty ciders and cheeses, it’s not difficult to imagine that Christmas is a lively time of year. You’ll find Christmas Markets in the most picturesque of places: at the foot of Mont Saint-Michel (dates to be announced), along the port of Honfleur (dates to be announced), and at the base of the Rouen Cathedral (from November 23rd to December 25th) to name a few.

Provence: Unique Traditions

christmas in provence
Photo Courtesy of Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur Tourisme

In Provence, there is a unique Christmas tradition to eat 13 desserts following the Christmas dinner: one for each Christ and his twelve apostles. Each of the desserts served varies a bit based on the region and particular family. Some common items include fougasse, the four beggars (almonds, raisins, dried figs and nuts), Cachat piquant, white and black nougat, calissons, pain d’épice, and of course, the Bûche de Noël.

You’ll also find Santons, little clay figurines in nativity scenes. The literal translation of Santon is ‘little saint.’ There’s an entire Foire aux Santons dedicated to these collectables in Marseille, this year from November 19th through December 31st.

Bordeaux: Christmas Markets in Wine Country

christmas in bordeaux
© Facebook / Marché de Noël de Bordeaux

In the heart of Bordeaux you’ll find the Christmas market back again this year from November 25th to December 25th. It’s a wonderful place to admire the decorations and also get some shopping done. For a more artisanal market, this year there is a special Christmas market in the heart of Saint-Émilion on December 10th and 11th.

Pas de Calais: Fête de la Dinde de Licques

fete de liques 2022

France can be known for being quirky. Perhaps one of the quirkiest Christmas festivals is the Licques Turkey Festival in the north of France. It’s named for the turkey, which is a popular item served on Christmas day in France, but you’ll also find all sorts of gourmet regional products. It’s the perfect opportunity to prepare your Christmas menu and stock up on wine, cheese, chocolate, Champagne, and of course turkey! This year the festival will be held on December 10th and 11th.

French Alps: Snow, Skiing, and Merriment

christmas in france megeve

The snowy alps make them the perfect setting to celebrate a memorable Christmas. Whether you’re in Courchevel or Val d’Isère, you’ll be enchanted by the special Christmas magic including parades throughout town, Santa hitting the slopes and more.

Winter in Courchevel: The Last Track After Hours Ski

You’ll have the opportunity to continue skiing after the slopes are closed for the end of the day. You’ll meet at the top of Courchevel to have a drink while you enjoy the sunset.

Then, once the sky is dark and everyone is at home, you’ll enjoy the entire slope for yourself and experience what skiing at night is like. An excellent opportunity to take in the view on the lights of Courchevel from the top!

Are you ready to spend the holidays in France? Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you. They can help to identify the perfect region for you to experience the must-see Christmas highlights in France.

Romantic Trips to Take This Winter in France

France is one of the most romantic destinations in the world to visit year-round. The distinct cultures, cuisines, wines and more mean that there’s something for virtually every traveler. Winter is an often overlooked time to visit France, but offers wonderful benefits, namely far less crowds. We’ve put together a list of ideas of romantic trips to France to take this winter. Each would be perfect for an upcoming proposal, honeymoon, anniversary or more!


Romantic Trips to Take this Winter in France

Paris: Classic Winter Romance in the City of Light

romantic winter trips to france paris

There is perhaps no city in the world more romantic than Paris, City of Light and love. From the moment you arrive the beauty of the city will sweep you off your feet. During the wintertime Paris is much less crowded. It’s a great time to visit always popular museums and monuments like the Musée du Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Château de Versailles.

A Romantic Winter Day in Paris

Start your morning with a delightful French breakfast at your hotel including croissants, breads, delicious jams, butter, fresh-squeezed fruit juices and more. Afterwards, your chauffeur will meet you in the lobby to take you to a private Christmas food and decoration walking tour.

You’ll see the fabulous Christmas displays in the most-celebrated department stores in Paris. You’ll taste traditional French foods served over Christmas: oysters, foie gras, and sweet treats like éclairs and macarons. Next, you’ll be off to take in the best decorations in the city. The last stop is a Champagne tasting in a charming covered passageway. What could be more romantic?

After your tour, stop for lunch at the casually elegant Bistrot des Victories with its beautiful Christmas tree. You could also try one of the best classic French restaurants in Paris (and a Julia Child favorite) Chez Georges.

Following lunch, you’ll be off for a unique wine tasting experience to discover France in six glasses. You’ll taste five wines and one Champagne and the sommelier will teach you interesting anecdotes about each wine and region. It’s like a mini Tour de France!

After such a special day, go back to your hotel to relax by the fireplace or enjoy a spa treatment.

Where to Stay in Paris
la reserve paris

La Réserve

This palace hotel is housed in a mansion dating from 1854.

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: marble, wood paneling, gilding, mahogany, wall hangings, Cordoba leather, Versailles parquet flooring, antiques, and art decor objects illustrate the mansion’s belle époque history.

The hotel has 26 suites and 14 rooms that seamlessly combine tradition with modern technology: pastel tones, Carrara marble bathrooms, a Devon & Devon silver bathtub together with underfloor heating, screens integrated into the mirrors, an interactive tablet (with a special button to call your butler), all providing exceptional comfort for its prestigious clientele. It is also worth noting that it is the first palace hotel to offer a personal butler service for every room. There is special attention to making 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. Other exclusive amenities for guests: a gym with a personal trainer, a steam room & spa with Nescens-Swiss products, and an indoor pool.

Awarded two Michelin stars after only one year of business, the chef has translated the excellence of the place into the cuisine. The restaurant serves contemporary French cuisine with Asian influences. The perfect place to kick off a romantic winter trip in France!

Chamonix: Unique Experiences on Mont Blanc for Adventure-Loving Couples

chamonix romantic winter trips france

Chamonix is the perfect destination to explore during a long weekend for an adventurous couple. The stunning scenery and views of Mont-Blanc draped in white will blow you away. You can spend the entire time skiing, but for our romantic stay we’ve selected several unforgettable activities that don’t require skis.

A Romantic Long Weekend in Chamonix

Start your trip on the right foot with a fun morning of snowshoeing. During this private guided tour you’ll experience the tranquility of snowy forests, summits, alpine bowls and ridges. It’ll be a special moment to share with your partner.

Afterwards, stop for lunch at Le 3842, which is one of the highest restaurants above Chamonix. You’ll enjoy fabulous views and local Savoyard cuisine made from the freshest regional produce. Be sure to reserve in advance as there are only 30 seats!

In the afternoon more breathtaking views are in store with a private panoramic Aiguille du Midi tour. This journey across the glaciers in the highest cable car in France is truly a once in a lifetime experience. It’s hard to think of more romantic winter views!

Be sure to take advantage of the spa at your hotel before the second day of your trip where you’ll partake in a full day private ice climbing tour. Chamonix has two climbing sites in the heart of the valley, and you’ll have everything you need to enjoy a day of fun discovering the magical crystalline universe.

Where to Stay in Chamonix
hotel mont blanc chamonix

Hotel Mont Blanc

Since 1849, the 5-star Hotel Mont-Blanc has hosted cosmopolitan clientele coming from all over the world to experience the highest peak in Europe.

The luxury hotel has been fully renovated in a style inspired by nature and its surroundings. The bedrooms overlook a beautiful panorama of mountains and offer space, luxury and comfort. The Savoyard inspired woodwork, black and white checkered marble, tailor made furniture, choice of materials and clever punctuation of bright colors creates a warm atmosphere, full of “joie de vivre.”

After the exhilaration of the summits, you can dive into the outdoor pool heated in summer and winter, which stretches over 14 meters with a spectacular view of the Mont Blanc. Or, relax in the spa and with its hammam, sauna, experience shower, fitness equipment and treatments designed by Clarins.

At the restaurant, the chef draws inspiration from the products from the beautiful French alpine valley. His cuisine is a journey through the Alps, the Aosta Valley and even the Mediterranean Basin.

Bordeaux: An Intimate Gourmet Destination

romantic winter trip bordeaux

The city of Bordeaux is romantic by nature with its charming streets, gorgeous architecture, and delicious foods and wines. Its location in southwest France makes it an ideal winter destination with milder temperatures. Thanks to the high-speed train it’s an easy addition to a Paris trip. Once you’ve experienced Bordeaux you’ll see how easy it is to fall in love!

A Romantic Day Discovering Bordeaux’s Food and Wine

To start the day you’ll be off on a private luxury gourmet walking tour. Not only will you discover the charm of the city like a real resident, but you’ll also taste the best of the best of Bordeaux’s regional specialties. You’ll have the opportunity to try rare products and visit a unique and historic atelier that will show you all of the secrets of their fabrication process.

Since the day is truly about food and wines, lunch will be a delightful wine and cheese pairing at Château Pape Clément. The sommelier at this Grands Crus Classés estate in Pessac will lead you through a pairing of eight great wines, each paired with an exceptional cheese.

Your last tour of the day will be a a private guided chocolate tour. During this full-chocolate experience you’ll get to sample the most refined chocolates in the city. You’ll discover the history of chocolate in Bordeaux and understand the chocolate making process from the origin of coco beans to the finished product. It’s the perfect opportunity to buy some chocolates to bring home and remember the romantic day in Bordeaux.

Dinner will be aboard the restaurant boat Sicambre for a dinner and cruise to discover Bordeaux’s beautiful UNESCO-recognized waterfront and architecture. The menu is inspired by traditional southwestern French cuisine and is all prepared onboard using local, seasonal ingredients. It’s the perfect ending to your day in perhaps France’s best area for foodies.

Where to Stay in Bordeaux
bordeaux intercontinental le grand

Intercontinental Bordeaux Le Grand

This upscale 5-star hotel is in an 18th-century neoclassical-inspired building facing the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. It is in the city’s historic center with the Place de Quinconces and the Saint André Cathedral just a short stroll away.

Chic rooms feature ornate furnishings and rich palettes, plus free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and coffee machines. Suites add sitting areas, some with wine bars. Family suites have pull-out sofas and two bathrooms.

Amenities include two upscale restaurants, a stylish cocktail bar, and an indoor courtyard serving afternoon tea. Relax at the indoor pool, the fitness center, the spa, or the outdoor hot tub.

When booking this hotel with French Side Travel, enjoy the following privileges: 85€ value-added amenity (hotel credit), an upgrade to the next room category, early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability on arrival), and complimentary Wi-Fi on unlimited devices.


We hope these destinations will help inspire one or more romantic winter trips to France. Whether it’s during the holidays or after the New Year, don’t hesitate to contact French Side Travel to create your custom itinerary. Be sure to check out our favorite tours in Paris, the French Alps, and Bordeaux.

Our Seven Favorite Classic French Restaurants in Paris

When it comes to traditional French cuisine there are choices galore in Paris. Sometimes the options can be overwhelming, so to help narrow your search we’ve identified our top seven favorite classic restaurants in Paris. These tried and true places are not only delicious, but also have lovely atmospheres and reliably friendly service.


Our Seven Favorite Classic French Restaurants in Paris

La Fontaine de Mars

fontaine de mars
Photo Courtesy of Fontaine de Mars

La Fontaine de Mars opened in 1908 making it one of the oldest bistros in Paris. The charming tiled floors, red and white checked tablecloths, and friendly service will make you feel as if you’re in a Paris from yesteryears. They are known for their incredible Escargot de Bourgogne “Fontaine de Mars,” roasted chicken with mashed potatoes (a Sunday specialty), and incredible wine list. When the weather is nice the restaurant also has a wonderful terrace. A great option classic French restaurant in Paris not far from the Eiffel Tower! La Fontaine de Mars, 129 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris

Bistrot Paul Bert

bistrot paul bert
Courtesy of Sébastien Muylaert/Michelin

In France, a bistrot is different from a restaurant. A casual neighborhood bistrot has quick and efficient service, a simple menu, and a lively atmosphere. Bistrot Paul Bert is a quintessential Parisian bistrot, which is why locals and visitors alike love it. Expect high quality, carefully sourced ingredients and wines that come straight from the vignerons (winegrowers). You can’t go wrong with just about anything on the chalkboard menu. Bistrot Paul Bert, 18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris (closed Sundays and Mondays).

french cooking class in france

Paris Food Experience: Morning Market Visit, Cooking Class, and Lunch
Embark on a unique culinary and Parisian cultural experience completely inspired by its gastronomical fare!

At a local market you will have to opportunity to buy fresh produce and learn about the French market culture. You’ll discover how to choose the ingredients, why, as well as where they come from.

Then it’s back to the kitchen. You will learn basic and advanced French cooking techniques through the process of creating a three-course French meal. You will cover five to seven fundamental cooking techniques as each theory will be explained.

During lunch, your host will share stories about each of the dishes to help illustrate various aspects of French culture. A bit of history, a touch of sociology, tongue-in-cheek humor, and quite a bit of gastronomy as one might expect. This is quite a unique, intimate and quite delectable experience in Paris indeed!

Restaurant Joséphine “Chez Dumonet”

josephine chez dumonet paris restaurant
Courtesy of Joséphine Chez Dumonet

When it comes to traditional French food in Paris, Restaurant Joséphine “Chez Dumonet” is a shining star. Walking inside feels like stepping inside a time machine. The menu is small at this family-owned restaurant and everything is excellent. You won’t want to miss the beef tartare that’s prepared table-side or the beef bourguignon, which cooks for three days. Save room for dessert – the massive Grand Marnier soufflé is accompanied by a glass of eau de vie. Restaurant Joséphine Chez Dumonet, 117 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris (closed Saturdays and Sundays).

Le Voltaire

restaurant le voltaire
Courtesy of Le Voltaire

Le Voltaire is beloved by both local regulars and loyal visitors who return time and time again. This chic restaurant, located directly across from the Musée du Louvre along the Seine, is unassuming from the outside but warm and inviting once inside. Although prices are high, the food, service, and attention to details are all immaculate. Each dish is accompanied by Le Voltaire’s famous crispy matchstick frites which are impossible to resist. Reservations are recommended well in advance. Le Voltaire, 27 Quai Voltaire, 75007 Paris.

Bouillon Chartier

bouillon chartier favorite classic french restaurant paris
Courtesy of Bouillon Chartier

Bouillon Chartier originally opened in 1896 as an inexpensive restaurant for workers in the neighborhood. Since that time there have only been four owners and Bouillon Chartier has remained a Parisian institution that continues to draw crowds night after night, 365 days a year. Expect hearty French classics, waiters dressed in black and white, and a bustling ambiance. Bouillon Chartier, 7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris.

Le Grand Vefour

le grand vefour paris
Courtesy of Le Grand Vefour

For a truly fine dining experience and impeccable wine list go to Le Grand Vefour in the Palais-Royal. The two Michelin-starred restaurant has hosted many top French politicians, artists, and literary geniuses over its storied 200-year history. The décor is in the incredible 18th century art décoratif style and is filled with elegant gold and red tones. Be sure to make a reservation well in advance at this opulent restaurant. Le Grand Vefour, 17 Rue de Beaujolais, 75001 Paris.

Le Train Bleu

le train bleu paris
Courtesy of Le Train Bleu

You may not expect one of the most beautiful restaurants in Paris to be found inside the Gare de Lyon train station, but that is indeed the case with Le Train Bleu. This beautiful Belle Epoque restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner date. Spend your meal admiring the dreamy frescos. They feature places in France that you can catch a train to just downstairs. A truly unique and lovely dining experience in Paris! Le Train Bleu, Gare de Lyon, Place Louis-Armand, 75012 Paris.

cheese and wine tasting paris

Paris Food Experience: Cheese and Wine Tasting
You will embark on an incredible cheese and wine tasting experience in a 17th-century cheese maturing cellar in the heart of Paris. On the agenda: learning the skill of tasting exceptional cheeses and pairing them with wonderful wines. You will never taste cheese and wine like this again. The tasting includes nine aged cheese varieties paired with four glasses of wine plus fresh baguette.


Ready for a trip to Paris? Our travel designers are standing by and can help incorporate these seven favorite classic French restaurants in Paris into your itinerary. Some of our most popular Paris wine and food tours include A Culinary Experience in Paris, A Foodie Tour of Paris, Champagne & Bordeaux, Food and Wine Lovers Tour of Paris and Bordeaux, and an Exclusive Private Tour of Paris.

Where to Have Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris 2022

Although the French don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, visiting over the holiday is always popular for Americans. It’s a great time to see a mix of fall colors and the festive holiday decorations. If having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is important, we recommend staying in Paris. We’ve put together a list of where to have Thanksgiving dinner in Paris in 2022.


Where to Have Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris 2022

Ralph’s

ralph's paris thanksgiving dinner 2022
Photo Courtesy of Ralph’s Paris

One of the most beautiful settings for Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris is at Ralph’s inside the Ralph Lauren store on the Left Bank. Traditional Thanksgiving foods are displayed in front of the stately fireplace. Guests have the opportunity to taste everything on the menu, including all three types of pies. Ralph’s is known for their annual elegant Thanksgiving dinners, so it’s recommended to reserve well in advance. Ralph’s Paris

Treize au Jardin

treize au jardin where to have thanksgiving dinner in paris 2022
Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Reynaert

Treize au Jardin across from the Luxembourg Garden is famous for their delicious Southern style cooking. They have a special Thanksgiving menu that is so popular that they have dinners on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The friendly staff at Treize will surely make you feel right at home. There is also a vegetarian option. Treize au Jardin

la réserve paris apartments
Photo Courtesy of La Réserve

La Réserve Apartments

Are you dreaming of a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner in Paris in your own apartment, but with all of the services of a five-star hotel? Look no further than the La Réserve Apartments. Located near the Eiffel Tower, each private apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen as well as a dedicated butler 24/7.

Each apartment is family-friendly and large enough to accommodate groups for a Thanksgiving feast. A special Thanksgiving cooking class can be arranged for children to participate in the fun. Your 24/7 concierge will be able to assist you with any and all requests for a perfectly memorable evening.

Sunday in Soho

sunday in soho thanksgiving paris
Photo Courtesy of Sunday in Soho

Sunday in Soho offers three days of Thanksgiving dinners that you can enjoy in the restaurant or have delivered right to your apartment in Paris. The Thanksgiving at Home menu is perfect for people staying in an apartment who don’t want to go through the hassle of preparing a big meal. All you have to do is reheat and serve! Sunday in Soho

Breakfast in America

breakfast in america paris thanksgiving
Photo Courtesy of Breakfast in America

Breakfast in America offers two dinner seatings on Thanksgiving day where you can enjoy a traditional turkey dinner. The fixed price menu includes an apéritif, choice of starter, traditional Thanksgiving plate and choice of dessert. They cannot accommodate vegetarians or children with special menus. Breakfast in America

Hard Rock Café

The legendary Hard Rock Café is bringing back their special Thanksgiving menu for lunch and dinner starting on Thanksgiving Day through Sunday. The menu is available by reservation only and includes a main course, dessert, and cocktail. Hard Rock Cafe

homanie private castle

Thanksgiving in a Private Castle Outside Paris

For a unique Thanksgiving dinner, why not host your family and friends in an almost 65,000 square foot private castle 45 minutes outside of Paris? Dating from the 13th century, the castle is located on over 600 acres of a private park. The property is entirely renovated, yet maintains the stunning Medieval era architecture.

Some of the fabulous features of the property include a chapel, a bakery, a 1930’s bar, three kitchens, a Medieval tea room, a wine cellar and tasting room, a nightclub under a lake, a theater, a tennis court, five massage rooms, and an indoor swimming pool. It would truly be a once in a lifetime Thanksgiving!

Milagro

For a Thanksgiving meal not far from the Eiffel Tower don’t miss Milagro. You can dine in or takeaway a prepared meal for two, four, or six people on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evening. A highlight of the dinner is sure to be the slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream! Milagro

Café Varenne

cafe varenne paris thanksgiving 2022

For a French take on Thanksgiving, head to Café Varenne in the 7th arrondissement. This neighborhood restaurant is a favorite of Ina Garten and offers “The Best Thanksgiving in Paris!” It’s the perfect way to experience an American Thanksgiving in a traditional French atmosphere. Café Varenne

Hotel Vernet

hotel vernet paris

Hotel Vernet offers an annual Thanksgiving feast under the beautiful Gustave Eiffel-designed glass dome. It’s a fun and very luxurious way to experience the American holiday in Parisian style. Hotel Vernet

Prepare Your Own Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris

If you feel like preparing a Thanksgiving dinner in Paris, luckily there are plenty of options! You can order a whole turkey (dinde) from most butcher shops. It should be noted that you should place your order one to two weeks before Thanksgiving day. Otherwise a roasted chicken makes a good substitute. American Thanksgiving cooking staples like canned pumpkin, cranberries, and stuffing are available at La Grande Épicerie or the American food store The Real McCoy.

paris fall market

Private Guided Tour of the Aligre Market

Want to shop for ingredients to cook your own Thanksgiving dinner in Paris? French Side Travel can arrange for a private guide to help you!

In this market, you will find a melting pot of different cultures and colors, fresh products, cheeses and wines. The market is divided into two sections: a covered market where you will find French delicatessen, fresh fishes, poultry, dairy, cut flowers and an uncovered market where you can see a curious mix between shouting fruit sellers and antique dealers. It’s half of a food market, half of a flea market – in case you’re looking for a special way to set the table!

Your guide will stop at several shops for you to taste a selection of the best French specialties along the way. The tour will be tailored accordingly to your tastes and special dietary restrictions to either include more sweet or salty food.


Need help making plans for Thanksgiving week in Paris? When you book your trip with French Side Travel our English-speaking Travel Care team will be able to offer assistance, 24/7 while you’re in France. There’s still time to plan a trip to France in 2022. Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you.

The Best Exhibits to See this Fall in Paris

The permanent collections at Parisian museums are classics that are always worth seeing. Equally exciting are the wide range of temporary exhibits on display at any given time. French Side Travel has rounded up a list of the best exhibits to see this fall in Paris.


The Best Exhibits to See this Fall in Paris

Claude Monet – Joan Mitchell at Fondation Louis Vuitton

claude monet joan mitchell the best exhibits to see this fall in paris

“Claude Monet – Joan Mitchell” creates a never before examined conversation between the works of two exceptional artists, Claude Monet and American artist Joan Mitchell. Both influenced their peers as well as generations of artists to follow.

The exhibition opens with a “Joan Mitchell Retrospective,” enabling the public in France and Europe to discover her work. Impressed by Monet’s Water Lilies, which were extremely popular in the United States in the 1950s, Mitchell created canvases representing water sources. Like Monet, she used color and large-scale formats. She even drew inspiration from Vétheuil, where she lived in 1968. Mitchell’s house was just a few steps from where Monet lived from 1878 to 1881. This experience allowed both artists to see and paint the same scenes and light at a completely different period in time. From October 5th through February 27th.

Shocking! The Surreal Worlds of Elsa Schiaparelli at Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Shocking! The Surreal Worlds of Elsa Schiaparelli at Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Through January 22nd, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs is presenting a major retrospective devoted to Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. In the 1920s and 1930s, Schiaparelli worked together with members of the international avant-garde in Paris including Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau and Man Ray.

The exhibition “Shocking! The Surreal Worlds of Elsa Schiaparelli” allows visitors to enter the creative world of this prominent figure in haute couture. Take in the dazzling array of costumes, accessories, jewelry, perfumes, drawings, paintings and sculptures. A series of costumes created by well-known designers inspired by Schiaparelli highlights her legacy.

Where to Stay in Paris
maison albar le pont neuf

Maison Albar Hotels Le Pont-Neuf

Located right in the heart of the beautiful city of Paris, and a stone’s throw away from the Louvre Museum and the Notre Dame, this 5-star hotel is set in an ideal location for sightseeing.

Designed with luxury in mind, the rooms come with AC, television, a hairdryer, minibar, a coffee making machine, a safe, a desk or workplace and soundproofing.

The hotel’s restaurant serves gourmet cuisine using local and seasonal produce. The wine cellar holds some of the finest wines in the world, which is sure to delight guests. The hotel also has an indoor pool, spa, hammam and treatment rooms.

Rosa Bonheur at Musée d’Orsay

rosa bonheur at musee d'orsay the best exhibits to see this fall in paris

On the occasion of the bicentenary of Rosa Bonheur’s birth in Bordeaux, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux and the Musée d’Orsay are organizing a major retrospective of her work. This exhibition honors the extraordinary, innovative and inspiring artist. Rosa Bonheur, known as an icon of women’s emancipation, placed the living world at the heart of her work and her existence. She was passionate about animals and sought to express their vitality and their souls through her work. Bonheur was a highly technical artist with the ability to render both animal anatomy and psychology.

This exhibition brings together approximately 200 works, including paintings, graphic arts, sculptures, and photographs, from the most prestigious public and private collections in Europe and the United States. From October 18th through January 15th.

Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Daughter of Pablo at Musée Picasso

Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Daughter of Pablo at Musée Picasso

“Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Daughter of Pablo,” is an exhibit devoted to Picasso’s first daughter. The arrival of Maya was an upheaval in Picasso’s life, and a source of inspiration for his art. The exhibit explores the father-daughter relationship through a series of portraits of Maya painted by Picasso as well as sculptures, photographs, and other archival items. All of these elements together help to tell this personal part of Picasso’s family history. Through December 31st.

Les Choses: A History of Still Life at the Musée du Louvre

les choses louvre exhibit

“Les Choses” takes a new look at a subject that for a long time was considered minor: the still life. The representation of things, of which we find examples from prehistoric times, allows for a wonderful dive into history. These artists were, in fact, the first to take “things” seriously. They recognized the object’s presence and made them alive and interesting by praising their form, meaning, power, and charm.

The exhibition focuses on the genre of still life as well as the eternal dialogue between artists of the past and present. Thanks to our attachment to the works, the human relationship with material goods is also explored. From October 12th through January 23rd.

Women War Photographers at Musée de la Libération de Paris – Musée du Général Leclerc – Musée Jean Moulin

women war photographers exhibit

The Musée de la Libération de Paris – Musée du Général Leclerc – Musée Jean Moulin was inaugurated in 2019 on the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris. This new history museum aims to teach the public about a shared history: the Liberation of Paris and two historical figures from World War II, Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque and Jean Moulin. Women War Photographers showcases the work of eight female photographers who documented international conflicts over 75 years. Through December 31st, visitors can view documents, photographs and original newspapers and magazines that highlight the involvement of women in all conflicts – whether they are fighters, victims, or witnesses.

Where to Stay in Paris
hotel elysia paris

Hotel Elysia

This 5-star hotel is located just a stone’s throw away from the most famous avenue in the world. Sitting inside a beautiful Haussmann building, the hotel was inspired by the elegance of the French Art de Vivre.

Guests can expect a romantic spirit at the hotel, but interpreted in a modern way. This hotel is a place for those who appreciate storytelling.

The 33 guest rooms and eight suites each feature paintings with emblematic scenes of Parisian romanticism. Think picturesque gardens, rooftops, and bridges.

The bar and restaurant pays subtle homage to the art of dance, ballet in particular. Here, you can indulge in refined French cuisine and some of the finest drinks in the capital.

The wellness area is currently undergoing a makeover. The fitness room, sauna, hammam and the Spa will reopen in Spring 2023.

Cézanne, the Lights of Provence at Atelier des Lumières

atelier des lumieres best exhibits to see this fall in paris

Through January 2nd, visitors can experience an immersive sound and light show into the creative universe and major works of Paul Cézanne at the Atelier des Lumières. This show offers insights into the painter’s tormented state of mind and the atmosphere of his studio in Aix-en-Provence. View Cézanne’s relationship with light and colors as well as the nature and the landscapes that inspired him – forests, parks and gardens, as well as Provençal landmarks such as the village of L’Estaque and the Montagne Sainte-Victoire.


We hope this list of the best exhibits to see this fall in Paris gives plenty of cultural inspiration in the French capital. 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, and Normandy. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

The Seven Best Restaurants with a View of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

When in Paris, dining with a view of the Eiffel Tower is a popular request, and for good reason. However, not all restaurants facing the Iron Lady serve delicious food. We’ve rounded up the seven best restaurants with a view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.


The Seven Best Restaurants with a View of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Girafe

girafe seven best restaurants with a view of the eiffel tower in paris

Located on Place du Trocadero and facing the Eiffel Tower, Girafe offers arguably the best view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The restaurant specializes in seafood, although there is a little bit of everything on the menu. Advance reservations are required at Girafe. It is worth noting that in case of inclement weather the terrace closes. The interior of the restaurant is lovely, however there isn’t a view of the Eiffel Tower. Girafe, 1 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris.

Monsieur Bleu

monsieur bleu paris

Within the Palais de Tokyo museum, Monsieur Bleu is a sophisticated restaurant with stunning views to match. The menu is devoted to French classics, with a focus on seasonality and fresh ingredients. In the summertime, the Jardin de Monsieur Bleu is the place to be. There is a lively atmosphere with specialty cocktails and DJ sets on certain nights. On Sundays, the restaurant serves brunch. Everything is homemade and comes with a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower! Monsieur Bleu, 20 Avenue de New York, 75116 Paris.

Where to Stay in Paris
hotel napoleon

Hôtel Napoléon

Just a stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe, this luxury hotel offers all the splendor of a large and very Parisian private house. Its romantic decor recounts one of the most beautiful pages in the history of France, that of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. With its cozy rooms, beautiful suites or large adjoining rooms, the property is ideal for couples, families and for lovers of Paris.

As one generation has given way to the next, the hotel has stood the test of time and developed an outstanding ability to welcome its guests. The intimate atmosphere, which at different times has attracted guests ranging from Jean Gabin to Josephine Baker and Errol Flynn, has made it a legendary place to stay that is just as charming and popular today.

From breakfast in the morning, to gourmet lunch then after-dinner drinks in the evening, not to mention a morning or afternoon tea perhaps tasting a few inventive and trendy recipes, the restaurant is there to satisfy its guests’ every desire.

LouLou

loulou paris

For a secret garden experience with a truly magical view of the Eiffel Tower, try LouLou. The location couldn’t be better. It is set within the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and Musée du Louvre as well as the Jardin des Tuileries. On sunny days, guests can enjoy the spirit of the French Riviera in the heart of Paris. The Italian and Mediterranean-inspired menu can be a welcome change from traditional French dishes, especially during the warmer months. LouLou, 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris.

Ciel de Paris

ciel de paris best restaurants with a view of the eiffel tower in paris

When looking for a view of Paris from above that includes the Eiffel Tower, Ciel de Paris inside the Tour Montparnasse is a great option. The Tour Montparnasse is the tallest building in Paris. From 210 meters above ground the views of Paris and beyond are truly exceptional. Ciel de Paris serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is also a bar, making it a fabulous option no matter the time of day. Ciel de Paris, Tour Maine Montparnasse, 56ème, Av. du Maine, 75015 Paris.

Gigi

gigi paris

Just above the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in the prestigious Golden Triangle area of Paris is Gigi, a stylish and chic Italian restaurant. The unique view of the Eiffel Tower can be enjoyed from both inside the restaurant and outside on the terrace, making it a great year-round option for the unpredictable weather in Paris. Don’t miss having a drink at the fabulous Bellini Bar which features live musicians, jazz mixes, and popular songs from the 1950s and 1960s that add to the lively atmosphere. Gigi, 15 Av. Montaigne, 75008 Paris.

Le Tout-Paris

le tout-paris

Le Tout-Paris brings together the best of an Art Deco style Parisian bistro with a cocktail bar, and opens up to 180 degree panoramic views over Notre Dame, the Seine River, and the Eiffel Tower. The restaurant is a part of the recently opened Cheval Blanc Paris hotel. Hotel guests can enjoy their breakfast at Le Tout-Paris. Otherwise, the restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, happy hour and for their Sunday Dimanche à la Folie brunch. Le Tout-Paris, 8 Quai du Louvre, 75001 Paris.

Where to Stay in Paris
monsieur george paris

Monsieur George Hotel & Spa

This 5-star boutique hotel is located on the street named in honor of the first President of the United States.

Each floor has its own ambience and decor with adjoining rooms available for families. Perched above them all, practically in the clouds, are suites with views capturing all of Paris with merely a glance. Closer to earth is the garden suite, a lush duplex sanctuary.

Offering a comfortable environment and lifestyle, the restaurant and bar invites its guests to enjoy special moments in Paris with refreshing breakfasts, lunches, snacks, aperitifs, dinners and night-caps. The menus combine freshness, creativity, and tradition. You can choose either the five-course menu or the seven-course menu according to your wishes.

In the basement, there is a spa and a famous yoga club hailed as the ultimate benchmark for health and well-being which offers custom services including special yoga courses, provided in the rooms, fitness and massage sessions, and a wide variety of aesthetic services.

Ducasse sur Seine

ducasse sur seine

One of the most romantic restaurants with a view of the Eiffel Tower is surely the Ducasse sur Seine. The views of the Eiffel Tower begin the second you step aboard the boat docked just in front of the Eiffel Tower. During the truly magical cruise, guests have the opportunity to marvel at the Iron Lady from a different perspective along the Seine River. All of the food on the Ducasse sur Seine is delivered daily and prepared freshly on board, ensuring a fabulous gastronomic experience to match the scenery. Ducasse sur Seine, 19 Port Debilly, 75116 Paris.


Ready for a trip to Paris? Our travel designers are standing by and can help incorporate any of the seven best restaurants with a view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris into your itinerary. Some of our most popular Paris tours include An Exclusive and Unique Tour of Paris, A Culinary Experience in Paris, and The Best of Paris in a Week.

Celebrating ‘La Fête Nationale’ 2022 in France

If you find yourself in France in mid-July, partaking in “the national celebration” is an absolute must. Whether you refer to it as 14 juillet, Bastille Day, or la Fête Nationale, you can be sure to expect festive parades, grand firework displays, and unique activities throughout the country. Read on to learn how to celebrate La Fête Nationale 2022 in France.


Celebrating La Fête Nationale 2022 in France

The History of La Fête Nationale

la fête nationale history

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.

La Fête Nationale 2022 in Paris

celebrating la fête nationale 2022 in paris

In Paris, celebrating La Fête Nationale is a full-day affair. The festivities begin in the morning, with the traditional military parade on the Avenue des Champs Elysées. Spectators, including the French president line the Avenue and crowds extend all the way to the Musée du Louvre. This location offers a perfect vantage point to watch the airplanes and helicopters fly above in a synchronized show.

In the evening, near the Eiffel Tower is the place to be. People gather to watch a concert starting at 9:15 pm. At 11:00 pm, the main attraction begins with a dazzling firework show that lasts approximately 30 minutes. There are lots of crowds, so arriving very early is advised. The fireworks can also be seen from places with a view of the Eiffel Tower and on television.

Where to Stay in Paris
maison albar le pont neuf

Maison Albar Le Pont-Neuf

Located right in the heart of the beautiful city of Paris, and a stone’s throw away from the Louvre Museum and the Notre Dame, this 5-star hotel is set in an ideal location.

Designed with luxury in mind, the rooms come with AC, television, a hairdryer, minibar, a coffee making machine, a safe, a desk or workplace and soundproofing.

The hotel’s restaurant serves gourmet cuisine using local and seasonal produce. The wine cellar of the hotel makes sure that the visitors are treated to the finest wines in the world. The hotel also has an indoor pool, spa, hammam and treatment rooms.

La Fête Nationale 2022 in Bordeaux

celebrating la fête nationale 2022 in france bordeaux

In Bordeaux there’s a lively and convivial atmosphere surrounding La Fête Nationale. Starting at 6:30 pm, enjoy a giant picnic set up along Quai Louis XIV. There will be live music, food trucks, and plenty of seating available. It’s the perfect place to take in the military parade going on at the same time. Then, at 10:30 pm the events will culminate with a firework show.

La Fête Nationale 2022 in Aix-en-Provence

fête nationale aix

Celebrate La Fête Nationale in Aix-en-Provence with a retro swing ball, the Ball du 14 Juillet. From 6:30 pm until 11:30 pm enjoy the festivities along the Cours Mirabeau. For the beginners there’s a swing dance demonstration to kick-off the evening, followed by hours of dancing. Afterwards, a large firework display will take place from the Place des Etats-Généraux.

Where to Stay in Aix-en-Provence
villa gallici aix en provence

La 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 which combines Provençal classics with modern cuisine.

La Fête Nationale 2022 in Toulouse

celebrating la fête nationale in france toulouse

The 14 juillet festivities in Toulouse bring together the best of music and fireworks along the Garonne riverbanks. Local rising musicians start the evening with performances. Then, the NRJ Music Tour brings popular artists to perform. The highlight of the night is a coordinated sound and light firework show. Fireworks are shot off from rafts and barges int he middle of the river. It’s truly a fantastic scene!


Whether you’re celebrating La Fête Nationale in France in 2022 or in the future, we hope you’re inspired with ideas. 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
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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!

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