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!

The Ultimate Foodie Experiences in France: Part Two

A wonderful way to get a look into life in France is by visiting local food markets. French Side Travel has a fabulous network of expert guides and professional chefs to show you the best of the each market along with regional and seasonal specialties. Read on to discover part two of the ultimate foodie experiences in France.


The Ultimate Foodie Experiences in France: Part Two

Marseille: Gourmet Walking Tour

marseille market

Savor Marseille’s unique culinary delights on a fabulous gourmet walking tour. The bustling port city is 2,600 years old, so it’s had a lot of time to develop a fascinating history, culture, and food traditions.

The walking tour starts in the emblematic Vieux Port. See the vibrant fish market before exploring hidden treasures in the Noailles. The neighborhood is a true melting pot of cultures and languages. Its lively and colorful market offers a diversity of food for every taste. Sample Provençal and Mediterranean specialties. Panisse, a chickpea flour fritter, and pastis, an anise-flavored spirit, are two local favorites.

After, head to Le Panier, France’s oldest neighborhood. Hidden gems, street art, and artisanal food shops fill the narrow pedestrian streets. Your guide will introduce you to its important sites, artisans’ workshops, and local specialities. Stop for a pastis aperitif and learn about its production. The tour ends with a tasting of local wines.

Nice: Market Tour, Cooking Class and Lunch

nice ultimate foodie experiences in france

Start your day at the famous Cours Saleya market. The narrow maze of centuries-old streets in Vieux Nice opens up onto this splendid market space lined with bars, cafés, and restaurants on either side, with market stalls down the center. You will get to shop like a true Niçois, sample locally-grown produce, and meet the farmers.

Though the bigger stalls are the most eye-catching thanks to their bright colors, what is really interesting are the small producers’ stands. The fruit and vegetables are not as uniformly shaped, but every ingredient is local and much of the produce is organic. Choose a menu focused around the best seasonal produce. Of course, there will be cheese and wine to make the meal complete!

After the market visit, it’s time to head to the cooking studio where you will help prepare the meal. No need to worry if you are a beginner – the atmosphere is relaxed! After cooking, sit down to an authentic Niçois meal and toast your efforts with a glass of local wine. This experience will truly give you a hands-on introduction to Nice’s cuisine and culture.

Where to Stay in Nice
hotel negresco nice

Hotel Negresco

This famous 5-star property has overlooked one of the French Riviera’s most beautiful bays for a century. Unique and timeless, it is one of the most elegant hotels in Europe, and it has been classified as a historical monument. Facing the Mediterranean Sea on the famous Promenade des Anglais, the hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from Nice’s historical center.

The hotel has attracted a veritable “who’s who” of international clientele, kings of the old and the new world, and many of the world’s rich and famous have signed the guest book: Salvador Dali, Princess Grace of Monaco, the Beatles, Louis Armstrong, and Elton John. Jeanne Augier, the owner of the Palace since 1957, has devoted her life to the preservation and the development of this unique heritage. Staying at this hotel is stepping into French history and culture.

The perfect combination of historic and contemporary is the property’s trademark. Equipped and personalized with exceptional period furniture, each one of the 128 rooms and 26 suites draws its inspiration from the most remarkable French art periods from Louis XIII style to modern art.

Have your breakfast under the copolla imagined by Gustave Eiffel, have lunch in the Rotonde restaurant surrounded by white horses and have dinner at the Chantecler, the Michelin star restaurant. And inbetween, why not having a drink at the warm and welcoming bar.

Lyon: Private Full-Day Cooking Class with Lunch to Discover French Gastronomy

lyon cooking class

Any list of ultimate foodie experiences in France has to include Lyon! Begin your day with a delicious breakfast at a gourmet cooking school in Lyon. After breakfast, visit Les Halles Paul Bocuse, which contributes to the internationally renowned gastronomy in Lyon. You will receive a kitchen kit consisting of an “Institut Paul Bocuse” apron, Opinel knives, and a recipe booklet. A chef and a kitchen will be privatized and dedicated to your group. Prepare a starter and a main course while receiving expert advice and tips from the chef.

Sit down for lunch and enjoy the dishes you prepared including a dessert from the pastry chef, wine, and coffee.

Paris: Private Tour of the Best Foodie Shops in Paris

pierre herme ultimate foodie experiences in france

This gourmet guided tour in Paris is an excellent opportunity to discover the history of French food as well as spotlight French chefs. Your food expert guide will share with you this savoir-faire that has forever defined French gastronomy.

Discover the best pastries in Paris and the latest trends in pastries with chefs like Pierre Hermé, Christophe Michalak, Thierry Marx and Philippe Conticini. Of course, you will get to sample their “signature” recipes, which are a mix between culinary tradition and innovation.

During this food-centric walking tour, you will enter in some Meilleurs Ouvriers de France’s shops, a title which since 1924 has been awarded to the best French craftsmen including butchers, bakers, ice cream makers, chocolate makers, confectioners, cheesemakers and fishmongers.

Provence: Luberon Villages and Markets Tour

provence market ultimate foodie experiences in france

Explore the Luberon’s charming markets and villages and enjoy an authentic Provençal market experience. The market schedule changes based on the day of the week, but you can expect the itinerary to include a combination of the best sites and villages like Gordes, Roussillon, Lourmarin, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, the Abbey of Sénanque, and Apt. 

The area is stunning. Take in Rousillon’s vibrant ochre-colored homes, the lavender fields in Senanque in June and July, Gordes’ medieval streets, and L’Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue’s gentle canals. Of course, this tour will also engage all of your senses and include wonderful tastings of local specialties.

Market days are as follows: Gordes on Tuesdays, Roussillon on Thursdays, Lourmarin on Fridays, Apt on Saturdays, L’Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue on Sundays.

Where to Stay in Provence
château la coste provence

Hotel Villa La Coste

Situated halfway between the historic town of Aix-en-Provence, home of Cezanne, and the famous Luberon Nature Park, this Palace hotel is set in the midst of the Provençal landscape, in the heart of a biodynamic vineyard. It is an international destination for art, architecture, and natural beauty.

The property features 28 Villa Suites, surrounded by gardens, herbs and flowers and each opening 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 with its clean lines, natural stones and light wood convey contemporary elegance in keeping with the spirit of the property. 100% natural treatments featuring regional ingredients: oils from Provençal plants and flowers, mineral salts, clays and more are used.


We hope part two of the list of ultimate foodie experiences in France helps to inspire future travel. Click here to read part one. 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!

The Ultimate Foodie Experiences in France: Part One

A wonderful way to get a look into life in France is by visiting local food markets. French Side Travel has a fabulous network of expert guides and professional chefs to show you the best of the each market along with regional and seasonal specialties. Read on to discover part one of the ultimate foodie experiences in France.


The Ultimate Foodie Experiences in France: Part One

Aix-en-Provence: Private Market Tour and Cooking Class

provence market olives

Immerse yourself into the Provençal way of life and spend a half a day shopping, cooking, and eating like a real Aixois. Aix-en-Provence has a rich history filled with numerous traditional foods. You’ll start your day learning more about this history. Then, you’ll head to the market held in a 700-year-old square where you’ll meet local producers and sample their varied specialties. 

Learn how to choose the best produce before heading to a cooking school in the old town. With the assistance of the head chef, you’ll transform fresh, seasonal ingredients into a tasty three-course meal. You’ll learn about traditional Provençal recipes and infuse them with a modern flair. Simplicity, flavor, and fresh ingredients are the keys to family-style cooking in France. After the cooking is done, you’ll gather around the table with local wines to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Avignon: Private Market Tour, Cooking Class, and Wine Tour

goat cheeses in provence

Start the morning by meeting your local chef in front of Marché Les Halles, a covered market filled with fresh and colorful foods. It’s a favorite place to shop for both locals and chefs alike. Together, you’ll choose the best products to use during your cooking lesson with a focus on local and seasonal foods. Since you and the chef will design the meal together, you’ll also create recipe cards during the cooking lesson.

When the cooking is finished, enjoy an apéritif. You’ll learn interesting tricks and tidbits on food and wine pairings. You’ll sit down and enjoy lunch with the chef where you’ll have interesting and informal discussions about your experience and culture in France. After lunch, you’ll depart for an afternoon wine tour. In each cellar you visit you’ll discover the history of the estate. The owners will welcome you personally and lead you on a visit of the winery with explanations about the harvest.

Where to Stay in Bordeaux
yndo hotel bordeaux

Yndo Hotel

The beautiful 5-star hotel was formerly a private 19th-century mansion. The decor expertly blends late 19th-century sophistication think moldings, ceiling rosettes, and ceiling heights – with modern flourishes. Located in the heart of historic Bordeaux, by the Place Gambetta and Cours de l’Intendance, the hotel is a perfect base from which to explore.

Each room has its own identity with customized decoration. However, two constant characteristics should be highlighted – an element of understatement to create a calming atmosphere and specially crafted furniture. Everything has been thought out down to the last detail.

The inner courtyard is a relaxing place to enjoy breakfast or an aperitif under a splendid magnolia. Hotel guests will have exclusive access to the restaurant. Discover a selection of top-quality seasonal products to delight your taste buds. Everything served is made in-house.

Bordeaux: Gourmet Walk and Cooking Class with a Professional Chef

the ultimate market experiences in france bordeaux

The city of Bordeaux is best explored on foot, and our favorite tours always include food and wine. A professional chef will be your guide for this gourmet experience. You’ll start with a walk around Bordeaux where the chef will lead you to his favorite market. Discover an abundance of local specialties from Southwest France.

Take your pick among the fabulous foods to select your ingredients. You’ll then return to the cooking school for a class with lunch to follow. The chef will help you learn and master both simple and more complex French cooking techniques. Throughout the preparation of your starter, main course, and dessert you’ll get a fabulous overview of French cuisine. After enjoying an apéritif you’ll sit down to enjoy your meal, paired with local Bordeaux wines of course.

Burgundy: Gourmet Food and Wine Tour

burgundy wine tasting

Spend a full day discovering the various specialties of Burgundian cuisine and wines during the ultimate gourmet tour. You’ll taste it all including charcuterie, cheeses, macarons, chocolates, breads, pastries, and more. Depending on the season and on which day you visit, your expert guide will select a market to visit. It could be a local market in a village next to the vineyards, in Beaune, or the famous Halles de Dijon. In each place you’ll be sure to meet local producers and farmers.

Throughout the day, sample fabulous regional products including truffles, jambon persillé, gingerbread, cassis from Dijon, anise candies, chocolates, pastries, and, bien sûr, the famous Dijon mustard. The afternoon will be spent traveling through the legendary Côte de Nuits or Côte de Beaune vineyards. You’ll also see châteaux, former abbeys, Romanesque churches, and charming villages on the Grands Crus Road.

The best of the day will be saved for last. You’ll stop in a traditional cellar for a comparative Burgundy wine tasting including white and red wines and Premier Crus and Grand Crus. Your guide will show you how to pair the local products selected during the day with the wines.

Paris: Aligre Market and Montmartre Gourmet Walking Tour

paris market

You will have the opportunity to discover two of the most famous places for food in the City of Light. Your local expert guide will take you to the bustling and vibrant Aligre market, which has both indoor and outdoor components. You’ll experience an absolute explosion of colors and flavors. You’ll quickly see why it’s regarded as a foodie paradise. Take a moment to recharge with a coffee break à la française before continuing your visit to all the best food shops in the area, where you’ll of course enjoy tastings!

Your next stop will be Montmartre to discover more incredible food shops. You’ll visit the best boulangeries, pâtisseries, and specialty shops. Your guide will also point out historic and delicious restaurants, the famous Montmartre vineyards, and two mills. You’ll finish the tour at the base of Sacré Coeur, where you’ll be in a prime position to continue exploring Montmartre. Your guide will be happy to give you some more tips to make the most out of the rest of your day!

Where to Stay in Paris
relais christine paris

Relais Christine

This 5-star hotel was a former 16th century home in the heart of the Left Bank, built on the remains of a 13th century abbey. This delightful and discreetly luxurious boutique hotel has managed to preserve the intimacy of the private residence it once was.

Between its flowered courtyard and private garden, it is a haven of peace. It’s perfectly located in Saint-Germain next to many restaurants, boutiques and galleries.

On one or two levels, each of the 48 rooms and suites offers a unique atmosphere and is decorated with rich fabrics, some with original wooden beams, some with a more contemporary touch. Two rooms and two suites share a unique private garden.
Many options for families with various connecting options and single units for four people.

Each morning, the stunning vaulted breakfast room offers a rich buffet. To have a drink and unwind in front of the fireplace, try the lounge and its honor bar. Room service is available 24/7. Let the hotel pamper you in the Spa offering sauna, jacuzzi, treatments by Carita or keep in shape in the one of-its-kind vaulted fitness room.


We hope part one of the list of ultimate market experiences in France helps to inspire future travel. 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!

The Best Exhibits to See this Summer 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 summer in Paris.


The Best Exhibits to See this Summer in Paris

Gallen-Kallela: Myths and Nature at Musée Jacquemart-André

best exhibits to see this summer in paris

Musée Jacquemart-André, a former private mansion turned museum, is one of the best smaller museums in Paris. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful mansion-style living areas as well as temporary exhibits. Through July 25th, “Gallen-Kallela: Myths and Nature” is on display. Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s work focuses on Finland’s natural beauty and landscapes.

Impressionist Decorations: The Source of the Water Lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie

impressionism exhibit paris

Located in the heart of the Tuileries, the Musée de l’Orangerie is one of the most beloved small museums in Paris. Visitors flock to see Claude Monet’s large format Water Lillies. For lovers of impressionism it’s an absolute must-see. The permanent collection includes works from Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso and more. The “Impressionist Decorations” exhibit, on display through July 11th, shows some of the great Impressionist artists’ experiments with decorative objects. Think fans, ceramics, pottery, and drawings, as well as paintings.

Where to Stay in Paris
la clef louvre

La Clef Louvre

Indulge in luxury at this 5-star apartment hotel. Situated next to the Palais Royal, this hotel guarantees a unique stay. The prime location is steps from the Musée du Louvre.

The rooms are in the format of studios and apartments. They also have a fully functioning kitchen to ease your stay in the city of lights. The hotel also have a fitness center so you can stay on top of your fitness regime.

Breakfast buffet in served in the morning, and there is a bar to unwind after a long day.

The hotel is extremely close to a host of local restaurants, where you can experience the beauty of French Cuisine. It is next to the metro station as well, so you can travel all around the city with zero fuss.

Gaudí at Musée d’Orsay

gaudi best exhibits to see this summer in paris

The first major exhibit dedicated to Gaudí in France in over 50 years is currently on display at the Musée d’Orsay. This former train station turned museum is one of the largest in Paris behind the Musée du Louvre. Through July 17th, take an in-depth look at some of the Art Nouveau master’s numerous projects, including the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Visitors can discover Gaudí’s drawings, furniture, creative process and technique, as well as his masterful use of space and color.

Charles Ray at Centre Pompidou

charles ray centre pompidou best exhibits to see this summer in paris

The Centre Pompidou is a hub for modern and contemporary art in Paris. The structure of the museum itself is quite different from any other museum in Paris and offers incredible views of the city thanks to its height. Through June 20th, view the “Charles Ray” exhibit dedicated to one of the United States’ leading contemporary sculptors. Ray participated in the design of the exhibit, which adds an extra layer to the display of his thought-provoking pieces. Also on display through June 6th is another display of Ray’s work at the new Bourse du Commerce Pinault Collection.

Marcel Proust: Du Côté de la Mère at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme

marcel proust exhibit

100 years after Marcel Proust’s death, the “Du Côte de la Mère” show illuminates the development of Proust’s personality, his connection with his mother’s family, his work, and his relationship with Judaism. Through August 28th, visitors can view almost 230 paintings, drawings, engravings, and documents including major works by Rodin, Bonnard, Vuillard, and Monet, one of his favorite painters. Another highlight includes hand-corrected edits of Du Côte de chez Swann.

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 historic 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, from 1936 to 2011. 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
cheval blanc paris

Cheval Blanc Paris

Located at the edge of the Seine and few steps from Pont Neuf bridge, this brand new 5-star hotel in an Art Deco building is a contemporary haven. The inspiration is conveyed in the patterns and the furniture showcasing the French craftsmanship and savoir-faire through the meticulous work of gilders and marble craftsmen, stonemasons, and metalworkers

The 72 rooms and suites are elegantly decorated with bold color and pattern, custom-made furniture and a rich art collection. Some of the rooms have panoramic floor to ceiling windows which provide beautiful views of the Seine, from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame cathedral. The room has an independent dressing room, bathroom with a bathtub and a hammam-shower and separate toilet.

The in-house Spa offers a collection of exclusive rituals specially developed by Dior. The hotel also features a stunning 30-meter swimming pool, an invitation for relaxation.

Pharaoh of the Two Lands at Musée du Louvre

pharaoh of two lands exhibit

Through December 31st, visitors can view the Pharaoh of Two Lands: The African Saga of the Kings of Napata at the Musée du Louvre. The exhibition highlights the prominent role of the vast kingdom of Napata in Nubia, located in what is now northern Sudan, and the dynasty of Kushite pharaohs who ruled over it for more than 50 years. It is linked to the archaeological mission of the Musée du Louvre in Sudan. For 10 years research has been concentrated on the site of Mouweis. Today it continues further north in El-Hassa, not far from pyramids of Meroe.

Cézanne, the Lights of Provence at Atelier des Lumières

atelier des lumieres best exhibits to see this summer 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 summer in Paris gives plenty of cultural inspiration in the French captial. 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!

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!

Five Unique Summer Experiences in France: Part One

Visiting France in the summer is always a popular choice thanks to mild temperatures and an endless variety of activities, both outdoors and indoors. Every year there are numerous special events not to be missed. Read on to discover part one of French Side Travel’s list of five unique summer experiences in France.


Five Unique Summer Experiences in France: Part One

La Fête de la Musique

la fete de la musique france

Each June 21st in France is La Fête de la Musique, the same day as the summer solstice and longest day of the year. 2022 marks the 40th edition of this free event that takes part all across France – in both major cities and rural communities. La Fête de la Musique celebrates live music of all kinds and is open to both amateurs and professionals alike. People gather in the streets to enjoy concerts and performances that go well into the night. If you are in France on June 21st, celebrating La Fête de la Musique is a must!

Château de Versailles Gardens: Music, Fountains, and Fireworks

versailles musical gardens five unique summer experiences in france

The world-renowned gardens at the Château de Versailles take on another dimension during the warmer months. On almost every day of the week there is something special going on.

During the Musical Fountains Show, visitors can follow several paths to both masterpieces and secret spots in the gardens to see the fountains spouting water in sync with baroque music.

On Musical Gardens days, enjoy your walk through the garden to discover groves that are exceptionally open to the public, along with music.

On Saturday evenings, along with a few select dates, the Night Fountains Show is the main attraction in the gardens. This show of light and sound is accompanied by water features and ends with a dramatic firework show in front of the Grand Canal. If you happen to be visiting on a Saturday, the Royal Serenade might be of interest: a French-style ball in the golden Hall of Mirrors.

You can see the full schedule here.

Where to Stay in Arles
hotel particulier arles

Hôtel Particulier Arles

This intimate 5-star hotel is set in a historic mansion in central Arles. This is the perfect spot from which to discover the charming city and the Camargue National Park.

The hotel’s lush garden and terrace feels particularly Provençal, and is a shady oasis during the summer months. Relax in the heated outdoor pool or in the spa and fitness area.

The spacious rooms and suites evoke a bygone era. They are bright, decorated with white fabrics, and feature modern amenities.

Photography and Theater Festivals in Arles and Avignon

les rencontres d'arles five unique summer experiences in france

In 1970, Les Rencontres d’Arles was founded. It highlights eclectic and contemporary photography in Arles, the international capital of photography. Numerous exhibits take place throughout Arles in emblematic locations, many of which are usually closed to the public. A must-see is the Luma Museum, an architectural wonder designed by Frank Gehry and filled with contemporary art. This year, Les Rencontres d’Arles is from July 4th to September 25th.

Also in July, in neighboring Avignon, is the Festival d’Avignon. The city of Avignon transforms into a theater as a celebration of contemporary performing arts. Performances take place throughout the city in both iconic and unexpected locations. There is a focus on sharing contemporary and living culture, so along with the shows there are also readings, exhibits, films, and discussions. This year’s Festival d’Avignon runs from July 7th to July 26th.

Where to Stay in Avignon
la mirande avignon

Hôtel La Mirande

Built by one of Pope Clement V’s cardinals, this 5-star hotel dates back to 1309. It enjoys a privileged location in Avignon’s city center.

Rooms feature decorations like wall tapestries, oak-wood flooring, and silk-lined curtains. All rooms have a private bathroom featuring marble. Some offer a view of the Palais des Papes.

Enjoy gourmet cuisine at the in-house Michelin-star restaurant. Culinary enthusiasts will also want to book a cooking class in the hotel’s rustic kitchen. Spend a few hours around the vast, wood-burning oven and use local produce to craft a delicious meal. You’ll enjoy an aperitif in the cellar before sitting down for lunch.

See the Vibrant Lavender Fields in Provence

provence lavender fields

The world-famous lavender fields are among the most beautiful landscapes in all of France. Throughout the years, lavender has held a prominent place in the history and culture of Provence. The lavender fields start blooming in June each year and usually by mid-July reach peak bloom. By the middle of August the lavender is usually harvested. Some of the best places to see lavender include Valensole, Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, Sault, and Drôme. Visit a distillery to bring some of the scents of Provence home with you in the form of essential oils, soaps, or honey.

Dinner Cruise with Fireworks on the Côte d’Azur

cannes firework show

For a special summer experience on the Côte d’Azur, consider taking a dinner cruise complete with a firework show. Cruises depart from Cannes and feature a cruise around the Îles des Lérins with a stop on Île Sainte Marguerite. Dinner will be served on board as the boat heads back towards the Croisette to watch the dazzling firework spectacle. It is also possible to go on a cruise to watch the fireworks without a meal from Nice.


We hope part one of this list 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!

Six Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences in Paris

With world-renowned museums and monuments, wonderful shopping, stunning architecture, and a diverse culinary scene there is certainly no shortage of things to do and see in Paris. Whether you spend your time sightseeing or strolling, you’ll be sure to soak up plenty of culture along the way. For a truly unforgettable stay, we’re sharing six once-in-a-lifetime experiences in Paris.


Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences in Paris

Private Visit to the Backstage Areas and Sewing Workshops at Palais Garnier

palais garnier backstage tour

Fans of architecture, history, fashion, and incredible Parisian interiors won’t want to miss this backstage tour of the Palais Garnier. You’ll have the opera house to yourself while it’s closed to the public. See the Grand Escalier, Grand Foyer, Rotonde du Glacier, Rotonde des Abonnés and Bassin de la Pythie like never before.

The once-in-a-lifetime Paris experience truly begins when the backstage portion of the tour starts. Your expert guide will give you in-depth information about the Auditorium, the “lake” filled with fish that runs under the building, the “cabestans” room, and the Foyer de la Danse.

This special visit culminates with an exclusive tour of the sewing workshops. You’ll see creations for the latest productions as well as learn secrets behind the costume-making process.

Exclusive Tours at the Château de Versailles and Gardens

once-in-a-lifetime experience versailles

After visiting the most famous parts of the Château de Versailles, it’s time to embark on an exclusive tour. Enjoy VIP access to parts of the Château that are normally inaccessible, including the Louis XV and Louis XVI apartments.

A highlight is visiting Marie Antoinette’s personal apartments. This series of small rooms beyond the State Apartments were reserved for service by ladies-in-waiting and Marie’s personal use. Marie Antoinette came to these apartments to read, paint, reflect, or receive private visitors. The rooms were decorated with great care and modified several times throughout the 18th century. Marie Antoinette acquired more space by taking over rooms on the floor above. She even had a miniature summer apartment built on the ground floor, opening onto the marble courtyard.

Finish your once-in-a-lifetime Versailles experience with a visit to the King’s Garden. Louis XIV commissioned the French-style garden between 1678 and 1683. It is classified as a historical monument and a remarkable garden. Today, the gardeners perpetuate the art of pruning and cultivate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Where to Stay in Versailles
le grand controle versailles

Le Grand Contrôle

Set within the gates of Versailles, this 5-star hotel offers guests an exclusive peek into the world of Versailles. The grandiose building once played host to Europe’s political and cultural elite, from ambassadors and artists to musicians, writers, and scientists of the Enlightenment.

Paying homage to the rich history, every element at the hotel touches upon its former 18th-century splendor, from carefully sourced interiors, right down to the uniforms worn by the welcome team.

With 14 sumptuous Rooms and Suites replete with period furnishings and fittings for a royal stay, guests can step back in time, but with contemporary comforts.

Throughout their stay, guests will enjoy revamped takes on royal classics – from the Alain Ducasse restaurant to the Valmont Spa. As always, the art of French service is taken to sublime levels. Guests are treated like nobility at every opportunity.

Private Workshop and Tasting at Alain Ducasse’s Manufacture du Chocolat

paris chocolate

Foodies will delight at the opportunity to visit celebrated French chef Alain Ducasse’s Manufacture du Chocolat. Take this unique moment to discover the physical, sensorial, and sensual magic of the universe of chocolate.

The Manufacture du Chocolat was created from Ducasse’s desire to get back to the true essence of what makes excellent chocolate: meticulous and creative work of a craftsman, bespoke machinery, and detail-oriented processes. With your private chocolatier guide, you will discover all the secrets and the inner workings of the complex and fascinating steps that go into making chocolate.

Learn how to work with chocolate and of course taste some along the way. At the end of the experience, you will be able to leave with your own chocolate creation.

Private Tour of the Musée du Louvre with Privileged Access

once-in-a-lifetime experience louvre

Visiting the Musée du Louvre can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned of travelers. This exclusive tour will make visiting a breeze with a special entrance through the pyramid, plenty of shortcuts, and direct access to the major masterpieces. A security guard will accompany you throughout the visit to ensure you skip all lines.

A museum department head will introduce your lecturer, who will show you the core of the biggest art collection in the world. Learn more about the Musée du Louvre’s enigmatic masterpieces like Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Learn anecdotes about the Louvre, including Mona Lisa’s burglary and how exhibits are organized.

Then, depending on your interests, your guide will create a specific and personalized tour for you to discover some of the Musée du Louvre’s priceless treasures.

Where to Stay in Paris
once-in-a-lifetime ritz

The Ritz Paris

This stunning 5-star hotel offers a selection of bars and restaurants, a sports hall, as well as a wellness center with a swimming pool, sauna and massage facilities, and a lovely garden. For many, the Ritz is the epitome of a luxurious palace hotel in Paris.

Rooms have beautiful four poster beds, marble fireplaces and chandeliers. Some offer views over Place Vendôme, Rue Cambon or the garden.

The hotel has a 24-hour reception desk and shops, and provides concierge and exchange services. You will find many restaurants, cafés and attractions within walking distance of the hotel.

Privatize a Luxury Boutique in Paris for a VIP Shopping Experience

paris shopping experience

For fashion lovers, Paris is truly a treasure-trove! The French capital is home to some of the world’s most prestigious fashion designers and houses who draw from hundreds of years of expertise and savoir-faire to create truly unforgettable collections.

Whether you are seeking a truly original and elegant piece of couture, or something from an upcoming designer, you will want a piece that will stand the test of time. In this private shopping tour, your stylist will help you find that something extraordinary.

Take a whirl through some of the finest boutiques in Paris. You’ll have the opportunity to privatize the boutique of your choice so that you can enjoy a completely private shopping session. Your stylist can also arrange visits to lounges reserved for VIP clients at boutiques like Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent, Céline, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, and Valentino among others.

Private Photoshoot to Document your Time in Paris

paris photographer

Meet with your photographer, an American who has been living in Paris for nearly a decade. Whether you are looking for family portraits, a surprise engagement shoot, or a wedding photographer, you can be sure your true personality will shine through in every photo. The photographer’s modern yet timeless photography will capture candid memories to last a lifetime. You can relax knowing your photos will be perfect!

All sessions include a private online gallery, the rights to print and download all high resolution digital negatives, editing, and access to your photos within one week of the session.


We hope this list six once-in-a-lifetime experiences in Paris will help inspire future travel to the French capital. 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!

Spring in Paris: Beautiful Parks and Gardens to Visit

Spring is a wonderful season to travel to Paris. It’s an especially opportune time to visit some of the beautiful parks and gardens that dot the city. Trees and flowers alike bloom in bright colors. The iconic Parisian garden chairs and benches suddenly become even more irresistible. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s list of the essential Parisian parks and gardens to see during the spring.


Spring in Paris: Beautiful Parks and Gardens to Visit

Jardin des Tuileries

spring in paris beautiful parks and gardens to visit

No matter what time of year, the Jardin des Tuileries is a lively place to be. Located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, you’ll usually find a steady stream of people enjoying a quiet moment. During springtime, the Tuileries are especially beautiful with pink magnolia and Judas trees that bloom from late February through April. The flower beds are also unique in the Jardin des Tuileries. Each season the gardeners take their inspiration from an upcoming exhibit at the Musée du Louvre. Visitors can enjoy several cafés, a lively carrousel for children, and museums like the Jeu de Paume and Musée de l’Orangerie. The Musée de l’Orangerie houses Monet’s large-scale water lilies.

hotel brighton view jardin des tuileries

Hôtel Brighton

Built-in the 19th century by Lord Egerton, this 4-star hotel was one of the first hotels in Paris. The hotel is located in the heart of Paris and offers a sublime view of the Tuileries Garden, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. French Side Travel’s favorite rooms are those with a view of Paris.

The individually decorated rooms come with antique furniture and exude an elegant and refined Parisian charm.

The traditional marble columns in the bar make it an ideal setting to enjoy a cocktail. Every day, guests will enjoy a hot and cold buffet with the very best French products in the breakfast room. Upon request, the hotel also serves a continental breakfast to the room.

Jardin du Luxembourg

spring in paris beautiful parks and gardens to visit

The Jardin du Luxembourg is beloved by Parisians and visitors alike. This haven of green is nestled in the Left Bank on the border of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter. It was inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence. Highlights include the recently cleaned and renovated Medici fountain, the pond in the center where people rent miniature wooden sailboats, and numerous areas for games including chess and pétanque. Perhaps the most popular thing to do in the Jardin du Luxembourg is to grab a green Luxembourg chair and find a place in the shade or the sun to enjoy the surroundings.

Jardin des Plantes

spring in paris beautiful parks and gardens to visit

The Jardin des Plantes began in 1640 as a place for the King of France’s doctor to grow medicinal herbs. Today the garden contains numerous sections worth visiting. Places that families won’t want to miss include the National Museum of Natural History and the Ménagerie, inaugurated in 1794 and among the oldest zoos in the world. There are fabulous French gardens with beautiful trees, including a 315-year-old pistachio tree and lovely cherry blossoms that bloom in the spring. Garden fanatics and romantics alike will want to stroll through the rose garden with over 170 types of European roses.

Jardin du Palais-Royal

jardin du palais royal

Many visitors skip the Jardin du Palais-Royal, simply because they don’t know about it. Just a stone’s throw from the Louvre, Palais Royal was the home of royal families until Versailles was built. Although small, the garden is a lovely picturesque spot to stop in Paris. The hot pink magnolia trees are among the first to bloom at the end of February, making it an essential stop on the list of beautiful gardens to visit during spring in Paris. Great shops, restaurants, and cafés line the arcades around the garden, including Le Véfour, one of our favorite classic retaurants in Paris.

Parc Monceau

parc monceau

Another lesser-known garden gem is Parc Monceau in the 8th arrondissement. This elegant park is surrounded by stately wrought iron gates and some of the most prestigious private mansions in Paris. One of these historic homes is Musée du Nissim-Camondo, an impressive decorative arts museum. The lush green park is a favorite escape of Parisians and is recognizable by the lovely bridge and Renaissance archway.

hotel du collectionneur

Hôtel du Collectionneur

This 5-star hotel is just across from Parc Monceau, a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe and Avenue Champs-Elysées, and very close to the prestigious shops and art galleries along Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré.

Rooms and bathrooms are incredibly spacious for Paris. Guests can also enjoy the Mosaic Spa, which offers well-being and relaxation in spacious and luxurious surroundings. A dozen treatment rooms, a large Jacuzzi, a hydrotherapy bath with massage jets, a sauna, an oriental hammam and a fitness room are all at your disposal.

The hotel’s restaurant also invites you to discover an innovative and delicious cuisine with flavors from around the world. Relax in a very elegant bar to appreciate cocktails while enjoying a chic and retro atmosphere.

Buttes-Chaumont

buttes chaumont

For being one of the largest parks in Paris, Buttes-Chaumont is still relatively unknown to visitors. Built on former quarries, there are numerous hills and changes in elevation that aren’t typical in Paris. Buttes-Chaumont is picturesque throughout with a lake, waterfalls, and a suspended bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel. The best views are from the Temple de la Sybille at the very top where you can see Montmartre and Sacre-Coeur. Buttes-Chaumont is a romantic and unexpected beautiful park to visit during spring in Paris.

Bois de Boulogne

spring in paris beautiful parks and gardens to visit bois de boulogne

The Bois de Boulogne on the west side of Paris is the largest park in Paris. In fact, it’s made up of several different parks and gardens including the Parc de Bagatelle, the Pré-Catelan, and Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil. There is something for everyone including biking and walking trails, small paddle boats to rent, and a theme park within the Jardin d’Acclimatation. The Fondation Louis Vuitton is also located in the Bois de Boulogne with wonderful temporary exhibits and interesting perspectives on Paris from the Frank Gehry-designed building. The Bois de Boulogne is a popular destination for families, especially on the weekends.

saint james paris

Saint James Paris

A few steps from the Bois de Boulogne and Champs-Élysées, this 5-star hotel is set in a 100-year old château and surrounded by a large private garden, offering a unique experience of grandeur and intimacy.

The property dazzles with perfectly appointed rooms and suites decorated by famed interior designer Laura Gonzalez. The gourmet restaurant Bellefeuille features foods of diverse and intense flavors with a focus on nature and seafood. The newly designed gardens include a lovely pergola for outdoor dining. The Guerlain spa offers single and double treatment rooms, a fitness and a well-being area with swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna and steam room.

Staying at the Saint James Paris is a rare opportunity to experience château life in the heart of the French capital.

Bois de Vincennes

spring in paris beautiful parks and gardens to visit

After the Bois de Boulogne, the Bois de Vincennes on the east side of Paris is the second largest park in the French capital. Families love visiting the Parc Zoologique de Paris, known as the Vincennes Zoo. The medieval Château de Vincennes is also a highlight for visitors and is open daily. There is something for everyone to enjoy including boating, trails for biking, walking, and running, a horse racecourse and more.


We hope this list the most beautiful parks and gardens will help inspire a spring trip to Paris. 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!

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