5 amazing road trips in France

Get to know France beyond the glitz and glamor of its cities! Go for a road trip and get acquainted with its fragrant fields, cliffside castles, and vibrant vineyards. Here are 5 amazing road trips to take in France.

Get to know France beyond the glitz and glamor of its cities! Go for a road trip and get acquainted with its fragrant fields, cliffside castles, and fascinating towns. Here are 5 amazing road trips to take in France.

Map – 5 amazing road trips to take in France

Use this Google map to plan your fabulous French road trip.

1. Alsace wine route

Begin your road trip in Strasbourg, a beautiful border city that enjoys both the French finesse and the German joviality. Stay in the gorgeous Cour du Corbeau and take your time exploring the storybook districts of Petite France and Place Kleber, eating tarte flambée and choucroute, and taking road trips to the northern Vosges natural park.

After 3-4 days of dining, hiking, and shopping, drive south to Colmar and make the charming Le Colombier your base as you explore the south of Alsace. Visit Eguisheim, Riquewihr, and Kaysersberg, Alsace’s small wine-growing towns, and taste the region’s world-class white wines. Walk through vineyards and hike to old castles and ruins, then end your days with hearty food and great wine. Unwind with a trip to Lac du Ballon and the Grand Ballon and enjoy the forest trails and spectacular views. On your way back to Strasbourg, stop by the medieval chateau of Haut-Koenigsbourg.

If you love storybook towns, gorgeous landscapes, and delicious cuisine, the Alsace wine route is the perfect road trip for you! Get to know France’s beautiful wine region while enjoying a drive across the French countryside. Itching for more driving adventures? Here are 5 amazing road trips to take in France.

Top tips for your Alsace road trip

  • Fly to Strasbourg (buses and trains from elsewhere are also doable)
  • Reserve your car online in advance and pick it up either from the Strasbourg airport or from Gare Centrale
  • Divide your stay between Strasbourg and Colmar. Stay in Strasbourg to explore northern Alsace, then move to Colmar to explore the southern parts.
  • Don’t drink and drive! Have a designated driver or bring home a bottle of wine to enjoy at the hotel at the end of the day.

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2. Route Napoleon

Combine sight-seeing with history in this road trip that follows Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1815 march from Elba to Grenoble on his way to overthrow Louis the 18th. This road trip route is especially scenic, as Napoleon chose remote roads that avoid large cities and pass through beautiful countryside.

Fly to and get your car in Cannes, then head straight to Grasse, the center of the French perfume industry. Check in to the quaint Aux charmes de grasse and explore the hilly medieval town for a day or two.

Head next to the mountains for a stunning view of the Mediterranean coast, and keep your eyes peeled for signs and plaques commemorating Napoleon’s march along the mountain roads. Drive to the Col de Valferriere, the ruins of Chateau de Broundet at Seranon, and the pretty town of Castellane. This is one of the most scenic segments of the trip, as well as the most exhilarating with its hairpin turns and cliffside views. Make a short detour to the Verdon Gorge before continuing on to stay the night at the elegant La Bonne Étape where you can celebrate your mountain driving feats with haute cuisine and an extensive wine collection.

After your restful pitstop, continue your drive to Grenoble, making sure to stop by Grand lac de Laffrey to marvel at the bright blue lake. Finally in Grenoble, check in to Le Grand Hotel Grenoble and spend the next couple of days enjoying crozets and foie gras and gorgeous mountain views at every turn.

Follow Napoleon’s historic and scenic route with this amazing road trip in France. From Cannes to Grenoble, this road trip itinerary passes through exhilarating mountain roads, medieval towns, and sparkling blue lakes, all dotted with bits and pieces of Napoleonic lore and history. Want more ideas and inspiration? Here are 5 amazing road trips to take in France.

Top tips for your Route Napoleon road trip

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3. Normandy and the Loire Valley

History buffs will love this road trip through the historic Normandy and Loire Valley. If you’re visiting Paris, it’s one of the best road trips to take after you’ve had your fill of the French capital. You can make a nice loop and explore the regions west of Paris to see the French countryside beyond its flashy cities.

From Paris, drive to Rouen, a historic medieval town that inspired many Impressionist painters, including Claude Monet. Walk around to see the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Gros Horloge, and the charming half-timbered houses. Continue your drive to Honfleur, a harbor town with picturesque streets, which is also the perfect place to stop for lunch.

Next up, visit the historic beaches of Normandy, where the Allies landed in 1944. Take a day or two to visit the World War 2 sites and tributes, making the lovely port city of Caen your base. Hotel La Fontaine is the perfect place to stay while in Normandy.

While you’re in Normandy, explore the neighboring Brittany region. Visit the fortified city of Saint-Malo, then head to Mont Saint-Michel, an impressive island commune perched on a rocky peak.

Head next to Loire Valley, making Tours your base (Hotel Val De Loire is our top pick). Spend the next few days time-traveling to medieval towns and chateaux. Don’t miss the beautiful Chateau de Cheverny and Chateau de Chambord!

From Tours, a scenic drive northeast brings you right back to Paris.

History buffs will love this road trip through medieval castles and World War 2 sites in Normandy and the Loire Valley. Visit the historic Omaha Beach, then head to the impressive Mont Saint-Michel, an island commune perched on a rocky peak. Click through for more fantastic ideas for your road trip in France.

Top tips for your Normandy road trip

4. Bordeaux to Biarritz

Life getting too real and you need to just kick it and clear your mind? This road trip that goes from countryside to coast is the perfect antidote.

Begin your holiday in Bordeaux. Get a car and spend a couple of days driving around the wine region, making sure to make your way to the beautiful medieval village of Saint-Emilion. Go on hikes, fuel up on the region’s amazing cuisine, and see the city on bikes. Stay at Yndo Hotel to get the best of Bordeaux. Once you’ve had your fill of this scrumptious city, pack your car and head south.

Break up your drive with a quick stop at Domaine de Laas to enjoy the chateau’s vast gardens and artworks. Have lunch at Navarrenx, crowned France’s most beautiful village in 2014, and take a stroll around the markets. Finally, drive into Barcus and spend a day or two relaxing in the serene Hotel Restaurant Chilo, while you go for hikes and drives to the surrounding mountains.

From Barcus, it’s time to make your way to the coast. Stop by Saint Jean Pied de Port for breathtaking views of the Pyrenees and a walk around the walled town, then proceed to Saint Jean de Luz for a wonderful Basque meal by the bay.

Ready for a well-deserved little holiday? Go from country to coast in this French road trip itinerary that goes from Bordeaux’s wine towns, through the Pyrenees mountain range, and all the way to the surfing spots of Biarritz. Pamper yourself with days of great food and spectacular sceneries as you go from wine-growing Bordeaux to gastronome-heaven Basque country. If you’re itching to get behind the wheel, click through for more amazing road trips in France.

Top tips for your Bordeaux to Biarritz road trip

5. Languedoc and Provence

Nature-lovers and beauty connoisseurs, this road trip’s for you. The neighboring provinces of Languedoc and Provence will have you swooning for dramatic bastides, frolicking in flower fields, and embracing sunshine and stunning sceneries.

Fly in to Avignon and, unless you’re arriving on an evening trip, pick up your rental car and drive to the romantic medieval town of Uzes. Make the lovely L’Albiousse your base for the first half of this road trip as you take your time exploring the gorgeous region of Languedoc.

From Uzes, drive south to visit Nimes, a beautiful well-preserved city with vestiges of the Roman Empire, including the 2,000-year-old Pont du Gard aqueduct and the Maison Carree. Go further south through Arles and Camargue, and all the way to Aigues Mortes, a medieval walled French commune with plenty of stories to tell.

After exploring east of Languedoc, it’s time to cross over to Provence. Move to Hotel Chateau Des Alpilles in Saint Remy, and relax as you get ready for a drive across the bendy yet oh-so-breathtaking roads of Provence. Start at the postcard-perfect L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and make your way east, through the Luberon to Gordes and Roussillion. Take some time to stroll around each of these old towns and take hikes around the surrounding forest trails. If you’re traveling from late June to early August, it’s worth driving all the way to Valensole to see – and whiff and frolic in – the copious lavender fields.

Once you’ve breathed in all the beauty of the Southern France, return your car and fly out of Avignon.

Fancy a frolic in Provence’s lavender fields? Or perhaps a stroll through Roman ruins and medieval communes? Soak in the sunshine and beauty of Southern France in this essential road trip itinerary that goes from Languedoc to Provence through charming villages, floral fields, and bendy mountain roads. Here are 5 amazing road trips you’d love to take in France.

Top tips for your Languedoc and Provence road trip

Ready to go on your fabulous French road trip?

Here are helpful links to help you plan your road trip:

Includes requirements for driving, options for renting a car, road rules and driving safety, as well as estimated costs.

Got other road trip itineraries in mind? Check the list of car hire locations in France and take advantage of one-way rentals. You can also input your travel dates and locations below for a quick free quote and instant reservation.

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I hope this gives you fantastic ideas for your road trip in France! Have a fun holiday!

5 Replies to “5 amazing road trips in France”

  1. Hi,
    What would be the best way to get frame Rome to Nice?My mom is 81 and I’m worried about all the steps down to some trains so she thought the bus might be better.
    What are your hours; we will be doing this Nov 1- 10.
    Thanks for your input.

  2. Thanks for your post, great tips as we are planning a driving trip to Normandy in May. We have done a driving tour of Provence a few years ago and you can’t beat getting up close to the charm of the french villages. The problem is so many gorgeous places to see and stay it’s hard to decide but of course half of the fun.

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