France is full of some incredible places to visit and what could be better than travelling France by car? Road trips in France can be the perfect way to travel at your own pace and discover everything this beautiful country has to offer.
If you’re planning a trip to France or looking for some inspiration, we have put together this guide which includes some of the best driving routes through France.
No matter what your interests are, I’m sure you will find something in this guide that is the perfect fit.
Let’s get straight into it!
There is no correct answer to this question as each season offers different things to explore.
Our recommendation on the most ideal time for France road trips would be the spring months (between April and June) or during Autumn (September to November).
The weather from November to March can be quite unpredictable.
You could encounter colder temperatures, snow and rainfall which can make conditions hard for driving.
If you choose to road trip France in July and August, be prepared to experience high temperatures of up to 30°C with even many locals also taking it easy.
You will also want to start your days extra early to avoid the crowds during the day.
Between April and June, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy mild weather conditions and make the most of your trip before the summer crowds arrive.
Although you may experience some rain in Autumn, it can be a great time to travel around France as you can get some good bargains once the crowds ease..
Once again, there is no correct answer to this question as the vehicle choice will depend on your interests and budget.
If you choose to travel France by car, the biggest advantage will be convenience.
French roads, especially in the countryside and villages, can be quite narrow.
You may even have to park outside the town in many small villages as there might only be pedestrian access.
A campervan may not be practical if you plan to visit all the small towns and villages.
You will also save on fuel and toll costs when you travel in France by car (compared to hiring a campervan).
You can always carry a tent around for sleeping.
Otherwise, you can check out many cosy Airbnb homes or hotels during your stay.
French road trips can be the perfect way to immerse yourself in a journey and in turn discover the culture, history and landmarks of each region.
Although there’s no fixed timeline, we recommend you spend a minimum of 12 to 15 days to explore the country’s villages and towns in-depth and experience everything they have to offer.
This way you’ll be able to go beyond the main tourist attractions and avoid the crowds.
France is such a magnificent country; you’re bound to find something to suit your interests.
For each of the suggested road trips, we’ve added the approximate mileage covered and a rough time estimate to help you plan and adapt according to your needs.
Are you a wine lover? This might be one of the perfect French road trips for you to enjoy some sparkling wine as well as explore some beautiful French sites.
Champagne is a historical region located in Eastern France. There are two central regions of Champagne: Reims and Epernay.
This is a very short road trip, but we suggest doing it over two days so you can enjoy drinking the champagne whilst also being able to drive!
During this Champagne road trip, you can enjoy driving past different villages, whilst occasionally stopping at the vineyards to capture some stunning pictures.
Take a look at our Champagne road trip video for first-hand look at everything the region has to offer.
Some of my favourite highlights of the Champagne Region Road Trip route include:
Day 1: Explore the medieval city of Reims, often known as the unofficial capital city of Champagne. The city is well known for its large cathedral, so don’t forget to check out this beautiful gothic architecture and stained glass window. At night, we recommend you visit Domaine Les Crayères.
Day 2: Head towards Epernay. Enjoy the popular champagne house Moet and Chandon, perhaps the most famous champagne in the world. You can also try some of the other local champagne houses if you’re on a budget. In the evening, make your way to Hautvillers, which is a ten-minute drive. Here you can enjoy beautiful views of vineyards.
We did a Taittinger Champagne House Tour which was super interesting and great value for money, you can book yours here.
Alsace is located in the northeast of France that borders both Switzerland and Germany.
This road trip in France is in an exquisite wine region that’s certain to charm.
This route is a must-visit for any Disney fans.
Many of the Alsace wine route villages are said to be the inspiration for Belle’s hometown from Beauty and The Beast.
The tiny towns lie between numerous vineyards. Enjoy walking along the cobblestone lanes and admiring the picturesque architecture and scenery.
We had such a great time on this trip. Take a look at our Beauty and the Beast Village road trip video to see what we got up to.
Some of my favourite highlights of The Beauty and the Beast Village road trip route include:
1. Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg– This is one of the landmarks of Strasbourg. The cathedral is one of the highest buildings, built entirely during the medieval times and still standing currently. It has been constructed with magnificent Gothic architecture, beautiful interior and stained-glass windows, which have been preserved since the 12th and 14th centuries.
2. Grand Rue- This is the main street in Ribeauvillé, filled with bakeries, restaurants, and beautiful buildings maintained from the 18th century. Enjoy a walk on the cobblestones and observe the squares which are decorated with Renaissance-style fountains.
3. Unterlinden Museum- If you love history or want to admire some creative pieces, this museum is filled with masterpieces from the middle ages. With over 3000 pieces, this is a perfect place for culture lovers.
If you’re looking for something short, sweet and unique, do take some time out to take a look at this beautiful road trip route!
There is so much room for new discoveries on this route as it’s not one of the most famous France road trip destinations. However, there’s still heaps of sightseeing along the way!
This road trip is even well-suited to history and geography lovers as it has a balance of everything. The town of Rocamadour also has a lot of religious significance and is a pilgrimage site for many.
Highlights Of The Parc Naturel régional des Volcans d'Auvergne to Bonaguil Castle Road Trip
Some of my favourite highlights of the Parc Naturel régional des Volcans d'Auvergne to Bonaguil Castle Road Trip route include:
Day 1: Start your morning by visiting Puy de Dôme. After you have had a chance to hike and capture the breathtaking views, head towards Brive-la-Gaillarde, where you will be staying the night but make a stop to visit the castle of Val on your way.
Day 2: Head out early and make your way to Rocamadour. This is an enchanting village based on a clifftop. Leave aside around half a day to explore the little town. Make your way toward the last stop, which is Bonaguil Castle.
The French Riviera road trip refers to the Provençal coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, which consists of cities that are some of the most popular tourist destinations in the World.
This road trip encompasses some beautiful landscapes for nature lovers, including the coastlines, beaches, and even a few National parks.
The trip we’ve suggested can definitely be cut shorter or extended as per your travel arrangements. It makes it more worthwhile if you can stroll around at your own pace to discover these spots.
Overall, this south of France road trip has a great vibe, and it’s pretty easy to get around. There is so much versatility in things to do and see, which is why this region is unique.
Some of my favourite highlights of the South of France route include:
Day 1: Start your journey by discovering the city of Saint Tropez. Initially a tiny fishing village and military base in the past, the city has now been converted into a popular destination with beautiful beaches and some great restaurants. Make sure you visit Vieux Port.
Day 2: Travel to Cannes, famous for the International film festival. Its a great city to simply chill out. You can enjoy a day at the beach if you’re looking to relax. Otherwise, you may also choose to go to Massif Esterel, where you will find many hiking trails and hidden beaches.
Day 3: Soak up the sun and hit the beautiful beaches of Nice. However, there is more to Nice than its famous beaches. You can stroll through Vieille Ville, the Old Town and Promenade des Anglais. Head up to Castle Hill for some impressive views over the city. At night, you can head to a fancy restaurant or enjoy live music at the bars.
Day 4: Make your way towards Monaco, which is quite a small city. Start off by visiting ‘the Rock’, which is the oldest part of Monaco. You can catch a glimpse of the changing of the guard ceremony.
Day 5: Lastly, make your way towards the city of Menton, located just 10km away from Monaco. You will find flowers growing everywhere in the city with the vibrant, colourful buildings, making it a beautiful setting to explore.
The Provence region is a major tourist destination for people all across the globe, and you are likely to find many picture-perfect moments for your social media accounts on this trip.
If you’re after the ultimate summer road trip, look no further. The magnificent region of Provence has everything you want!
The region is on any traveller’s bucket list as it is famous for its varied landscape, stunning lavender fields, beautiful vineyards and sparkling turquoise waters.
The recommended time to do this road trip route would be spring and summer. However, there is something unique about every season so don’t worry too much if these months aren’t possible for you!
We made a whole video on our trip to the area, check it out here for a detailed look at what we got up to.
Some of my favourite highlights of the Provence Road Trip route include:
Day 1: Start your trip by visiting Château des Baux-de-Provence. Make a pit stop at the town of Oppède, you can explore it at your own pace and then head to Gordes.
Day 2: From Gordes, you can make your way to the stunning village of Roussillon. You can wander the streets and sightsee the centre of town. Don’t miss Le Sentier des Ocres. Visit the Lavender fields of Valensole and make your way back to Roussillon for the night.
Day 3: Head towards the stunning Verdon Gorge! You can certainly spend the entire day here before returning or heading to your next destination.
Wine along with beach vibes all in one trip. What more can you ask for? This is the road trip for those who want to discover the French Atlantic Coast and the Basque country!
You will love the mix of both coast and country on this road trip to discover more of Southwest France.
Also, if you are into swimming or surfing, the French Atlantic coast will be a paradise for you. Soak up the sunshine and enjoy battling the waves.
Enjoy this relaxed and laid back journey to simply wind down and get away from the hustle of the big cities!
Some of my favourite highlights of the Bordeaux to Biarritz route include:
Day 1: Start your journey from Bordeaux, which is famous for its wine. You can enjoy some wine tasting and then visit Place de la Bourse and rue Sainte Catherine.
Day 2: Head to Arcachon; This admired seaside destination is perfect for beach lovers. Also, make sure you visit Dune du Pilat, which is a short drive away. You can move to the small town of Mimizan and stay the night if you want to explore another town.
Day 3: From Mimizan or Arcachon, head to the town of Hossegor. Another great place for surfers to catch the waves. In the afternoon, make your way towards Bayonne. If you travel in summer, you may even be able to participate in the Fêtes de Bayonne, a fantastic festival.
Day 4: You can conclude the trip by reaching Biarritz. This is a picture-perfect coastal town and a popular tourist destination. You can hit the beach or explore the town centre full of small boutiques and lovely cafes.
If you’re looking for a short yet sweet trip to explore Northern France, this might be the perfect one for you!
This road trip will give you a mix of both seaside sceneries paired with some Medieval French history.
You can certainly squeeze this itinerary into a full day, but we decided to spread it over two days so we could relax and enjoy the north side a bit more.
Some of my favourite highlights of the Calais to Rouen route include:
Day 1: Soak up the sunshine and head to Calais Beach! Visit Calais Lighthouse to learn some history and enjoy the views of both the city and the sea. At night, you can enjoy the local cuisine and stroll by the food markets.
Day 2: Head towards Rouen. This is only a two-hour drive, so you can make your first stop at Le Touquet along the way. Continue your drive and make a second stop at Abbeville before reaching Rouen. You can visit our blog post “7 brilliant things to do in Rouen” for a detailed guide of what we did in our time there.
If you are short of time or are simply looking for a day trip out of Paris to explore more of the French countryside, this road trip might be the perfect option for you!
You may even decide to stay a few days longer to explore the city in more detail and enjoy the fantastic food and restaurants located in Strasbourg and its surroundings.
The city of Strasbourg is in Eastern France and is very close to both Germany and Switzerland. Strasbourg has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988.
Whether you love adventure, food, scenic views or history, Strasbourg is a city that has something for everyone and you’re sure to love this Paris road trip.
Some of my favourite highlights of the Paris to Strasbourg route include:
Day 1: Make an early start and head straight to Strasbourg. Explore the Strasbourg Cathedral, Place Kléber and Petite France. Enjoy some of the amazing food that the restaurants and cafes have to offer. You can spend the night here and return to Paris the following morning.
This is the perfect trip for enthusiasts of French history and architecture.
We enjoyed visiting the landmarks and structures, which provided a good insight into the country’s cultural heritage.
We didn’t quite know what to expect when we planned this trip, but we loved embarking on this journey full of UNESCO world heritage sites.
The general distance between Paris and Albi isn’t too long so you can stop and sightsee along the way to make it more worthwhile.
This France road trip itinerary allows you to visit both the best parts of central and southern France. However, it can easily be adapted to your interests.
Some of my favourite highlights of the Paris to Albi route include:
Day 1: Start early in Paris and make your way towards Lyon. Visit the Parc de la tête d’Or and then head to the old town. Make sure you visit the Traboules of Lyon, which are the secret passageways that helped locals escape the Gestapo.
Day 2: Leave Lyon and head towards the amazing structure of Pont du Gard. Then travel to Montpellier, where you will be spending the night.
Day 3: Make your way to Carcassonne to explore the Great Medieval fortified city.
Head towards the town of Albi. There are quite a few World Heritage sites in Albi that are not to be missed. Make sure you visit Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, Pont Vieux and Cathedrale Sainte-Cecile, which was the largest brick building in Europe.
If you’re looking for an escape from crowded cities, this short route might be the perfect getaway for you.
This isn’t a majorly popular route, but it’s great for travelling at your own pace and discovering everything these two towns have to offer.
For those who love hiking or simply just want to enjoy the peace and quiet, you can easily extend this trip to 2-3 days by adding stopovers of your choice.
Some of my favourite highlights of the Pau to Tarascon-sur-Ariègeroute include:
Day 1: Stroll around the small city of Pau. This is a typical French town that has a more mild climate and gives picturesque views. Visit the National Museum and the Château de Pau. Then, make your way towards Tarascon-sur-Ariege.
Day 2: Enjoy this little town; there are many hikes you can do for some stunning views. Don’t forget to take out some time for the Parc de la Prehistoire, which is a great place to visit for all ages!
This Normandy Road trip ensures a perfect balance for those who are looking to discover some scenic towns and villages but fun for food enthusiasts.
This is a really enjoyable one because it’s such a nice change to be by the coast and visit the beach.
The trip also explores the historical events of D-Day, when the troops stormed the coast to liberate Europe from the Nazi’s.
It’s possible to complete this road trip in a day but you can certainly make a stopover and spend some more time sightseeing.
Some of my favourite highlights of the Normandy to Utah Beach route include:
Day 1: Start at Caen and explore the Mémorial de Caen. Make your way to Utah beach for a historical experience in the spot where the D-day landing took place years ago.
This scenic trip through the French Alps is for the adventurers and thrill-seekers who are willing to head away from the mainstream cities into winding roads and more challenging driving routes.
All the Alpine villages have their own unique charm, so wind down your windows and enjoy breathing the fresh mountain air.
Make sure you take some time out during your trip for some of the adventure activities (based on the season) this part of France offers such as skiing, mountain biking, white water rafting and snowboarding.
This trip is perfect for photographers who wish to capture the scenic French Alps! Keep your camera handy during the drive too as there are so many secluded and hidden spots around this journey.
Some of my favourite highlights of the Annecy to Saint-Véran route include:
Day 1: Explore the beautiful lake, colourful cottages, and cobblestone paths in Annecy. Head to the charming town of Chamonix and enjoy walking around the city centre. Catch a cable car to Aiguille du Midi to capture some panoramic views.
Day 2: You can explore Mont Blanc or some delicacies at Chamonix in the morning before heading to Albertville for a quick stopover.
Day 3: Head towards Col de l'Iseran. If you love adventure, you can spend some extra time here; otherwise, head to Grenoble.
Day 4: Visit the Fort de La Bastille. You can walk or grab a cable car for some spectacular views from the top. Head towards the last stop, the town of Saint Veran.
Before I leave you, here are a few quick tips that might help make planning your French road trip a little bit easier.