Grand Tour of France15 days
About This Experience
Discover the many sides of France. From the culinary capital of Lyon to the iconic city of Paris, and the plethora of charming medieval villages and coastal Riviera towns in between—this grand tour let’s you eat, drink and sightsee your way through this dynamic country.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
13 nights in hand-picked hotels
Breakfast daily, 5 three-course dinners with wine or beer
Private deluxe motor coach
Multilingual Tour Director
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
An ideal mix of iconic cities & quaint medieval villages
Farm-fresh specialties from Lyon & the Loire Valley
The stunning coastal views & charming harbor towns of the French Riviera
The revered wines of Bordeaux
Paris’ famous landmarks & much-loved cafe culture
Overnight Flight1 night
Lyon2 nights - hotel info
Say bonjour to Lyon and settle into your hotel
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Welcome to Lyon! A Go Ahead representative meets you at the airport and helps you transfer to your hotel. Spend an afternoon getting to know the city before meeting your group at a local bouchon restaurant for your welcome dinner.
Let a local take you back in time as you explore Lyon’s city center
Optional Excursion - Medieval Village of Pérouges
St. John the Baptist’s Cathedral
This morning, a local guide introduces you to the country’s culinary capital on a guided tour through Lyon’s UNESCO-recognized city center. Take in the Gothic and Renaissance architecture as you pass by the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, visit St. John the Baptist’s Cathedral and walk thorugh centuries-old traboules (underground passages). This afternoon, consider joining our optional excursion to the medieval village of Pérouges.
Medieval Village of Pérouges $59* pp
Make your way to the charming village of Pérouges, a favorite among the French for its winding cobblestone streets and medieval architecture. Visit the central Tilleul Square for a panoramic view of the area and explore the Fortress Church of Sainte-Marie Madeleine. After taking in the scenery, stop at a local bakery to sample some of the region’s sweetest specialties, including galette (a round, flat tart filled with berries) and hypocras, a spiced wine flavored with honey, ginger and cinnamon.
Nice2 nights - hotel info
All aboard! Hop a high-speed train to the French Riviera
Optional Excursion - Monaco by Night: Monte Carlo Casino & Dinner
This morning, take a high-speed train through the countryside to the French Riviera and spend the day discovering Nice’s many charms. Tonight, you may choose to join our optional excursion to Monaco for an evening of excitement in glamorous Monte Carlo.
Monaco by Night: Monte Carlo Casino & Dinner $99* pp
Spend an evening in Monaco, world-renowned for its luxuriousness. A tiny principality ruled by the Grimaldis, Europe’s oldest royal family, Monaco has retained its independence for more than 700 years. Your Tour Director introduces you to the Old Town with a stop outside the Royal Palace. After an included dinner, try your luck at the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino. Please note: The trip to the casino requires moderate walking.
Soak in the scenery of the Côte d’Azur
Optional Excursion - Villages of Provence: Grasse & Saint-Paul-de-Vence
Today’s guided tour of Nice shows off the many sides of the Côte d’Azur. Stroll down the Promenade des Anglais, visit nearby Roman ruins and meander through the narrow streets of Old Town. This afternoon, you may choose to venture to the villages of Grasse and Saint-Paul-de-Vence to discover quintessential Provençal charm.
Villages of Provence: Grasse & Saint-Paul-de-Vence $45* pp
Travel to Grasse for an inside look at the Fragonard perfume factory. Learn the secrets of producing this precious liquid (one of France’s signature goods) before making your way to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, one of the oldest villages of the French Riviera. A celebrity haven, the charming village has a great art scene and a rich medieval history, which your Tour Director will showcase with visits to the Porte de Vence, Collegiate Church and more. Afterward, relax and sip pastis, the local aperitif, while people-watching on the main square.
Montpellier1 night - hotel info
Iconic paintings come to life in the landscapes of Provence
Make your way through the picturesque landscapes that influenced the French masters, stopping in Aix-en-Provence for a walking tour. Here, a local guide shows you Aix’s beautiful boulevards, the intricate medieval cathedral and Cézanne’s studio. Then, continue on to the university city of Montpellier this afternoon for a walking tour of the historic city center and an included dinner with your group.
Bordeaux2 nights - hotel info
Drink in the history (and wine!) of Bordeaux
Optional Excursion - Bordeaux Dinner & Wine Tasting
This morning, meet your local guide for a panoramic sightseeing tour of Bordeaux, including the historic city center, which has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its classical and neo-classical architecture. Highlights of your tour include the Place des Quinconces (one of the largest city squares in Europe), the intricately designed Bordeaux Cathedral, the lively hub of the Place de la Comédie and the Grand Theatre. Later, consider joining our optional dinner and wine tasting to discover firsthand why Bordeaux is the wine capital of the world.
Bordeaux Dinner & Wine Tasting $115* pp
Head outside the city of Bordeaux to the countryside where some of France’s best wines are produced. Tour the historic village of Saint-Émilion, known for its namesake monolithic church, unique underground monuments and centuries-old vineyards. Visit a local winery for a tour of the cellar and to learn about the winemaking process. Then, sip your way through world-renowned varieties, including prestigious Grand Crus. After your tour and tasting, discuss your favorites over dinner at the vineyard.
Loire Valley2 nights - hotel info
Discover the quaint charm of La Rochelle
On your way to the Loire Valley, stop to explore the Atlantic port city of La Rochelle. Your Tour Director introduces you to its charming harbor, where you can stroll by quaint cafes and take in the famous medieval towers that stand guard over the port. Later, enjoy an included dinner in the Loire Valley.
Take in the opulent architecture of châteaux country
Optional Excursion - Loire Valley Dinner & Wine Tasting
Château de Chenonceau
Spend the morning soaking in the opulence of the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its charming villages and lavish architecture. A local guide takes you around châteaux country, making a photo stop at Château de Chambord, the largest château ever built in the Loire Valley. Then, go to the banks of the Cher River and visit the extravagant palace and grounds of Château de Chenonceau, known for its slew of famous female residents, including Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici. This afternoon, choose to get a taste of the Loire Valley’s famous food and wine with our optional dinner and wine tasting.
Loire Valley Dinner & Wine Tasting $99* pp
Cap off your day in the Loire Valley taking in views of the Valley's châteaux and greenery on your way to a local wine cellar. With its central location in the country, this area draws culinary influence from several parts of France, which you'll experience during a wine tasting and dinner at a local restaurant.
Normandy Region2 nights - hotel info
Travel to the iconic shores of Mont Saint-Michel
Travel north to the historic Normandy coastline and visit Mont Saint-Michel, one of the most famous and striking sights in France. Here, your Tour Director shows you around the UNESCO-recognized island monastery, shedding light on its interesting architecture and history, which dates back to the eighth century. Tonight, enjoy an included dinner with your group.
Get a glimpse into World World II history
Optional Excursion - D-Day Beaches of Normandy
Today is free to explore Normandy at your own pace. If you choose, you can join our optional excursion to the evocative D-Day beaches for insight into World War II history.
D-Day Beaches of Normandy $75* pp
Relive World War II history during this excursion to Normandy, where the Allied troops landed in June 1944. First, travel to the D-Day Museum in Arromanches. Next, stop at the American Cemetery in Colleville—the burial place for more than 9,000 American soldiers who lost their lives during the battle of Normandy. From there, visit Pointe du Hoc to view the evocative granite monument erected by the French in honor of the American Second Ranger Battalion, who seized the German canons here before they could be used to fire on American troops landing on Omaha Beach.
Paris2 nights - hotel info
It’s off to the City of Light
Optional Excursion - Evening in Paris: Dinner & River Cruise
Transfer to Paris this morning and spend the afternoon getting acquainted with the City of Light. To see Paris’ iconic landmarks lit up at night, join tonight’s optional dinner and scenic river cruise.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Evening in Paris: Dinner & River Cruise $109* pp
Take in the nighttime allure of the City of Light on a special evening excursion. The event begins with dinner at a local restaurant. After you dine, board a boat cruise along the Seine. As you coast along the river and under Paris' bridges, you'll behold the gloriously illuminated monuments of Paris glittering alongside the riverbanks. Please note: the dress code may vary depending your restaurant, and your Tour Director will advise you on what to wear, but shorts and sneakers are likely to be considered inappropriate attire.
From the Louvre to Notre-Dame, explore the Paris of your dreams
Optional Excursion - Versailles Palace & Gardens
Paris is a city of legendary architecture, influential culture and delicious cuisine. A local guide gives you the lay of the land with a tour of the iconic sights, including the Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde and Notre-Dame. This afternoon, you’re free to make your own discoveries, or take our optional excursion to Versailles to experience the height of French opulence. Tonight, regroup with your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner.
Must be booked 45 days before departure
Versailles Palace & Gardens $105* pp
The reign of Louis XIV, known as the “Sun King,” set new standards for decadence among the crowned heads of Europe. It took 50 years and 35,000 workers to turn Versailles, once a small hunting lodge, into the most magnificent château in all of France and the envy of royalty worldwide. On this excursion, you will see the palace in all its glory. Tour the State Apartments and the glittering Hall of Mirrors. Then stroll through the lavish gardens with their fine statuary, splendid fountains and colorful flowerbeds.
Extend Your Stay
Add Paris City Stay $299*
Overflowing with history, art and romance, there’s nowhere in the world like Paris. People-watch at a cafe, visit the world-class museums, stroll manicured parks and let yourself get lost exploring the winding streets of Montmartre.
Paris2 nights - hotel info
Sip wine at a cafe or spend the day in Monet’s famous landscapes
Optional Excursion - Monet & the Landscapes of Giverny
Today is free to discover Paris on your own. Alternatively, you may wish to join our optional excursion to Giverny and walk through the gorgeous landscapes that inspired Monet.
Monet & the Landscapes of Giverny $85* pp
The village of Giverny was home to Claude Monet from 1883 until his death in 1926. On a visit to Monet's home and gardens, discover the subtle palette of colors that inspired his Water Lilies series and gave rise to a new way of seeing. Please note: This excursion is seasonal and runs April through October.
Explore Paris’ endless neighborhoods on your own
Enjoy a free day to explore the many wonders of Paris. Stroll down the Champs-Élysées, visit one of the city’s many world-class art museums, venture up to the artist neighborhood of Montmartre to see Sacré-Coeur or simply people-watch in a sidewalk cafe.
Passport and Visa Requirements
In order to enter France, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact France’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.
Please note that porter service is not always available on your train from Aix to Paris. Please be prepared to handle your own baggage.
Clothing & Packing Tips
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
There are no major health risks associated with traveling to France. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
Throughout France, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range. For a casual snack or picnic, stop at a small grocery store for cheeses, pâtés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. Sidewalk vendors are known for their steaming crêpes, filled with cheese, ham, fruit or chocolate. Flaky pastries and hot coffee beckon from the cafes. For restaurants, the prix fixe option is popular, offering a three- or four-course set menu for a good price. Although lunch is generally served from noon until 2pm, dinner is served from 7:30pm onward. Those wishing to eat earlier may want to stop at a cafe, where light entrées and sandwiches are often served throughout the afternoon and evening.
Round-trip flights arrive in Lyon and depart from Paris. Included transportation is by TGV train and private motor coach. Most of the destinations on tour are best explored on foot, but in Paris, you may want to take advantage of the excellent transportation systems. Make sure to take time and look for the best deal on travel passes. Ask your Tour Director which one might work best. Often the daily passes are not actually the best deal.
France operates on the European standard 220 volts.
France is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Paris.
The euro is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in France, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.