11 Dreamy Road Trips in France to Ignite Your Wanderlust

I won’t be mistaken if I say that the best way to discover France is by hitting the road. Here you will find ideas for road trips in France that will show you the best of the French countryside. On purpose, we are avoiding the big cities and are driving along stunning canyons, dreamy lavender field, cute little villages, lovely castles, savouring France one place at a time.

If you’re planning self-drive holidays in France, here are some ideas for road trips in France from a couple of days to up to 10 days. You can even combine some of the smaller road trips into one big 2-week drive through France road trip.

four pictures of beautiful places in France with overlay text: The most magical road trips in France

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Peddle boats on a lake entering a a narrow gorge; Gorges du Verdon Travel Guide
The entrance of Gorges du Verdon from Pont du Galetas

Gorges du Verdon Road Trip

by Daniela, the author of this blog

Trip summary
Places: Aiguines, Balcons de la Mescla, Comps-sur-Artuby, Castellane, Couloir Samson, La Palud-sur-Verdon, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Pont du Galetas
Duration: 3 – 5 days
Length: loop trip with starting point Aiguines – ca. 150 km
Where to stay: Aiguines, Castellane, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

The Gorges du Verdon or the Grand Canyon du Verdon is one of the biggest canyons in Europe and for sure one of the most beautiful places in France. The canyon is easily accessible by car. This loop trip can be started at any one of the places on the route.

We start our trip at the little village Aiguines From there there’s this breathtaking 360° almost bird-view panorama of the Lake of Sainte-Croix. From Aiguines head anticlockwise following road D71 to Pont de l’Artuby. Along the way stop at Col d’Illoire for a beautiful view down on the river Verdon and continue via the Fayet tunnel to the bridge on the Artuby River. Then follow the road for some even more great views at Balcons de la Mescla – the place where the river Artuby flows into the Verdon.

After Balcons de la Mescla continue to Comps-sur-Artuby, and then to the lovely village of Castellane. Afterwards head to Point Sublime. This section of the road follows the rim of the canyon with some amazing views. Before you arrive in La Palud-sur-Verdon take the loop road D23 – one of the most famous balcony roads in the world. It is as narrow as beautiful, offering some epic views of the Gorges du Verdon.

Afterwards continue all the way along this scenic route on the north rim to the super cute village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. After a stop there, take D957 all the way to the Lake of Sainte-Croix. Pont du Galetas offers one of the most beautiful views towards the lake and the entrance of the canyon. Then continue further to Aiguines, where we started our journey.

Read more: Complete description of the road trip in Gorges du Verdon.

a canyon of a river with cliffs and green forests and blue sky with few white clouds, Road trip Gorges du Tarn
View of Gorges du Tarn from Point Sublime

Road Trip in Gorges du Tarn

by Daniela, the author of this blog

Trip summary
Places: Millau, Peyre, Les Vignes, Point Sublime, La Malène, Saint-Chély-du-Tarn, Sainte-Enimie, Florac, Aven Armand, Meyrueis, Dargilan Cave, Le Rozier, Peyreleau
Duration: 7-10 days
Length: loop trip with starting point Millau – ca. 220 km
Where to stay: Millau, Sainte-Enimie, Florac, Meyrueis, Peyreleau

This road trip will take you along some of the most breathtaking views and cute little villages in Gorges du Tarn in Southern France. The road trip starts in Millau, where you can visit the iconic Millau Viaduct – the tallest bridge in the world. Just a few kilometers away is the little village of Peyre, included on the official list of the Most Beautiful Villages in France.

After Peyre head upstream the Tarn River to Les Vignes. You’ll be passing along lots of lovely places and slowly will be entering the canyon which the Tarn River has cut into the rocks. The canyon is 53 km long and 400-600 m deep.

At Les Vignes take a detour to Point Sublime for the most mesmerizing view of the whole canyon and then continue to La Malène. On the way stop at Saint-Chély-du-Tarn. This little place is unbearably cute, with the waterfall and the chapel half built in the rocks. Aftwards stop at the adorable Sainte-Enimie, which is the second village on this road trip that is included in the list of the Most Beautiful Village of France.

Then head to Florac. Florac is the gateway to the Cévennes National Park, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Causses and Cévennes. From Florac take D16, which will lead you into a totally different world, the world of the Causse Méjean – a limestone plateau which looks a bit like a steppe, with its vast grassland plains. There you can visit the remarkable cave Aven Armand and the Ferme Caussenarde d’Autrefois.

Afterwards head to Meyrueis and visit the Dargilan Cave. Then continue to the twin villages Le Rozier and Peyreleau, divided only by La Jonte River. On the way you’ll be passing along the Gorges de la Jonte, another beautiful canyon.

Domme, France, Perigord, Dordogne, stunning views, river meanders through a valley with a bridge
View of the Dordogne Valley from Domme

Road Trip along the Dordogne River

by Daniela, the author of this blog

Trip summary
Places: Bort-les-Orgues, Farms of the Middle Ages, Tours de Merle, Argentat-sur-Dordogne, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, Loubressac, Rocamadour, Carsac, Domme
Duration: 4-5 days
Length: Bort-les-Orgues – Domme – ca. 210 km
Where to stay: Bort-les-Orgues, Argentat, Rocamadour, Domme

This road trip is all about beautiful villages along the Dordogne River. It includes some of the most beautiful villages, as well as old castles, amazing gardens and one medieval village.

The road trip starts at Bort-les-Orgues, famous for the Château de Val – a beautiful castle on the lake, created after the dam was built on the river. The dam itself is pretty impressive, as well.

Next stop is Les Fermes du Moyen Age, an open-air ethnographic museum depicting the rural life in the Middle Ages in France. Following the red line of the Middle Ages, next stop is Tours de Merle – picturesque ruins of a 13th-century castle, sticking out of a lavishly green island in the middle of a forest.

Argentat-sur-Dordogne is the next stop on this road trip – a small town with tiny streets, old houses, and lively riverside. If you continue to follow the river, you will arrive at Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne and then in Loubressac.

We get a bit off the Dordogne to visit Rocamadour, a medieval village clinging to the rocks and hanging above the Alzou River gorge, offering some dramatic views of the countryside. Then it’s time for the lovely botanical garden in Carsac Les Jardins d’Eau.

The last stop on this itinerary that follows the Dordogne River from east to west, is Domme. From the village there are some stunning views on the Dordogne Valley. It has also a busy market street with a lots of little shops where you can buy souvenirs and handcrafts.

a brudge over a river with lots of flowers hanging from flowerpots on the side and some lovely houses at the back, Ornans in France

Jura Road Trip

By Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer

Trip summary
Places: Besançon, Ornans, Les Salins Royale, Salins-les-Nains, Arbois, Poligny
Duration: 5-7 days
Length: loop trip with starting point Besançon – 150-200 km
Where to stay: Besançon, Ornans, Arbois

France has a multitude of different regions that are awesome for a road trip, most of them however are jam-packed with tourists. The Jura Region in Eastern France is a wonderful little nook that has remained firmly off the tourist radar, yet with luscious landscapes, and well-maintained roads peppered with quaint villages it truly is a dream come true for any road trip enthusiast.

Start your trip in Besançon, if you happen to be renting a car this can be done at the Besançon central train station. Spend one to two days exploring Besançon and hiking up the surrounding hills to the various vantage points, the views from the citadel are particularly pretty at sunset.

Drive the winding roads through thick forests to the village of Ornans, the birthplace of the famous painter Gustav Courbet, marvel at the gigantic UNESCO heritage salt production sites of Les Salins Royale and Salins-les-Bains, learn all about Louis Pasteur in Arbois and try some delicious Comté cheese in the tiny village of Poligny.

Food & wine are an integral part of the local experience in the Jura. Comté cheese is used in most dishes and the delicious Jura wines are the perfect accompaniment. A wine tasting is best done in Arbois, the epicenter of Jura wine with miles of vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. The adventurous might even want to try the yellow Jura Wine and the digestive Mavcin.

To avoid too much driving, stay one night in Besançon, Ornans and Arbois. Your trip starts and ends in Besançon and can be done in as little as 5 days, or can be extended to a full week.

Author’s bio: Caroline is a full-time travel blogger and photographer who loves to discover lesser-known places on this blue planet. Her website Veggie Wayfarer strives to make sustainable travel as easy as possible and gives her an excuse to try all the vegetarian delicacies in every country she visits.

a small street leading to an archway under a tower with a clock and a bellfry, lined ip with colorful houses with green ivy on the left and rose roses on the right, Cordes-sur-Ciel in France

South-West France Road Trip

by Pauline from France Pocket Guide

Trip summary
Places: Toulouse, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Najac, Conques, Rocamadour, Saint-Cirq-La-Popie, Bruniquel
Duration: 7-10 days
Length: loop trip with starting point Toulouse – ca. 500 km
Where to stay: Toulouse, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Najac, Conques, Rocamadour, Saint-Cirq-La-Popie, Bruniquel

If you love discovering fairytale villages, this road trip around the South West of France will be perfect for you! You will get to explore 6 of the most beautiful villages in France (Les Plus Beaux Villages de France) and learn plenty about the local culture. It’s also an excellent option for foodies since all these villages near Toulouse are known for their traditional cuisine.

You can start your trip in Toulouse. This is one of the main cities in the South and can be easily reached by train, car or plane. Although it is a major city, the centre is quite small and can be easily explored on foot in 1 or 2 days.

From there, hit the road to your first destination, Cordes-sur-Ciel. This hilltop village is absolutely stunning. It looks like it’s floating in the sky. The visitor’s centre offers guided tours of the village. They are a great way to learn more about the history of Cordes. From there, you can head to Najac in the Aveyron and roam around the village before heading to the castle on the hill.

Your next destination will be Conques which is one of the most famous villages on the Camino de Santiago. Here you will be blown away by the beauty of the abbey and you can get a delicious (and cheap) pilgrim meal in one of the local restaurants.

Next step, you will be heading to the most famous hilltop village in France: Rocamadour. Here you can walk all the way up to the church and discover the Black Virgin. Make sure to also taste one of the local delicacies, the cabecou (goat cheese).

On your way back down to Toulouse, stop at Saint-Cirq-La-Popie. This hilltop village features amazing views of the Lot river and is also an excellent place for kayaking. Finally, you will discover one of the cutest villages near Toulouse, Bruniquel. The castle and caves are stunning here.

Author’s bio: Pauline from France Pocket Guide, is a French girl who loves helping visitors discovering her country and the French culture.

a lovely riverfront of a town reflecting in the river with a castle on a small hill in the middle, Amboise in France

Dijon – Vézelay – Amboise and Loire Valley Castles

by Lisa of Waves and Cobblestones

Trip summary
Places: Dijon, Vézelay, Amboise, Castles on Loire
Duration: 5-7 days
Length: Dijon – Amboise: ca. 400 km
Where to stay: Dijon, Vézelay, Amboise

The French countryside is packed with hidden gems, perfect for exploration on a road trip.  Start your journey in Dijon, and stay in the historic town center at Hôtel des Ducs. This is a great vantage point from which to visit some of Dijon’s top attractions: the Musée des Beaux-Arts and the impressive Palais des Ducs. Take some time to follow the Parcours de la Chouette (the Owl’s Trail) to see Dijon’s highlights.

Next, continue your journey to Vézelay, a hill town designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stay at SY La Terrasse, adjacent to the stunning Vézelay Abbey, a basilica famous for its relics of Mary Magdalene. About an hour west from Vézelay, take a step back in time and visit Guédelon. On this unique site, a medieval castle is being constructed using only historically-appropriate techniques. You can explore the site on a self-guided tour and watch the craftsmen at work.

Your final stop for this road trip is Amboise, a fantastic town to use as a home base for your trip to the Loire Valley. Stay at the Hôtel Bellevue, located on the banks of the Loire River and nearly on the doorstep of the Château Royal d’Amboise. Take time to explore Château du Clos Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci’s former home and workshop. From Amboise, you can explore many other stunning châteaux of the Loire Valley. For an unforgettable experience, why not enjoy a hot-air balloon ride over châteaux?

Read more: The most beautiful castles in the Loire Valley, France

Author’s bio: Lisa of Waves and Cobblestones is a full-time engineer with a love of travel. Her favorite vacations are do-it-yourself adventures in Europe. She loves sharing stories and tips from her journeys to inspire you to pack your bags and take a trip!

an abbey with a church spier on tp of a small hill with ccobalt blue sky and white clouds, Le Mont-Saint-Michel in France, Normandy
Le Mont-Saint-Michel

Normandy Road Trip

by Anwar of Beyond my Door

Trip summary
Places: Honfleur, Caen, Bayeux, Arromanches-les-Bains, Longues-sur-Mer, Pointe du Hoc, Carentan les Marais, Le Mont Saint-Michel
Duration: 7-10 days
Length: Honfleur – Le Mont-Saint-Michel: ca. 300 km
Where to stay: Honfleur, Caen, Bayeux, Arromanches-les-Bains, near Le Mont-Saint-Michel

There are many beautiful places in France, but the sites of Normandy are among the prettiest. The road trip starts in Honfleur, the beautiful port city where the Seine meets the English Channel. Spend the time in town, walking the beautiful streets.

From here make your way to Caen, the largest city in Lower Normandy and famous for the beautiful architecture from the time of William the Conqueror. Be sure to spend time at the Château de Caen, the large castle that dominates the city. You could easily spend the day exploring the history and culture of this city. Recommend spending the day and the evening here.

Following Caen, set up base in nearby Bayeux for a night or two both to visit sites in the town as well as the nearby Normandy beaches. Be sure to see the impressive Bayeux tapestry, depicting scenes from the Norman Conquest of England and considered one of the earliest forms of political propaganda.

From here make your way through the various historic sites and beaches of D-Day. Do not miss visiting the fascinating Musée du débarquement in Arromanches-les-Bains that depicts the planning and building of the harbor for D-Day. The various beaches of the battle and nearby cemeteries are worth wandering and trying to comprehend the sacrifices made here. Also worth a stop are the old batteries of Longues-sur-Mer and Pointe du Hoc to learn some of the incredible stories from that time period.

If you are not overwhelmed by the D-Day stops so far, it is worth heading to nearby Carentan les Marais and the Airborne and D-Day Victory Museums. Drive through the area an enjoy the beautiful scenery with famous hedgerows. Spend the night in Carentan.

Finally, leave early in the morning from Carentan for your 90 minute drive to Le Mont-Saint -Michel, the famous commune and Abbey built on an island at the mouth of the Couesnon River. Due to the Causeway construction, the Mont no longer becomes an island, but its beauty certainly still remains. You can also do a tour of the Abbey to learn about the amazing history of the place.

Author’s bio: Anwar has lived in or visited over 60 countries across the world documenting tips and advice for travelers. Anwar tries to specialize in more off-beaten and natural sites. On his site Beyond my Door, he looks to take you along on his journey beyond the threshold.

house perched on a rocky hill with a blue sky and little fluffy white clouds, Gordes in France

Road Trip in Vaucluse, Provence

by Renee of Dream Plan Experience

Trip summary
Places: Gordes, Goult, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Lourmarin
Duration: 3-5 days
Length: Gordes – Lourmarin: ca. 50 km
Where to stay: Gordes, Bonnieux

A road trip through some of the prettiest villages in the Vaucluse is the best way to discover the famous Provence. The villages in this area are located so close to each other, making it easy to do a couple in a day. But don’t rush as the views along the way are spectacular. Start in Gordes, a hilltop village, known for its narrow cobblestone streets and stone houses that spiral around a rock where the village is located. Gordes has earned the prestigious title of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France or Most Beautiful Village of France.

Stop in the charming village of Goult. Stroll the picturesque streets, sit under the large tree canopy in one of the large squares and seek out the terraces called Conservatoire des Terasses to take in the Luberon valley views. Visit on market day and watch this sleepy hidden gem come alive with energy.

Drive to the medieval village of Lacoste where time has stood still. The town has been acquired by the fashion designer, Pierre Cardin, and he is restoring the village’s top attraction, an 11th-century château, and the ancient 14th-century buildings that surround it.

Next is the hilltop village of Bonnieux. At the center of this 16th-century village is a striking tower. Climb the 86 stone steps to take in the beautiful views of the Luberon valley and the neigbouring village of Lourmarin – the last stop. Lourmarin is an elegant village, full of top restaurants and lovely boutique shops. It is a local’s favourite village and it too has earned the prestigious title of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France.

Author’s bio: Renee of Dream Plan Experience – a travel journal encompassing over a decade of travel in western Europe and closer to home in Canada specializing in places that are off-the-beaten-path and discovering hidden gems.

beautiful lavender fields loosing themselves on the horizon with a single tree just off the middle at sunrise with purple-orange sky, the lavender fields near Valensole in Provence, France

Lavender Fields in Provence

by Kriszti of She Wanders Abroad

Trip summary
Places: Marseille/Nice, Valensole, Roussillon
Duration: 3-4 days
Length: loop trip starting in Marseille: ca. 250 km; starting in Nice: ca. 500 km
Where to stay: Marseille, Valensole/Manosque/Riez, Roussillon

The lavender fields in Provence are one of the most beautiful sights in France. Every year, tourists flock to see the purple blooms in all their glory. If you’re planning to visit France and you love flowers and all things purple, this road trip will be the perfect choice for you!

It’s important to note that if you want to see the lavenders at their peak, you have to time your road trip right. The best time to see the lavender fields is from mid-June to early July. Keep this in mind when you’re planning your trip!

The lavender fields are located in the south of France, specifically in the Provence region. If you’re running short on time and you only have a couple of days, it’s best to visit the fields around Valensole as these are the most picturesque ones.

To get there, you can fly into Marseille or Nice and then drive to the lavender fields. The drive from Marseille to Valensole is about 1 hour, while the drive from Nice is about 2.5 hours. You can base yourself in either Valensole, Manosque, or Riez from where you can easily reach all the nearby fields.

You will stumble across countless lavender fields while driving around but if you’re looking for the best ones, make sure to check Lavandes Angelevin and the fields along D6 and D8.

You may also want to visit some of the other beautiful sights in Provence, like the town of Roussillon with its huge red cliffs and pastel-colored houses.

If you’re looking for a unique road trip destination, the lavender fields of Provence are sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation, a trip to the lavender fields will be the highlight of your time in France.

Author’s bio: Kriszti is a Budapest-based travel blogger with a never-ending wanderlust who is passionate about content creation, travel photography, and discovering new destinations, one place at a time. Her goal is to help her readers turn their travel dreams into reality by sharing her practical travel tips on her blog.

a view of a harbour with yachts and houses on the surrunding hills with purple flowers framing the picture, Villefrance-sur-Mer in France

French Riviera Road Trip

by Dymphe of Dym Abroad

Trip summary
Places: Nice, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Monaco, Menton
Duration: 3-4 days
Length: Nice-Menton: ca. 40 km
Where to stay: Nice, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Menton

One of the best road trips in France goes from Nice to Menton in the French Riviera region. The road trip starts in the city of Nice. Nice is a city with lots of interesting and fun sights. For example, you can go for a walk at the Promenade des Anglais, which is a beautiful walkway along the seaside. If you are into museums, Musée Matisse is an excellent choice. There you can see works by the famous French artist Henri Matisse.

The next stop of this itinerary is the town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, which you can reach in about 20 minutes. This is a beautiful and peaceful town with picturesque houses and an amazing view of the sea.

From there, you can continue to the city-state of Monaco (about 25 minutes). This is a very special city that is actually a country, known for the glamour, the luxury life, and the casinos. Also, there is a beautiful port which you should not miss out on. If you love viewpoints and nature, Jardins de Saint-Martin is worth checking out. The gardens offer an amazing view of the Port de Fontvieille.

After Monaco, head to Menton. This town is known for its colorful houses and beautiful beach. Menton prouds itself with a lovely botanical garden.

Author’s bio: Dymphe Mensink is a travel blogger and travel content creator from Amsterdam. With her passion for exploring and travel photography, she wants to help people travel more in Europe, the United States, and beyond.

an aerial view of casle ruins with scattered houses, a church and winding roads through a green landscape, Chateau Murol in Auvergne France
Chateau Murol

Road Trip in Auvergne

by Patricia & Bruno of Ze Wandering Frogs

Trip summary
Places: Clermont-Ferrand, Orcival, Le Mont-Dore, Saint-Nectaire
Duration: 5 days
Length: Round trip Clermont-Ferrand: ca. 130 km
Where to stay: Clermont-Ferrand, Le Mont-Dore, Saint-Nectaire

Start your Auvergne road trip from Clermont-Ferrand and explore some of the cutest villages and stunning landscapes Auvergne offers. 

On your first day, go hiking in the Chaîne des Puys and reach the area’s highest peak: Puy de Dôme

Day two will see you admiring the 11th-century Roman Notre Dame Basilica in the small village of Orcival. Then stop by the unusual rocks of Tuilière et Sanadoire before heading to the Lac de Guéry for a stroll along the lake before spending the night at Le Mont-Dore

On day three, take the cable car in Le Mont-Dore that will take you high in the Sancy Montagne Range, where you can simply appreciate a 360° view of the region, or go on a challenging hike up to the Puy de Sancy

For day four, head to the 12th-century Murol Castle to get a glimpse of the time past, walking the walls of the medieval place. End your day with a visit to the Grottes du Cornadore, thermal spas near Saint-Nectaire, going back to the Romans. Finally, stay in Saint Nectaire for the night.

On your fifth and last day, explore the small streets of Saint-Nectaire, a village that has existed since the Celts occupied the region and whose name has been given its famous cheese. While there, learn about the Saint-Nectaire cheese, and of course, go cheese tasting!

Before returning to Clermont-Ferrand, stop by the Cascade de Saillant for an easy hike and the Gergovie Plateau, which holds specific meaning for Auvergne history as the place where the Roman Army of Julius Caesar lost against the local chief Vercingétorix.

Author’s bio: Adventure travelers & outdoor lovers, Patricia & Bruno – aka Ze Wandering Frogs – have been traveling the world since 2016. From Mongolia to Rwanda, Ecuador to Iran, Sri Lanka to Canada, they share their experiences hiking, kitesurfing, and scuba diving, among other activities, and meeting people and learning about their culture and traditions.

About Daniela

Daniela is the creator and writer of this travel blog. A writer by nature and occupation and traveller by heart, Daniela will take you to all forgotten corners of Europe and even beyond. She travels with her partner, but his only role is to be the greatest fan of this blog. To learn more, check out the About section.