France is a beautiful country, full of lush green gardens, high snowy mountains and cobblestoned Parisian streets. It is home to many world-famous monuments such as The Eiffel Tower and The Louvre, and contains some hidden gems in the form of quaint cafes (yet full of personality) and Gothic-style chateaus. In this article, we’ll take you through what might be one of the best 12-day trips to France of your life. A lot of the charm in visiting France is also in its travelling – the rolling hills and green landscape of the countryside. This is why we’ve curated a combination of lively travel and must-see spots for you below! If you’d like to visit France after reading this article and require a visa, make sure to check out our services on the France visa – you can also obtain a France visa online (as online as possible) with our help!
Land in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport in the morning – with our help on obtaining the France visa for Indians, we’re sure you had a hiccup-free flight! Next, catch a glimpse of the top sights of Paris whilst on a boat ride across the Seine River. It is 775-kilometre-long, and snakes through most of Northern France. After a tiring flight and a relaxing boat ride through canals and streets, watch the sun set in the most famous landmark of Paris, the Eiffel Tower! This tower is arguably the most famous landmark of the whole country, so it seems fitting to visit it first. It is also lit up in the night, and can be seen from anywhere in the city – truly a beautiful sight. If you can, make sure you go up to the viewing rooms to catch a glimpse of the whole of Paris under your feet.
We start the day with a walk through the pastel-bricked, charming Paris Old Quarters – including Ile Saint-Louis, Quarter Latin and Le Marais. This does take quite a bit out of your morning, but you probably won’t realise it with the old-timey air floating around these parts of the city. As the afternoon approaches, we suggest attending a croissant-making / French baking workshop! The French are known for their love and interest in food, what with all the different techniques of sweet and savoury baking that originated here. End the day enjoying a filling supper and people-watching at Cafe de Flore. It is a quaint corner establishment at the Latin Quarters, so you wont need to travel too far. Fun fact! The cafe is also home to some of Paris’ important literary history, which you may find out more about when you go there.
Day 3 marks our first day outside Paris – but we won’t be going too far just yet. Take an RER train to Versailles after a nice, well-rested night – the journey only lasts about 45 minutes. Here,
visit the Palace of Versailles first, in all its old-time charm. Make sure to not miss the Hall of Mirrors whilst touring around! Behind the Palace lies the Grand Canal of Versailles – this is a great place to learn more about Versailles’ history and have some filling lunch. After all the sightseeing, relax and take a short evening walk to Marie Antoinette’s Estate, just 15 minutes through the lush greenery of the palace and its countryside surroundings. You could, of course, eat some cake in memory of her famous “let them eat cake!” statement 😉 After you’re done for the day, take that short train ride back to Paris to lie down for the night.
Day 4 also has a bit of short travelling from Paris: catch a 45-min train to Fontainebleau. Visit the Fontainebleau Palace, which includes parts that date back to the 1100’s! Also tour the theater, Marie Antoinette’s Turkish boudoir (yes, we see her influence again today!) and the Napoleon Museum whilst you’re in the grounds. Much of the sights to see are close to each other – within walking distance – so you can spend maximum time on viewing and minimum on the commute. An early evening trip back in time at Tacot des Lacs might be more relaxing than you thought! Around 4:10 is when the last ride is. The train takes you through lush greenery and educates you on different trains and locomotives from the previous centuries – after the train ride is over, come back to Paris to retire for the night.
In the morning, catch an hour-long bus from Paris to Orléans – the city liberated by Joan of Arc. You probably won’t need to show your passports for bus trips, but make sure to carry the one which contains your France visa just in case. Once you reach, tour the many gothic-style chateaus and cathedrals including Hôtel Groslot, Cathédrale Sainte-Croix d’Orléans and Maison de Jeanne d’Arc. This will probably take up most of the day, so in the evening you can choose to walk around the Parc Floral de la Source while the sun sets. This garden and butterfly house is sure to be a hit with people of all ages, with kids areas included. After a relaxing stroll, head back to Paris and back to your hotel.
Finally, we are exiting the city of Paris. Pack up your bags and get on an early morning road trip to Burgundy! Burgundy is famous for its wines – make sure to get on a wine tour to relax your body after all that travelling. Tour the wine estates and calm your nerves in the vineyards. A bit of wine and cheese can go a long way, and before you know it, it’s evening already. Walk around Dijon, the capital. First to the Well of Moses and next to Le Pré aux Clercs – an indulgent (yet comparatively inexpensive) dining experience! Spend the night in Dijon.
Start your day on an energetic note with a cycle along the Green Way – a beautiful, green expanse of cycling trail across the countryside. It is sure to be full of fresh, crisp air that clears your mind. Next, take a packaged tour of all the sites of Burgundy’s previous inhabitants – the Celts, Romans and Dukes of Burgundy! There are many significant monuments here to explore – a guided tour would give you an organized, chronological way of going about that. End the evening watching the sun set on one of Burgundy’s many vineyards – sipping some of that famed wine and having a good time. This is the last time you’ll be able to do it on this trip – tomorrow, we head on over to Chamonix.
Start your trip to Chamonix – home to one of the oldest and most prestigious skiing sites. This lies in the south-east of France, just before the border of Switzerland – in the French Alps. Look over the border at Geneva while passing by! After you reach, unpack your bags and stretch out those muscles on a hike over one of Mont Blanc‘s – the highest summit in the Alps – climbing routes! Make sure to dress very warmly, so as to not catch a cold. Take an early evening vintage rail ride next, on Chemin de fer du Montenvers: a scenic trail including a look out at some of the mountain’s glaciers.
Start the day early on your first skiing lesson at Chamonix/ Mont Blanc, and watch the sun rise over the French Alps! Continue your skiing expedition well into the afternoon, with a short break in-between for some much-needed nourishment. Some hot French baked goods and a cup of tea ought to do the trick! In the evening, get on a cable car ride to sit and enjoy an aerial view of the scenery of Chamonix, while munching on some snacks you bought earlier. This marks your last evening at Chamonix.
Day 10 already! Today, we’ll be moving back upwards. Travel from Chamonix by bus towards Paris – remember to carry snacks, it is a slightly long ride! We say bus specifically, as it has a route that takes you through to Geneva – and then from Geneva to Paris. But fret not – you won’t need a Swiss visa, however please carry your passport with the France visa on it. You might need this. It’s also a great way to catch a glimpse of Switzerland on your France trip!
Watch the change between day and night at the Arc de Triomphe, and sip some nice coffee in a roadside cafe at Place Charles de Gaulle – where a whopping 12 avenues all converge. Walk down to the Lido de Paris as night falls, where the art of burlesque and cabaret shows have been alive since 1946. Have a good night’s sleep after everything, in the city that starts to seem like home.
Start the day at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, an example of French Gothic architecture that is esteemed to be one of the finest around. Move across the street to Shakespeare and Company, a legendary bookstore with a history dating back to 1919. Next, visit the Louvre Museum and Pyramid. Marvel at the arts and culture scene that is prevalent in France! Today is all about Parisian sightseeing and French history. End the day with a nice walk through one of Paris’ most famous streets, Rue de Rivoli – haute couture, bright lights and fashionable people converge in this part of town. Since we’re nearing the end of our trip, it makes sense to visit a shopping district for some souvenirs.
Alas, we are at the end of our trip. To exit on a good note, spend the morning moving through the Luxembourg Gardens as the sun rises, with all its fountain and sculptures. Marvel at the wonderful journey you’ve had so far, in the peace and serenity of aesthetic nature. Leave Paris with a whole lot of memories from your France tour!
We’ve come to the end of our guide, but not the end of your journey – France is a wonderful place which can be travelled to again and again, each visit garnering a new novelty. If you’d like to get a France visa online to ensure your travel is free of disturbances, check out our website at Visa2Fly.com! We also offer SIM card, travel insurance and further information on the same website, for a more convenient process. Sift through our other blogs on solo travel and language learning platforms as well, so that you can further secure your chances of having an amazing trip.