France tailor-made holidays

France is one of the world's great travel destinations. From Paris to Provence and Brittany to Burgundy, Alsace to Auvergne, there's something for everyone - and so it's little surprise that France consistently rates as one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. And from the UK it's right on our doorstep, a mere hop across the Channel - making it the perfect place for a short break or a longer self-drive or tailor-made tour. [See France itinerary ideas]

Whether you're visiting the countless grand cathedrals and bastions of France's ancient cities or surfing the Atlantic breakers on the Côte d'Argent in Aquitaine, skiing the pure-white slopes of Chamonix or catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, France holidays are endlessly diverse and constantly inspiring.

Historically, France is one of Europe's most fascinating countries. Neanderthal civilisations are said to have been established here as long ago as 50,000 BC and, since then, empires have come and gone, kings have been crowned and some beheaded, and numerous wars have been won and lost - all of which have left behind landmarks and traditions that have shaped the French identity.

Today, her influence stretches way beyond her borders, whether through the country's leading role in the European Union or in former colonies in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, in which the French language and traditions remain. French food is one of the most familiar exports, the likes of tarte tartin, moules frites, duck confit and endless varieties of cheese enjoyed in many countries, but best enjoyed in France than anywhere else. And then of course there's the small matter of French wine - Bordeaux, Bourgueil, Burgundy and Champagne to name a few - each and every one iconic, distinct, and truly French.

The English playwright Charles Morgan once said ‘France is an idea necessary to civilisation'. Think of farmers' markets in the Loire Valley, artists working along the Seine in Paris, rowing boats in the La Venise Verte in Poitou-Charentes and the glamorous bars of the French Riviera and it'd be near impossible to disagree with him.

Wexas Travel brochure for France

Europe brochure

Our in depth guide packed with background information, sample itineraries designed by our experts and hand-picked suggestions for what to see and do, where to stay and when best to go.

When to go

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."
Ernest Hemingway

France has a fabulous variety of year-round attractions. Skiing is possible in the Alps from mid-December to late April in the main resorts, and even into summer on the high glaciers of Val d'Isère, Les Deux Alpes and l'Alpe d'Huez, while the lower slopes of the Alps, Jura and Pyrenees offer fabulous hiking and biking from spring to autumn. Paris seduces visitors all through the year, though springtime remains a perennial favourite; the Mediterranean coast and Corsica have mild winters and very hot summers, while the Atlantic coast is cooler but less crowded. Spring and early autumn are perfect for architectural tours around the châteaux of the Loire and the Dordogne, while the hills of Provence offer evening respite from soaring summer temperatures.


Essential Experiences

We’ve rounded up our list of recommended sites and things to do. Click on the map to enlarge it and see what we suggest or follow the links in the list to discover how to get the best out of your holiday.

Practical Information

"It is more fun for an intelligent person to live in an intelligent country. France has the only two things toward which we drift as we grow older - intelligence and good manners."
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Capital - Paris

Size - 543,965 sq km

Language - French

Population - 63.0 million (2011)

Religion - 45% Christian (predominantly Catholic); 35% no religion; 3% Muslim; 1% Jewish; 1% Buddhist

Currency - 1 euro (€) = 100 cents

Time zone - GMT + 1

Flight time - 1 hour 15 mins London to Paris; 2 hours London to Nice (Eurostar 2 hours 20 mins London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord; 6-7 hours London St Pancras to Avignon)


"To live is not to breathe but to act. It is to make use of our organs, our senses, our faculties, of all the parts of ourselves which give us the sentiment of our existence. The man who has lived the most is not he who has counted the most years but he who has most felt life."
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile

Nationwide and internationally famous celebrations and events include the Tour de France, the midsummer Fête de la Musique, Bastille Day, and the Cannes Film Festival but it's worth checking ahead of your stay for regional festivals with a distinct colour and character. July is by far the busiest month, and a good information source for festivals and other listings is www.viafrance.com.


La Folle Journée, Nantes. Five-day festival of classical music.


Fête du Citron, Menton (Alpes-Maritimes). Forty days before Easter, the 'city of lemons' hosts a traditional festival celebrating local produce and featuring giant sculptures and floats decorated with oranges and lemons.

Nice Carnival. Dazzling parades and a gastronomic celebration centring on the Promenade des Anglais.


Festival de Cannes. For twelve days from mid-May the influential international film industry event takes over the Riviera.

Fête de la Sainte Sarah, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (Camargue), 24 May. Romany festival commemorating the arrival of the Black Madonna in France.


Festival de St-Denis, Paris. Classical and world music festival.


Festival Furies, Châlons-en-Champagne. International circus and street theatre festival.

Festival de Musique de Strasbourg. Two-week festival of classical music.

Bordeaux Fête le Vin. Biennial wine festival (even-numbered years) involving tastings and events along a 2-km stretch of the Garonne.

Festival Django Reinhardt, Samois-sur-Seine (Île-de-France). Open-air jazz festival in honour of the guitar maestro.

Fête de la Musique. Country-wide night of free music concerts in streets, parks and public buildings on 21 June.

Marche des Fiertés LGBT. Gay Pride march from Montparnasse to Place de la Bastille, with parties, balls and other events spilling out into Le Marais and beyond.


Les Nuits de Fourvière, Lyon. Festival of performance arts embracing theatre, dance, music and cinema.

Montpellier Danse. International contemporary dance festival.

Jazz à Vienne. Two weeks of jazz in and around the city's famous Roman amphitheatre.

Eurockéennes, Belfort (Franche-Comté). Pun-friendly rock and indie music festival in a nature reserve beside Lac de Malsaucy.

Flâneries Musicales d'Été, Reims. A series of over 100 mostly free promenade concerts in the city's courtyards, gardens and other public spaces.

Tour de France, nationwide. Celebrations and special events mark each stage of the internationally famous bike race as it traverses the country's cities, countryside and mountains for three weeks and over 3,000km.


Bastille Day, 14 July. France's national day is celebrated throughout the country with fireworks and other festivities and civil ceremonies to mark the storming of the Bastille fortress and prison, an act that symbolises the uprising of modern France. A military parade takes place in the morning on the Champs-Élysées in front of the French president and other officials and guests.

Festival International d'Art Lyrique, Aix-en-Provence. Annual festival of opera, orchestral, chamber, vocal and solo instrumental music.

Cratère Surfaces, Alès (Languedoc-Rousillon). International festival of street theatre.

Les Tombées de la Nuit, Rennes. Eighteen nights of street concerts, cinema and performance arts.

Les Rencontres d'Arles international photography festival. A week of events in early July, with exhibitions continuing to September throughout the city.

Les Suds à Arles. World music festival.

Festival d'Avignon. Contemporary dance and theatre.

Festival International d'Opéra Baroque, Beaune. Baroque opera revivals, Mozart recitals on original instruments and other performances over four weekends.

Festival des Vieilles Charrues, Carhaix (Brittany). The small farming town hosts France's largest rock music festival with big-name international acts

Les Cultures du Monde, Gannat (Auvergne). International music, dance and folklore festival.

Rencontres du Jeune Théâtre Européen, Grenoble. Contemporary theatre performances and events.

Jazz à Juan, Juan-les-Pins, Antibes. Big-name classical and modern jazz performances in a forest setting.

Nice Jazz Festival. An important five days in the jazz calendar with a history dating back to a legendary 1948 programme featuring Louis Armstrong, Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt.

Festival de Saintes (Charente-Maritime). A programme of daytime and evening classical music concerts in the historic Abbaye aux Dames.


Festival Pablo Casals, Prades (Pyrénées-Orientales). A three-week programme of classic and contemporary chamber music.

Festival International de Piano, La Roque d'Anthéron (Provence). Month-long festival of classical and contemporary keyboard music.

Festival de Musique, Menton. The city of lemons becomes the city of chamber music for a fortnight, kicking off with an open-air concert in the forecourt of the Basilica of St Michael the Archangel.

Mimos, Périgueux (Dordogne). Six-day international mime festival also featuring clowning, circus, dance, puppetry and (wordless) music.


Festival International de Théâtre de Rue, Aurillac (Auvergne). For four days in late August Aurillac hosts a spectacular programme of street theatre, installations and circus acts.

Festival Interceltique, Lorient. A twelve-day Celtic folk festival takes over this corner of Brittany.

Festival Météo, Mulhouse (Alsace). Thirty jazz concerts in five days at venues across the city.

Rock en Seine, Haute de Seine. Three-day rock festival established in 2003, held in the garden of the Château de Saint-Cloud, west of Paris.

Semaines Musicales, Quimper (Finistères, Brittany). A classical and contemporary music festival with a rich and eclectic programme.

La Route du Rock, Saint-Malo. Popular four-day rock music festival in and around the walled Breton seaside city.


Jazz à la Villette, Paris. Two weeks of traditional and modern jazz concerts in the city's northeastern park.

Les Francophonies en Limousin, Limoges. Contemporary French-language theatre, dance and music from around the world.

Bienniale de la Danse, Lyon. Biennial festival (even years) featuring dance performances, events and a grand parade.

Biennale d'Art Contemporain, Lyon. Alternating with the dance festival, every other year the city plays host to international contemporary art.

Biennial des Antiquaires, Paris. Ten-day biennial antiques fair (even years) in the majestic Grand Palais.

Visa pour l'Image, Perpignan. International photojournalism festival with exhibitions and events throughout the city.

Fête Renaissance du Roi de l'Oiseau, Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire). Historical pageants, shows and re-enactments from the Renaissance era.


Musica, Strasbourg. Two-week festival of modern classical music performances.

September to December

Festival d'Automne, Paris. A wide-ranging seasonal festival of contemporary arts including theatre, concerts, dance, films and exhibitions.


Les Musicales, Bastia. Corsica's longest running music festival, embracing a wide range of musical styles.

Nancy Jazz Pulsations, Nancy (Lorraine). Eleven-day jazz and world music festival.

Foire International d'Art Contemporain, Paris. City-wide contemporary art fair, combined with a programme of musical, contemporary dance and theatre performances.

November - Jazz d'Or, Strasbourg. The final date in the jazz calendar offers a fortnight of contemporary jazz performances from around the world.


Rencontres Transmusicales Rennes. Three-day festival showcasing new trends in contemporary music.

Christmas markets, Alsace and beyond. Strasbourg has held a Christmas market around its cathedral since 1570, and they are a seasonal feature in other Alsatian towns as well as Angers, Grenoble, Lyon, Metz, Nantes and Reims.


Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.

Passport requirements

Passports must be valid for the full duration of your stay. No additional period of validity is required.



Euro notes and coins from all issuing countries are accepted. Bank notes are printed in values of €5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500, and coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 and 50 cents and €1 and 2.


ATMs are easy to find in France in all but the smallest villages, and are mostly linked to the Cirrus and Maestro networks. Credit cards can also usually be used to withdraw a cash advance.

Cash and EFTPOS

Always keep some cash on you for small purchases. If you wish to withdraw or exchange money over the counter, banks are normally open from 10 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday in Paris, and the same hours from Tuesday to Saturday in the rest of France, but with a two-hour break for lunch at 1 pm. Credit and debit cards are accepted in most shops and restaurants, but often with a minimum purchase of around €15.

Guideline prices

The price of drinks in bars and cafés can seem a little high to visitors from Britain, especially in outdoor terrace seating in the main tourist areas, and when the pound is weak against the euro, but fresh produce and local wines can offer good value. Expect to pay around €2 for a coffee (espresso), and €4 for a café crème, a small beer or a soft drink, while a bottle of quaffable wine can be picked up in a supermarket for around €5. A meal for two in a mid-range restaurant is from around €50.

Regions [11]

Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in France, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.


Nice, the seductive capital of the Côte d'Azur is more often than not drenched in sunshine, and life is more or less lived on the beaches lining a sparkling Mediterranean. The Baie des Anges, or Bay of Angels, is a busy as well as beautiful one, with water-skiers and …

Northern France

Northern France has been a popular short break destination for British holidaymakers for many years. Regular cross-Channel ferry services from the Kent coast to Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk, together with high-speed Eurostar trains, make Le Nord and Picardy easy and …


Paris is one of the world's great cities. It's a city of grand ambition and a wealth of cultural landmarks, architectural wonders and fascinating stories surrounding its rich history. The City of Light has attracted visitors for centuries and is considered one of …

Southeastern France

Southeastern France is a varied and enticing holiday destination, a place where luxury indulgences can be enjoyed with the jet set in Cannes and Nice, but where an another, more authentic version of France is never far away. It can be tasted in the hearty food of Lyon, …

Southwestern France

Southwestern France has a lot to offer travellers. Beautifully rural in parts, dramatically mountainous in others and fringed by the stunning beaches of the Atlantic coast to the west, this area of France encompasses the three great regions of the Midi Pyrenees, …

Western France

Western France, like many areas of France, is quite distinct from its neighbours. Though situated across the sea from the British Isles, the area has as much in common with the Celtic traditions of Wales, Scotland and Ireland as it does with France, thanks largely to …

Itinerary ideas [25]

The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in France. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.

Bordeaux Wine-Tasting Breaks

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Activity adventure Short break

Sample a taste of Bordeaux with a range of flexible wine-tasting city breaks.

APT River Cruises

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History & culture Honeymoon Luxury travel

With a 98% satisfaction rating from travellers and more than 15 years experience, APT, together with its partner AmaWaterways, sets the benchmark for European …

Prestige Champagne Weekend

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Food & wine Luxury travel Short break

There's no better place to enjoy a glass of Champagne than in the region that gave the drink its name. We use a specialist champagne tour operator - Grape …

Eurostar & beyond

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History & culture Luxury travel Short break

Travelling by Eurostar is a fast and convenient way to hop across to the Continent and via a quick change of trains in Paris, Lille or Brussels, opens up the …

Moselle, Rhône & Rhine Treasures – Arles to Amsterdam

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Activity adventure City Escorted tour

A journey fit for royalty, this 15-day luxury river cruise sees you sweep across Europe from Arles in the south of France to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, …

Independent cycling holiday, Burgundy

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Activity adventure Food & wine History & culture

World-famous vineyards, fine food and pretty rivers and canals are just a few of the highlights of this 6-night self-guided cycle tour of Burgundy.

Exclusive Bordeaux Wine Tour

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Activity adventure City Food & wine

France one of the world's pre-eminent wine destinations, a connoisseur's paradise with a wine-making heritage dating back almost 2000 years.

Jewels of the Rhône

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City History & culture River cruise

This 11-day cruise from Travelmarvel by APT showcases the charming villages, historical towns and treasured vineyards of the Rhône River from Arles to …

Country chic in Languedoc and Provence

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City History & culture Luxury travel

The rolling countryside of Languedoc and Provence is as varied as it is beautiful. Gentle valleys, fruit orchards, vineyards and endless fields of lavender are …

From Provence to Paris

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City History & culture Luxury travel

Travel through the heart of rural France on this two-week tailor-made self-drive that takes you from Provence to Paris.

Cycling the chateaux of the Loire

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Activity adventure Escorted tour History & culture

The Loire is the longest river in France, rising in the Massif Central and flowing 620 miles to the Atlantic Ocean, passing grand chateaux, beautiful rolling …

The Orient-Express: Venice-Prague-London

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City History & culture Luxury travel

Experience luxury rail travel at its finest on the world-renowned Venice Simplon Orient-Express as you travel through the heart of continental Europe from …

Mountains & Villages of Corsica

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Activity adventure Beach History & culture

The mountainous island of Corsica offers some of Europe's best walking, with high mountain peaks and rugged landscapes, as well as beautiful beaches and …

Wellbeing Short Break - Saint Tropez

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Activity adventure Luxury travel Short break

Luxurious, stylish and sophisticated, La Reserve near Saint-Tropez was awarded the Wallpaper Magazine design awards Best Hotel 2011 with good reason.

Classic Mont Blanc

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Activity adventure Escorted tour Natural world

Trekking enthusiasts have long been drawn to the myriad of soaring peaks, needle-sharp spires and cascading glaciers that line the Chamonix Valley. Head and …

Independent Walking Holiday - Dordogne

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Activity adventure History & culture

The Dordogne in southwest France has been a firm favourite with British travellers for many years, and this 9-day gastronomic walking holiday is a memorable way …

Provence cycling weekend

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Activity adventure History & culture Natural world

This five-day self-guided circular tour will see you start and end in the old agricultural town of Cavaillon. If you follow the picturesque path to the top of …

Romantic Seine River Cruise

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History & culture Luxury travel River cruise

Travel in style as you join boutique river cruise company APT and weave your way down the romantic River Seine on this eight-day luxury river cruise, calling at …

Flexible Champagne 4-day tour

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Activity adventure Food & wine History & culture

This four-day Champagne tour provides the perfect introduction to the different styles and tastes of Champagne found throughout the region.

Europe Ski Offers

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All-inclusive Luxury travel Ski

An all inclusive ski option is tremendous value and a stay at a Club Med Village is the hassle-free way to ski for families, couples and friends alike. A …

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Even for the most ardent epicurean, a holiday that revolves around food and wine can be one of the … [Read more about The best food and wine holidays in the world]

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