This itinerary in pictures
City | History & culture | Self-drive
Staying at a series of properties boasting both character and charm, you'll make your way through the beautiful rural landscapes, verdant vineyards and pretty villages of Provence and Burgundy before arriving in the romantic city of Paris.
Day by day itinerary
Aix en Provence
Arrive in Marseille where you'll collect your hire car and drive to Aix en Provence in the heart of the stunning Provence region of southern France. Check into the fabulous Villa Baulieu for a two night stay and spend the rest of the day relaxing by the pool, strolling in the surrounding parklands or pamper yourself with a spa bath overlooking the nearby vineyards.
The next day you'll have time to explore Aix en Provence, a town famed for its intricate architecture, ornate fountains and lively weekend market. The town is also home to a collection of Cezanne's later works.
Stay: Villa Baulieu (B)
Drive 70 kilometres to Avignon, one of the principle cities of Provence, which really came to prominence during medieval times. Blessed with wonderful architecture, picturesque squares and an idyllic riverside setting, Avignon is a wonderful place to explore on foot. In the afternoon check into the Auberge de Cassagne et Spa, a 19th century country house located in Avignon le Pontet.
Stay: Auberge de Cassagne et Spa (B)
Today you'll drive to the town of Orange, just 25 minutes from Avignon. The town is famed for its wonderfully preserved Roman theatre and annual music festival. Check into the superb L'A Propos country house hotel where you'll spend the next two nights.
Stay: L'A Propos
Depart Orange for the three-hour drive to Clement-Ferrand, one of France's oldest cities, ringed by a series of extinct volcanoes including the Puy-de-Dome, just 13 kilometres from the city centre.
Spend two-day exploring the old town and relaxing at the spectacular Chateau Royal de Saint-Saturnin, a medieval fortress turned royal residence, blessed with impressive 13th century architecture and breathtaking views of the Parc des Volcans.
Stay: Chateau Royal de Saint-Saturnin (B)
A 295-kilometre drive takes you to the bustling town of Beaune, known as a place of pilgrimage for art-lovers, wine aficionados and gastronomes. Your accommodation for the night is the wonderful Le Cep, a highlight of Burgundian hospitality with a superb location in the historic old town and a great base from which to explore the regions many vineyards.
Stay: Le Cep, Beaune (B)
Known of course for its mustard, Dijon is also one of France's most beautiful cities, crammed full of historic buildings and byways and historical capital of the Dukes of Burgundy. As Dijon is a leisurely 40-minute drive from Beaune, you'll have plenty of time to explore before checking into the Hotel Wilson, a former 17th century postal stagecoach relay, with Louise XIII period furniture adding extra character and style.
Stay: Hotel Wilson, Dijon (B)
Drive to Auxerre in northern Burgundy, a charming city containing a number of historic buildings including the Old Abbey of St Germain, which houses an important frescoe-filled crypt dating back to the time of Charlemagne, and the Cathédrale Saint-Etienned'Auxerre, a magnificent structure with spellbinding Gothic architecture.
Spend the day exploring before checking in to the beautiful and quintessentially French Le Petit Manoir de Bruyeres for a one-night stay.
Stay: Le Petit Manoir de Bruyeres, Villefargeau nr Auxerre (B)
The penultimate stop on your self-drive is at the historic town of Fontainebleau, a favourite weekend getaway for Parisians and home to the Chateau de Fontainebleu of the kings of France.
Near to the town on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleu in the pretty village of Barbizon you'll find your accommodation where you'll spend two nights. The Hotellerie du Bas-Breau is set in a stunning one-hectare park just an hour from Paris and has hosted a number of celebrities, including Robert Louise Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island.
Stay: Hotellerie du Bas-Breau, Barbizon nr Fontainbleau (B)
Finally you'll make the one-hour drive to Paris, France's spectacular capital city, where you'll have a full day to explore the sights. Your accommodation will be in an elegant 17th century building set on one of the city's finest squares. The Pavillion de la Reine is cosy and romantic and a great place to end your journey through the heart of France.
Stay: Pavillion de la Reine (B)
Drive your car to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and board your onward flight.
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