5 road trip ideas in France

Rouen, photo by Frederic Bisson

The road trip often sounds like the typical American travel activity, and one of the most emblematic ones at that! Surely many travelers have grown up with and still love various road trip movies, most of which are set on the open highways of the US. But America is not the only place in the world where great road trips are to be had, and France is one of the best examples in this case. Although France won’t give you months of driving (unless you’re OK with driving in a loop!), there are many scenic French road trips that will uncover the minutiae of French life for you. So instead of flying to your destination, how about renting a car and driving? Here are 5 road trips ideas in France that will show some of the most spectacular parts of the country.

Montpellier to Nice

The Riviera is one of the most charming regions of France, and that much is obvious even if you don’t stop at every single picturesque coastal town you find on your way. You can start your trip in Montpellier, a compact and pleasant city and the capital of Languadoc-Rousillon, and make your way to Nice, the jewel of the French Riviera. You can either stick to the coast the whole time, or drive through beautiful Provence for some more variety. Stop by small villages like Aigues-Mortes, or some of the vineyards on the way for picnics.

Provence roundtrip from Montpellier

Montpellier, photo by Henri Sivonen

Provence is a wonderful region of France, with lovely vineyards where you can stop for wine tastings, small villages where you can sample the traditional cuisine of the area, and fragrant lavender fields. While the rocky hills of Provence can certainly be explored on foot or on bike, if you want to keep the physical exertion to a minimum then rent a car in Montpellier and take a roundtrip tha includes Arles, Avignon and Salon-de-Provence and everything nice on the way.

Toulouse, Bordeaux, Biarritz

The triangle made up Toulouse, Bordeauux and Biarritz contains all the essentials of a French road trip: beautiful historic architecture, delicious French wine and stunning beaches. You can start in any of the corners of the ‘triangle’ and choose any of the many routes between the three cities. Don’t miss the Cote d’Argent, the longest beach in Europe, and Lourdes, which is still a famous religious site.

Paris to Rouen, via Rennes

Rennes, ohoto by redjar on Flickr

If you want a long and satisfying trip that will allow you to see many of the most historical cities of France in one go, then you should start your trip in Paris and make your way to Rouen – but not in a straight line! This road trip requires a long detour through Chartres, Rennes, Caen and finally Rouen. Chartres’s beautiful medieval architecture, the pleasant streets of Rennes, Caen’s modern bustle and the stunning cathedral of Rouen are the highlights of this trip.

Route Napoleon

History buffs will probably be delighted to follow the footsteps of the famous French Emperor on his return from Elba, where he was exiled. The trip starts at Golf-Juan, where Napoleon disembarked, and follows his trail to Grenoble. The whole route (over 300 kilometers) is signposted with golden eagles.


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