France is the most visited country in the world, a mantle it has held for the better part of this decade. Paris has a role to play in that, obviously, but France is more than just câlins et bisous under the shimmering lights of the dazzling capital.
The country is known for its world-class gastronomy, which has seen it placed in the UNESCO intangible heritage list. The weather is beautiful, with lovely warm summers and a mild climate in spring and autumn. France also boasts one of the highest and best looked after UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
There is the wine, the language, the art and culture, the ski resorts, the shopping, and we think that the style of the French people deserves a mention too. But the other thing that sets France apart is its sheer diversity. It is basically the whole of Europe rolled into one country, physically and culturally speaking.
This means you will be spoilt for choice when looking for the best France tours, but here are 15 to get you started.
1. Climb the Eiffel Tower with Second Floor Priority Access
The priority ticket to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower allows you to save precious time by skipping the famous lines at one of the most visited sites in the world. Learn about the history of the Tower from your guide before heading up to the second floor where you will have time to take in the splendour of Paris all by yourself.
A tour of the Eiffel Tower affords you mesmerizing views of other famous monuments in the French capital, including the Louvre, Notre Dame, Invalides, the bends in the Seine, Montmartre and Grand Palais.
2. Gain Entrance into the Louvre Museum with a Timed Entrance Ticket
The ticket to the Louvre throws the doors of the most famous art museum in the world wide open, inviting you in to explore it at your own pace.
Using a dedicated skip-the-line entrance, you will have a full day to treat yourself to the best the Louvre has to offer, including ancient Egyptian relics and masterpieces of the Renaissance, prints from the Royal Collection and paintings dating back to the 13th and 20th centuries. And of course, a trip to the Louvre is not complete without feasting your eyes on iconic sights like Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa.
3. Gain Access to the Palace of Versailles and Gardens
Available in 11 languages, this tour offers a full access ticket to every section of the Versailles, one of the world’s biggest and most lavish castles. A 1-day or 2-day ticket will let you envisage what life was like in the French court with a walk through the glittering Wall of Mirrors.
Saunter at your own pace in the17th-century garden, the largest of its kind in Europe, as you enjoy the immaculately manicured lawns, fountains and sculptures. The Petit Trianon and Grand Trianon also beckon you to explore them.
4. Go on a Tour of Paris
Enjoy a hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tour of Paris with audio commentary provided in 10 languages, including a free map of the city.
Visit all the major highlights of the City of Light, including the Eiffel Tower and Musée du Louvre; see the beautiful art at Musée D’Orsay, stroll down the Champs- Élysées, and admire the architecture of Notre Dame.
You can choose between the Classic Ticket ( one-day hop-on-hop-off experience with a free walking tour); the Premium Ticket (two days of touring Paris in a double-decker bus: or the Deluxe Ticket (similar to the Premium version but with a romantic cruise on the Seine River to boot).
This half-day tour starts in the medieval hillside village of Eze where you’re guaranteed impeccable sights of the French Riviera and Mediterranean Sea.
Swing by the Fragonard perfume factory before driving through La Turbie, another picturesque village from the medieval period. Then head to Monaco to witness a Changing of the Guard at Prince Palace and pay homage to the Monaco princes and princesses whose remains lie at the Cathedral. The tour ends in Monte Carlo where you will soak in the magic of the Casino and go on a spin around the Monaco Grand Prix road circuit.
6. Spend a Day in the French Riviera
The 9-hour sightseeing tour of the French Riviera will take you through scenic coastal roads as you head over to Moyenne Corniche to partake in the beautiful views of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and the Villefranche-sur-Mer.
You will drop by the quaint village of Eze before proceeding to the Principality of Monaco to partake in its myriad attractions, including the Trophy of the Alps, a Roman monument from the year 7 BC, and a visit to the Formula 1 track.
The live guide will then escort you to Antibes, a touristy city that marries nautical tradition and pleasures, before ending with a walk on the famous film festival red carpet in Cannes.
7. Take a 1 or 2-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour
Enjoy views of the city of Nice from an open-top tour bus and get plenty of time to soak in the city’s unique atmosphere with a 1-day or 2-day pass. This tour lets you explore Nice on your own terms, as hop-on-hop-off vouchers can be redeemed at any stop along the route.
Fancy relaxing in Cimiez as you burrow in the history, architecture and cultural heritage of Nice? Or spending more time at Promenade des Anglais, the most iconic street in Nice? Whatever strikes your fancy, this ticket comprises 16 stops where you can jump on and off as you wish.
8. Colorbus Marseille Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Book a 1 or 2-day tour of Marseille and see what you can unearth in the second largest city in France. The jump-on-jump-off tour of the port city lets you enjoy the best Marseille has to offer, including the Chateau d’If and Notre-Dame de la Garde which is perched on a hill overlooking the entire city. Spend some time at the pretty fishing port of Vallon des Auffes which has served as an inspiration for many a writer, poet and painter.
The tour includes 14 bus stops with an audio guide providing commentary in your language of choice.
9. Get a City Pass Marseille
The City Pass Marseille is designed for visitors to Marseille who want an all-inclusive package to explore the city. You can opt for a 24-hour, 48-hour or 72-hour pass that grants access to many of Marseille’s top attractions, museums, boats, trains, guided tours, public transport tickets etc.
A tourist train will take you to Notre-Dame de la Garde, the city’s most distinguished symbol. Or, you could opt for a train ride to the old town, aka The Basket, in Le Panier district, which should be a delight to explore thanks to its artsy ambience, village-like feel, sun-baked cafes and cool hidden squares.
10. Lyon City Hop-on-Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour
Any tour of France should factor in a trip to Lyon, a diverse city known for its cuisine, historical heritage, modern architecture and an authentic French feel that is hard to miss.
This convenient package offers a full-day hop-on-hop-off bus tour that covers the major draws in Lyon. These include the Basilica de Notre Dame de Fourvière, the Cathedral Saint Jean Baptiste, and the Place Bellecour where you’ll find the statue of Louis XIV, among other attractions.
There are 13 stops to choose from, and you are free to organize your itinerary as you so wish.
11. Head on a Segway Tour of Lyon
The Lyon Segway Tour starts with a 15-minute briefing to learn the ropes on how to ride this two-wheel personal transporter. You will then embark on a one-and-a-half hour Segway tour that skates through the most picturesque areas in Lyon, starting with a ride along the banks of the Rhône River.
You will pass through the one-of-a-kind Tunnel de la Croix-Rousse, an illuminated tunnel limited to bikers and pedestrians which cuts through 2 kilometres of the hill. Wrap off the fun ride through the Place Bellecour where you can gaze at the magnificent monuments that include the equestrian statue of Louis XIV.
12. Go on a Wine Tour in Bordeaux’s St. Emilion Village
Head over to the wine region of Bordeaux to discover the wines and rustic charm of the village of St Emilion, an attraction in its own right. The quaint village dates back to the medieval period, and the St. Emilion Village Half-Day Wine Tour will involve a stroll through the village that still features captivating Roman ruins and churches.
When you’re finished getting acquainted with the surrounds, go on a wine tour and tasting session in a Classified Growth Chateau of the Saint Emilion wine region.
13. Get a Bordeaux Metropole City Pass for 24, 48 or 72 Hours
There is a charm about Bordeaux that makes it one of those towns you never want to leave. The Bordeaux Metropole City Pass will ensure you squeeze the most out of your short sojourn here. Opt for a 24-hour, 48-hour or 72-hour pass that opens up a good deal of the port city’s monuments and cultural attractions. Choose between an open-top bus, touristic train or a guided walking tour, with free access to all public transport.
A practical guidebook is part of the package, and you will get to enjoy discounts on lunch or dinner cruises, wine excursions and more.
14. Embark on a Round-Trip Ferry Ticket: Cannes to Ste. Marguerite Island
The beauty of France lies in its diversity, and the round-trip ferry ticket from Cannes to Ste. Marguerite Island will reinforce this claim.
The sweet scent of pine and eucalyptus greets you soon as you set foot on the island, which features marked trails that guide you on a historical and botanical tour. There are numerous migratory bird species near Batéguier Pond, with unique plant species at the Point de la Convention.
At Fort Royal, you will find the Maritime Museum hosted by an old fort where the infamous Man in the Iron Mask was held in captivity.
15. Take a Full-Day Tour of Saint Tropez and Port Grimaud
Saint Tropez used to be a quiet fishing village but has since been transformed into a summer getaway for European celebrities. You will find the mega yachts of the rich and famous docked here, and you will have ample time to walk through the cobbled streets of this enchanting coastal town in the French Riviera.
A tour of Port Grimaud, a charming Mediterranean fishing and yachting village, is also on the cards, and you will get to understand why they call it Little Venice. The eight-hour guided tour is on an 8-seater air-conditioned minivan with a hotel pick-up and drop-off option.