France History Self-Drive Tours

French heritage doesn't need to be advertised. With churches, castles, manors, mansions, abbeys, and former battle sites from world wars, history lovers will have more than enough to learn about and keep them busy on one of our France history tours.

We'll help you immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of French history. From ancient Roman ruins to majestic cathedrals, opulent castles to centuries-old buildings, and help from a private tour guide if you prefer, you'll discover the fascinating stories that have shaped France. Our captivating self-guided history tours of France will help reveal the hidden gems and iconic landmarks that make France a favorite destination for history enthusiasts.

Castles: Tales of Nobility, Religion and Intrigue

Discover the stories of nobility and intrigue as you explore the splendid castles that dot the French landscape. The fairytale-like Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley will transport you to the Renaissance era, while the medieval fortress of Carcassonne will ignite your imagination with its formidable walls. Discover the opulence of the Palace of Versailles or the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, or journey to the picturesque. And don't miss the Château de Beynac in Dordogne, a majestic fortress nestled on a hilltop, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and a glimpse into the medieval history of the area.

Beynac Castle in green surroundings in Dordogne
Beynac Castle in Dordogne © Pixabay

Churches: Marvel at these Architectural Splendors

France has many beautiful churches, showcasing architectural wonders that span centuries. Admire the Gothic masterpiece of Notre-Dame de Paris, immerse yourself in the ethereal beauty of Sainte-Chapelle, renowned for its stunning stained glass windows that create a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of colors, or head south to Provence and explore the Chapelle du Rosaire, adorned with original artwork and exquisite stained glass windows by Henri Matisse, who found inspiration in this charming town during his time there.

We know the most beautiful churches to visit in each place you visit, including many that are away from the typical tourist trails.

Cathedrals: Awe-Inspiring Divine Grandeur

We would love to help you discover France's magnificent cathedrals. The grandeur of Reims Cathedral in the Champagne region, where French kings were once crowned, will leave you stunned. We also recommend a visit to beautiful Amiens Cathedral in the Somme region, the largest Gothic cathedral in France. Or you may admire the elegance of Strasbourg Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site that stands as a testament to the region's rich architectural heritage.

Centuries-Old Buildings: Witness Living History

Wander through the streets of France and encounter centuries-old buildings that have stood the test of time. Explore the medieval hospices of Beaune in Burgundy, stroll along the charming canals of Colmar, Alsace, lined with well-preserved half-timbered houses, or wander the narrow alleyways of Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, where ancient stone buildings stand by renowned vineyards.

Tranquil Abbeys

We will help you find some tranquility in the serene abbeys scattered throughout France. The ethereal beauty of Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey rising from its rocky islet in Normandy will leave you awe-inspired. We'll advise you where to take the best photos and how to avoid the tourist crowds.

In beautiful Provence, you may stop by at Abbaye de Senanque, surrounded by lavender fields. In the fascinating region of Brittany, we'll guide you to an ancient monastery with a rich history dating back to the 5th century, nestled in lush greenery and overlooking the Bay of Brest.

On the French Riviera, escape the crowds of Cannes by taking a short boat trip to Abbaye de Lérins on the picturesque Mediterranean island of Saint-Honorat. You'll stroll through serene gardens and vineyards, and discover their monastic traditions while enjoying breathtaking views.

Senanque Abbey behind a lavender field in Provence
Senanque Abbey in Provence © Pixabay

Roman Ruins: Echoes of an Ancient Civilization

France has some remarkably well-preserved Roman ruins. These include amphitheater in Nîmes and the Roman theater and Les Alyscamps necropolis in the ancient city of Arles. You'll love the stunning Pont du Gard, a majestic Roman aqueduct spanning the Gardon River, and you may even enjoy kayaking under the bridge, if you like.

.We'll also help you discover some Roman remains off the beaten path, in gorgeous little villages that most tourists don't know about.

World War Battle Sites: Remembrance and Reflection

Some travelers are interested in a World War history tour of France, so if this interests you, we can help you visit some former World War battle sites with expert private guides.

Verdun, where one of the bloodiest battles in history took place, stands as a poignant memorial, with military cemeteries, well-preserved trenches, and ruins from destroyed villages. Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial is the biggest American military cemetery in Europe and may be of interest to American travelers. 

You may also walk in the footsteps of soldiers at the Somme WWI battlefields, where history unfolded on a tragically vast scale. We can also help you explore the Normandy landing beaches, where Allied forces made their historic D-Day landings toward the end of World War II.

Unveil the Mysteries of French History with Us

Our history trips to France will take you on an unforgettable journey through time, always based on your particular interests. The expert guides we work with will bring the stories of each site to life, with fascinating narratives that will deepen your understanding and appreciation of our heritage.

We tailor every aspect of your tour to your preferences, with guidance from your unique France Just For You guidebook and our preferred smartphone apps. And of course, the France Just For You team are always at the end of the phone if you need anything during your trip.

Let us plan your unique self-drive itinerary that will take you to the best of France's hidden historical gems.

loire valley castles

We also understand that there is such a thing as "too much" of one thing.

We plan the daily suggested itineraries so our travelers can get "a bit of everything" they like and won't feel bored.

 

Our self guided tours for history lovers

Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 7650
Region
in Normandy, Paris & Brittany

This itinerary will uncover the treasures of the North-West of France, at a very relaxed pace...so you really have the time to meet with locals.

Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 4050
Region
in Brittany

If you've always dreamt of visiting Brittany, it's time to go ! This 13 day itinerary will take you along the coasts and across the rolling hills of Brittany. From the Morbihan Gulf to Pont Aven, drive to the tip of Brittany in Finistère, then enjoy the north coast from the pink granite beaches back east to Rennes, Saint Malo and Mont Saint Michel area.

Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
20 days
Price
US$ 6580
Region
in Alsace, Burgundy, Loire Valley, Normandy & Paris

From East to West, discover the Northern half of France at your own pace. Visit Alsace, Burgundy, the Loire Valley, and Normandy, ending your wonderful adventure in Paris.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 6480
Region
in Paris, Alsace, Burgundy, Lyon & Provence

This itinerary takes you to Eastern France from North to South. After spending a few days in Paris, you will enjoy the Alsace region on the German border and then drive your way south all the way to Provence. The best itinerary to discover l'Est de la France !

Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3620
Region
in Verdun, Burgundy & Loire Valley

This itinerary gives a nice overview of the center of France: the Verdun WWI battlefields, the wine and heritage of Burgundy, and ending in the Loire Valley with its gardens, castles and sweet life.

Wine Tasting
WWI & WWII Battlefields
Heritage & History
Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 7120
Region
in Paris, Loire Valley & Normandy

This itinerary will take you to three of the culturally richest regions of France, at a relaxed pace and away from the beaten tracks. We recommend flying into and out of Paris for this itinerary.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 7570
Region
in Provence, Basque Country, Dordogne, Loire Valley & Paris

This itinerary will take you from South to North, following some of the most typical and beautiful scenic roads in France. We recommend flying into Marseille airport.

Heritage & History
Towns & Villages
Duration
4 days
Price
US$ 2220
Region
in Normandy & Paris

If you are interested in WWII history and/or have a family member who fought in the Battle of Normandy, this tour is just for you. We can plan a general itinerary based on what we think you would be most interested in, or you can tell us. For example, North Americans may like to visit the American and Canadian beaches of Omaha , Utah and Juno , and the American and Canadian war cemeteries. If you have a family connection, we will plan an itinerary that follows the route your family member took with their battalion during the Battle of Normandy. WWII Family History Tour What is truly unique …

WWI & WWII Battlefields
Heritage & History
Duration
26 days
Price
US$ 7750
Region
in Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Provence & French Riviera

Spend about a month traveling from Paris to Nice on the French Riviera and get a real feel for the authentic France!

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 4350
Region
in Carcassonne, Basque Country & Dordogne

Explore the South West of France: fortresses clinging to the cliffs in the Cathar Country and Dordogne, many “most beautiful villages of France”, and a very rich and unique gastronomy. This is where to experience the authentic France.

Heritage & History
Gourmet Food
Countryside
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 3980
Region
in Basque Country, Carcassonne & Provence

This unique self-drive itinerary will have you cross the South of France from its Western coast in the Basque Country to beautiful Provence, with its cicadas and lavender fields.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
1 day
Price
US$ 600
Region
in Normandy

Get immersed into the Battle of Normandy and Bayeux history. How To Get There This Day Tour starts in Bayeux. From Paris, you can take a direct train. Bayeux Old City Bayeux may not be well known compared to Omaha Beach but the city has a lot to interest travelers. We plan for you to walk around Bayeux old city in the morning. We will provide a detailed map and information: restaurants, special shops, streets you don’t want to miss. You will also see the famous Bayeux Tapestry which is a beautiful testimony of the Middle Ages and William the Conqueror history. The WWII Landing Sites In the …

WWI & WWII Battlefields
Heritage & History

Our Travelers’ Reviews

Vania
Emilie did an outstanding job choosing ideal locations, charming B and B's and accommodating our requests. We went from Normandy to Aix to the Alps to Paris and were happy with the entire trip. She created a personalized itinerary that made our travels very easy and our experiences feel unique. No doubt I would recommend France Just for You and …
Lucelle
I was amazed when I came across the website that ALL the reviews were excellent. From the moment I started dealing with Emilie I received amazing service in planning our wonderful trip to France. I will not repeat all the details that are in the previous posts but highlight some of the exceptional service that I received. The booking of the …
Annie & Rob from Australia
We had the most amazing holiday visiting all the wine regions in France fully arranged by France Just For You. Those ladies thought of everything….from parking & fuel station options to fabulous restaurants & patisseries, scenic walks & some of the prettiest villages, chateaus & gardens you’ll ever see. They also shared such a lot of history & fun …

Our Travelers’ Photos

Alan & Lucelle
From South Africa
In Mont Saint Michel at the border between Brittany & Normandy
Georgia & Matt from Australia
Cooking fresh stawberries from Carpentras in Provence
Bruce from Australia
Cooking outdoor in Provence, bon appétit !
Patricia, Brandon, Alyssa & Anika
from Canada
in a cellar in the Loire Valley
Yvette & David
from the US
on the French Riviera, near Nice
Ginger & Tom
from the US
On the Eiffel Tower
Sue & Chris
Romantic night in Montecarlo
Ginger & Tom
from the US
At their B&B in the Loire Valley
Diana & Michael
A glass of wine in the Provence vineyards, what else ?
Maureen & Victor
from the US
Visiting an Abbey in the Loire Valley
Ashish, Kaushiki & Kailash
From the US
In Paris, across the Seine river from the Louvre Museum
Bonnie & her 2 daughters
from Canada
In Ménerbes, Provence