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
1 day
Price
US$ 600
Region
in Dordogne

Discover Dordogne’s must sees and hidden beauties in a day from Sarlat. How To Get There This day tour starts from Sarlat. From Bordeaux, you may take a train or bus to Sarlat (about 1hr30). Dordogne is one of our favorite regions of France and we like to have our travelers see this area through our insiders’ eyes.

Heritage & History
Towns & Villages
Duration
1 day
Price
US$ 730
Region
in Normandy

Spend a memorable day exploring the mythical Mont Saint Michel! How to get there This tour starts in Avranches, near Mont Saint Michel. You may take a train or a bus from Paris. If you stay in the area, we may also meet you directly in Mt St Michel parking lots. Mont Saint Michel is one of the most visited sites in France and many travelers are caught in the crowds. We will plan your day for you to enjoy this unique site at its best. ppen in the morning or in the afternoon.

Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
1 day
Price
US$ 400
Region
in Loire Valley

How to Get There If you are already in the Loire Valley, we can plan your day from your accommodation. If you are in Paris, you may take a 1 hour high speed train to Tours train station. For this special day, we plan for you to get an overview of the diversity of the Loire Valley.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 4180
Region
in Dordogne, Carcassonne & Provence

Experience medieval France in three of the richest heritage regions in the South of France.

Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3430
Region
in Paris, Burgundy & Loire Valley

Discover French gastronomy in three regions famous the world over for their food and wines. Burgundy and the Loire Valley are actually arguing about where Coq au Vin was first invented. Burgundy is famous for wine sauce and the Loire Valley for river fish, fruits and goat cheese. And of course Paris is heaven to gourmets! You’ll find the best boulangeries in the world in Paris, and the food markets are amazing.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Duration
20 days
Price
US$ 5720
Region
in Burgundy, Loire Valley, Normandy & Paris

This is the best itinerary to thoroughly discover the Northern part of France: Burgundy vineyards, Loire Valley castles, Normandy WWII history . . . and ending in the most famous and beautiful capital in the world - Paris.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 6250
Region
in Paris, Provence & French Riviera

This itinerary will take you from Paris, the city of lights, to Provence in two different locations, and end in the French Riviera. Perfect to relax & get some sun !

Heritage & History
Gourmet Food
Art & Museums
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 5480
Region
in Paris, Loire Valley & Normandy

This itinerary gives you the perfect tour of Northern France, including Paris, the Loire Valley castles and gastronomy, and ending in Normandy with the landing sites, the hinterland and beautiful Giverny.

Heritage & History
Gourmet Food
Countryside
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3480
Region
in Loire Valley & Normandy

From the Loire Valley castles , the famous village of Mont Saint Michel surrounded by water, the landings beaches and the Norman countryside . . . to end the trip at Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny : you’ll have to keep your eyes wide open!

Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 4620
Region
in Normandy, Loire Valley & Paris

Follow the waterways in France from the Norman beaches on the Atlantic coasts to the Loire river, its castles and wonderful gardens . . . ending along the Seine river banks in Paris.

Heritage & History
Towns & Villages
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3740
Region
in Paris, Normandy & Loire Valley

Get a taste of the real France in very typical regions, famous for their cultural heritage as well as their sweet way of life.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 4680
Region
in Champagne, Burgundy, Loire Valley & Normandy

Exploring by the back roads is the best way to experience France and immerse yourself in the culture. Get a real feel for the authentic France, and enjoy at your own pace.

Heritage & History
Towns & Villages
Countryside

Our Travelers’ Reviews

Beth & Majid
We had a wonderful experience with Laura and Emilie- they were very responsive to all of our questions and needs and helped us plan a fabulous trip! While we were there, they were also very helpful when we needed assistance with reservations or had questions about processes during COVID.
Mervyn
My wife and I and two friends decided we would like to visit France and by chance I found Emilie's website and initiated an online conversation with her over a year ago. We really did not know what we wanted to do, nor where we wanted to go and so our planning became a moving feast, most ably supported by Emilie. How she ever put up with our …
Bill
France Just For You is a service I highly recommend regardless of how much experience you have traveling through France. Emilie does an amazing job of putting together an exciting and interesting itinerary, taking you to places and meeting people you would never find on your own. Not only are her ideas great, but she is also very thorough. Her trip …

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