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
13 days
Price
US$ 3520
Region
in Loire Valley & Bordeaux

Uncover every hideaway and detail of the Loire Valley and Bordeaux UNESCO heritage sites. Taste typical regional fo od at your hosts’ table and stay at Bed & Breakfasts with unique atmospheres .

Heritage & History
Towns & Villages
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3420
Region
in Bordeaux & Dordogne

The Bordeaux area and Dordogne are 2 very rich regions in terms of heritage . . . and of course gastronomy & wine. From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance (and even prehistoric times), you will find what you like here!

Heritage & History
Gourmet Food
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 4360
Region
in Loire Valley

Be seduced by France Just For You's very special way of discovering the Loire Valley, its must sees and hidden beauties. In this itinerary, you will experience the "sweet life" in Touraine , stopping over in little villages to savor local goat cheese or taste amazing wines. Take the time to relax in rose gardens, or to enjoy the traditional cuisine in many small restaurants frequented by the locals.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Gourmet Food

Our Travelers’ Reviews

Margaret & Rob
We would like to add our names to everyone else here who have had a truly excellent experience when using Emilie's, France Just For You company. We drove 2800 km on a recent holiday, and it was all arranged by Emilie. Everything she organized was perfect. We stayed in B and Bs and although we know a little French, all of our hosts spoke fluent …
Carol & Mike
We have recently returned from our second trip to France arranged by Emilie and Guillaume. The itinerary was created by Emilie to include our particular interests and everything ran smoothly from start to finish. We look forward to exploring another part of France in the future arranged by France Just For You.
Peter
France-Just for You is the best agency/coordinator we have EVER used. We have traveled around the world to more than 50 countries and this was by far the best job of coordination we ever experienced. The owner, Emilie, lives in France and is 100% accessible by email or phone. We emailed her the first time we learned about her business and from then …

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