France Towns & Villages Self-Drive Tours

We help you discover the real France

Journey into the heart of France, far removed from the bustling tourist hubs and loud city streets, to experience the authentic beauty of our timeless towns and villages. These quaint corners of our beautiful country will immerse you in the essence of French culture and tradition.

Explore Historic Villages & Traditional Towns

Winding through century-old hamlets, you’ll stroll along narrow cobbled streets that tell tales of years gone by. Majestic stone houses dating back generations are a picture of historical elegance and endurance.

As you explore further, you'll likely stumble upon serene squares, ancient fountains and of course, traditional café terraces that are ideal for people-watching and taking in the local chatter. We’ll recommend our favorite cafés and restaurants, so you’ll enjoy the best of French cuisine while soaking in the sights and sounds, and witnessing the authentic French way of life unfolding before your eyes.

When booking your self-drive tour with us, you might tell us you want to explore the rural villages of Provence, surrounded by lavender fields and local markets offering a wide range of artisanal products. 

You might love the idea of wandering the charming streets of rural Normandy and tasting a fresh glass of Calvados brandy or apple cider along the Normandy Cider Route. You might be intrigued by the fusion of French and German heritage of the hamlets and vibrant markets of Alsace or the fascinating cultures, traditions and architecture of regions like Brittany and the Basque Country

Whatever your preferences, we can craft a tour just for you, with suggested daily itineraries that include activities and visits to places of interest we think you’ll love!

Red and white half-timbered house in the village of Beuvron-en-Auge in Normandy
Beuvron-en-Auge, Normandy

(© Cicero - CC BY-SA 3.0)

 

Farmers’ Markets: A Feast for the Senses

One of the things our travelers say they enjoy most about visiting their tours of French villages is going to a traditional local farmers’ market. If you like the idea of exploring lively farmers' markets or antiques markets, we'll be able to craft the ideal France itinerary just for you. In fact, we can recommend a village and a farmers’ market for every day of the week!

Our carefully tailored itineraries ensure that you'll find yourself amidst vibrant market scenes just when they spring to life. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in the colors and fragrances of fresh produce; hear the animated exchanges between vendors and locals, and maybe even barter a bit yourself. 

While the luscious fruits and vegetables and handcrafted cheeses tempt your palate, we’ll also tell you where to look out for unique souvenirs. These may be artisanal crafts or vintage trinkets, or the best lavender products, wine, and olive oil. These make ideal and authentic gifts to take home for family and friends, or reminders for you to keep from your unforgettable trip to France.

villages and markets

Stroll around quaint century-old villages, explore some traditional farmers' markets or relax on the outside terrace of a typical café, frequented by locals.

 

Interact with the French Locals

At the heart of every village lies its people. Engaging with locals is not just about passing conversations. It's an opportunity to gain insights, share stories, and perhaps, even create new and lasting friendships. The close-knit nature of these communities offers a genuine window into the French way of life, where traditions are passionately preserved and tales of the past are often generously shared.

This is why we love to have our travelers stay at premium French Bed and Breakfast accommodation with French hosts who speak English. It’s an ideal way to get to know some of the locals and for them to share tips about the best local places to visit!

A tour that takes you to visit the off-the-beaten-track French towns and villages is like discovering the soul of France. It's an experience that takes you beyond sightseeing and the most popular tourist attractions. Because we want you to feel, breathe, and live French culture, giving you the most authentic experience of France.

Travelers Kathy & Steve dining with fellow travelers in their B&B in the Loire Valley
Travelers Kathy & Steve dining with fellow travelers in their B&B in the Loire Valley

We would love to craft an itinerary for you that not only satisfies your wanderlust but enriches your very understanding of what it means to truly know France. 

Take a look at some of our sample itineraries below, or contact us and tell us about your wishes for your dream trip to France!

Wandering in typical villages on farmers' market day will give you a taste of the real France.

Our self guided tours to typical French villages

Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 4860
Region
in Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Dordogne & Provence

France Just For You has organized its own very special Tour de France. No need for a bike but be ready for a great deal of adventure! This itinerary will take you off the beaten path to all the must sees & dos in four of the most enthralling regions of France.

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Gourmet Food
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 4980
Region
in Normandy, Brittany & Loire Valley

From the landing sites in Normandy to Mont Saint Michel on to Brittany ending in the Loire Valley, this itinerary will have you discover all the history, traditions and gastronomy of the North-West of France.

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Countryside
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 5670
Region
in Paris, Somme, North, Verdun & Alsace

In 13 days, this tour will take you from Paris to the Somme region, and on to Lille at the Belgium border. You will then drive your way south-east to the Verdun area and the surrounding WWI sites. You will end your journey in Alsace, on the border with Germany. A great way to discover Northern France !

WWI & WWII Battlefields
Towns & Villages
Art & Museums
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3980
Region
in Burgundy, Alsace & Champagne

On this itinerary, you'll go North-East ! Burgundy, Alsace and Champagne are all located East of Paris and near the Swiss and German borders. Quite unknown, these regions have a lot to discover !

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 6700
Region
in Champagne, Verdun, Somme, Normandy & Paris

Many of us are related in some way to the World Wars' history : a father, uncle, grandfather, family friend, or a famous soldier we admire, who fought amongst the Allied troops on French soil. We are very happy and proud to plan itineraries for you to learn more about the history of the two World Wars of the 20th century. The below tour is a sample and we will craft your own trip based on any information you may have available or are willing to discover.

WWI & WWII Battlefields
Towns & Villages
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
26 days
Price
US$ 6980
Region
in Burgundy, Dordogne, Bordeaux, Loire Valley & Normandy

This itinerary is for independent travelers who may already know the southern coast of France and who are looking for discovering the “inside” of the country. Five regions that are totally different from each other, showing you the diversity of France.

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Gourmet Food
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 5020
Region
in Basque Country, Carcassonne & Provence

From the rugged Atlantic coast to the azur-colored Mediterranean Sea – experience the diversity of the South of France.

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Art & Museums
Duration
20 days
Price
US$ 5920
Region
in Bordeaux, Basque Country, Carcassonne & Dordogne

This loop from Bordeaux will take you on a journey to the South West of France: vineyards, mountains, cliff-hanging fortresses and rolling hills. You will enjoy all the diversity of this unique part of France.

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Duration
20 days
Price
US$ 5940
Region
in Paris, Loire Valley, Dordogne & Basque Country

From Paris to Toulouse, this trip will allow you to explore these unique regions by the backroads. Take the time to visit some of the hidden castles of the Loire Valley, enjoy duck confit in Dordogne, and discover the typical villages of the Basque Country.

Towns & Villages
Countryside
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3440
Region
in Bordeaux, Basque Country & Carcassonne

From the Unesco city of Bordeaux and the surrounding world-famous vineyards, to the mythical beach towns of Biarritz and St Jean de Lu z, feeling the fresh air of the Pyrenees foothills, and ending in the mysterious medieval town of Carcassonne . . . what a program!

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Countryside
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 5240
Region
in Basque Country, Dordogne & Bordeaux

This self-drive itinerary will take you to the South West of France, from the Basque coastline to authentic Dordogne, ending in the bustling city of Bordeaux.

Towns & Villages
Gourmet Food
Countryside

Our Travelers’ Reviews

Carol & Bruce from the US
A perfect 2 weeks in Provence in the spring! My husband and I were delighted with the itinerary ‘FJFY’ put together for our 2-week self-drive road trip in Provence. During the planning stages Emilie and Laura asked insightful questions about our lifestyle and desires relating to travel. Communications were outstanding throughout the planning stage …
Robert
I can't say enough about how much we loved working with Emily and Laura. I am a wine geek and they put together a full day private tour of Burgundy (with a fantastic guide) and a half day visit and basket lunch at a wonderful winery in Provence. In addition there was a private half day walking tour of Paris and a private tour of the Palais des …
Mary & Dan
Emilie, Our trip has been fantastic! We appreciate all that you did to make it so wonderful. Many, many thanks! The itineraries, special experiences--- like the 4x4 wine tour, wine picnic, and cooking with Catherine---and the unique accommodations made our vacation very very special. We start toward home tomorrow, leaving your beautiful country but …

Our Travelers’ Photos

Heather
From Australia
At her ancestor's gravestone on Northern France
Ron & Don
From Canada
In Burgundy
Pam & Mercer
From the US
In Paris
Steffi & Jeff
in Chenonceau castle....romantic !
Jim
From Australia
At the top of the Rhune mount in the Basque Country
Dina & Jim
from the US
Who just received their travel pack at home
Lytha & Ron
From the US
Canoeing in the Dordogne region
Ron, Jane, Don & Nancy
From Canada
Visiting a wine cellar
Kim
From the US
Enjoying a glass of wine in Amboise
Shirley & Bob
from the US
After a concert in Paris
David
From the US
Celebrating his 80th birthday at a cooking class in Burgundy
Leslie & Bob
from the US
in Cassis Creeks near Marseille in Provence