Please select your location:

Introduction to French Art & Architecture

11 days from $7,600pp

What is tailor made? 100% custom | Exceptional experiences | Hand-picked guides | Lodging with character | Designed to your schedule, budget & interests

    Places visited:

  • Paris
  • Honfleur
  • Caen
  • Saint-Pierre-des-Corps
  • Chinon
  • Loire Western Region
  • Loire Eastern Region
  • Montlouis-sur-Loire
  • Take in all of Paris’s major monuments by boat.

  • Explore the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay with a private guide.

  • Venture to Giverny to visit Claude Monet’s famous ’Water Lilies’ garden.

  • Wander around the old-world fishing village of Honfleur.

  • Discover the royal chateaux of the Loire Valley.

Audley Travel specialist Aislyn

What our specialists say...

This trip is a perfect introduction to the remarkable art and architecture found in France. Starting in the capital city, you’ll first be introduced to all of the major Parisian monuments and then spend a few days exploring the city’s museums featuring works of art by Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Auguste Rodin and many more. Heading north to Normandy, you’ll visit Claude Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny, as well as the ruins of medieval castles and abbeys while staying in the charming seaside town of Honfleur. Heading south to the Loire Valley, you can marvel at the classical, renaissance and gothic styles of the chateaux that define this region.

We recommend this trip for:

  • Paris
  • Honfleur
  • Chinon
  • Montlouis-sur-Loire

Itinerary idea in detail

Open all Close all

Ask us if you would also like us to arrange your international flights at our preferred rates.

Day 1 Paris

Paris

Upon arrival in Paris, you're met by your private driver at the airport and transferred to your centrally located hotel. This morning, your private guide accompanies you on a walking tour of the artistic hilltop district of Montmartre. In the afternoon, enjoy a short, leisurely cruise along the Seine River to take in all that the city has to offer. You can sit back and relax while taking in views of the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and more. We'll provide the champagne to celebrate your arrival.

Accommodation options

Day 2 Paris

Paris

Today, your private guide meets you at your hotel for a full day visiting two of the most famous museums in Paris. Begin your day at the Louvre, a vast architectural work of art in itself and once the primary residence of the kings of France, now home to da Vinci's Mona Lisa. After a brief lunch break, make your way to the home of impressionist and post-impressionist artists, the Musée d'Orsay. Here your guide will highlight the incredible artwork produced during the mid-19th century as you stroll through this majestic building.

Accommodation options

Day 3 Paris

Paris

Today you have a full day at leisure to explore the city at your own pace. We recommend visiting the Musée Rodin, the Centre Pompidou and the Musée National Picasso.

Accommodation options

Day 4 Paris

Paris

On your last day in Paris, you're met by your private guide at your hotel before heading to the grand Opéra Garnier. The building is filled with gilded statues and marble staircases, and is known for inspiring the novel and musical The Phantom of the Opera. Leaving the Opéra Garnier, your guide will show you some of the best covered passages of the city. These were created in the 19th century as a clean, safe space for merchants and shoppers. You'll have free time on your own to explore this area as well.

Accommodation options

Day 5 Honfleur

Paris , Honfleur

Moving on from Paris, head northwest today to the home and gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny. It was here that he created some of his most famous paintings, including The Water Lilies. Leaving Giverny, your driver takes you to the medieval castle ruins of Château Gaillard, built by Richard the Lionheart during the Hundred Years' War. Your final stop is the ancient ruins of Jumièges Abbey, restored in the 10th century in the presence of William the Conqueror. You then continue on to your hotel in the quaint fishing village of Honfleur.

Accommodation options

Day 6 Honfleur

Honfleur

This morning, you're met at your hotel by your guide for a private walking tour of Honfleur. During your walk, you'll see brightly painted boats bobbing in the water, and Norman half-timbered houses peppered throughout the cobbled streets. Your guide will tell you about the long history of this small but integral town on the Seine estuary. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to stroll around the scenic port of Honfleur on your own.

Accommodation options

Day 7 Chinon

Honfleur , Caen , Saint-Pierre-des-Corps , Chinon

Today you head to the Loire Valley. Your private driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to Caen train station. From here, journey by local train to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, where a private driver will be waiting to take you to the medieval town of Chinon. You have the rest of your day to explore at your leisure.

Accommodation

Day 8 Chinon

Loire Western Region , Chinon

Your private driver and guide pick you up from your hotel this morning for a day exploring three of the Loire Valley's chateaux. Begin at Château de Villandry, known for its exquisitely manicured gardens and its original 14th-century keep. Next, your guide takes you to the relatively unknown Château de L'Islette for a tour and picnic lunch in the gardens. You then head to the nearby Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, a fine example of French Renaissance architecture located on a small island once only accessible by drawbridge.

Accommodation

Day 9 Montlouis-sur-Loire

Loire Western Region , Loire Eastern Region , Montlouis-sur-Loire

Today you'll see some of the most well-known chateaux of the region. Your private guide first takes you to admire the grand arches and gardens of Château de Chenonceau. This is arguably the most famous of all the chateaux in the Loire, known for its extensive history and for being the former residence of two of France's most powerful women: Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers. Next, you visit Château de Cheverny. Predominantly a hunting lodge, it's home to some 100 hounds that are still regularly taken out to hunt in the nearby woodlands. Your final stop today is the lesser-known but equally as impressive Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, known for its annual garden displays. Tonight you will change hotel and stay in a traditional chateau in the countryside.

Accommodation

Day 10 Montlouis-sur-Loire

Loire Eastern Region , Montlouis-sur-Loire

On your final day in the Loire Valley, you'll head to medieval Amboise, a town with imposing landmarks, a lively market and far-reaching views across the Loire Valley. Your first venture is the 15th-century Château d'Amboise, an imposing fortress situated up on the hill overlooking the white-stone houses and black-slated rooftops of the town below. After your visit, walk over to Château du Clos Lucé, the home and gardens where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years and where some of his best creations can still be seen scattered about the grounds.

Accommodation

Day 11 Return home

Montlouis-sur-Loire , Saint-Pierre-des-Corps

This morning your driver picks you up from your hotel for a private transfer to the Saint-Pierre-des-Corps station for your train ride to Paris. Upon arrival in Paris, you're met by another driver who then takes you to the airport in plenty of time for your onward flight.

Audley Travel specialist Aislyn
Audley Travel Country Specialist Samantha

Contact a specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to France will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.

Find out what sets us apart ›

When to go

Drag the slider to see monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily Max Temperature Monthly Rainfall
Paris
 
 
 
Honfleur
 
 
 
Chinon
 
  -
  -

Other itineraries you may be interested in