Touring France with Odyssey

Odyssey presents meticulously crafted escorted small group tours, offering ease, convenience, and relaxation throughout Western Europe and beyond. Delve into France’s enchanting natural landscapes, delve into its rich Roman and Imperial history, and uncover its esteemed World Heritage Sites and renowned cities, all amidst breathtaking scenery. Embark on an enriching journey with Odyssey’s small group tours tailored for senior travellers, guided by seasoned and passionate individuals sharing a common zeal for exploration.

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Crafted Tours for Mature World Travellers

France Tours

Transmongolian Transiberian

Singapore to Lisbon by train

A small group railway journey from Singapore to Lisbon. The longest in the world for senior couples and mature solo travellers. Explore over some 56 days, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Russia, France, Spain and Portugal. Limited to 10 travelers on this escorted program.

65 days
Departing Mar, Jul, Feb

Romans in France small group specialist history tours for seniors

Join our small group tour to explore what remains of the Roman Gaul. France, Belgium, Luxembourg and South-west Germany were occupied by Roman Gaul some 2,000 years ago. To this region the Romans brought roads, bridges, education, cities and, perhaps, above all the Peace of Rome.

Departing Aug

Normandy and Brittany escorted history tours for small mature grups

This small group tour for couples and solo travellers is centred on the North West corner of France: Normandy, where the peaceful landscape belies a turbulent past; Brittany, where a strongly separate Celtic culture is still evident; Poitou, famous for its rich farmlands and historic ports; and the Loire Valley, replete with royal châteaux.

22 days
Departing Aug, May, Apr, Sep

Italy and France, history of gardens small group escorted tour

Odyssey’s small group tour explores some of the classic gardens of Italy and France that reflect changing fashions and garden designs throughout the ages. This fully escorted tour features an Odyssey Program Leader and a handful of local guides who will examine, discuss, compare and contrast the cultural and temporal similarities and diversities between the gardens of Italy and France and the historical influences on their design.

25 days
Departing Aug, May, Sep

Rural France | Small Group Tour for Seniors

On this small group Rural France tour, we spend 24 days exploring France beyond its bustling cities, travelling off the beaten track. We will explore the pastoral and provincial splendour of French rural towns which have resisted the dual siege of the automobile and the property developer. Our small group will visit many of France’s beautiful towns where within their walls the villagers conduct their daily lives much as they have done since Napoleonic times.

24 days
Departing Apr, Sep

Secret France | Small group tours France | Places of cultural interest for seniors

Our small group tour designed with the mature traveller in mind, gives you the chance to see eight different locations over 25 days while experiencing local culture, trying regional cuisine, exploring breathtaking architecture and admiring beautiful scenery. From Zurich the tour will move south towards Sare before returning north to Paris where the tour finishes, for a significant part of our journey we will be following old pilgrim pathways, taking the group deep into the villages, valleys, shrines and ski resorts.

25 days
Departing Sep, May, Apr, Oct

La Belle France Small Group Short Tour

On this small group tour of France, we visit several culturally significant and picturesque regions of France, including Provence, Champagne, Burgundy. We learn about each region’s history from expert local guides with a chance to experience the local culture, and taste the regional cuisine. 

 

11 days
Departing Sep

La Belle France small group escorted history tours for seniors

Travelling with like minded people on this small group we visit several culturally significant and picturesque regions of France, including Provence, Champagne, Burgundy, and Bordeaux regions, where we sample wine and learn more about the tradition of wine-making. We also visit the Loire Valley to see its many castles. Finally, we travel to Bayeux, from where we we visit Mont St Michel and spend time up on the Normandy landing beaches with local guides.

 

24 days
Departing Sep, Apr

Following Monet

Join Odyssey Traveller, one of the best small group tour companies for Europe, as we follow French Impressionist master Claude Monet (1840-1926) to the beloved places he painted joined by local guides in France on this 20-day European tour. Each day our small group journey visits key destinations that influenced Monet. Join like minded people be they couples or solo travellers on this escorted tour. Minimal Single supplement charged to Solo travellers.

20 days
Departing Apr, Sep

Loire Valley Walking Tours | Small Group Tours of France

The Loire Valley is the largest of all the UNESCO World Heritage sites. This small group walking tour daily itineraries cross a multitude of historic towns and villages providing authentic experiences for couples and single travellers to enjoy. A small single supplement applies to solo travelers.

18 days
Departing Jun, Sep

Explore Paris | 21-day Small Group Tour Exploring Parisian Life

On this small group tour of Paris, travellers take the time to join local guides to learn about the destinations within this city. Authentic experiences with like minded people and an Odyssey tour leader. Staying in apartments this European tour immerses itself in Paris’ history, art, and culture in the city of light.

21 days
Departing Mar, Sep

Provincial France | Small Group Tour for Seniors

This small group program explores the remote mountain plateaux, perched villages and dramatic gorges as well as the Mediterranean coastline.Travel with like-minded people on this tour especially designed for the mature traveller. The villages of Alsace provide an introduction to the diversity which is France. In Burgundy we explore the local villages. Then onto the Jura Mountains, a region rarely visited by tourists. Finally, Provence and the Côte d’Azur, regions of inspiration for artists such as Van Gogh, Cézanne and Picasso.

Departing Sep, May

France on Foot | Small Group Walking Tours France

Our France on Foot small group walking is designed for the active walker and extends from the scenic island of Noirmoutier on the Atlantic Coast via the Massif Central on the borders of Limousin and the Auvergne to the snow-tipped peaks of the Alps in Savoy.

21 days
Departing Jun, Sep, Jul

European Ballet escorted small groups tour for senior travellers

For couples and solo travellers who enjoy the ballet and the arts this 16 day program from Amsterdam to Hamburg  and finishing in Paris is a dance delight. Programs and actual performances will vary, but the structure and fabric of the experiences to be enjoyed within a small group remains the cornerstone of your experience on this program.

18 days
Departing Sep, Jun, Mar, Oct

Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany Art Tour | Western Europe Art Tour

Most of us have already experienced the grandeur of classic galleries such as the Louvre and the National Gallery. Travel with like-minded people in a small group tour and be surprised by the lesser-known but equally wonderful smaller art galleries across Northwest Europe.

21 days
Departing Sep

Paris-Bordeaux-Provence By Train

For Odyssey Traveller this is one of our unique small group journeys in France, travelling by train from Paris to Bordeaux to Provence and back. Local guides support the tour leader with knowledge about destinations visited over the course of 20 days. There is a single supplement for solo travellers charged.

22 days
Departing Mar, Oct, Apr, Sep

History of France by Rail | Escorted Small Group Tour for Seniors

French History by Rail small group tour is based on Ina Caro’s book of the same name. Participants live in central Paris, using apartments as a base, living as the locals do, whilst meeting each day as a small group to journey by rail and TGV to the beautiful medieval centres of France.

21 days
Departing May, Oct

Southwest France: Along the Canal du Midi

This small group travel tour is off the beaten track taken by many, exploring and learning from local guides about one of the key world heritages sites, Canal du midi. This escorted tour is for mature couples and solo travellers with a passion for France.

 

18 days
Departing Oct, Apr

Opera Tour Europe | Theatre-Opera-Ballet and Classical Music Small Group Tour for Seniors

This 22-day small group program visits the major arts centres of Hamburg, Amsterdam, Paris, and London. We travel in winter avoiding crowds and enjoy a different perspective of the places visited. At Odyssey Traveller we have sought to assemble entry and show tickets to what many will consider the best arts experiences available in those cities during each program.

22 days
Departing Dec

Western Europe Gardens and Treasures Short Tour

Odyssey Traveller small group tour explores Paris, Honfleur and Abbeville in France, Bruges in Belgium and then Luxemborg. Travelling with like minded people to discover some of the finest gardens of Europe, like Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny. We also take in a memorial service in Villers-Bretonneux, which saw the greatest sacrifice of Australian and New Zealand troops during World War I.

13 days
Departing Apr

Western Europe Chateaux and Gardens | Small Group Tour for Seniors

This small group escorted educational tour combines visits to France, Belgium, Luxemborg, the Netherlands, and Germany. During the 26 days, we will discover a selection of the finest gardens and chateaux in Europe. Our destinations also include several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, for example the royal palaces built by the Prince-Bishop of Cologne in Brühl, Germany.

26 days
Departing Apr
mount of Mont Saint Michel, France
Guaranteed

Anglo French Tour | Normandy, Brittany, Channel Islands tour

Our 21 night program has daily itineraries with plenty of authentic experiences provided by passionate local guides in the key destinations in France, Channel Islands and England for this small group of like minded people.  For Solo travellers minimal single supplement applies for this European tour.

Departing Apr, May, Sep

Immerse yourself in the allure of France, a nation teeming with historical richness and contemporary sophistication in every city you explore. Witness centuries of history reflected in the diverse architectural styles, iconic landmarks, and monuments honouring key figures and historical events. France captivates with its scenic landscapes, charming villages, exquisite wines, and countless hidden treasures, ensuring a trip filled with unforgettable moments and unparalleled experiences.

After strolling through art galleries and browsing boutiques along cobblestone streets, savouring delectable pastries at a quaint café epitomizes the essence of a leisurely afternoon in any French town. Whether meandering through the vineyard-lined plains of Bordeaux, lounging on the azure shores of the French Riviera, or exploring the architectural wonders of Paris on intimate guided tours along the Seine River, France presents a panorama of breathtaking sights catering to every traveller, each offering a myriad of natural wonders waiting to be explored. The captivating French landscape beckons outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, from hikers and swimmers to skiers and thrill-seekers, promising a harmonious blend of adventure and scenic beauty.

Renowned as a haven for food enthusiasts, France’s culinary scene boasts world-class restaurants, charming patisseries, and vibrant markets. Indulge in the gastronomic delights and fine wines of Bordeaux, and you’ll find yourself questioning why you haven’t experienced this culinary paradise sooner. Whether your interests lie in art, architecture, history, gastronomy, or geography, France promises to enchant and enamor, offering a wealth of experiences that speak to every passion imaginable. France is a holistic sensory experience that is sure to leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.

France tours, travel packages, and experiences for seniors

Odyssey Traveller presents exclusive small group tours of France tailored for solo travellers or couples seeking a personalized guided adventure with seasoned tour managers and local experts. Our meticulously crafted tours go beyond the conventional tourist path, granting you the opportunity to discover prominent cities such as Paris, the sophisticated capital, and Bordeaux, the dynamic harbour town and capital of Gironde.

In addition to these vibrant urban hubs, our France tours journey into the heart of Provincial France and the quaint villages of Alsace, unravelling the legacy of French gardens at the magnificent Palace of Versailles, and immersing you in the world of the renowned French Impressionist painter Claude Monet through visits to his cherished sites like Le Havre along the Normandy coastline.

Embark on our Explore Paris tour to unearth iconic landmarks such as Place de la Bastille, the Tuileries Gardens, and the remarkable Musee de l’Armee. On the Southwest France tour, meander along the historic Canal du Midi, where you can engage in travel experiences dating back nearly 250 years.

When contemplating joining a France Odyssey tour, carefully consider the specific destinations you desire to explore, the timing of your journey, and the most suitable mode of transportation across the country. Whether you choose a comprehensive tour spanning the entirety of France or opt to delve into the culture of a single city, Odyssey Traveller ensures that you have ample time to immerse yourself in France’s abundant heritage, history, and people, whether traveling independently or with a companion.

Articles about France

Historic Loire Valley

8 mins read FranceEurope

Historic Loire Valley The Loire Valley has been the site of both aristocratic grandeur and thousands of years of territorial conflict. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the 15th century Château de Chenonceau as…

Monet's Giverny Garden

Monet’s Giverny Garden

12 mins read FranceEurope

Monet’s Giverny Garden Claude Monet French Impressionist Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a pioneer of a major art movement, but he created a thing of beauty that he believed eclipsed even his own celebrated works of art.…

Paris, France

Paris Leaders & Landmarks

5 mins read EuropeFrance

Paris Leaders & Landmarks   The inhabitants of a place surely influence how it is perceived. Parisian politicians have certainly left their marks on some of France’s most famous landmarks, creating some amazing stories for…

Bayeux

Bayeux, France

3 mins read EuropeFrance

The quaint medieval city of Bayeux is home to one big ticket item – the fascinating Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the Norman Conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066. Though the origins of…

Caen, France

4 mins read EuropeFrance

The city of Caen, with a dramatic history spanning from the time of William the Conqueror to the D-Day Landing, is a highlight of any Normandy tour.

Paris Seine River

Guillaumot prevents Paris collapse

9 mins read EuropeFrance

Guillaumot prevents Paris collapse. Modern-day Paris On April 24, 1777, architect Charles-Axel Guillaumot, newly minted Inspector of Quarries, experienced the worst first day at work. More than two years prior, in the afternoon of December…

Loire Valley France

Loire Valley France

8 mins read EuropeFrance

The Loire Valley in France is renowned for its picturesque natural beauty, and the region also combines all the ingredients of what the French consider to be the good life. The Valley is the home…

Mont Saint Michel

Mont-St-Michel, France

3 mins read EuropeFrance

In 966, a Benedictine abbey was built on the island and Mont St-Michel became a centre of religious learning, attracting the brightest minds and most talented artists from around Europe.

Rodin Museum

Musée Rodin, France

5 mins read EuropeFrance

World’s most extensive collection of Auguste Rodin’s work, displayed in the beautiful house and gardens of the Hotel Biron, the Musee Rodin is a highlight of any trip to Paris.

Arromanches les Bains, Normandy, France.

Normandy Beaches

4 mins read EuropeFrance

The Normandy beaches in northwestern France were the location of D-Day during World War II, the historic simultaneous landings of Allied troops that liberated Western Europe and eventually put an end to the Nazi Reich.

Quimper

Quimper, France

4 mins read EuropeFrance

Quimper, France The cultural heart of Brittany, the charming small city of Quimper is a gateway into France’s most distinct region. Believed to be inhabited since the neolithic, Brittany is home to some of the…

South West France.

South West France

11 mins read France

South West France Travelling the Canal du Midi: this article will help mature and senior travellers understand the cultural and geographical  links between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea through Southwestern France as they prepare…

The Elegant Arcades of Paris

8 mins read EuropeFrance

The Elegant Arcades of Paris Part of the pleasure of getting to know the real Paris lies in getting off the main tourist trail and discovering its many hidden pockets and secrets. Its gorgeous arcades…

Louvre Paris

The Louvre Museum

3 mins read EuropeFrance

The Louvre Museum (Musee du Louvre) is the world’s largest museum and most visited art gallery in the world, displaying some 35,000 artworks from the antiquities to the mid-19th century and attracting nearly 10 million…

Affordable small group tours with Odyssey Alumni

Walking tours for active travellers – tips for seniors

For the active mature and senior traveller be they a couple or solo traveller this article outlines preparation for walking tours even for the over 80's. It may on the Wainwright, the lake district or a pilgrims walk across Europe or St James Way, the Camino. This artices give advice on getting fit, shoes and socks including for particular advice for women on this topic.

FAQs

Paris

Paris, a truly iconic city, stands as a pinnacle of French culture and history. When visiting France, Paris undoubtedly emerges as a destination that cannot be missed. The sheer charm of Paris lies in the delight of leisurely strolls through its picturesque streets, but it also boasts a rich tapestry of museums, galleries, and gardens waiting to be discovered. What sets Paris apart is its ability to offer a unique experience with every visit – from exploring traditional tourist attractions to indulging in shopping sprees or embarking on a gastronomic journey through the heart of the city.

Bordeaux

Bordeaux, with its picturesque tree-lined boulevards, renowned art museums, sun-drenched vineyards, and magnificent Gothic architecture, offers a captivating blend of cultural and aesthetic appeal. The city, famous for its world-class wines and exceptional dining establishments, promises a gratifying experience for those exploring its charming streets.

Burgundy

Burgundy, or Bourgogne in French, stands as a historical region situated in east-central France. It is distinguished for its exquisite wine, Dijon mustard – derived from its capital, and striking natural allure. The charming towns and villages of Burgundy are embraced by awe-inspiring countryside, boasting lush meadows, undulating hills, and vibrant spring blooms. For senior explorers, the medieval architecture, serene canals, and magnificent vineyards of the region promise to captivate the senses with an unforgettable experience.

Figeac

Figeac, a delightful riverside town, boasts a profound medieval legacy that captivates discerning travellers. Wander through its quaint cobbled streets and marvel at the grand Renaissance residences adorned with intricate carvings on their facades. Delve into the town’s intriguing past intertwined with Benedictine monks and the significance of being a stopover for pilgrims. Furthermore, Figeac serves as an ideal hub for venturing out to neighbouring hilltop communities and medieval landmarks, offering an enriching historical journey for visitors.

Palace of Versailles

A visit to France would be incomplete without exploring the country’s iconic and opulent palace. Originally a humble hunting lodge, Louis XIV masterfully reimagined it into the extravagant Chateau de Versailles during the 17th century. This estate comprises not only the Palace itself but also expansive gardens, a vast park, the Trianon estate, and various buildings within the town, sprawling across over 800 hectares of land.

Mont St Michel

Mont Saint-Michel, an iconic and captivating landmark in France, stands as a testament to architectural prowess and historical significance. Situated on a small island amidst the sandbanks between Normandy and Brittany, this enchanting site becomes isolated during high tide, offering a unique and mesmerizing experience. Accessible via a footbridge, visitors are drawn to the island’s centerpiece – a remarkable abbey that reigns over the rocky islet. With its origins dating back to 966 AD when Benedictine monks first established their presence, the abbey has undergone continuous expansion and transformation across centuries, showcasing a rich tapestry of history and religious heritage.

Noirmoutier

Noirmoutier, an island in the Bay of Biscay, is intricately linked to the mainland by a contemporary bridge. Despite its positioning in the Atlantic, Noirmoutier exudes a Mediterranean vibe, boasting extensive sandy beaches ensconced by towering pines, complemented by whitewashed facades adorned with charming blue shutters. It stands as an idyllic destination for a coastal escape, offering a blend of picturesque landscapes, ideal for beach enthusiasts, and a culinary delight with its array of delectable seafood options.

Lavender Fields in the Provence

The iconic lavender fields of Provence epitomize the beauty of France for many. Among these, the Valensole Plateau stands out as one of the most renowned worldwide, surrounded by picturesque sunflowers. This stunning region is home to the charming town of Valensole, which is graced by an 11th-century church at its heart. Leisurely walk through the vibrant fields and soak in the mesmerizing views that this area has to offer.

France features major cities with meticulously planned public transportation systems and is renowned for its extensive high-speed train network and impeccably maintained highways, facilitating seamless travel experiences. During Odyssey Traveller’s tours across France, transportation primarily occurs via coach, offering opportunities to pause at significant stopovers amidst major urban centres and explore hidden cultural gems. Some tour itineraries may incorporate train expeditions, ferry crossings, or canal voyages, diversifying the travel experience. Opting for one of Odyssey’s guided tours in France eliminates the need to fret over intercity commuting, affording you the liberty to relinquish the hassles of navigating between destinations to our expert team.

Best walking tours of France for older travellers

Odyssey Traveller specializes in curated walking tours tailored for senior and mature travelers, accommodating both couples and singles with varying fitness levels, ensuring flexibility throughout the journey. Whether you opt for a leisurely tea break or immerse yourself in the group activities, the guided walking tours are meticulously planned to enhance your experience.

Embark on the France on Foot tour, spanning from the picturesque Noirmoutier island to Limousin, the Auvergne region, and up to the majestic Savoy Alps, crossing the Massif Central along the way. This extraordinary walking holiday offers a diverse selection of walks allowing you to explore the rich tapestry of French landscapes, featuring medieval cities, alpine hamlets, rugged mountains, sun-kissed Mediterranean shores, and quaint seaside villages.

Engaging in walking not only energizes our bodies but also uplifts our spirits by forging a profound connection with the environment. Delight in an unparalleled travel adventure as you traverse the enchanting French countryside on our small group tours, immersing yourself in the beauty and tranquillity of each step taken.

What to Look for in a France Travel Package

When booking an Odyssey small group tour, some things to consider before you book include:

  • Gratuities included: Tipping for various services on a daily basis per person can accumulate swiftly, potentially straining your budget. The calculation of the appropriate amount and frequency of tips can also induce stress. When gratuities are already factored into the total price, it not only spares you time and money but also ensures you are not inadvertently violating any cultural norms.
  • Number of fellow travellers: When selecting a France small group tour, the number of fellow travelers is crucial to ensuring a more personalized experience amidst the bustling European holiday destination. Odyssey Tours maintains an intimate average of eight participants per tour, with a maximum group size of 18, promising a more engaging and less crowded exploration of France.
  • Knowledgeable guides: France, renowned for its architectural wonders, world-class museums, and lively festivals, unfolds its past, present, and future most profoundly under the knowledgeable leadership of experienced Program Leaders and skilled local guides. When embarking on an Odyssey Traveller France tour, participants are not only guaranteed the expertise of a dedicated Program Leader but also the companionship of local guides who possess in-depth knowledge of the region’s subtleties. This ensures that the journey is not just a voyage but a meaningful exploration enriched with genuine historical and cultural perspectives.
  • Unique locations: France’s diverse landscapes and attractions cater to a multitude of interests, making it essential to choose a travel package that aligns with individual preferences. Odyssey Traveller offers a diverse range of tours spanning across France and Western Europe, enabling travellers to tailor their journey to encompass specific regions or cities. For instance, the French History by Rail tour immerses participants in the medieval charm of French city centres, revealing the splendour of Gothic churches and ancient castles along the way.
  • Culture and History:To truly appreciate France’s traditions, arts, and history, immersing oneself in the local culture is paramount. Odyssey’s educational and heritage journeys provide a unique perspective on France, shedding light on its rich tapestry beyond conventional narratives. From exploring the prehistoric allure of the Caves of Lascaux II to witnessing a mesmerizing opera performance at the Palace of Versailles, each tour offers a glimpse into France’s multifaceted past and present, fostering a profound appreciation for its heritage.
  • Time of the tour:While France exudes beauty year-round, navigating the peak tourist season from June to August warrants consideration. Opting for tours during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn not only ensures milder weather but also offers a more tranquil exploration of popular destinations like Paris, Bordeaux, and the Mediterranean beaches. By selecting tours that commence during these off-peak periods, travellers can relish a more serene and immersive experience, away from the tourist throngs, and revel in the enchanting allure of France’s diverse landscapes and cultural gems.
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Tour Reviews

Robert was an excellent leader who made things run smoothly. He had great knowledge about all aspects of the content of this expedition. He interacted with all members of the group. I would be very happy to go on another tour with Robert as leader.
Participant -17
The tour was compact, well planned and intense of course, having to include so much in a short space of time, compared with what we would do and see normally at home. A bit overwhelming, but wonderful for looking back, and a challenge to see how much one can remember.
Participant -17
Apart from meeting nice people, being well looked after and seeing wonderful places, one of the best aspects of Odyssey Tours is that we stay in one place for several days and do not have to pack and unpack very often.
Participant May 2014
Robert's knowledge and expertise was greatly appreciated especially as I was the least culturally aware of the group. I enjoyed every minute of the tour, and his cheerfulness even in times of trial ( the weather) and the usual small things that go wrong were met with enthusiasm and help.
Participant -17
These tours give the client a real learning experience, instead of going from market to market as some travel organizations do. Also, staying at least 3 nights or more in the one location one gets a feel for the area, and the memory of it is not ever forgotten.
Participant Sep 2014
This trip could have been planned for me as all my interests were included - ballet, theatre, concerts, opera and visits to magnificent museums and galleries.
Participant -17
I was impressed by the number of places we visited. It was a very full itinerary which I like. We saw things of interest every day. I see no fault with the tour.
Participant 2017
I loved the rural France trip. It exceeded my expectations for sure. I saw so much and learnt many new things about French history and culture. Every guide we had was knowledgeable, friendly and each brought their own personality to the role. I am sure that I will reflect on this trip as a particular highlight in my travel agenda. Congratulations to Rouna for making a difficult job seem easy!
Participant May 2014
The need to know

Touring France

Getting around

Odyssey travels predominantly by coach but also incorporates local transport like trains and ferries, all meticulously detailed in our tour itinerary. France boasts a highly centralized and expansive rail network, with the TER connecting towns and the TGV linking major cities. Paris features one of the world’s most comprehensive metro systems, with several stations doubling as tourist attractions.

Accommodation

In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our long-stay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.

Tour Guides

Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.

Geography, Environment, & Weather

France’s distinctive charm is reflected in its 13 diverse administrative regions, each offering a unique lifestyle and culinary experience. From the picturesque beaches lining the northern coast to the majestic mountain ranges of the Pyrenees and the Alps, the country’s landscape is a tapestry of natural wonders.

The climate in France presents a wide range of variations, with temperate winters and mild summers being the norm, particularly in the vibrant city of Paris. The northwest region, notably Brittany, experiences higher levels of precipitation, while winter temperatures tend to drop along the German border in Alsace. The Rhône Valley is characterized by occasional intense, cold north-to-northwesterly winds known as the mistral. In the mountainous areas such as the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Auvergne, snowfall is a common occurrence.

Planning a visit to France warrants thorough research into the expected weather conditions based on the specific region and time of your trip. It is advisable to be prepared for various weather scenarios to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience during your stay.

World Heritage Sites

Festivals & Events

France has an extraordinary number of cultural, culinary, and sports events. From the Tour De France which treks across the country each July, to the many celebrations of Bastille Day, you will certainly be able to find something that suits your schedule and taste. Other events include The Cannes Film Festival, The Monaco Grand Prix, and one of the world’s biggest Mardi Gras festivals.

Reading List

My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme
The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography by Graham Robb
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
Cambridge Illustrated History of France by Colin Jones
The History of Modern France: From the Revolution to the War on Terror by Jonathan Fenby

Eating & Drinking

France’s culinary scene stands out as one of its primary draws. Travelers flock to the country specifically to indulge in its exquisite cuisine, and the allure is undeniable. While French food is commonly perceived as a monolithic entity, it actually showcases a rich tapestry of flavors that vary significantly by region. From Champagne’s delectable Champagne Ham to Burgundy’s classic Boeuf Bourguignon and Dauphine’s scrumptious gratin dauphinois, each area boasts its own culinary treasures. And let’s not forget about French wine. With an average consumption of about 43 liters per person annually, France prides itself on its diverse wine offerings, including renowned varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc, each reflective of its unique terroir.

For dining out in France, here’s a little-known tip for visitors: opting to stand at the bar for a coffee or drink can often be more cost-effective than taking a seat at a table. Additionally, when it comes to tipping etiquette, it is customary to round up the bill or leave a small percentage of the total as a gratuity.

Health & Safety

As of writing, smarttraveller.gov recommends exercising a high degree of caution when travelling in France due to the risk of a terrorist attack. While much of France is usually safe to travel around, it’s important to stay alert to anything unusual. Also, you will often see signs warning of pickpockets in areas popular with tourists, so keep a close eye on your belongings at all times.

Electrical Supply

Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. Plugs in France have two round pins, so make sure to pick up the right adaptor before your trip.

FAQs

France has a single time zone (excluding its overseas territories), Central European Time. The nation observes daylight saving time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.

When traveling in Europe, including France, tipping etiquette is an important aspect to consider. The customary practice in France, much like in other European countries, is to tip about 10% of the bill at restaurants. For more casual dining establishments, a tip of 1 to 3 euros is considered appropriate. Additionally, when buying drinks, it is polite to either round the bill up to the nearest whole figure or leave the change as a tip. Tipping is a way to show appreciation for good service and is part of the cultural norms in France, so being mindful of tipping practices can enhance your overall experience while in the country.

Internet is easily accessible, and most hotels and many cafes will be able to offer it.

Ensure you consult your cell phone provider to verify if you can make calls and use data while in France. Numerous providers offer daily fees enabling you to use your phone abroad without incurring additional charges. Nonetheless, it is essential to notify your provider of your international travel plans, as they may suspend your service due to suspicious activity, similar to how a bank can restrict access.

Odyssey presents a captivating selection of 10 distinctive tours tailored to unravel the essence of France. Delve into the enchanting natural wonders, delve deep into its ancient Roman and Imperial legacy, and uncover the allure of its prestigious World Heritage Sites and renowned cities. Embark on a journey through France’s picturesque landscapes, all awaiting exploration on Odyssey’s small group tours. Crafted with the senior traveler in mind, our expeditions are guided by seasoned and passionate individuals who share a common enthusiasm for discovery.

Following Monet

History of France by Rail

Provincial France

La Belle France

Belgium, Netherlands, France & Germany Art tour

Theatre-Opera-Ballet & Classical Music tour of Europe

Western Europe Gardens & Chateaux

Anglo French Journey

France on Foot

Romans in France

Odyssey’s tours are typically half or full-board, we include all accommodation, as well as:

  • Transport and field trips as indicated.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Services of an Odyssey group leader.
  • Detailed Tour Information Booklet.

Many travellers ask us how best to prepare for their Odyssey Traveller programs, seeking out advice on clothing, medication, insurance, among other concerns when travelling overseas. This article shares some of what we have learned from years of accumulated experience in leading small group tours to assist you when travelling overseas what to pack.

Odyssey’s tour itinerary with prices in your selected currency, to France, can be found here.

Odyssey recommends visiting France is in spring (April-May), or autumn (September-October). These are also less crowded months, compared to Sumemr (June-August).

The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.

Odyssey specialises in educational small group tours for seniors, typically groups sizes are between 6 to 12 people. Odyssey has been offering this style of adventure and educational programs to since 1983. We offer a wide range of fully escorted, cultural and heritage journeys that expand horizons and broaden the mind. Our tours are designed for active, inquisitive travellers in a small group environment.

Odyssey Traveller offers intimate small group tours of France, tailored for solo travellers or couples looking for a curated experience led by expert tour managers and local guides. Our carefully crafted tours aim to strike a balance between exploring hidden gems off the beaten path and immersing in major cities. In Paris, the sophisticated capital, our small group tours provide a unique perspective, while excursions to Bordeaux, the vibrant port city and capital of the Gironde département, offer a different yet equally enriching experience.

Venturing beyond the urban landscape, our tours extend to Provincial France, with a focus on the charming villages of Alsace, and pay homage to the history of French gardens at the iconic Palace of Versailles. Delving into the world of Claude Monet, the renowned French Impressionist, our itineraries highlight his beloved locations in France, such as Le Havre on the Normandy coast. In Explore Paris tours, guests can explore notable sites like Place de la Bastille, the Tuileries Gardens, and the Musee de l’Armee, while the Southwest France tour promises a journey along the historic Canal du Midi, offering a glimpse into centuries-old travel experiences.

For those contemplating a France Odyssey tour, important considerations include selecting preferred destinations, timing that suits your schedule, and choosing the most convenient mode of transportation within the country. Whether you opt for a comprehensive country-wide tour or prefer to delve deeply into a single city, Odyssey Traveller guarantees ample time to delve into France’s rich culture, history, and people, ensuring a fulfilling experience for solo travellers or companions alike.

When it comes to our tours, we select our destinations with an eye to getting off the beaten path, during Spring or Autumn, to avoid heavy crowds.

Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of France for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.

France is part of the Schengen area. This means you can enter France without a visa in some cases. In other situations, you need a visa.

Responsible travel tips for France

  • Learn some basic local greetings to start conversations effortlessly. Although English is widely spoken, grasping the native language enhances your immersion in the culture.
  • Keep a business card from your hotel for directions if needed while exploring.
  • Always have travel insurance for peace of mind. Contact Odyssey for guidance on this matter.
  • When traveling independently, check shop and museum hours to avoid missing out. Note that museums are commonly closed on Mondays. Be aware of public holidays to plan your itinerary effectively.
  • Notify your bank about your overseas purchases to prevent any flagging of suspicious activities. Identify ATMs and banks that work with your cards to minimize withdrawal fees.
  • Before your trip, ensure you have Euros in various denominations for easy transactions, especially in places that might not accept credit cards, to avoid extra fees.

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