WOOCS 2.1.6

Tours of France, escorted tours of France for small groups. Odyssey’s French tour packages typically commence in Paris and explore France for up to 22 days. These are offered for mature travellers in small groups enjoying guided tours of France. For suggestions have a look at this article on things to do in France.

Crafted Tours for Mature World Travellers

France Tours

Roman Gaul occupied France, Belgium, Luxembourg and South-west Germany. To this region the Romans brought roads, bridges, education, cities and, perhaps, above all the Peace of Rome. It was the freedom from pirates, bandits and other invaders which allowed the area to prosper. The remains of the Roman Gaul is explored today, 2000 years later.

20 days
Europe
Level 2 - Moderate

Each day, on this small group tour of France, we explore a particular region learning from our expert local guides about the history and contemporary society. Enjoying not only the learning and seeing aspect of this intriguing country we also enjoy breaking bread in some great cafes and restaurants exploring the regional cuisine.

11 days
Europe
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate

La Belle France explores beneath the surface of many French institutions and household names. Our program visits Chateauneuf du Pape to sample its wines and Cognac Hennessy. We cruise the Burgundy Canal and visit Dijon to assure ourselves that the mustard is actually made there. Our program concludes with an in-depth tour of the Normandy Landing Beaches. Here we inspect the old emplacements, the museums and the memorials to the Allied soldiers whose bravery and sacrifice made this tour possible.

23 days
Europe
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate

Most of us have already experienced the grandeur of classic galleries such as the Louvre and the National Gallery. It is time for us to be surprised by the lesser-known but equally wonderful smaller art galleries across Northwest Europe.

21 days
Europe
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate
Paris Tour
Pre-guaranteed

On this small group Paris tour, we take the time to get to know the Paris beyond the tourist centres. Staying in apartments, we  immerse ourselves in the city’s history, art, and culture, with a mixture of guided tours, day trips, and time to enjoy the city at leisure

21 days
Europe
Level 2 - Moderate

This educational tour combines visits to France, Belgium, Luxemborg, the Netherlands and Germany.

13 days
Europe
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate

This educational tour combines visits to France, Belgium, Luxemborg, the Netherlands, and Germany.

26 days
Europe
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate

Paris’ insistence that its rural villages and towns resist the dual siege of the automobile and the property developer has long protected France from the incursions that laid waste to so many provincial centres in many other European nations. The result is that France’s villages and towns remain untouched by the depredations of the last century and within their walls the villagers conduct their daily lives much as they have done since Napoleonic times.

24 days
Europe
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate

This program 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
Europe
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate

French History by Rail program 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
Europe
Level 2 - Moderate

Participants live for almost 3 weeks in one of the central arrondissements of Paris, using charming Paris apartments as a base, living as the locals do, and enjoying the charms of Parisian life.

11 days
Europe
Level 2 - Moderate
Secret France small group tour
Pre-guaranteed

The mountainous regions of France, the French Alps and the Pyrenees, are as much part of France as they are of the countries with which they are most associated, Spain and Switzerland. Perhaps because of this the France of the Alps and of the Pyrenees is often by-passed by travellers as they hasten on their way to these other nations to experience them. Our program will take our group deep into the villages, valleys, shrines and ski resorts of these high regions which for other tourists will always remain unvisited, hidden in plain sight.

25 days
Europe
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate

This program examines some of the classic gardens of Italy and France that reflect changing fashions and garden designs throughout the ages. We 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
Europe
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate

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. This program explores the remote mountain plateaux, perched villages and dramatic gorges as well as the Mediterranean coastline.

23 days
Europe
Level 2 - Moderate
walking tours in France
Guaranteed

Our France on Foot program 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
Europe
Level 3 - Moderate to Challenging
European Ballet escorted small groups tour for senior travellers
On Sale

For those 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.

17 days
Europe
Level 1 - Introductory to Moderate
Loire Valley walking tours France
Pre-guaranteed

The Loire Valley is the largest site ever registered in France as World Heritage site by UNESCO. This walk crosses a multitude of historic towns and villages. Many of these places are explored on this walking tour.

18 days
Europe
Level 3 - Moderate to Challenging
Channel Isles & England small groups history tour
Guaranteed

Our 21 night program explores the north-west corner of France before hopping across the English Channel to the tiny autonomous islands of Jersey, Guernsey and Sark as well as the historic Isle of Wight. The tour combines the dramatic scenery of Normandy and Brittany with the quirky history and natural beauty of the Channel Islands together with the natural and historic splendour of the Isle of Wight in the English Channel.

22 days
British Isles, Europe
Level 2 - Moderate
The need to know

Touring France

Getting around

Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. France has a centralised and impressively extensive rail network comprised by the TER, which links towns, and the TGV, which links major cities. Paris itself is home to one of the most extensive metro systems in the world, and a number of the stations are tourist attractions in their own right.

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 longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.

Tour Guides

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 longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.

Geography, Environment, & Weather

France is divided into 13 administrative regions, each with its distinct lifestyle and cuisine. The landscape of France is equally varied, with beaches along the north coast, to spectacular mountain ranges of the Pyrenees and the Alps.

In terms of climate, there is a lot of variety, but temperate winters and mild summers are typical, and especially in Paris. Conditions are wetter in the northwest (Brittany), and winters are often colder along the German border (Alsace). Along the Rhône Valley, occasional strong, cold, north-to northwesterly winds blow: this is known as the mistral. Snow reaches the Mountainous regions, including the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Auvergne. So, do your research to discover what weather to expect at the time of your visit and in the area you’re visiting, but it is wise to prepare for all eventualities.

World Heritage sites

France has an impressive 42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can view the official list of the sites here (https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/fr). While every site has something of value, here are a few highlights:
The Loire Valley, home to some of the world’s most stunning architecture and landscape.
The Chartres Cathedral, which was constructed throughout the 12th and 13th centuries and remains in excellent condition.
The Palace of Versailles, perhaps the world’s most renowned royal residence, home to French kings from the time of Louis XIV to Louis XVI.

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

One of France’s primary attraction’s is its cuisine. Many people travel to France exclusively to experience its food and drink, and there are many good reasons for that. While foreigners often think of French food as one category, it actually varies widely based on the region. Some popular regional dishes include Champagne Ham, from Champagne, Boeuf Boirguignon, from Burgundy, and gratin dauphinois, from Dauphine. And of course, you can’t go past French wine. It’s estimated that France drinks around 43 litres of wine per capita per year and, just like the food, wine is regionally distinct, with globally famous varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, pinot noir, and Sauvignon blanc. What about tips for dining out? Here’s something not many tourists know. It’s often cheaper to stand at the bar and have a coffee or drink than it is to sit down! And see below for our advice on how to tip.

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.

See All

Tour Reviews

Travelling in a small group was great. The tour gave you a good taste of France's history and its wine regions.
Participant Sep 2014
Brilliant trip with an excellent guide and driver. Even converted my sports -orientated husband into appreciating cathedrals and architecture! Love the 'all-inclusive' aspect, not having to bother with meals, tipping, etc. Made it a real holiday for me.
Participant Sep 2014
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
Brilliant trip with an excellent guide and driver. Even converted my sports -orientated husband into appreciating cathedrals and architecture! Love the 'all-inclusive' aspect, not having to bother with meals, tipping, etc. Made it a real holiday for me.
Participant Sep 2014
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
This tour was such a good mix of the different areas of France, good food, good wine, good company and amazing sights.
Participant Sep 2014
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
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

FAQs

Responsible travel tips for France

  • Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although many locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
  • Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
  • Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
  • When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Museums and galleries are often closed on Mondays. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
  • Consider contacting your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
  • Before departing, make sure you have a number of euros in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.

Subscribe to our newsletter and save!

Receive a AUD$350 voucher towards your first small group tour
Join our newsletter mailing list to gain exclusive access to special offers and promotions.