France Itinerary of Major Cities

Young woman in a French airport looking at schedule


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This France itinerary is ideal for those who seek out urban adventures, taking travelers along a route that hits some of France's major cities. Start your France itinerary in the French capital of Paris, then hit other vibrant cities - east, south, and west. 

Along this itinerary, you will see:

  • Paris
  • Strasbourg
  • Nice
  • Montpellier
  • Bordeaux
  • Return to Paris

Planning Your Itinerary

This itinerary is set up to work for a variety of lengths of stays. You can see the travel time, and realize it will take a couple of days of travel time if you are really rushing. Realistically, this could be anywhere from a one-week itinerary to however long you want to spend.

This is also set up to start and end in Paris, but that is simply because Paris is a major air and rail hub. Since all of these are major French cities, they are all served by airports. You could easily start and finish anywhere along the route, and pick up the route from there.

Getting to Your Destinations

The pages here will guide you on the basics, but you also need to get around France to hit all of these cities. To do so, it will require either a France rail pass or a car rental. If you really plan to spend some time exploring these cities (at least 17 days), I recommend considering a lease buyback car rental through a program such as Renault.

01 of 05

Start Your Itinerary in Paris

Cafe les Deux Magots, Paris
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Your France itinerary of major cities begins, bien sur, in the French capital city of Paris. There are countless reasons to visit Paris, from its world-class museums to its amazing cuisine. This is the place for a romantic break. Or base yourself here and do day trips out to all the nearby attractions. 

More on Paris: Paris Travel Guide

Next stop: Strasbourg

Travel time: 4 hours by car, 2.5 hours by high-speed train

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02 of 05

Next Itinerary Stop: Strasbourg

Christmas in France Front view of the Notre-Dame Cathedral and Christmas decorations from place Gutenberg with passersby in motion
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Strasbourg is a little-known urban center that serves as the capital of all of Europe. It provides a unique blend of French and German influences, and this is one of the most divine food destinations in all of Europe.

More on Strasbourg: Strasbourg

Next stop: Nice

Travel time: 8 hours by car or by train

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03 of 05

Next France Cities Itinerary Stop: Nice

Cours Selaya, Nice, France
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Nice provides a sharp contrast to the northern stops at the beginning of this itinerary. This is the French Riviera, sipping wine and nibbling warm goat salad on the seaside. Beyond that, Nice is a large and bustling city packed with shopping and attractions.

More on Nice: Nice Travel Guide

Next stop: Montpellier

Travel time: 4 hours by car or train

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04 of 05

Next France Cities Itinerary Stop: Montpellier

Place de la Comedie
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Montpellier is charming and alluring and is a lesser-known French capital city (serving as the capital of Languedoc). Right on the border of the Languedoc and Provence regions, this southern city is urban and rich in history. It's also blessed with sunshine almost every day of the year.

Don't Miss: Place de la Comedie, Faculty of Medicine and La Promenade Royale du Peyrou

More on Montpellier: Montpellier Travel Guide

Next stop: Bordeaux

Travel time 5 hours by car, 4 hours by train.

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05 of 05

Next France Cities Itinerary Stop: Bordeaux

Fontaine des Trois Graces on Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux
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Bordeaux is a beautiful city, and an ideal destination for those who appreciate fine food, fine wine, and designer shopping. The city itself is an urban adventure filled with historic attractions and shopping avenues. The area is surrounded by some of France's most dignified wine chateaux.

More on Bordeaux: Bordeaux Travel Guide

Next stop: Paris

Travel time: 6 hours by car, 3 hours by train

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