10 Days, 9 Nights: The Perfect Paris and Provence Itinerary
South of France
Planning on taking a trip to France with the family? Looking for a romantic vacation with your lover (ugh, that word!)? Whether you’re a regular visitor of France or planning on going for the first time, this is the perfect 10-day itinerary, focusing on Paris and Provence. My philosophy? Less is more. You will always end up seeing more when you visit fewer places. Follow the itinerary but keep it open for unexpected surprises and chance encounters, many of which you could find in the diverse cultures and landscapes of France.
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Where to stay
Hôtel Duminy Vendôme
Immerse yourself in Parisian elegance and refined charm at Hôtel Duminy Vendôme, where stylish accommodations, a prime location near Place Vendôme, and warm hospitality create a memorable stay in the heart of Paris.
Hôtel Dame des Arts
Experience artistic inspiration and boutique comfort at Hôtel Dame des Arts, where creative design, comfortable accommodations, and a prime location in the vibrant city of Paris come together to offer a unique and memorable stay for art lovers and travelers alike.
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A picturesque boutique hotel in the heart of Paris with stunning decor, a bar and city views.
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Day 1-4: Paris for 4 nights
Arrive in Paris. There are many great hotels in Paris one can stay at such as Château Voltaire or Hôtel Dame des Arts in the Latin Quarter but one of my favorite places is the Hotel Duminy Vendome. It is not extravagant, trendy or glitzy but it is a solid hotel that is clean and simple with a great breakfast and friendly staff. It is the type of place you can stay and make a tradition every time you go to Paris. Here, you can hit the ground running as this hotel is very well-located right in the center of Paris. It is a newly renovated, six-story hotel situated between Place Vendome and Rue de Rivoli, close to l’Opera and the Louvre. The first night, go to dinner at Le Soufflé to welcome your vacation palate to French cuisine.
Explore Paris by foot! With a pain au chocolat in-hand, walk to the pleasantly beautiful Tuileries Garden. As you stroll the garden, make your way across the river to the Musée d’Orsay. Yes, I say skip the Louvre (for now). The Louvre, of course, is iconic but enormous and overwhelming. Musée d’Orsay is much more manageable and houses some of the most, if not the most, beautiful and impressive Impressionist art pieces in the world. After your morning museum fix, walk through arguably the most charming area in Paris, the Latin Quarter. There, you can walk to Rue Mouffetard – Market Street – and pick up some cheeses, baguette and cured meats (and wine) and have an impromptu picnic at the Luxembourg Garden.
Explore the Marais, the famous and historical Jewish quarter of Paris and a popular area for the gay community. A wonderful place to walk around in the Marais is Rue des Rosiers. On this street you can find the best falafel pita sandwiches you’ll ever have and delicious Jewish bakeries such as Sascha Finkelsztajn’s Yellow Shop. From there, visit the Musée Picasso or walk to Place de la Bastille.
And if you must, although I hesitate to say this, you can take the metro to the stop École Militaire or Champs de Mars/Tour Eiffel to visit the Eiffel Tower. If you are not content on seeing the Eiffel Tower glisten in the distance from various points in Paris, then book a private tour. Although you get a much grander view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower, I personally love the view from the Arc de Triomphe a bit better. Apart from the Eiffel Tower, the area around it is a delight to explore. Go to a cute café called Kozy or explore the markets off Rue de Grenelle. At night, eat dinner at the quintessential charming Parisian restaurant, Le Grand Colbert.
Day 2-4: 4 Nights Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
On the fourth day, escape the city and head to Provence. Take the high-speed train, TGV, from Paris Gare de Lyon to Avignon (fastest train is 2 hours and 43 min). From Avignon train station you will pick-up your rental car (or you can hire a chauffeur to take you to the hotel and have your rental car dropped off there) and drive 40 minutes northeast to your next hotel, Hôtel Crillon le Brave, a beautiful, 5-star hideaway surrounded by the nature and charm of Provence. Enjoy a gastronomic experience with breathtaking views at one of the hotel’s best restaurants, La Madeleine.
While you stay two nights at Hotel Crillon le Brave, experience Provence the way it should be experienced: play pétanque while sipping on pastis; go hiking on Mont Ventoux; take a drive to Avignon to visit the Palais des Papes or the ancient Roman amphitheater in Arles; discover the beautiful lavender fields in the area; create a menu with the hotel chef to go on a picnic or go wine tasting at a local winery.
After two nights at Hôtel Crillon le Brave, journey to the extraordinarily beautiful village of St. Paul de Vence and stay at Toile Blanche. For the next couple of days enjoy this medieval village and artistic mecca on the French Riviera. Explore the medieval town when you arrive. The next day, head to the beach! St. Paul resides a few miles inland between Nice and Antibes, two places you can visit and travel to for a day a la plage! Of course, you can always go to Cap d’Antibes or Juan-les-Pins but there are also lesser-known beaches that are equally stunning like Plage Cros Dei Pin.
In St. Paul de Vence you can easily maneuver into other towns in Provence and the French riviera such as Èze, St. Tropez or even Grasse where you can create your own perfume!
Day 10: A final night in Paris
On your last full day in France, you will return to Avignon and take the TGV back to Paris. Walk along the Seine at night, gaze at the Notre Dame, then grab a drink at Bonnie, a chic bar with beautiful views of Paris inside SO/Paris Hotel.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Briana Masson’s guide, An Extended Guide to Paris.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Paris.