Multigenerational Trip Across France: 12-Day Itinerary

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Advisor - Karen Morales
Curated By

Karen Morales

  • Paris

  • France

  • Accessible Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • City Travel

  • Family Travel

  • International Travel

  • Luxury Travel

  • Multi-Destination

  • Historical

  • Sightseeing

large cliff next to body of water during daytime
Curator’s statement

Is it possible to design a first-time trip through France for two teens, a grandma and a wheelchair? Of course it is! The trick of the trade when developing European itineraries is to fully understand pacing, interests and how often the family wants to pack and unpack. For this custom trip, we had multiple interests: a foodie, a WW2 history buff, a budding artist and surfer, and a repeat traveler who wanted to ensure that hotels were 5-star and that experiences were a blend of luxurious and local, with great coffee, luxurious bedding and wheelchair accessibility.

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Days 1-5: Paris

people walking next to large glass building during daytime

The perfect itinerary comes from understanding the desires of the group. Most flights arrive early morning and we recommend an activity on arrival day so everyone is busy and stays awake. Imagine your first day in Paris finding a hidden gem lunch in St. Germain, wandering to the best macaroons in the city and finally being greeted by a tuktuk to experience a full view of the city.

In Paris, the group saw the classic sites: admired the Eiffel Tower at night, explored the Louvre with an art historian, walked the Seine and visited St. Chapelle behind the scenes. But it was always the special experiences that the family loved most: a bespoke tour in an off-the-beaten-path residential neighborhood, a WW2 tour of the Latin Quarter, a painting class in Luxembourg Garden and time to shop and experience small cafes and Michelin-star restaurants.

Day 6-7: Normandy

large cliff next to beach and body of water during daytime

After a quick train to Normandy, you arrive at a country Chateau on gated grounds. With a farm-to-table restaurant, a swimming pool serving Aperol Spritz’s and bikes on demand, the relaxation sets in.

Every visitor to Normandy should experience the sites of WW2, guided by a certified historian. Stopping along for a fresh-from-the-oven roadside lunch (or sampling the vending machine oysters), families can get out on the beaches, battlegrounds and bunkers and bring history to life. After a long day of touring, you can enjoy the casual or fine dining destination restaurant at the chateau.

Days 8-11: Brittany & Mont St Michelle

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For families with children, I always recommend adding a beach stay to every European city tour. It gives time to get off the "wake up and go" schedule so the family can sleep in and have a bit more downtime. The journey from Normandy to Brittany is a few-hour transfer, enabling a stop and hike through a world heritage site, Mont St. Michele, a 966-century abbey built on a rock in a tidal bay that changes at low and high tide.

The stay in Saint-Malo included a spa hotel on the beach boardwalk, with easy access to sailing, windsurfing, aqua walking and surfing lessons. The hotel is a true French destination spa, with more than 30 treatment rooms, spa menus and a circuit of various water features and hot tubs that were accessible via lift and usable by the teens and adults.

Saint-Malo offers a walled city, seaside restaurants and shopping. The various local beaches also include a public swimming pool built into the ocean’s edge, complete with lifeguards and a low and high dive - a unique thrill for teens to join in the local fun.

Outside the city is access to animal parks and amusement centers, as well as opportunities to take cooking classes, ride horses and tour the countryside by sidecar.

Day 12: Versailles

large stately building with the french flag during daytime

The Palace of Versailles is a wonderful stop on the way back from the coast. The palace grounds are best viewed by foot or bike or via golf cart to accommodate little legs or mobility challenges. A private guided tour enables a VIP entrance and the ability to go at your own pace in the palace. A pre-arranged elevator entrance enables all visitors to access the upper floors and see the personal chambers, including the Hall of Mirrors.

The town of Versaille has some wonderful restaurants and is a quick transfer to either Paris airport for the return journey home.

Advisor - Karen Morales

A note from Karen

Early summer (right after school dismissal) was perfect timing for this East Coast-based family. When the family’s BOS-EWR flight was canceled the same day as travel, we were able to arrange a car service within the hour to get the family to their European connection. Given the challenges with flight cancellations these days, direct flights from your city of origin are always preferred so you can avoid trip interruptions. The experience La Compagnie made up for it - don’t sleep on this hidden gem all-business class carrier with routes to Rome, Nice and Milan from NYC.

Need to Know

Hungry for more Paris travel tips? Check out this guide by Fora Advisor Artemis Koutsogiorgas: Foodie's Guide to Paris, France.

For tips on traveling to Provence with Kids, check out this guide by Fora Advisor Claudia Riegelhaupt: Provence with Kids.

Advisor - Karen Morales

Travel Advisor

Karen Morales

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to France, and our continuing series on family travel.