France Through the Ages

France Through the Ages

Embark on an elegant “Tour de France” following the roads from the past. On this 17-day luxury France tour, uncover the history of France from the Greek and Roman occupation in Southern France, through medieval times in the Pyrenees, up to the Renaissance in the Loire Valley, and concluding around Paris admiring the splendors of the Grand Siècle of King Louis XIV.

Suggested Itinerary-at-a-glance:

  • Day 1:

    Arrive Arles / Le Mas De Peint

  • Day 2:

    Arles / Le Mas De Peint

  • Day 3:

    Canal du Midi / Roi Soleil

  • Day 4:

    Canal du Midi / Roi Soleil

  • Day 5:

    Canal du Midi / Roi Soleil

  • Day 6:

    Canal du Midi / Roi Soleil

  • Day 7:

    Canal du Midi / Roi Soleil

  • Day 8:

    Canal du Midi / Roi Soleil

  • Day 9:

    Carcassonne / Hotel de la Cite

  • Day 10:

    Lacave / Chateau de la Treyne

  • Day 11:

    Lacave / Chateau de la Treyne

  • Day 12:

    Loire Valley / Chateau de la Barre

  • Day 13:

    Loire Valley / Chateau de la Barre

  • Day 14:

    Paris / Le Bristol

  • Day 15:

    Paris / Le Bristol

  • Day 16:

    Versailles / Trianon Palace Hotel

  • Day 17:


Itinerary Description:

Begin in the port town of Marseilles to discover France’s Greek and Roman heritage and the landscapes where Van Gogh and Cézanne found their inspiration. From your provincial farmhouse accommodations at Le Mas de Peint, you will have unparalleled access to the flamingos and white horses of Camargue as well as the architectural marvels of the Carré de Nimes and the historical vestiges of Arles, founded by Julius Cesar.

Your journey through the ages culminates on the Canal du Midi – a UNESCO protected waterway linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic – aboard your personal river barge. Imagined by the Romans and constructed under the Sun King himself, King Louis XIV, the Canal represents one of the most impressive feats of civil engineering in modernity, effortlessly blending its natural surroundings and technical achievements into a veritable work of art. Meander through a vast diversity of scenic landscapes and 328 locks, aqueducts, bridges, and tunnels. Along the way, enjoy “slow travel” at its most luxurious, with delicious food, a friendly crew, and some light activities, from a cooking class with your onboard chef to bicycle excursions to cocktails by the hot tub on the sundeck. You will also have the opportunity to discover picturesque historic villages, as well as the Pre-Roman Oppidum of Enserune, the Roman city of Narbonne, an olive oil farm, a winery in a renowned Minervois domain, and Europe’s largest medieval fortress, Carcassonne, a UNESCO heritage site.

After exploring the medieval fortresses and prehistoric caves of the Dordogne Valley, travel next into the Renaissance era of France via the gilded chateaux and incomparable luxury of the Loire Valley. While here, the Count and Countess de Vanssay will open their prestigious 17th century home, Chateau de la Barre, to you as their esteemed guests. A day trip to Le Mans reveals a time-tunnel experience through the medieval Plantagenet City, where one can follow the Gallo Roman walls along the Sarthe river, which Viking conquerors sailed along 1,200 years ago.

Conclude your journey in Paris, entering France’s Grand Siècle era. While in the City of Lights, visit some of France’s major historical sites in a 1940s vintage Citroen convertible; experience the Louvre with an expert art historian, retracing the artistic history of Paris; enjoy an after-hours visit to the Notre Dame cathedral; and explore the wonders of Versailles with a private tour of Marie Antoinette’s Trianon Palace and theatre. You also have the option of renting the Versailles palace after hours, privatized for you to avoid the crowds.

Ker & Downey’s luxury France tour is one for the history books. To further curate the journey, Ker & Downey recommends pairing this itinerary with an extension in Normandy to experience French history from Hastings 1066 to D-Day 1944. An experience in Normandy with Ker & Downey can include everything from accommodations in a privately-owned chateau near Pegasus Bridge to a guided tour of the June 1944 strategic sites, led by a British General and experienced military strategist who will bring the realities and histories of that fateful day to life. Contact your Ker & Downey luxury travel consultant to learn more about how you can bring your own personal historical journey through France to life.

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Choose additional countries and destinations, change property selections, add activities, tours, and more. With Ker & Downey, the choice is yours – just ask your travel expert!