Discover the essence of France—its rich history, culture, and scenic beauty—on this popular comprehensive tour, featuring many World Heritage sites, from the Dordogne region to the Loire, Normandy, and Paris.

Starting at: $6,297 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The historic Mont St. Michel off the coast of Normandy  Chenonceau, one of the most romantic chateaux in the Loire Valley  The medieval city and castle of Carcassonne  Medieval town square of Sarlat  River boats or <i>gabare</i> on the Dordogne River. Credit: France Tourism Bureau  The medieval village of Rocamadour, a World Heritage site  The castle and town of Saumur in the Loire Valley  The chateau of Chenonceau, Loire Valley  Mont St. Michel, Normandy  Travelers outside a megalith in Saumur. Credit: Catherine Chamoux  World War II cemetery near Omaha Beach, Normandy  German gun emplacements at Pointe du Hoc. Credit: Atout France/R-Cast  Memorial sculpture, Omaha Beach  Section of the famous Bayeux Tapestry  Monet's gardens at Giverny  The Louvre's entrance, designed by I.M. Pei  Panorama of Paris

France Through the Ages

15 days from $6,297 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Discover the essence of France—its rich history, culture, and scenic beauty—on this popular comprehensive tour, featuring many World Heritage sites, from the Dordogne region to the Loire, Normandy, and Paris.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

"France through the Ages" was a feast for the body, mind, and soul!

- David B.

Even though each of us has traveled to France on several occasions, taking "the road less traveled" on Smithsonian's "France through the Ages" tour was thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening. This was our first Smithsonian tour but assuredly will not be our last. 

- Marie L.

This tour offered me a glorious buffet of France. Each day we got to sample new things and they were all wonderful. With my appetite fully whetted, I want to return and see more. 

- Sharon S.

I loved this tour of France. The trip lived up to all my expectations. My tour guide was exceptional. 

- Steven M.

This trip was very well planned. It would have been difficult to get to all of these places on my own because we covered a lot of territory in a short time. You'd have to be an expert already to do this alone.

- Previous Journeys Traveler

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Crowne Plaza Toulouse

Toulouse, France

Well located in the heart of Toulouse's 'Ville Rose' on Capitole Square, and one of Europe's prettiest, the 162-room Crowne Plaza offers a restaurant, cocktail lounge, a health club with an indoor swimming pool, gym, sauna, and hair salon. Your room is equipped with private bath with hair dryer, air conditioning, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Au Grand Hotel de Sarlat

Sarlat-en-Périgord, France

Au Grand Hotel de Sarlat sits just north of Sarlat’s medieval city center, only five minutes’ walking distance from this well-preserved 14th-century town. Boasting lovely manicured gardens and an outdoor heated swimming pool, the hotel also features a bar (with a public piano), fitness center, spa, sauna, laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee), and complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access. Air-conditioned guest rooms are split among two separate buildings: our rooms in the Pavillon de Selves have private bath with hair dryer, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Hotel Anne d'Anjou

Saumur, France

Overlooking the Loire River, the 18th-century Hotel Anne d'Anjou stands with its original wood, glass, and freestone moldings that date to the Louis XVI, Restoration, and Empire periods. Minutes from the town's center, the 45-room hotel has a restaurant and bar, Internet access, lounge, and garden. Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Ferme de la Rançonniere

Crépon, France

Dating to the 13th and 15th centuries, this rustic restored farmhouse is in a rural setting outside the village of Crépon. The hotel features one bar, and meals are served in a medieval dining room with vaulted ceilings. The fine food served here is typical of the region. Each of the 35 Normandy-style bedrooms, decorated in period furniture, has a private bath with hair dryer, Internet access, TV, and phone. There is no elevator.

Number of nights: 3

Hotel Chateau Frontenac

Paris, France

Ideally located between the Champs-Élysées and Avenue Georges-V, close to entertainment, restaurants, and shops, the 104-room Hotel Chateau Frontenac offers a bar and breakfast room and Internet access. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate


Expectations: One of our Classic Land Journeys, this tour features visits to many cities, iconic sites, hidden gems, and various regions. Although comprehensive, it's not rushed, but well paced and finely tuned. Expectations include longer touring days with many full-day motor coach excursions and four different hotels. Mostly full-day excursions from four to six hours, with six afternoons at leisure. Standing and walking for long periods of time during city tours, museum visits, and outdoor activities. Daily walks of up to three miles; walking over sometimes difficult terrain (e.g. cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, absence of elevators); some longer walks to get to city centers where coaches are prohibited. In Mont St. Michel, travelers choosing to visit the abbey will climb more than 200 stairs. There are a few longer coach rides, which vary in length between three and four and a half hours, but stops are made along the way. This tour also features a leisurely boat ride on the Dordogne River.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).

Tour Extension

Paris Post-Program Option — 3 Days, 2 Nights

Visit the vibrant cosmopolitan center of Paris, with its exquisite art, fine dining, and fascinating history. Your tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations at Hotel Chateau Frontenac (Superior First Class, 2 nights)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
  • Transfer to airport
Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

"France through the Ages" was a feast for the body, mind, and soul!

- David B.

Even though each of us has traveled to France on several occasions, taking "the road less traveled" on Smithsonian's "France through the Ages" tour was thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening. This was our first Smithsonian tour but assuredly will not be our last. 

- Marie L.

This tour offered me a glorious buffet of France. Each day we got to sample new things and they were all wonderful. With my appetite fully whetted, I want to return and see more. 

- Sharon S.

I loved this tour of France. The trip lived up to all my expectations. My tour guide was exceptional. 

- Steven M.

This trip was very well planned. It would have been difficult to get to all of these places on my own because we covered a lot of territory in a short time. You'd have to be an expert already to do this alone.

- Previous Journeys Traveler
Reading List

Highly Recommended

The Road from the Past: Traveling through History in France
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DK Eyewitness France (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness
A Traveller's History Of France
By: Robert Cole
Millions of travellers visit France each year. The glories of the French countryside, the essential harmony of French architecture, the wealth of historical relics, the myriad of cultural opportunities - all make the country a perennial and irresistible attraction. A Traveller's History of France takes the reader from the first conquests of ancient Gaul through the Renaissance, the turmoil and triumph of the French Revolution, and on through the 20th century of French history all the way to the present.
A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition
By: Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway’s classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, now available in a restored edition, includes the original manuscript along with insightful recollections and unfinished sketches.Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most enduring works. Since Hemingway’s personal papers were released in 1979, scholars have examined the changes made to the text before publication. Now, this special restored edition presents the original manuscript as the author prepared it to be published. Featuring a personal Foreword by Patrick Hemingway, Ernest’s sole surviving son, and an Introduction by grandson of the author, Seán Hemingway, editor of this edition, the book also includes a number of unfinished, never-before-published Paris sketches revealing experiences that Hemingway had with his son, Jack, and his first wife Hadley. Also included are irreverent portraits of literary luminaries, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ford Maddox Ford, and insightful recollections of Hemingway’s own early experiments with his craft. Widely celebrated and debated by critics and readers everywhere, the restored edition of A Moveable Feast brilliantly evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.

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Fodor's Paris 25 Best 2020 (Full-color Travel Guide)
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Mont Saint Michel and Chartres is a record not of a literal jouney but of a meditative journey across time and space into the medieval imagination. Using the architecture, sculpture, and stained glass of the two locales as a starting point, Adams breathes life into what others might see merely as monuments of a past civilization. With daring and inventive conceits, Adams looks at the ordinary people, places, and events in the context of the social conventions and systems of thought and belief of the thirteenth century turning the study of history into a kind of theater.As Raymond Carney discusses in his introduction, Adams' freeedom from the European traditions of study lends an exuberance—and puckish wit—to his writings.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. 
D Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II
By: Stephen E. Ambrose
Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day is the definitive history of World War II’s most pivotal battle, a day that changed the course of history.D-Day is the epic story of men at the most demanding moment of their lives, when the horrors, complexities, and triumphs of life are laid bare. Distinguished historian Stephen E. Ambrose portrays the faces of courage and heroism, fear and determination—what Eisenhower called “the fury of an aroused democracy”—that shaped the victory of the citizen soldiers whom Hitler had disparaged.Drawing on more than 1,400 interviews with American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans, Ambrose reveals how the original plans for the invasion had to be abandoned, and how enlisted men and junior officers acted on their own initiative when they realized that nothing was as they were told it would be. The action begins at midnight, June 5/6, when the first British and American airborne troops jumped into France. It ends at midnight June 6/7. Focusing on those pivotal twenty-four hours, it moves from the level of Supreme Commander to that of a French child, from General Omar Bradley to an American paratrooper, from Field Marshal Montgomery to a German sergeant. Ambrose’s D-Day is the finest account of one of our history’s most important days.
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24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Laminated)
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.