With so much to see and do, planning a trip to France can be hard. My husband and I had never been to France before so we knew Paris was a must. But where else would we visit? With just over a week in France, we decided to stick to northern France and added on Alsace and Normandy as bookends to our time in Paris. Here’s our nine day France itinerary with stops in Alsace, Paris, and Normandy.
Day 1: Colmar and Eguisheim
The first part of the trip features two days in Alsace. The sections below provide the highlights, but for complete details, check out our Alsace itinerary here.
On Day 1, arrive at Charles de Gaulle and take the two-hour train ride to Strasbourg. Once in Strasbourg, pick up a rental car from Europcar, conveniently located across the street from the train station. The bulk of Day 1 is spent exploring the villages of Colmar and Eguisheim.
Little Venice is the highlight of Colmar. Colorful houses line the Lauch River which flows through the center of Colmar.
After Colmar, drive 15 minutes south to the small village of Eguisheim. Eguisheim is one of the cutest villages with Rue de Rempart being its most photographed spot.
After Eguisheim, head north to Kaysersberg to check into your hotel Le Chambard. For dinner, eat at Auberge de l’Ill, a two Michelin star restaurant in the beautiful town of Illhaeusern.
Day 2: Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, and Ribeauville
On Day 2, you’ll explore three more villages in Alsace before heading to the city of Strasbourg. Spend the morning walking around Kaysersberg.
Next up is Riquewihr which is said to have inspired the village in Beauty and the Beast. Riquewihr is certainly one of the most beautiful stops, but it is also the most crowded!
The last village is Ribeauville which, with Riquewihr, was part of the inspiration for Beauty and the Beast. Ribeauville has a beautiful mountain backdrop with three ruined castles. You can see one in the picture below.
Next, head up to Strasbourg and check into the Sofitel for the night. If you have time before dinner, visit the magnificent Strasbourg Cathedral.
For dinner, eat at La Binchstub, a tiny restaurant with a huge selection of tarte flambées. Be sure to make a reservation!
Day 3: Strasbourg and the Eiffel Tower
On Day 3, you’ll do some last-minute sightseeing in Strasbourg before taking the train to Paris. The sections below provide a highlight of what you will see and do in Paris. Check out our Paris itinerary here for complete details.
Before heading to the train station, walk around Petite France, Strasbourg’s tourist area with cobblestone streets, canals, and more half-timbered houses.
Take the train from Strasbourg, arriving in Paris around noon. Check into the Park Hyatt Paris and hit the ground running! Why not start with Paris’s most iconic landmark? Visiting the Eiffel Tower is a must when in Paris.
For dinner, eat at Relais de l’Entrecôte for steak frites. This restaurant has a set menu of salad followed by a heaping plate of steak frites.
Day 4: Explore Paris on Foot or by Cab
In the morning, walk up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
Next, head over to Sacré-Cœur, a beautiful church located on a hill in Montmartre. After visiting the church, stroll around Montmartre. After lunch at La Crêperie du Clown, head to Luxembourg Gardens. Luxembourg Gardens is home to the French Senate and offers plenty of walking paths and pretty photo ops!
After strolling around the Gardens, head to the Panthéon located in the Latin Quarter. This building was originally used for religious purposes but later became the burying place of famous citizens such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie.
The last stop of the day is Napoleon’s Tomb at Les Invalides, a collection of museums, monuments, and buildings celebrating the military history of France.
For dinner, head over to L’As du Fallafel.
Day 5: Museums and Saint-Chapelle
Your first stop of the day is Musée de l’Orangerie located in the Tuileries Garden. This museum is home to Monet’s Water Lilies series.
Next, head to Musée d’Orsay to check out the impressionist paintings. The museum is located in a former train station and houses paintings by Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, and more. Next, visit the Louvre, home of the Mona Lisa.
After a morning of muesums, visit Saint-Chapelle, known for its gorgeous stained glass. Notre Dame is located close by. While you can’t go inside, you can still visit from afar.
For dinner, eat at Arpège, a three Michelin star restaurant by Alain Passard.
Day 6: Versailles and Catacombs of Paris
On your last day in Paris, start off with a day trip to the Palace of Versailles. Located just outside of the city, it’s the perfect day trip from Paris and is easily accessible by train. You can check out my complete guide to visiting Versailles from Paris here.
Next, visit the Catacombs of Paris, an underground ossuary which holds the remains of over six million people!
That night, head to the Trocadéro Gardens to view the Eiffel Tower at night.
For dinner, I recommend a delicious Turkish restaurant called Élysées Ottoman.
Day 7: Giverny, Rouen, and Etretat
Day 7 is the start of your Normandy itinerary. You’ll need to rent a car and head out of Paris early in the morning. The sections below provide the highlights, but for complete details, check out our Normandy itinerary here.
The first stop is Giverny, located about an hour and a half outside of Paris. In Giverny, visit the house of Claud Monet and the famous Japanese gardens that inspired his Water Lilies series.
You can read more about visiting Giverny here.
Next, drive to the city of Rouen for lunch. While in Rouen, be sure to visit the Rouen Cathedral which dates back to the 12th century. You can also visit the Church of Saint Joan of Arc and the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
You can read more about visiting Rouen here.
After Rouen, drive to Etretat, a town on the English Channel with stunning white cliffs. There are two cliffs to visit in Etretat: Falaise d’Amont and Falaise d’Aval. Spend a few hours exploring the beach and the cliffs.
You can read more about what to do while in Etretat here.
After Etretat, it’s time to stop for the night. We booked a room at a rural bed and breakfast outside of Bayeux called Manoir de Cleronde. You may also choose to stay in Bayeux. For dinner, drive to the seaside town of Port-en-Bessin and dine at one of the restaurants along the water.
Day 8: D-Day Tour and Bayeux
We booked our D-Day tour through Ophorus. The tour focused on sites in Normandy pertaining to the United States’ involvement in D-Day. These stops included: Utah and Omaha Beaches, the US cemetery, Pointe du Hoc, and Sainte-Mère-Église.
You can read more details about each D-Day site here.
The tour returns you to Bayeux with just enough time to visit the Bayeux Tapestry and the Bayeux Cathedral. You also have the option of visiting the cathedral before the tour if you want more time visiting the tapestry. Explore Bayeux on foot before stopping for dinner at one of the many restaurants in town.
Day 9: Mont Saint-Michel
On your final day in Normandy, you’ll drive an hour and a half south to visit the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel.
You can read more about visiting Mont Saint-Michel here.
From Mont Saint-Michel, it’s about a four hour drive back to Paris. We drove directly to the airport, making a pitstop in the town of Honfleur for lunch.
Stop at La Cidrerie for amazing crepes, galettes, and cider.
This nine day France itinerary takes you from Alsace to Paris to Normandy with stops in between. It’s a busy nine days, but you’ll cover so much ground that it’s worth it!