The Essence of France

Lavender fields and landmark buildings, riverside vineyards and romantic medieval towns augment the country’s culture, cuisine, and quintessential character, so that, from bistros to basilicas, chic streets to rugged shores, la belle France lives up to its epithet.

Why choose a tour in France?

Known for its sense of style, enjoyed for its serenely scenic landscapes, visited for its grand chateaux and gorgeous towns, and enhanced by its fine wines and fabulous cuisine, France stimulates all the senses and feeds both body and soul.

From coast to coast, and from palaces to pasturelands, our tours see the country’s spectacular sights and hidden treasures from the sundecks of river cruisers and ‘péniche’ canal barges, floating to vibrant cities and sleepy villages, medieval monasteries, and hauntingly historic towns.

Our river cruises sail in southern Aquitaine, from beautiful Bordeaux to the Bay of Biscay, on the ‘rivers of wine’, the Garonne, Dordogne, and Gironde, where fine appellations include Médoc, Margaux, and Saint-Émilion; and travel the northern reaches of the Seine from the heart of Paris to the Normandy coast, passing the orchards, abbeys, and rural scenery which inspired Monet, Manet and Gaugin.

Two tours sail the Saône and Rhône Rivers between Mâcon and the Mediterranean shore, both visiting lively Lyon, the papal city of Avignon, and the Van Gogh gallery of Arles. The downstream journey focuses on art and culture, calling at historic Vienne and Cluny Abbey, and adding the wilds of Camargue; while the upstream cruise is themed on wining and dining, sailing from Marseilles and touring to taste the wines of Cassis, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Tain l’Hermitage and the Route des Vin du Beaujolais.

Jules Verne’s Péniche canal journeys are less ‘cruise’, more ‘life in the slow lane’, where you are free to hop off the barge to walk or cycle on the towpath and re-join the vessel at the next lock.

Five routes cover the waterways; in Provence, from Roman ruins to medieval Aigues-Mortes and the sea-lake of Étang de Thau; on the Marne-Rhine canal of Alsace, through sylvan valleys to fairy-tale castles; from the capital of the country to the capital of Champagne, Épernay, joyously tasting the bubbly every day; between Bourgogne’s vineyards, villages and bucolic beauty, to celebrated sights and secret gems; and into the somnolent scenery of the Canal Latéral à la Loire, crossing the majestic Briare boat-bridge.

When to go on France holidays

While there are regional differences from the warm south and west to the cooler north and east, in general France has a temperate climate, and holidays here can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Ranging between 15 and 22 degrees in April-June and September-October, the spring and autumn months are popular for the mild weather and less-crowded sites and cities. The majority of travellers choose the summer, with long hours of sunshine and average temperatures hovering around 25°; and snow is no stranger to eastern riverbanks in winter, but it’s welcomed for enhancing the festive spirit for our cruises to Christmas markets.

Who are France tours suited to?

Gourmets, gourmands and wine buffs, historians and romantics, lovers of art and architecture, and escapees to the simple pleasures of natural landscapes and soft-tempo towns, all are entertained in multi-faceted France; and, with solo travellers in mind, a number of our river cruises feature ‘No Single Supplement’ departure dates.

Why book France tours with Jules Verne?

With 45 years’ experience and a passion for creating extraordinary adventures, Jules Verne visits iconic landmarks and lesser-known sites, with expert tour guides who share their local knowledge, and show you hidden gems. Our journeys in France cover every aspect of the nation, from the fine food and wines for which it renowned, to the chic cityscapes of fountains and fabulous façades, the enchanting but untrumpeted villages, the coasts, canals, and rural miles; all combining to shape the country’s character.

All our guided tours to France are ABTA and ATOL protected, and we offer a 100% price guarantee, so you can book with complete confidence.

View From the River of Lyon, France

The Colours of Provence & Beaujolais

From the “foodie’s favourite” city of Lyon to Beaujolais vineyards, Roman temples, the medieval towns of Provence, and the wild beauty of the Camargue, this river cruise is a tour through time and traditions, between the scenic banks of the Rhône and Saône

More 7 nights from £2590


Heidelberg, Germany

Tributaries of the Rhine

Cruising the rivers and crossing the borders of France, Germany and Luxembourg, this is a fabulous tour on five waterways, the Rhine, Neckar, Main, Moselle and Saar; sailing through serene landscapes, seeing splendid towns and cities, and sampling local wines

More 8 nights from £2325


Saint Emilion Dominated By Spire Of The Monolithic Church, France

Bordeaux & the Rivers of Wine

Floating between famous vineyards, Médoc, Margaux and Saint-Émilion among the fine appellations, this is a tour to historic ports, wine châteaux and ‘bastide’ towns, cruising on the Garonne, Dordogne, and Gironde Rivers, from Bordeaux to the Bay of Biscay

More 7 nights from £2095


Traditional Buildings In The Old Town Of Dijon, Burgundy, France

Péniche Bourgogne

A stressless ‘no fly’ tour, this exclusive Péniche (barge) cruise is a dreamy drift through Burgundy’s bucolic beauty and historic towns, sailing from Dijon to Besançon, on the Petite-Sôane, Rhône-Rhine, and Doubs waterways, via celebrated sights and secret gems

More 7 nights from £2495


Sens, France

Medieval Cities Along the Seine

Sailing past Paris landmarks and between the bucolic banks of the Seine and Yonne rivers, this péniche (barge) cruise carries you back in time to medieval streets, artists’ landscapes, and the sumptuous royal châteaux of the 17th-century ‘Grand Siécle’

More 6 nights from £2095

Walks & Gardens of the Côte d’Azur

Come to the Côte d’Azur to wander swanky beach towns and stately gardens on a group walking tour of this coveted coastline, beloved by the rich and famous

More 7 nights from £2195

Cruise through Christmas on the Rhine 

A fabulously festive, four days away, this mini break offers maximum comfort and cossetting service, to sail through a stress-free Christmas. Go with the flow of the Rhine to explore splendid Strasbourg, beguiling Rüdesheim, and historic Mainz

More 3 nights from £1395
Arles, Provence, France

Péniche Provençale

An unhurried antidote to the pace of modern life, this ‘no fly’ tour takes the train to Avignon, and cruises from Roman ruins in Arles to revelations on the Canal du Rhône à Sète, in medieval Aigues-Mortes, the Camargue wilderness, and Étang de Thau sea-lake

More 6 nights from £2795
River at Sunset, Strasbourg, France

Péniche Alsacienne

This ‘Great Canal Journey’ is a fabulous float on the Marne-Rhine canal, sailing through sylvan valleys and the Vosges Mountains, to picturesque villages, fairy-tale castles, chateau views, and Chagall glass, enroute from splendid Strasbourg to lovely little Lagarde

More 6 nights from £2595
Vineyards In The Champagne Region, France

Péniche Champagne

With a taste of Champagne every day of the tour, this joyous journey is an exclusive barge cruise, sailing along the majestic Marne Canal, visiting intriguing villages and exploring iconic towns, from the capital of the country to the ‘capital of Champagne’, Épernay

More 6 nights from £2595


Aerial View of Les Andelys, Normandy, France

Impressions of the Seine

Sailing through scenery which inspired Impressionist artists, Monet and Manet, Gaugin and Renoir, this is a river cruise through the romance of France, from the country’s inimitable capital, via historic towns, abbeys, chateaux, and harbours, to coastal Honfleur

More 7 nights from £2135