Summer in France has so many glamorous, fantasy-inspired images attached to it. Who hasn’t dreamt of nursing a fantastic cocktail on a sandy beach in Cannes, Nice or Monaco, donning a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses befitting Grace Kelly? Or driving along the coast in an elegant, open-roofed sports car, letting your hair blow in the wind? Or sipping a superb glass of white or rosé from the terrace of some splendid castle or country house, watching the sun as it sets over Provencal skies? Or wandering along the banks of the Seine in Paris with your chéri/e at dusk? For the more adventurous among you, summer also affords plenty of invigorating and authentic activities, from scuba diving to hiking and sailing. No matter your interests and wishes for your high-end summer getaway, read on for inspiration and ideas. If we succeed in inspiring you, don’t hesitate to get in touch: we’ll work with you every step of the way to ensure your trip is truly extraordinary– and full of authentic luxury.
What would a French summer be without its iconic beaches and seaside luxuries? There’s a good reason why so many people flock to the southern, western and northern coasts at mid-year– but if you want to avoid the unpleasantness of overcrowded conditions, choosing the right private tour and travel planners is essential.
Head to the Cote d’Azur and the French Riviera for classic glamour, lounging on pristine, white-sanded private beaches, taking a swim in the shockingly blue Mediterranean waters in Monaco, Cannes, Nice, St-Tropez or Antibes, and enjoying a little poolside luxury– cocktails and a good novel, anyone? The area is replete with some of France’s finest hotels, where you can retreat from the flock and enjoy some true rest, relaxation, sea air and sand.
If you’re looking for seaside opulence that has a touch of the rugged, consider exploring the beaches and coastlines on France’s West Coast, stretching from Brittany in the northwest to the Basque Coast in the south. Wild natural scenery, crashing waves, pristine sandy or rocky beaches and ample opportunities for authentic, experiential luxury await on France’s Atlantic coastline.
If water sports and active seaside holidays are your style, there’s a wealth of options awaiting you. Take a sea kayak out and explore the coasts off of Brittany or the Basque Coast. Enroll in private sailing lessons on the Riviera, learning to navigate the open seas yourself between Cannes and Monaco, or even sailing all the way to Italy. Scuba-dive, kitesurf or windsail off the coast of Biarritz, and feel the power and beauty of the sea while engaging your muscles. Afterwards, you can indulge in luxurious spa treatments to soothe tired muscles, and dine on culinary treasures from the sea, all perfectly paired with French wines.
After a long, cold winter and a spring that can be a bit on the chilly side, summer affords adventure travellers and more laid-back explorers balmy conditions for hiking, trekking, cycling or even touring the country in an old vintage vehicle.
Irrespective of whether you’re touring France as a solo traveller, embarking on a couple’s getaway or bolstering team trust and collaboration on a corporate excursion, there are so many activities in store for anyone interested in nature, the great outdoors or simply discovering breathtaking landscapes.
If you’re interested in exploring the country by foot, see our guide to the best places for hiking in France. From gentle coastal walks to weeklong pilgrimage-site treks and mountain excursions, there are hikes for all levels and styles of traveller.
If you’re someone who likes a bit of adrenaline and exotic adventure, there are likewise plenty of possibilities to consider. Take a microlight aircraft over the Loire Valley to gain a perspective only the local wild birds can share. Try bungee-jumping or ziplining amid the rocky yet verdant cliffs of Corsica. Spelunking (cave-exploring) in the Pyrenées or the Languedoc region of France is also a popular activity among more intrepid luxury travellers.
Prefer to roam on two wheels– or four? A summer cycling tour of Provence, Champagne, Brittany or Burgundy affords fresh air, exercise, and the ability to cover more ground than you would on foot alone. It’s also a wonderful activity for couples or groups, whether family or colleagues. See our in-depth guide to cycling around France here.
Finally, a private tour of the countryside or the coasts in a 2CV Citroen car offers tons of throwback charm. The beloved vintage car, which comes in bright colors, is a favorite for vineyards tours, seeing summer lavender in bloom across Provence, and even exploring the southern, western or northern coasts.
Seeking More Open-air Inspiration?
See our complete guide to France off the beaten path for more inspiration and ideas on how to make your summer getaway exciting and original.
Whether you’re a curious amateur gourmet or a connoisseur, summer affords wonderful opportunities to sample France’s world-famous culinary culture on a private food or wine tour. Every region has its summery offerings: take a colorful whirl through traditional market stalls in Provence, where vendors sell heaps of fresh, gorgeous summer produce such as courgettes, aubergines, fresh herbs and sharp or creamy French cheeses. And Paris is always a fantastic place for a gourmet tour, whether you’re exploring permanent market streets such as Rue des Martyrs and Rue Montorgueil or dining at one of the city’s many incredible Michelin-starred tables.
In the middle part of the year, especially at the end of summer, vineyards are ready for harvest and are ripe with bounty. Come experience a completely private French wine tour, experiencing the joy and authenticity of the annual harvest.
Why not enjoy a cycling tour through rustic vineyards in Alsace or the Loire? Or see some of the country’s most-sought-after wineries in Burgundy, Bordeaux or Champagne, perhaps travelling from one prestigious cellar to another aboard a vintage 2CV? This is summery bliss at its best…
Seafood at the Sea
Meanwhile, at coastal hubs such as Marseille in the south and Arcachon to the west, superb fresh fish and shellfish are on off for delicous, al-fresco summer meals. Arcachon is considered one of France’s shellfish and fresh oyster capitals, and its “fruit of the sea” is superb when accompanied by local wines from the nearby Bordeaux region.
Tours With Local Artisans
Summer French food tours can also include meetings with local artisans, from Basque-country cheese producers to Alsatian beer brewers. Private tours led by savvy French locals are always the best way to encounter all the extraordinary culinary traditions the country has to offer.
Last but certainly not least, you may wish to enroll in gourmet French cooking lessons and workshops, or meetings with Micheln-starred chefs ahead of enjoying a gastronomic dinner in fantasy-inspired locations such as a castle, rooftop with panoramic views over Paris, or even a yacht on the Riviera. Your palate and its potential discoveries know no limit….
While most visitors head to the sea during the summer, the season also represents an ideal time to take a high-end boat tour or cruise in France. Benefiting from superb, ever-changing perspectives and landscapes, luxurious onboard amenities, and the ability to partake in activities from cycling to wine-tasting offshore, you’ll stay firmly off the beaten path and away from swarms of tourists. What could be better when you’re hoping for a summer getaway that’s at once high-end and quietly authentic?
There are so many possibilities for a summer cruise or luxury barging adventure in France. Head from glamorous Paris to the bucolic French Alps, witnessing as the grandeur of the capital changes into bucolic, sublime foothills and rolling vineyards. Explore the Rhine river and the charms of storybook-Alsace, revered for its iconic, Franco-German villages and underrated wine routes, medieval castles perched on dramatic bluffs and distinctive local cuisine.
Explore the Loire Valley by boat, wending through landscapes punctuated by dramatic, romantically charged castles, dozens of species of wild birds and unforgettable, ever-changing light. Or go a bit rustic and hire a private barge complete with onboard chef for a memorable day floating down the Canal du Midi, passing through southwestern French towns such as Carcassonne, chronically underrated by tourists.
See our guide to luxury barging excursions around France for still more inspiration and ideas.
Offshore, France’s astoundingly rich heritage will come to full life when you take a private cultural tour of France with us. Better than any guidebook could, our highly knowledgeable, locally savvy guides will unlock the charming villages, remarkable architecture, intimate vineyards and other cultural sites you can easily visit as part of a luxury river adventure. Just let us know what interests you the most, and we will craft a bespoke excursion that’s entirely your own.
If you’re considering France as a destination for your honeymoon or are plotting to propose marriage to your sweetheart there, choosing the warmer months of the year is ideal for many reasons. You’re more likely to encounter warm skies and opportunities for idyllic outdoor activities with your significant other– although you should know that summer storms are common in France!
Newlyweds have so many options for creating a relaxing yet stimulating honeymoon, whether in Paris, the Riviera, Basque Country or Brittany. Perhaps your dream post-wedding getaway together involves long days reading at the beach or looking out at the countryside from an opulent chateau, enrolling in a pastry-making workshop or wine-producing course in Paris or Burgundy, or strolling hand-in-hand down famous old city streets. Or you may have something entirely else in mind. Whatever it is, we’re at your service to make it a reality.
If you’re thinking about popping the question in France and proposing to your beloved while abroad, we have nearly limitless ideas for how to make the moment unforgettable. Go up in a hot air balloon over the verdant vineyards of Champagne, or take a scuba-diving or surfing course in Biarritz, getting down on a knee on the beach afterwards for a heart-racing moment.
Naturally, one of the most stressful parts of planning a romantic getaway abroad is trying to deal with all the logistics yourself. Eliminate all of that by relying on our expert travel planners– they’re happy to take on all the heavy lifting. Why not start plotting your ideal couple’s getaway with us now?
France’s marvellous and diverse cities are sources of both excitement and laid-back, luxurious fun in the summer months. Why not plan to spend at least some of your time wandering the streets of Paris, perhaps enjoying a drink on one of the city’s elegant rooftop bars, or setting out for a private shopping and style tour of the capital with us? We’ll take you to some of Paris’ most confidential and high-end addresses, whether you’re looking for a bespoke perfume, extraordinary piece of jewelry, work of art or antique from an auction house.
Related: The Best Perfume Houses & Perfumers in Paris
Paris is also an ideal destination for its summer festivals and events: watch tennis pros compete for the championship at the famous clay courts at Roland-Garros, or enjoy jazz in the bloom-filled Parc Floral. Meanwhile, the Palais de Versailles offers a full programme of elegant musical evenings accompanied by light and water shows at its elegant, enormous gardens.
Related: The Most Luxurious Day Trips from Paris
Other Cities to Explore
Of course, Paris isn’t the only city worth spending a part of your summer getaway in. Bordeaux is another idyllic place to perch for a few days. Its world-class wine bars and summer festivals, elegant terraces overflowing with people, and ample opportunities for day trips and wine tours nearby make it the perfect hub for a luxury summer sojourn in France’s southwest.
Related: The Most Luxurious Things to Do in Saint-Emilion, France
Meanwhile, Marseille offers the more intrepid luxury traveller a unique combination of natural beauty, authentic cultural experiences, interesting old architecture and local culinary specialities that are both fresh and full of flavor. And Lyon, with its Roman amphitheatre high on the hill offering local concerts, local gastronomic delights, and fine wine-tasting opportunities nearby, is another city worth considering for a summer getaway.
Related: Why Lyon’s food and wine is world-famous (and how to enjoy it)
Whether you choose to visit a single city or several during your private adventure, your expert guides will ensure you beeline to the very best they have to offer, from extraordinary hotels to culture, food and wine.
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Ready to embark on your own personally tailored, completely original summer getaway to France? Whether you’re interested in exploring France’s extraordinary landscapes, enjoying private beaches and sea adventures, or taking a gourmet food tour, working with us will ensure your trip is truly prestigious and unforgettable. Get in touch with us to start crafting it. We’ll take care of every detail to realise your precise vision.
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