The Best Cultural Holidays in France

Paris National Opera Photo

How well do you know know France? Don’t say Eiffel Tower please. 

Or more basic recommendations on reserving a vacation in France, see our France summer season holidays guide. Our guide features professional recommendations for city, beach, villa, culture, food, and drink and activity vacations.

1. Historical opera in Paris

This trip offers the possibility to witnessing some of the world’s most fantastic interpreters– including vocalists, a choreographer, a director, and a conductor-scholar– bring to life four stunning, however, questionable masterpieces, in buildings that have themselves assisted in forming the city’s history. Start the four-day journey with Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, before being treated to Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice at the Palais Garnier, Benvenuto Cellini at the Opera Bastille and Bach’s lost St Mark Passion at the Philharmonie de Paris, opened in 2015. There are likewise talks by Dr. Michael Downes, director of music at the University of St Andrews.

Book a Tour at the Palais Garnier – From $ 2,570, consisting of return tickets on Eurostar from London, coach transfers, lodging in four and five-star hotels with breakfast and four suppers with wine. Departs March 27-31. RSVP ONLINE (

The elaborate roof of the Palais Garnier in Paris

Palais Garnier in France
The ornate roofing of the Palais Garnier in Paris CREDIT: #palaisgarnier

2. Castles of the Languedoc

To understand Languedoc, you need to distinguish the Cathars. The 12th- and 13th-century dualist heretics were not only vital to local history (they thrived in Languedoc as no place else) however still inform its identity. Every time they take on outsiders – whether, at politics, rugby or easy bloody-mindedness – Languedociens invoke the spirit of their massacred forefathers.

In the hands of the history-tour experts Andante, the learning procedure becomes a treat. Its seven-day, six-night trip swirls from Béziers – where 20,000 Cathars were slaughtered in the Pope’s 1208 crusade – to Toulouse, by way of dizzy mountain-topping châteaux where Cathars holed up and, nowadays, only eagles attempt. It’s a journey through landscapes as dramatic as their stories. The tour is from 17-24 Sept.

FOR TRAVEL EXPERIENCE – flights, local travel, hotels, all meals, skilled lecturer, entries and ideas – CONTACT: RSVP ONLINE (

Carcassonne and its castles, a modern art revolution 

Carcassonne Village in France
The fortified French town of Carcassonne CREDIT: #carcassonne

3. The Avignon fringe, Provence

Avignon castle in and out photo

Oh yes – the Avignon fringe celebration: now there’s a need to take a trip. In normal times, Avignon comes pre-hallowed. The place hosted the 14th-century Popes. With the thumping terrific papal palace at its center, the city was the hub of the world. It’s taken itself exceptionally seriously since, as the main Avignon celebration suggests. The programme for what is Edinburgh-on-Rhône usually ways a ton. However, like Edinburgh, Avignon has its fringe (” le off,” they call it). Moreover, with that, the quiet old area blows up.

Avignon sunset in France

Players invade all areas, attracting audiences for more than 1,100 shows in some 120 locations every day. Leaflets announce “Godot est arrivé.” Music and dance jazz up every corner. Theatre comes at you persistently, providing everything from Flemish absurdism through musicals, magic, jazz and slapstick to Shakespeare evaluated (“Romeo Hates Juliet”). Never was a city so invigorated.

Avignon castle light show

The Avignon fringe, Provence photo credit: #avignon

FOR TRAVEL EXPERIENCE in Avignon, France – Best time to travel: July 6-24. Kirker Holidays is a good option for a flight and accommodation packages CONTACT: RSVP ONLINE (

4. Verdun Centenary

Verdun Centenary

Battle of Verdun, CREDIT: #verdun

Leger set up a five-day tour to mark the centenary of the Battle of Verdun in 2016. Sees on the battlefield consist of Fort Douaumont, Fort Vaux, the French Ossuary, a cemetery that houses the bones of 130,000 unknown soldiers; and the recently refurbished Fleury Memorial Museum. As well as sees to additional battlefield locations including the Voie Sacrée, the Trench of Bayonets, Verdun Citadelle and the Froideterre fortifications. The journey is based in the four-star Novotel Metz Hauconcourt. A battleground expert guides the tour.

FOR TRAVEL EXPERIENCE – $ 399per person b & b, consisting of coach travel from a local signing up with the point of your choice. CONTACT: RSVP ONLINE (

5. Prehistoric rock art, Dordogne

Dordogne prehistoric rock art

Prehistoric art in south-west France is remarkable things, and you can count on Martin Randall to put together a significant trip. Led by Britain’s leading expert in ancient art, the journey begins in Bordeaux. It quickly transfers to the remarkable Lascaux cave in the Dordogne’s Vézère Valley. The menagerie of wild bison, horses, and ibex you see emblazoned on the rock is a copy– the Unesco World Heritage initial is too valuable. However, the next two stops are the Real McCoy and deeply gratifying: exceptionally embellished Pech Merle in the Lot, and Niaux with its earth-shattering acoustics in the Pyrenees. There is just no finer prehistoric collapse in Europe.

FOR TRAVEL EXPERIENCE -taking in these sites, from April 24-30 and September 3-9. From ₤ 2,495 per person, consisting of flights, transfers, accommodation, and meals with wine. CONTACT: RSVP ONLINE (

Prehistoric art at the Lascaux caves: photo credit: #dordogne

6. Abbeys, churches, and ruins of Burgundy

the best of burgundy

Burgundy boasts a few of the most magnificent medieval structures in Europe. The massive basilicas of Autun and Vezelay, the ruins of Cluny Abbey and the Gothic marvel of Dijon are just a few of the highlights. Farther north is the stunning Carolingian crypt in Auxerre with its ninth-century frescoes and the early Gothic cathedral of Sens. All can be visited without a guide, but you’ll get a much better sense of the wealth and power of middle ages Burgundy if you take a trip the region with a specialist in tow.

Abbeys, churches, and ruins of Burgundy photo credit: #burgundytourism

Martin Randall’s eight-day tour of Medieval Burgundy: Abbeys and Churches of the High Middle Ages takes in all the key sites. From $ 2,790, consisting of first-class Eurostar travel, TGV to Macon and four-star accommodation throughout. Departs June 9-16. CONTACT: RSVP ONLINE (

7. A brand-new castle in Burgundy

burgundy brand new castle

Burgundy’s hill-tops are dotted with castles, chateaux and middle ages fortifications. However Guedelon Castle, in the north-west of the area, is different from the rest– structure work began there in 1997. It sounds like a gimmick, but it’s not. Guedelon is a “middle ages” castle that’s being developed from scratch, using traditional tools and techniques. An army of masons, carpenters, and rope-makers (together with many others) spend a part of each year here, building a castle in the very same style as their middle ages ancestors. It’s enjoyable and instructional, a warts-and-all historical theme park and a must-see sight, precisely, if you’re traveling with children.

brand-new castle in Burgundy photo credit:#burgundytourismCastle open from March to November (

8. Strasbourg

Strasbourg Best sites Collage

2015 marked the 1,000 the anniversary of Strasbourg’s magnificent cathedral. Alternatively, at least the laying of the structure stone. Only parts of the original plan remain – the fabric was much adapted and reconstructed in the centuries afterward – in fact, its 15th-century spire (only one of a prepared two was finished) was the highest building worldwide from 1647 until 1974. It, however, it has some exceptional highlights, consisting of fantastic stained glass from the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries.

photo credit: #strasbourg

Moreover, there is plenty more to see in Strasbourg (consisting of a terrific fine arts museum, medieval streets and houses, and excellent regional wines and cuisine). CONTACT: RSVP ONLINE (

9. Gardens and the Coast of the French Riviera

French Riviera coastThe French Riviera has a few of the most lovely gardens in Europe. This Kirker Holidays five-night trip checks out a few of the most beautiful gardens that were created here in this sun-kissed play area of the rich consisting of those of Thomas Hanbury and the Rothschilds in addition to Clos du Peyronnet and Lord Percy Radcliffe, in the shape of the Val Rahmeh Botanical Gardens.

Photo Credit: #frenchriviera

Departures April and September, from ₤ 1,598 per person consisting of return flights between London and Nice, coach travel in France, lodging and most meals. CONTACT: RSVP ONLINE (

10. Matisse, Picasso, and Chagall on the Côte d’Azur

Côte d'Azur

Matisse, Picasso, and Chagall are amongst the most remarkable of the many artists who decided to reside in the South of France– and this tour is a terrific opportunity to look into their work and lives in depth. Led by the broadcaster and the Telegraph deputy art critic Alastair Sooke, it will take in Matisse’s comfortable yet marvelous Chapel of the Rosary, in addition to re-tracing the creative Chagall.

From 1,960 per person for this 4-day trip consisting of return flights from London, coach travel within France and most meals. 2017 tour dates are September 14-17. CONTACT: RSVP ONLINE (

Need help in Booking and Arranging your Tour in France?

For our other expert holiday choices in France see our top 10 villa vacations in France, beach holidays in France, activity vacations in France and food and beverage holidays in France. RSVP ONLINE (