Fancy a driving holiday in France that combines adventure, fun and fantastic food? Our itinerary allows you to experience the best of la République’s charm and breathtaking driving routes without breaking the bank
Picture yourself traversing scenic coastal roads, meandering through pretty historic towns, and savouring delectable local cuisine at your own leisure and with no time limit. With the freedom to explore hidden gems and immerse yourself in rural traditions, this type of holiday offers a sense of discovery you won’t find on your typical planned tour.
Follow our itinerary to uncover picturesque villages far from typical tourist hotspots, delight in the flavours of world-renowned wines, and explore the grandeur of châteaux nestled amidst rolling vineyards. Departing from Caen, we follow the open roads of France and guide you on a remarkably affordable journey taking in some of the wonders this country has to offer.
Day 1: Arrive in Caen and drive to Bayeux
After arriving in the commune of Caen via Brittany Ferries, with whom Boundless members can enjoy a 5% discount on all crossings, you’ll begin your affordable driving holiday by driving south to the historic town of Bayeux. Here you can explore the charming cobbled streets and visit the iconic Bayeux Tapestry, a fascinating piece of medieval history. Take a stroll through the picturesque Old Town and savour delicious local cuisine at one of the traditional restaurants. To further immerse yourself in the local culture, visit the Bayeux Museum, which provides a comprehensive overview of the town's history and heritage through insights into the Norman era, the impact of World War II on the region, and the art and traditions that have shaped Bayeux over the centuries.
Day 2: Normandy D-Day Beaches and Mont-Saint-Michel
Next, head further along the coast to the Normandy D-Day Beaches, where you can see firsthand some of the most important historic sites of World War II. Visit the moving Omaha Beach and Utah Beach memorials, as well as the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer before continuing your drive southward to the majestic Mont-Saint-Michel. An enchanting island commune with a stunning abbey. You’ll be surprised by just how much is packed into its diminutive 240 acres as you explore the commune’s narrow streets, enjoy breathtaking views, and experience the unique charm of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 3: Saint-Malo and Dinan
Next, enjoy a scenic coastal drive to the captivating destinations of Saint-Malo and Dinan. In Saint-Malo, stroll along the ancient city walls for panoramic views of the English Channel. Visit the impressive Saint-Malo Cathedral and learn about the city's fascinating maritime history at the Musée d'Histoire de Saint-Malo. Then, continue inland to Dinan, where you'll find perfectly preserved medieval half-timbered houses and charming cobblestone streets. Climb historic ramparts for vistas of rolling hills and the Rance River. Finally, round off day three by exploring the boutique shops in the town before indulging in some excellent local seafood.
Day 4: The Loire Valley
After a day of indulgence head southeast to the magnificent Loire Valley, renowned for its stunning châteaux, exceptional vineyards and scenic landscapes. Visit the charming town of Amboise, where you can explore the grand Château d'Amboise and the Clos Lucé, the former residence of Leonardo da Vinci. Next, venture further along the valley to discover the exquisite Château de Chambord and Château de Chenonceau. Finally, make time to visit the family-owned Natural History Museum in Tours whose displays include live lizards, insects, iguanas and turtles to name just a few.
Day 5: Bordeaux and Wine Tasting
Next your drive will take you even further southwest to the world-renowned wine region of Bordeaux. Here it’s easy to spend hours walking among miles of grapevines at the region’s prestigious wineries. For unforgettable wine tasting experiences Bordeaux is hard to beat; with the St-Emilion and Medoc regions being particular highlights. After you’ve had your fill of wine, head to the vibrant city of Bordeaux, known for its elegant architecture, lively atmosphere, and world-class gastronomy. Take a leisurely stroll along the Garonne River and discover the town’s charming squares and boulevards.
Day 6: La Rochelle and Île de Ré
For the final leg of your journey, drive to the coastal city of La Rochelle, known for its picturesque harbour and historic architecture. Explore the historic towers dotted around the city and wander through the charming Old Town. If time allows, take a short drive to Île de Ré, a stunning island with beautiful beaches, quaint villages, and a relaxed atmosphere accessible only via La Rochelle, crossing the impressive three km toll bridge (€16.50 return). Île de Ré is also a gastronomic haven, with an array of fresh seafood on offer. Indulge in succulent oysters, plump mussels, and tantalising fish dishes that showcase the island's coastal flavours. For the best the area has to offer, enjoy these culinary delights at a waterfront restaurant, soaking up the captivating views of the Atlantic ocean.
Day 7: Head to Roscoff for your return ferry
Conclude your affordable driving holiday in France by completing the journey back to Roscoff (around five hours from La Rochelle by toll road), where you’ll board a waiting Brittany Ferry and return to the UK port of Plymouth. Brittany Ferries offer a wide choice of routes to France, sailing from Portsmouth, Poole or Plymouth. Boundless members can save 5% on ferry crossings to France all year round*.
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