Paris & the South of France

Magnificent Journey France

Eight Days in the City of Light and the French Riviera

Seeing the best of Paris and the South of France in a little over a week demands a well-crafted itinerary that balances culture, dining, shopping and relaxing—as well as stylish stays at these top hotels.

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Day 1-3: Paris

Paris

It's impossible to see all of Paris' cultural sights in three days, so narrow them down. The massive Musée du Louvre is best toured with a guide; equally stunning are the restored Musée d'Orsay and the Centre Georges Pompidou (the latter also offers sweeping views from the top floors.) Smaller troves not-to-be-missed are Musée Jacquemart André (a sumptuous historic mansion), Musée Rodin (home of "The Thinker") and Musée de la Mode, a must for lovers of fashion.

With its scenic cobblestone streets, grand architecture and iconic riverside setting, Paris is best explored on foot. Don't miss strolling the leafy Jardin des Tuilleries on the Right Bank, and its more bohemian counterpart, Jardin du Luxembourg on the Left Bank; the latter is a hit with kids thanks to pony rides, wooden toy boats and a marionette show.

No trip to Paris would be complete without some incredible food. Purists should head to such grand dining rooms as Apicius, L’Arpège or Le Grand Vefour. Those looking for the next generation of French chefs will love the innovative cuisine at Frenchie, Spring, Le Chateaubriand and Akrame.

On your final afternoon in the city, take a bateau mouche boat ride to see the city's beauty from the Seine, before heading to the Eiffel Tower for sunset cocktails followed by a celebratory dinner at Alain Ducasse’s Le Jules Verne restaurant, set on the tower's second platform.

Day 4-5: Côte d'Azur

Côte d'Azur

Fly or take the train to the South of France, a region as legendary as it is picturesque. Most travelers arrive in Nice, where they can check into the Belle Époque splendor of Hotel Negresco. Or they continue on to the coast and settle into such iconic resorts as the Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, set on an idyllic peninsula between Nice and Monaco, or the historic Royal Riviera in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. Those craving glitzy Cannes are equally spoiled for choice among such legendary properties as the Hotel Martinez or Hôtel Majestic Barriere.

The splendor of the Côte d'Azur unfurls itself around these resorts like a velvety blue-and-green ribbon. Highlights include scenic villages like Antibes, Vence, Grasse, Mougins and Eze. Nature enthusiasts flock to the Gorges du Verdon, known as France’s Grand Canyon, while foodies tour vineyards, take cooking classes and book meals at the area's many Michelin-starred restaurants (a highlight: the romantic Bastide de Saint Antoine, in Grasse). From Antibes, don't miss taking a boat to tiny La Guerite island, whose restaurant serves fresh grilled seafood.

Day 6-8: St. Tropez

St. Tropez

The ultimate South of France itinerary culminates in this glamorous resort town. Days are spent at one of the many exclusive beach clubs (the classic is Club 55; Plage des Jumeaux is the family-friendly option; Le Voile is the hip one). Shoppers will also be happy browsing the excellent boutiques along such streets as Rue Georges Clemenceau, Rue Allard, Rue Gambetta and Place de la Garonne. In the late afternoon, gather around shady Place des Lices, with its age-old plane trees, or grab a front-row seat at a café at the Port de St.-Tropez. Lined with mega-yachts, the marina invariably offers the best people watching in summertime France.

Add-On: Monaco

Monaco

A 45-minute drive from the heart of the Côte d’Azur, the principality of Monaco entices with its Michelin-starred restaurants, incredible spa and wellness spaces and major cultural events throughout the year. Add to that Monte Carlo’s stellar people-watching (during the day at the beach clubs; at night in the casinos) and one of Europe’s most glamorous shopping scenes, and you have the ingredients for a successful day trip (arrive via boat) or a couple of sybaritic days at the end of your trip.

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