Driving in France is the ultimate way to see the beautiful rural countryside of southern France and hop between some of the country’s most exciting cities, towns and villages. Renting a car in France affords you the freedom to stop and enjoy many unique locations and take in the beautiful rural landscape of the countryside along the way.
Driving from Paris to Marseille can take about seven hours, but these routes provide you ideas on how to break up your driving holiday in France with exciting excursions and stop-offs, staying overnight where you like, and when you like. Feel part of the French landscape as you embrace the varying lifestyles, history and culture of France’s most exciting destinations. Alternatively, you can use the train (it takes around six hours from Paris) but you won’t be able to stop off and experience some of these incredible places in France.
Starting in Paris, the city of love, you will never be stuck for a divine restaurant, a historic landmark or some unique architecture. Finish up your route in Marseille; the melting pot of ethnicity and different cultures make this exciting port city worth the journey.
Make your next road trip in France an unforgettable one with these route ideas from Paris to Marseille:
Paris to Marseille Route One:
Driving time: Approx. 7 hours and 40 minutes
First, drive two hours south of Paris via the A5 highway to the beautifully quaint city of Troyes. The streets are lined with half-timbered houses in beautiful pastel tones and Gothic churches, taking you back to 17th century Europe. Famous for producing some of France’s finest knitwear, browse a local outlet store or take a wander around the squares and unique museums.
Continue on the A5, and eventually, the A31 for just under two hours until you reach one of France’s most attractive cities, Dijon. Set in the heart of the Burgundy countryside, one of France’s principal wine making regions, Dijon has plenty to offer holidaymakers seeking the finer things in life. Take a wine-tasting vineyard tour, visit the Palace of Dukes, home to a stunning collection of paintings, sculptures, and crafts, and take in the city’s picturesque medieval and Renaissance architecture.
Next, take the A31 for just over half an hour to the heart of the Côte d’Or and a town that is all about one thing, wine. If you like wine then you will love Beaune. Known as the best place to taste wine in France, the beautiful town is also host to a number of exquisite Romanesque and Gothic buildings, including the Hotel-Dieu des Hospices de Beaune and the quirky mustard museum Moutarderie Fallot.
Heading into the Rhone-Alps region you can visit Valence, a two-and-a-half hour drive from Beaune on the A7, often called the “door to the South of France,” Valence is a large city with plenty of cultural activities and museums to visit, including the Crussol (the remains of the 12th century chateau) and the 11th century Saint-Apollinaire Cathedral, one of the oldest buildings in Valence.
Continue on the A7 south for just over an hour, until you turn off and onto the D225 and into the city of Avignon. This lively student city is filled with magnificent architecture and exciting night life, including a famous arts festival every July. Take an organized city walk to see the best bits, including tracing Van Gogh’s footsteps through the cobbled city streets, or check them out for yourself. Home to the Palais des Papes, the world’s largest Gothic palace and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Pont St-Benezet, a 900-m long bridge that was finished in the 12th century.
From Avignon it is just over an hour to your final destination of Marseille. Back on the A7, you will pass through some incredible scenery on the way as you head to the coastal port city of Marseille. Visit the famous and still active Vieux Port, with views of the blue Balearic sea, and explore Marseille’s diverse neighborhoods and regions that make up this thriving city. And for the cherry on the cake at the end of your journey, walk up to La Garde, the highest point in the city, and the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde for views of the city (it’s just 1 km from the port).
Paris to Marseille Route Two:
Driving time: Approx. 7 hours
Take the A6 highway out of Paris, and head towards the Foret de Fontainebleau. A beautiful region of forest and canyons that provide enough greenery to make you you feel like you have truly escaped the city, even if it is just one hour away from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Access the many trails and hikes from the town of Fontainebleau. Close to the chateau in the town, you can visit the tourist office and sign up for all kinds of activities, including horse riding, cycling and hiking through the woods.
Back on the A6, continue south and into the Burgundy region of France. Here you will find the medieval village Montreal. For a true step back in time, take a stroll through Montreal’s streets that are lined with 14th and 16th century houses. Some even have dungeons and turrets! Located on a hilltop, walk up to the large church at the summit for a spectacular view of the River Serein. If you can, try to catch the exciting Wednesday evening market opposite the Au Quinze and other traditional events that are held in the village throughout the year.
Just 50 minutes further along the A6, around the beautiful Parc Naturel Regional du Morvan, drive into another exquisite French medieval village, Chateauneuf. Spend time taking in the perfectly-preserved architecture and enjoy the arts and crafts and cafes the village has to offer. It’s also worth making a visit to the Chateau itself, Chateau de Commarin, and the close-by village of Vandenesse-en-Auxois, the optimum spot for views of Chateauneuf.
From here, continue on the A6 to the quaint town of Beaune, and join up with route one to finish your journey Marseille.
Take a Driving Holiday in France with Auto Europe
Once you’ve figured out the perfect itinerary for journey from Paris to Marseille, give Auto Europe a call, toll-free at 1-888-223-5555, to take care of all your travel reservations. From car rentals in Paris, to international airfare and hotel accommodations, Auto Europe does it all. With over 60 years as an industry leader, Auto Europe has developed strong relationships with top-tier car rental suppliers, tour operators, and airlines, providing all of our clients with the best rates on all their travel needs.