Days 1-2: Arrive in and Explore Paris
Where else to start a three-week stay in France than the City of Light? The Eiffel Tower (pictured) is a must-visit site, as is the Louvre, arguably the most famous are gallery in the world. Another stunning building is Notre Dame cathedral. Other places of interest are the atmospheric Montmartre district, and the Champs-Elysees, which is the world's most famous boulevard. If you're considering visiting the latter, be sure to take in the Arc de Triomphe too.
Day 3: Day Trip to Versailles from Paris
What was once a small rural village is now a wealthy Parisian suburb. It also happens to be home to one of the grandest palaces in the entire world. The Palace of Versailles started out life as a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII, however it was expanded dramatically in the time since. The Hall of Mirrors is perhaps the palace's most famous room, and you must take in the seemingly-endless palace gardens.
Day 4: Mont St-Michel
The castle-cum-abbey-cum-monastery at Mont St-Michel is yet another iconic French landmark. Appearing to jut out of the sea, its history can be traced as far back as the sixth century. Although high tide previously used to make it inaccessible, there's now a raised causeway to ensure you make it over to the landmark without getting wet. The Gothic abbey, which stands on the site today, was built in the 11th Century. Furthermore, a small village sprung up in the abbey's surroundings over the centuries.
Days 5-6: Bayeux
There are two primary things that Bayeux is known for. First, the Bayeux Tapestry, which hangs in the town's stunning cathedral, commemorates the Norman conquest of England in 1066. It's definitely worth a look. Second, Bayeux is famous for the beaches where the D-Day landings of WWII took place. On June 6th, 1944, Some 160,000 Allied soldiers disembarked from various naval ships and vessels, after which bloody fighting ensued. These landings marked the beginning of the liberation of northwestern Europe from the Nazis.
Days 7-8: Amboise
Amboise is just as pleasant as its name suggests - French royals thought so too. In its present guise, it's now a small market town. It's also notable for the death of genius Leonardo da Vinci, who passed away at the Clos Luce manor house. It dominates the little town's skyline. During your stay in Amboise, take a day trip to see Chateaux Loire, the most spectacular of the magnificent chateaux that line the Loire River. For many years, this area of the country was a splendid home for French royals and nobility.
Day 9: Bordeaux
Bordeaux is synonymous with French wine, and French wine is widely believed to be the best in the world. If you happen to enjoy a little tipple, be sure to take in the city's centuries-old wineries. If that isn't really your thing, then you're still in luck - Bordeaux is home to more historic buildings than any other French city, other than Paris. Some of the most well-known sights include Esplanade de Quinconces, which is Europe's largest square, the churches of St. Pierre and the Holy Cross, and the Bourse, which proudly displays a statue of King Louis XV.
Day 10: Carcassonne
A visit to Carcassonne is like taking a walk back in time. It's a fortified medieval city renowned for its spectacular walls. Take it all in by wandering through the ancient streets, visiting the castle and the cathedral. Outside the medieval walls, instead, lies a modern city. Carcassonne is also notable for its wines, and if you fancy a leisurely aquatic cruise, take a boat trip on the Canal du Midi.
Days 11-12: Avignon
Avignon served as the Papal seat for 67 years of the 14th Century due to a dispute between the Papacy and the French crown. Much evidence of this significant part of the city's history can still be seen, with churches and chapels abounding in the Old Town. Some of the city's fortifications are 800 years old, and much of them still stand today. What's more, you can take in the scenic landscape consisting of historic buildings built right up to the water line of the Rhone River. While you're staying in the city. Take a day trip to the region of Provence and visit the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct that forms a 30-mile (50-kilometer) long watering system built almost 2,000 years ago.
Days 13-15: Nice
Glitz and glamour define Nice. Lying on the shores of the Cote d'Azur, France's sixth-largest city is within striking distance of one of the French Riviera's most famous hotspots - Monaco. Some of its top attractions include the Cathedrale Sante-Reparte, and the Marc Chagall museum. Do a spot of people-watching at the Place Massena, which is the city's main square. Another thing to take in, while in the city, is the colorful buildings of the Old Town. On your second and third days in the city, take day trips to Monaco and Eze respectively. Monaco is famous for the sheer amount of wealth that can be found within the tiny principality's borders - fast cars, expensive stores and jaw-dropping yachts can be seen almost everywhere you look. On the other hand, Eze is a medieval fortress that sits perched atop a cliff some 1,400 feet (430 meters) above sea level. Although you'll need to climb a steep cobblestone path to get up there, it'll be worth every step - the views are truly awe-inspiring.
Days 16-17: Annecy
Journey from the shores of the Mediterranean to the mountains of the Alps. Often referred to as the Pearl of the French Alps, Annecy features two canals and a river that run right through the middle of it. Some of the star attractions in the city include the Palais de l'Ile, historic music, and the Chateau d'Annecy. This place is made of picture-postcard stuff, complete with gorgeous gardens for you taken in.
Days 18-19: Chamonix
Chamonix is synonymous with skiing. In fact, it hosted the very first Winter Olympics all the way back in 1924. The summer months see an influx of mountain climbers, hikers and golfers. Don't worry if you're not particularly athletic though - you can get to the top of the Aiguille du Midi via the world's steepest vertical ascent cable car. Another intriguing experience that this stunning place offers is a mountaintop music festival, called Unlimited, which is held in April. This is supplemented by the Cosmo Jazz Festival, which is held in July.
Day 20: Lyon
You can't spend three weeks in France without spending a night in Lyon. The city, which is sometimes referred to as the "gastronomic capital of the world", is world-famous for its bouchons, restaurants that serve sausages and duck pate'. The Old Town's medieval buildings are a wonderful sight to take in, and if you happen to be in the city during December, make sure you take in its spectacular light festival.
Day 21: Back to Paris
Before you hop on an airplane back home, take a stroll through the French capital's Luxembourg Gardens, which contains a palace that's a meeting point for the French senate, and over 100 different sculptures and fountains. To wrap up your trip in the best way possible, try some Parisian fine pastries, baguettes, duck comfit or steak frites.
Day 22: Fly Home
Bon voyage, mon ami!
Image Sources: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14