- Experience the Moët & Chandon and Perrier Jouët on the "Avenue of Champagne"
- Follow a guided tour through the picturesque villages of Alsace
- Lounge on the bustling blue lakefront of Annecy
- Savor a classic Alpine wine and cheese experience
|Day 1||Arrive in Paris, Transfer to Reims & Champagne Tasting||Reims|
|Day 2||Champagne Tasting & Olfactory Workshop in Épernay||Reims|
|Day 3||Train to Strasbourg, Discover Petit France||Strasbourg|
|Day 4||Train to Colmar, Canal River Cruise||Colmar|
|Day 5||Villages of Alsace Tour||Colmar|
|Day 6||Drive from Colmar to Annecy||Annecy|
|Day 7||Alpine Cheese & Savoie Wine||Annecy|
|Day 8||Travel to Geneva & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Paris, Transfer to Reims & Champagne Tasting
Welcome to France! You'll meet your driver in Paris, then continue up to the city of Reims (pronounced "Rance," rhyming with how a French speaker says "France"). Once you've dropped your bags at your hotel, you'll meet your afternoon tour for a Segway ride through the Reims historic center, scoping out the city's main attractions.
Switch off your wheels and stroll to Taittinger, through the ruins of the 13th-century Saint-Nicaise Abbey, which welcomes more than 70,000 visitors annually. Go 59 feet (18 m) below ground into the Gallo-Roman chalk quarries, included on UNESCO's World Heritage list as one of the best examples of the Gothic style in the region. The abbey was destroyed during the French Revolution, but its cellars remain intact under the purview of the Taittinger Champagne House. As you take your tour, you'll see bottles of the Comtes de Champagne maturing throughout the cellar.
After the cellars, you'll ascend for a tasting session to sample the Taittinger style during a customized tasting session. Your expert will explain the history and production of each cuvée as you sample in their tasting room. The evening is then yours to spend on a bubbly Champagne cloud.
Day 2: Champagne Tasting & Olfactory Workshop in Épernay
Your morning agenda is up to you. If you're an early riser, scope out the interior of Notre-Dame de Reims, the city cathedral and traditional coronation place of the French kings. In the afternoon, you'll hop in a minivan for a tour through some famous Champagne vineyards around Épernay. Start through the "Montagne de Reims," the natural dividing line between Reims and Épernay, before you reach the Avenue of Champagne. Famed Champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon, Perrier Jouët, Pol Roger, and De Venoge reside here, and you'll hear about their stories and successes from your guide.
You'll stop in a restored Champagne house for an olfactory workshop and tasting, introducing you to more of the beverage's complex aromas and flavors. Follow it with a regional lunch, with, of course, Champagne pairings.
Make one more stop at a family-run boutique winery, where you can see behind the scenes into the traditional vat room, press, and cellar. You'll stroll past the maturing bottles in the cellar before sampling some of their bestsellers. Return to Reims in the early evening, with time for a stroll before dinner or an early turn-in.
Day 3: Train to Strasbourg, Discover Petit France
Transfer to one of Paris's central stations with a driver, then take the high-speed train to Strasbourg. On arrival, you'll be greeted by your private driver. Check in to your hotel, then enjoy a private walking tour of Old Strasbourg. The city is an old university town famous for its gastronomy and architecture. Located just a few miles away from the German border, Strasbourg has, for centuries, swung between French and German sovereignty, giving the city a charming bicultural atmosphere.
See the city's famous astronomical clock, then continue your tour to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. Several of Strasbourg's medieval churches, like Église Saint-Thomas or Église Saint-Guillaume, are worth spending time in this afternoon. End your tour at the Janus Fountain, then enjoy a free evening in the city.
Day 4: Train to Colmar, Canal River Cruise
After breakfast, take the regional train south to Colmar. Check in to the hotel and relax, then head out to explore the city.
Colmar's half-timbered houses and peaceful canals are fairytale-like, especially in spring when foliage and flowers drape over the streets. Walk around the weaving cobblestone lanes of the Old Town and the cheerfully-painted houses in Little Venice, Colmar's loveliest neighborhood. The narrow Lauch River flows through here, alongside colorful buildings and impeccably restored homes. The best way to see this part of town is by a short river cruise—today's afternoon activity. It's part of the city tour and takes you under several of the Old Town's arching bridges.
In the late afternoon, explore the city's restaurants and cafés before one last evening stroll around the river.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Villages of Alsace Tour
Set out today for a tour of some of the region's quaint villages. You'll start in Hunawihr, best known for its 16th-century fortified church that has been serving both the Catholic and Protestant communities since 1687, followed by Riquewihr to try some of the wines from its hillside vineyards. Visit Eguisheim next, full of pink buildings, flowers, and flowing wines.
The afternoon takes you to Turckheim, home of a famous night watchman whose calls in Alsatian of "take care of fire and light" echo through the streets to prevent house fires. It's the only place in Alsace that preserves the important 13th-century tradition, which is maintained primarily for touristic reasons. Nightly tours with the watchman are available at 10 pm each night from May to October.
Continue with a trip within the walls and narrow streets of Kientzheim, known for its half-timbered houses and privately owned castles. End your tour in Kaysersberg, voted the favorite French village of 2017 for its beauty. There will be plenty of wine tastings, history, architecture, and much more over the course of your outing.
Day 6: Drive from Colmar to Annecy
Pick up a rental car this morning to make your way to Annecy. The drive takes roughly four hours along any of the multiple routes you can choose to deliver you to the picturesque blue lake and surrounding city.
As you approach the city, you'll pass locals and travelers alike enjoying the towns stunning natural surroundings by bike, canoe, and even parapentes. After checking in to your hotel, leave your car to explore the Old Town on foot. The colorful 16th- and 17th-century buildings are home to restaurants, bakeries, and boutiques, and as you wander past the many canals running through the streets, you'll see why the town is called the Venice of the Alps.
Walk along the lakefront or pick up a bicycle, electric scooter, or pair of rollerblades to propel you along before you choose from one of the many restaurants for dinner.
Day 7: Alpine Cheese & Savoie Wine
Meet your guide in the center of town, then take off to explore the alpine region and its products. You'll taste local cheeses, like Tomme and Reblochon, and several white wines on the lower slopes. Enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and glimmering Lake Bourget below you. Head into the seemingly infinite rows of wine grapes to explore four historic vineyards—Parc de Chartreuse, the Chaîne de l'Epine, the Parc des Bauges, and the Combe de Savoie. You'll get to taste rare varieties of grapes, such as Chignin Bergeron, the Mondeuse Rouge de Savoie, and the Marestel.
After the wine tasting, meet the cows who make the milk for the iconic cheeses, then try some cheese yourself to round out the tour. After the half-day experience, return to your hotel. Enjoy a quiet evening in Annecy, or head to the nearby village of Talloires for dinner. The area has an abundance of restaurants, from Michelin-starred dining to neighborhood favorites with a relaxed atmosphere.
Day 8: Drive to Geneva, Depart
After breakfast, you'll drive to the French side of the Geneva airport to return your car. Take some time to explore the city, or go directly to the airport to catch your flight home. A bientôt!