- Embark on a foodie walking tour in Lyon, France's gastronomy capital
- Travel to wine country outside Lyon and sample the best pours in the region
- Check out Annecy's historic art galleries, medieval sites, and glorious beaches
- Join a local host in preparing one of Savoy's most famous dishes: tartiflette
- Visit the mountain resort area of Chamonix and hike up to a glacier in the Alps
|Day 1||Arrive in Paris, Train to Lyon, Dinner Cruise||Lyon|
|Day 2||Culinary Walking Tour in Lyon||Lyon|
|Day 3||Meet Lyon's Tradesmen & Producers||Lyon|
|Day 4||Beaujolais Tour & Wine Tasting||Lyon|
|Day 5||Train to Annecy, Scenic Lake Cruise||Annecy|
|Day 6||Savoy Food & Nature Tour||Annecy|
|Day 7||Free Morning in Annecy, Afternoon Guided Tour||Annecy|
|Day 8||Train to Chamonix, Guided History Tour||Chamonix|
|Day 9||Montenvers Glacier Excursion||Chamonix|
|Day 10||Depart Chamonix|
Day 1: Arrive in Paris, Train to Lyon, Dinner Cruise
Welcome to France! This European marvel is a global hub of culture, romance, and legendary cuisine. Though you'll arrive in fashionable Paris, this memorable journey highlights the country's attractive east. On arrival, you'll transfer to the train station for the two-hour direct ride to Lyon. The capital of France's Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, this historic city sits at the junction of the Rhône and Saône rivers. More even than its scenic beauty, Lyon is famous for being the gastronomic capital of France—no small feat in a country with legendary cuisine.
Once in Lyon, you'll transfer to your hotel and have the afternoon to discover this romantic metropolis on a self-guided tour. A good place to start is the UNESCO-listed Old Town and the Presqu'île—a piece of land flanked by Lyon's two rivers—with narrow cobblestoned streets leading to the famous traboules (hidden passageways). You can also walk up to the Fourviere Basilica for wonderful city views.
When the sun goes down, venture out to sample Lyon's famous cuisine. Though instead of heading to one of the city's fine restaurants or bistros, you'll hop aboard a riverboat for a gourmet dinner cruise. Indulge in delicious Lyonnaise cuisine prepared fresh on board as you watch the lights of the city pass by. Complementing the experience will be commentary from a local host revealing insight into Lyon's history and culture. At the end of the tour, you'll return to the port and transfer back to your hotel.
Day 2: Culinary Walking Tour in Lyon
After breakfast at your hotel, you'll meet a local guide to explore Lyon's fantastic culinary and architecture scene. This unique, half-day walking tour will take you to the historic right bank of the Saône, known for its Renaissance architecture. This area is filled with classical buildings with grand facades and colonnades influenced by Lyon's neighbor, Italy. Of course, throughout the route, you'll pop in at eateries to sample regional classics like quenelles (dumplings), salade Lyonnaise (salad with bacon and vinaigrette), and coq au vin (chicken braised in red wine).
At the end of the tour, you'll have some free time to check out the city's outstanding museums, great shops, and vibrant nightlife, thanks to its young student population. Or continue the culinary odyssey with dinner on your own. Regarding eateries, you're spoiled for choice, as Lyon boasts hundreds of restaurants, including family-owned bistros, informal brasseries, and Michelin-starred restaurants like the iconic Auberge de Collonges, founded by the celebrity chef Paul Bocuse.
Day 3: Meet Lyon's Tradesmen & Producers
After a traditional petite déjeuner (small breakfast), meet your driver at the hotel for the ride out to the countryside, where you'll meet a few of the tradesmen, farmers, and food purveyors who shape Lyon's rich culture and gastronomy scene. As you travel between towns and farms in the region, sit back and enjoy the mountain views between Lyon and Saint-Étienne.
First, meet a friendly potter whose passion for his trade is infectious—watch how he transforms soil into homewares and artworks. Next, drive to Pilat Regional Park, a mountain nature reserve, and stop at a goat farm to chat with the friendly family who runs it. Even better, you'll enjoy tastings of their artisanal rigotte of Condrieu—a type of succulent goat cheese native to Lyon. Then, after lunch, visit the workshop of a local painter, glassblower, and woodturner, followed by a visit to a farm run by a baker who cultivates his own wheat and makes his own flour. Following the tour, you'll return to Lyon.
Day 4: Beaujolais Tour & Wine Tasting
Meet your driver/guide in the morning and leave on a private tour of Beaujolais, a historic province and wine-growing region just north of Lyon. Often compared to Tuscany, this beautiful countryside is known for its rolling green hills blanketed in flourishing vineyards. This itinerary will take you to southern Beaujolais, famous for its golden stone, a type of local limestone with a golden-yellow hue that gives buildings here a uniquely attractive appearance.
During the tour, your knowledgeable guide will reveal their passion for all things Beaujolais, offering insight into the region's history and what makes its terroir particularly suited for winemaking. You'll glean more insight into the area's viticulture scene when you meet with a local winemaker who will lead you on a delicious tasting tour. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel in Lyon.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Train to Annecy, Scenic Lake Cruise
Get an early start as you say goodbye to Lyon and head to the train station for the next leg of the adventure. Travel about 2.5 hours east into the French Alps and Annecy, one of the region's most charming towns. Surrounded by snowcapped Alps and sitting on the shores of Lake Annecy, where it meets the Thiou River, this town boasts well-preserved medieval architecture. Also famous are its many romantic canals that led to the Annecy's nickname: the "Venice of France."
Upon arrival, you'll transfer to your hotel. Then it's time for some fun as you head to the lake and board a boat for a fun outing on the water. During this two-hour cruise, you'll zip across one of the most beautiful lakes in the Alps, enjoying the surrounding scenery of forests and snowcapped peaks. You'll also pass historic lakeshore castles and, if it's warm enough, dive right off the boat for a swim. At the end of the tour, you'll return to the harbor and Annecy.
Day 6: Savoy Food & Nature Tour
This morning your driver will pick you up for a fun (and tasty) adventure in Savoy—a French territory in the Western Alps near Annecy. This bespoke foodie tour is dedicated to the regional cuisine and terroir of this part of the country. The first stop is at the small village of Saint-Ours, where you'll visit a local cheese co-op and sample a variety of artisanal cheeses. Leading the tasting is a friendly host who has lived in the area for years and will reveal insider insight into the area's farms and farm life.
Next, visit a local home where you'll join your welcoming host kin preparing one of Savoy's most famous dishes: a tartiflette. This hearty dish defines the Savoy region and is made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, and onions. After lunch, you'll continue chatting with your host, learning more about the cuisine of Savoy and the bounty of fresh produce found in its forests. You'll also prepare an herbal tea and Christmas wine to take home as souvenirs. Later in the afternoon, say goodbye to your host and transfer back to the hotel in Annecy.
Day 7: Free Morning in Annecy, Afternoon Guided Tour
This morning is yours to enjoy some free time in Annecy on your own schedule. If you're here during the warmer months, hit the beaches of Lake Annecy for a swim and some sunbathing. Watersports are also a popular activity, so grab a kayak or canoe or hit the waves for some windsurfing and kitesurfing.
In the afternoon, meet a local guide for a tour of Annecy's historical highlights. Breathe in the fresh mountain air as you head to the Vieille Ville (Old Town). Here, you'll stroll down the Sainte-Claire pedestrian street, which is lined with 16th and 17th-century buildings painted shades of peach and rose. Other noteworthy landmarks include the 12th-century Château d'Annecy (Annecy Castle), once home to the Counts of Geneva, and the "old prison" of Palais de l'Ile, which was also built in the 12th century.
After the tour, you can continue exploring on your own. For some more culture, head to the edge of town and the Basilique de la Visitation. At this basilica, you'll find the tombs of François de Sales and Jeanne de Chantal—both saints and both buried in copper sarcophaguses. You can also cross the delightful Pont des Amours (Lovers' Bridge), an iron bridge constructed in 1907, and walk along the lakeshore to the Impérial Palace. Opened in 1913, this former palace is now a luxury hotel with a casino, public garden, and beach.
Day 8: Train to Chamonix, Guided History Tour
At the designated time, you'll transfer to the rail station in Annecy for your train to Chamonix in the heart of the French Alps. This popular resort area is best known for Mont Blanc, the highest peak in France (15,777 ft/ 4,809 m), which looms over the town. Though home to a popular ski resort, Chamonix is busy year-round with active travelers seeking to enjoy outdoor treks and adventures amid the stunning alpine scenery.
Upon arrival, a driver will pick you up for the transfer to your hotel, then embark on a two-hour guided tour of the area. During the excursion, your local guide will reveal the history of mountaineering in this region, which has attracted foreign adventurers dating back to the 19th century. The town itself has a history dating back 500 years, transitioning from a quiet village to a major resort beginning in the early 20th century. This culminated in the 1924 Winter Olympics at Chamonix-Mont-Blanc.
After parting ways with your guide, you can continue exploring on your own. Downtown Chamonix is a lively place with fancy hotels, outdoor gear stores, and plenty of restaurants (including Michelin-starred options). While in town, look for the building with the huge mural. Each person in the painting is a famous figure in Mont Blanc's history, starting at the top with Marie Paradis, a server and the first woman to reach the summit of Mont Blanc in 1808.
Day 9: Montenvers Glacier Excursion
Fortify yourself with a hearty breakfast because you'll be hiking around a glacier today. First, meet your guide at the Chamonix train station, where a charming red tourist train will lead you to the Mer de Glace, the largest glacier in France and one of the biggest attractions in the Chamonix Valley. Its most famous highlight is the Grotte de Glace, an otherworldly ice tunnel accessible via a few hundred steps from the top of the glacier.
During this half-day excursion, you'll also have access to the Glaciorium. Established in 2012, this museum features an entire exhibition dedicated to glaciology, with interactive and educational presentations about glaciers, how they form, and their history. It also answers questions related to climate, the environment, and how glaciers will change in the future. Following the tour, you'll return to Chamonix and have the rest of the day to spend at leisure.
Day 10: Depart Chamonix
It's time to bid a fond farewell to France! Enjoy one last breakfast amid the fresh alpine air, then transfer to the airport for your flight home. Au revoir!