- Visit the Olympic Museum and CERN Institute in Switzerland
- Take a boat ride on Lake Annecy and tour the "Venice of France"
- Enjoy food tours of Lyon, the culinary capital of France
- Go truffle hunting and wine tasting in Burgundy
- See highlights of Paris and get ready for the 2024 Olympics
|Arrive in Geneva (Switzerland)
|Cruise to Lausanne, Olympic Museum & CERN
|Transfer to Annecy (France), Walking Tour & Fondue on Lake Annecy
|Annecy Lake Tour by Bike
|Transfer to Lyon, Old Town Food Tour
|Lyon E-Bike Tour
|Transfer to Beaune, Truffle Hunt & Wine Tour
|Burgundy Vineyards Bike Tour
|Transfer to Paris, Olympics & Highlights Tour
Day 1: Arrive in Geneva (Switzerland)
Welcome to Switzerland! The 2024 Games are coming to Paris, and this 10-day European itinerary highlights all things Olympics. For that reason, this grand tour kicks off in the epicenter of the Games. Switzerland was one of the 13 nations that participated in the first modern Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. It's also home to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Upon arrival in Geneva, a driver will pick you up for the ride to your hotel. The second-most populous city in Switzerland enjoys an idyllic location on Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), one of Europe's largest freshwater lakes. It's a cosmopolitan powerhouse home to the UN, World Bank, luxury hotels, and jewelers.
However, beneath the city's polished exterior is a bohemian world of artists and activists educated in international schools. You'll find a thriving counterculture in the Quartier des Pâquis and along the Rhône River, with a downright electric café and bar scene. This is the Geneva that tourists rarely get to see. After settling in, you can head out and discover it all on your own.
Day 2: Cruise to Lausanne, Olympic Museum & CERN
In the morning, you'll set out for your first Olympic-themed tour. Head to the port and board a ferry for a scenic four-hour cruise across the lake to Lausanne. Besides being an attractive lakeside city, it's also home to the Olympic Museum.
This world-renowned institution celebrates the history and culture of the Olympics through memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and works by famous artists. The permanent exhibition is organized into three themes over three floors: Olympic World, Olympic Games, and Olympic Spirit. Throughout the museum, you'll find sporting equipment, multimedia exhibits detailing the rebirth of the Games in the 19th century, plus info regarding the Youth and Paralympic Games.
After returning to Geneva, you'll travel to a suburb just north of the city and visit the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Established in 1954, this intergovernmental organization operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. It's within these walls that physicists and engineers probe the fundamental structure of the universe. A guided tour is an opportunity to explore the world of particle physics and gain insights into groundbreaking scientific research. There's also a visitor center with interactive exhibits, displays, and more info about CERN's research.
Day 3: Transfer to Annecy (France), Walking Tour & Fondue on Lake Annecy
Say goodbye to Switzerland, as this morning, you'll meet your driver and hop across the southern border. It's about a one-hour drive south from Geneva to Annecy, located in the Savoy region of eastern France. Snowcapped French Alps surround this charming mountain town, which sits on the shores of Lake Annecy, where it meets the Thiou River. Famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture, Annecy also features romantic canals that led to its nickname: the "Venice of France."
Upon arrival, you'll transfer to your hotel. Then, head out and discover Annecy's highlights on a tour led by a local guide. Begin in the Vieille Ville (Old Town) with a stroll down Sainte-Claire. This scenic pedestrian street 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," the Palais de l'Ile, which was also built in the 12th century.
Later, you'll head to the lakeshore 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. A real treat is when you get to take a snack break to enjoy some fondue, a traditional Savoyard dish. Accompanying this cheesy goodness will be local charcuteries, fresh vegetable dips, and, of course, local wine.
Day 4: Annecy Lake Tour by Bike
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Transfer to Lyon, Old Town Food Tour
Meet your driver in the morning for the 1.5-hour transfer west 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.
After checking into your hotel, you'll discover this culinary heritage one bite at a time on a delicious food tour. This half-day walk is as much a journey into the city's culture as its cuisine. To that end, you'll wander down cobbled streets in Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon), marvel at the colorful murals, and stop in at workshops where local artisans ply their trade.
During the walk, there will be four stops to sample Lyonnaise cuisine, which might include regional classics like quenelles (dumplings), salade Lyonnaise (salad with bacon and vinaigrette), and coq au vin (chicken braised in red wine). Added treats include local ice cream, beer, chocolate pie, and other tasty surprises.
Day 6: Lyon E-Bike TourGet ready for another thrilling and scenic bike ride through France! After breakfast, you'll pick up your e-bike and let electricity do the work as you enjoy a two-hour ride around Lyon. From Fourvière Hill to the summits of the Croix Rousse, through the Tête d'Or Park and the banks of the Rhône, this brisk route packs in all the city's highlights. It's one of the most fun ways to experience the breadth of Lyon's heritage, culture, and history.
Day 7: Transfer to Beaune, Truffle Hunt & Wine Tour
Bid adieu to Lyon and hit the road once again. This morning, you and your driver will transfer a couple of hours north into the Burgundy region and Beaune. This storybook town may appear quaint, but it's actually the wine capital of Burgundy. The town itself features well-preserved examples of Burgundian architecture, with charming half-timbered houses and cobbled streets. Needless to say, the historic Old Town is a delight to explore.
However, your first order of business upon arrival is that most quintessential of European foodie adventures: a truffle hunt. Transfer outside of town to the countryside, where over two hours you'll be treated to a demonstration by a local expert and their dogs on how to sniff out Burgundy's prized truffles. These local fungi are valuable due to their scarcity and the fact they only grow in a few specific areas. Burgundy truffles also have a distinct flavor that adds a whole new dimension of complexity to dishes. Of course, the tour includes a tasting.
After the hunt, return to town for lunch. Then, depart again on a tasting tour of the region's famous wines. This half-day tasting tour will take you along the Route des Grands Crus of Côte de Nuits, Burgundy's most famous (and scenic) wine route. Throughout the trip, you'll stop to try Grand Cru-listed wines—the highest-quality designation in the region. You'll also stop at Romanée Conti, a renowned vineyard in the heart of the Côte de Nuits subregion of Burgundy. Here, you'll enjoy a tasting of various wines including the region's famous pinot noirs, like Gevrey-Chambertin, the "king of Burgundy wines."
Day 8: Burgundy Vineyards Bike Tour
Leave your hotel in the morning on a full-day tour of the most famous wine-producing section of Burgundy, the Côte de Beaune. Extending from Beaune to the town of Santenay, it boasts charming villages and appellations (wine areas) with Grand Cru vineyards that produce some of the world's best red and white wines. It's a great place to enjoy a wine tour by vehicle, but you'll enjoy an even more memorable experience—cruising by its prized vineyards on a bicycle.
After meeting your guide and adjusting your helmet, you'll hop on the bicycle and set off into the heart of the Burgundy wine country. This is a scenic ride where you'll pass vineyard-covered hills and visit a 13th-century château (castle) home to a count and countess of Burgundy. Naturally, there will be plenty of stops to sample the fruits of the area's terroir, including its famous Chardonnays and pinot noirs. You'll also break for a rustic lunch at an authentic restaurant nestled amid the Beaune hills.
After eating, you'll ride downhill to Puligny-Montrachet. This Grand Cru wine-producing village is renowned for its incredible whites, which it produces from Chardonnay grapes. Here, you'll enjoy another tasting session, tour the vineyard, and learn about the winemaking process, from grape cultivation to aging. While here, you can purchase a few bottles to take home and the winery will send them directly to your hotel. At the end of the day, you'll ride back to Beaune.
Day 9: Transfer to Paris, Olympics & Highlights Tour
For your penultimate day in France, the Olympic theme comes full circle with an early morning transfer three hours north to Paris. In 2017, the nation's capital won the bid to host the 2024 Olympics, and the "City of Light" has been dutifully preparing for the event ever since. They've constructed an Olympic and Paralympic village a couple of miles outside the city, and for the Games themselves, Paris is making use of iconic landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River. Also, Paris has the distinction of being the only city in the world to host the event three times—in 1900, 1924, and 2024.
Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and head out on a highlights tour of the city. The first stop will be in Paris' famous Latin Quarter and the historic Panthéon. This neoclassical marvel was constructed as a church in the mid-18th century but later transformed into a mausoleum. Today, it houses the remains of numerous distinguished French citizens, including Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Marie Curie, and Louis Braille, among others.
Later, you'll visit another Parisian icon: the Arc de Triomphe. This awe-inspiring monument sits at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, one of the most famous avenues in Paris. It was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805, shortly after his victory at Austerlitz, and was dedicated to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire. To this end, the names of major French victories and generals are inscribed on the arch's walls. In 1921, the Unknown Soldier was buried at the base of the arch as a memorial to those who died during World War I. Entrance tickets include access to the viewing area.
Day 10: Depart Paris
Your Olympic-themed adventure in Europe has come to an end. Hopefully, it's stoked the flames of interest for the 2024 Games. In the morning, at the appropriate time, you'll transfer to the airport in Paris and catch your flight home. Safe travels!