Detailed Itinerary (or download a PDF copy here)
• Day 1 (Sunday, May 16)
Our tour begins at 9 a.m. in the lobby of our pre-tour hotel at Lyon’s St. Exupéry Airport. Soon after boarding our Intimate France van we arrive at the ravishing village of Pérouges, inscribed on the list of the Most Beautiful Villages of France. After free time, we continue to our home for the next three nights Annecy, bordering the Alpine lake of the same name. We check into our centre ville hotel, then stroll the streets and enjoy a pre-dinner drink. DINNER tonight is at a restaurant specializing in authentic local cuisine, based on mountain cheeses, cured meats and lake fish. OVERNIGHT ANNECY
• Day 2 (Monday, May 17)
In the morning, after an orientation to our tour, we make the short drive to Geneva, Switzerland, on the shores of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). We have a guided visit of the United Nations Office in Geneva, the second most important installation of this world organization. Later, after free time in the pretty old town of Geneva, we return to Annecy and enjoy DINNER. OVERNIGHT ANNECY
• Day 3 (Tuesday, May 18)
This morning we take in the outdoor market of Annecy a riot of color, sounds and smells, and a source for the freshest foods of the region. After shopping for a picnic lunch, we leave town for the impressive Gorges du Fier. Here, after our picnic, we explore the glacial canyon, walking along pathways hewn out of sheer rock, with a foaming stream below. Later, back in Annecy, come along on a lake cruise on pretty Lake Annecy. DINNER tonight. OVERNIGHT ANNECY
• Day 4 (Wednesday, May 19)
This morning we leave Annecy for the high Alps and the resort of Chamonix, at the foot of towering Mont Blanc, the highest Alp (15,771 feet). We ascend via a mountain railroad to a viewpoint over the Mer de Glace, France's largest glacier. Later, after lunch and free time in Chamonix, we push on to the walled medieval village of Yvoire. After settling into our hotel overlooking the ramparts, we walk through this pretty town – designated one of the most beautiful in France – and along the lakefront. OVERNIGHT YVOIRE
• Day 5 (Thursday, May 20)
We hug Lake Geneva on our way to Switzerland’s Château of Chillon, an impressive lakeside fortress celebrated in the 1816 poem by Lord Byon. After our visit, we climb into the hills to the delightful cheese-making village of Gruyère, where you might want to lunch on tasty and authentic cheese-based cuisine (think fondue). Back in Yvoire at day's end, we have DINNER at our hotel. OVERNIGHT YVOIRE
• Day 6 (Friday, May 21)
We leave the Alps today and come to Cluny, site of the Middle Ages' most influential abbey. Though in ruins, this outstanding religious structure is spectacular. Later, we arrive in old Beaune, surrounded by ramparts, where we check into our close-in hotel, then gather for a stroll through the old streets, followed by DINNER. OVERNIGHT BEAUNE
• Day 7 (Saturday, May 22)
After shopping in the Beaune market for a picnic, we explore the Côte de Nuits, source of the most celebrated red wines in France – 100 percent pinot noir, with a velvety texture other wine regions of the world have long envied. Our visits include a peek at perhaps the most celebrated vineyard in the world, Domaine de la Romanée Conti. In the afternoon, we come to Dijon, the ancient stronghold of the powerful Dukes of Burgundy and a stately city with a proud past. We walk through the Old Town to the fabulous Palace of the Dukes, where we visit its Fine Arts Museum. OVERNIGHT BEAUNE
• Day 8 (Sunday, May 23)
From Beaune we journey north to the pretty village of Vézelay and its UNESCO-listed basilica, one of the most influential churches in medieval France. Here, in 1146, St. Bernard exhorted France's powerful nobles to embark on the Second Crusade. The church, Basilica of St. Mary Madeleine, is today revered not only for its Romanesque-Gothic architecture but also as one of the traditional points from which to embark during the middle ages on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain. OVERNIGHT BEAUNE
• Day 9 (Monday, May 24)
First on our sightseeing list today: the Château of Clos Veugeot, producer of fine red Burgundies. Then it's off to the village of Puligny-Montrachet and the famous domaine of Olivier Leflaive, where we have LUNCH and a tasting of multiple wines. Back in Beaune in the afternoon, let's visit the world-renowned Hospice of Beaune, a 15th century hospital that was in use up until the 1970s. There are other wine-themed visits possible as well, including tasting in the candle-lit cellars of the Maison du Vin. OVERNIGHT BEAUNE
• Day 10 (Tuesday, May 25)
Leaving Burgundy today, we arrive in late morning in cosmopolitan Lyon, France's second city and, some say, a rival to Paris for the honor of possessing the country's finest dining. After checking into our centrally located hotel, we take a get-acquainted walk through the streets of Old Lyon, lying on the banks of the Saône River. In the afternoon, we learn about Lyon's history as France's number one center of silk production with a visit to the Museum of Fabric and Decorative Arts. Later, we have DINNER at a bouchon – a typical Lyon restaurant. OVERNIGHT LYON
• Day 11 (Wednesday, May 26)
Today we make a thorough exploration of old Lyon, taking a walking tour of the city's historical heart. The twisting medieval streets west of the Saône River are connected by curious traboules – covered passageways that allowed workers to carry bolts of silk cloth without getting them wet. Then, climbing the hill to the Fourvières district, we visit the pilgrimage church of Notre Dame de Fourvières, followed by the Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilization, allowing us to understand the importance of the city (originally called Lugdunum) to the Romans. Late in the day join us for a boat ride on the Saône. OVERNIGHT LYON
• Day 12 (Thursday, May 27)
In the morning, take some free time to savor Lyon, or join us as we discover the paintings and sculpture of the Museum of Fine Arts, considered one of the best provincial art museums in France. Among its collection are works by Rodin, Veronese, Rubens, Gaugin, Picasso and Dürer. Near midday we arrive at the Confluences Museum, a science and anthropology museum that features four major exhibitions in an amazing, riverside building. Here we also enjoy an exceptional LUNCH, celebrating our tour of Burgundy, Lyon and the Alps. OVERNIGHT LYON
• Getaway day (Friday, May 28)
It’s time to say au revoir to France with a flight home from Lyon's St. Exupéry Airport.
MEALS Tour includes breakfast every day, as well as eight other meals (lunches and dinners), as indicated in BOLD CAPS on the itinerary.
Hôtel Splendid, Annecy
Hôtel Pre de la Cure, Yvoire
Hôtel Henry II, Beaune
Hôtel la Résidence, Lyon
HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS listed are subject to availability.
ITINERARY Details of this preliminary itinerary could change. A final itinerary will be issued closer to trip departure.
SIGHTSEEING All sightseeing listed in itinerary is included as part of the tour.
* TOUR PRICE of $4,295 per person is an estimate as any significant decline in the value of the U.S. dollar vs. the euro may result in imposition of a currency surcharge. Ask us for details.
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