Detailed Itinerary (or download a PDF copy here)
• Day 1 (Sunday, May 1)
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 2)
In the morning, after an orientation to our tour, we depart for the high Alps and the resort of Chamonix, at the foot of towering Mont Blanc, the highest Alp (15,771 feet). 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 return to Annecy. There’s lots to see in the old heart of town a pretty promenade along the lake, a fine regional museum and the former prison housed in the 12th century Palais de l’Isle. OVERNIGHT ANNECY
• Day 3 (Tuesday, May 3)
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. OVERNIGHT ANNECY
• Day 4 (Wednesday, May 4)
We depart Annecy and come to Geneva, Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva. We visit the pretty old town and the United Nations Office, Geneva, which houses the second most important installation of the world organization. Late in the day we come to the walled medieval village of Yvoire. After settling into our hotel, overlooking the ramparts, we walk through this pretty town also designated one of the most beautiful in France and along the lakefront. Tonight we have DINNER at our hotel. OVERNIGHT YVOIRE
• Day 5 (Thursday, May 5)
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 we enjoy a LUNCH centering on tasty and authentic cheese-based cuisine. OVERNIGHT YVOIRE
• Day 6 (Friday, May 6)
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, where we check into our close-in hotel, then gather for a stroll through the old streets. OVERNIGHT – BEAUNE
• Day 7 (Saturday, May 7)
If it's Burgundy, it must be time for wine, right? Come along to a winery visit at the renowned domaine of Olivier Leflaive, followed by a 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 8 (Sunday, May 8)
We explore the Côte de Nuits today, source of the most celebrated red wines in France. These celebrated vintages are 100 percent pinot noir, with a velvety texture other wine regions of the world have long envied. Our visits include the Château of Clos Veugeot, wine villages (Vosne-Romanée, Nuits St. Georges) and perhaps the most celebrated vineyard in the world, Domaine de la Romanée Conti. Later we have a fine DINNER at Beaune's #1 casual bistro, Ma Cuisine, a favorite of local winemakers. OVERNIGHT – BEAUNE
• Day 9 (Monday, May 9)
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 on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. 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 visit the Old Town and the fabulous Palace of the Dukes, including its Fine Arts Museum. OVERNIGHT – BEAUNE
• Day 10 (Tuesday, May 10)
We leave Burgundy today and 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 in 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 11)
In the morning, 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. After lunch, join us for a boat ride on the Saône River. There will also be time for individual sightseeing. OVERNIGHT – LYON
• Day 12 (Thursday, May 12)
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 a tour of the Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilization, allowing us to understand the importance of the city (originally called Lugdunum) to the Romans. We also enjoy an exceptional LUNCH today, celebrating our tour of Burgundy, Lyon and the Alps. OVERNIGHT – LYON
• Getaway day (Friday, May 13)
It's time to say au revoir to France with a flight home from Lyon's St. Exupéry Airport to the United States – or on to new destinations.
MEALS Tour includes breakfast every day, as well as nine 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 $3,995 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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