Detailed Itinerary (or download a PDF copy here)
Day 1 (Sunday, May 3)
Our tour begins at 9 a.m. when we gather in our hotel lobby in the center of old Lyon, France’s bustling, exhilarating second city. After a short orientation to our tour, 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. In the afternoon we delve into old Lyon as we make a walking visit 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 visit to the Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilization, allowing us to understand the importance of the city (originally called Lugdunum) to the Romans. DINNER is at a bouchon a typical Lyon restaurant. OVERNIGHT LYON
Day 2 (Monday, May 4)
In the morning, we take in the paintings and sculpture of the Museum of Fine Arts, considered one of the best in France. After lunch, come along on a boat ride on the Saône River. As well, we have time for individual sightseeing. OVERNIGHT LYON
Day 3 (Tuesday, May 5)
Before leaving Lyon, we make a final stop to view a massive fresco covering the entire side of a building. Lyon is known for its outdoor art, and this is one of the city's best. Then we push on to the pretty hillside village of Solutré-Pouilly, which spreads at the base of the immense, soaring rock outcrop called Solutré. We visit the regional prehistory museum here to learn how ancient humans hunted and lived. Later, after passing through the renowned wine-growing area of Pouilly-Fuissé, we arrive in the historic town of Cluny and check into our village-center inn. After free time, we have DINNER in town. OVERNIGHT – CLUNY
Day 4 (Wednesday, May 6)
Today we visit Cluny's signature site – the nearly ruined but still splendid Abbey of Cluny. This influential abbey was a medieval and renaissance powerhouse before being suppressed and sacked during the French Revolution. In the afternoon we stop over at Taizé, a modern religious community, then tour the imposing renaissance Château de Cormatin. At the end of the day, enjoy free time in pretty Cluny. DINNER. OVERNIGHT – CLUNY
Day 5 (Thursday, May 7)
Today we move north, into the heart of Burgundy. It’s a 90-minute drive to Beaune, the most beautiful town in the region. Arriving in the late morning, we check into our centre ville hotel in old Beaune, then gather for a stroll through the old streets. In the afternoon, we’ll enjoy some of the sights that Beaune has to offer, including a visit to the famed Hospice of Beaune and the Marché aux Vins, where wine tasting is in order. OVERNIGHT BEAUNE
Day 6 (Friday, May 8)
Today we explore one of this region’s two premier wine areas the vineyards of the Côte de Beaune, source of some of the most prized white wines in France. In the morning we enjoy a vineyard tour, winery visit, LUNCH and tasting you will not soon forget La Table d’Olivier Leflaive. Later we return to Beaune, where you are invited to visit the vast underground cellars of one of Burgundy's most celebrated wine houses, Patriarche Père et Fils. OVERNIGHT BEAUNE
Day 7 (Saturday, May 9)
The Saturday morning market at Beaune is one of the best in Burgundy. We enjoy the colorful stalls and street activity, and shop for a picnic lunch. Then we visit the area’s second prestigious wine area the Côte de Nuits your chance to taste some of the world’s greatest reds. After a tour of the imposing Château du Clos de Vougeot and free time in the wine town of Nuits St. Georges, we visit a sight that is three for one a château, an aviation museum (yes, real planes) and a wine property. It's the Château of Savigny-les-Beaune. DINNER tonight. OVERNIGHT BEAUNE
Day 8 (Sunday, May 10)
We say goodbye to Beaune and head 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. After lunch we leave Burgundy, traveling to Alsace via the renowned church of Notre Dame de Haut, designed by le Corbusier, a pioneer of modern architecure. Finally, at day’s end, we arrive in pretty Colmar. OVERNIGHT COLMAR
Day 9 (Monday, May 11)
Colmar is a delight old, flower-decked houses decorated with carvings and ornamentation, and peaceful canals (the city is called Little Venice). After a walking tour and LUNCH, we head to its main cultural attraction: the Unterlinden Museum. Here, in a former 13th century convent, we see a fine collection of art, sculpture, furniture, weapons, pewter and porcelain. The museum’s most famous work is the Issenheim Altarpiece, an early 16th polyptych showing Biblical scenes. Late in the day, if time allows, we visit the enchanting wine village of Eguisheim. OVERNIGHT COLMAR
Day 10 (Tuesday, May 12)
Today we explore several of the region’s most beautiful villages. In Riquewihr, wander the old streets and squares and have lunch. In Kaysersburg, see the birthplace of humanitarian/physician Albert Schweitzer. Late in the day, we visit the small town of Ribeauvillé, renowned for its Riesling wine. OVERNIGHT COLMAR
Day 11 (Wednesday, May 13)
Heading north through vineyards and forested hills, we arrive at the Château of Haut-Koenigsbourg, which features a splendid panorama of the Rhine Valley. Next up: Obernai, an Alsatian town that’s both lively and lovingly preserved. Arriving in the afternoon in Alsace’s capital, Strasbourg, we check into our centre ville hotel, then take an orientation walk. DINNER in old Strasbourg tonight. OVERNIGHT STRASBOURG
Day 12 (Thursday, May 14)
Strasbourg is a vibrant, attractive city, and we’ll see as many of its sights as possible: its ancient quarters of half-timbered houses, its immense Place Stanislas and the cathedral’s famed Astronomical Clock. How about a museum visit or a boat trip on the Ill River? We’ll enjoy a final LUNCH, then have free time late in the day for shopping and to prepare for tomorrow’s departure. OVERNIGHT STRASBOURG
Getaway day (Friday, May 15)
It’s time to say au revoir to France with a flight home from Strasbourg.
MEALS Tour includes breakfast every day, as well as eight other meals (lunches and dinners), as indicated in BOLD CAPS on the itinerary.
Hôtel la Résidence, Lyon
Hôtel de Bourgogne, Cluny
Hôtel Henry II, Beaune
Hôtel St. Martin, Colmar
Hôtel Rohan, Strasbourg
HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS Subject to change according to availability.
* TOUR PRICE Price of $4,295 is based on a “benchmark” U.S. dollar/euro exchange rate that existed pre-tour and could change if there are significant exchange rate fluctuations. Call us for details - (800) 676-1247. Price quoted is for land arrangements only and does not include airfare.
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.