Welcome to the French Alps
Join us and wander the medieval town of Annecy, nicknamed the Venice of the French Alps, and take a boat ride on its crystal blue lake. Are you a foodie? Taste chocolates, cheeses, wines, local liquors, and hazelnut oils at local tasting events and regional producers. Eat the local specialties of the region prepared by your private Chef at the Chalet Lodge, and cooked by the award-winning Chef at your French Chateau. Impressed by stunning views? See the world from a 12,300 foot mountain or from Europe's second steepest funicular. Are you the adventurous type? Schedule a paragliding jump with your instructor off an Alps mountain. Love history or architecture? Then satisfy your curiosity at Lyon's Old Town, Vienne's Roman Museum and Temple, or Yvoire's medieval streets, or just enjoy watching the paragliders and sunset at an outdoor aperitif on the top of a mountain overlooking Annecy's lake. Do it all with a small friendly group who will feel like family by the end of the tour (maximum 15 people).
We have assembled this portfolio of the best of the French Alps, drawing upon years of living in the French Alps. The tour focuses on activities that are unique to the region and can't be experienced in other parts of France. We also focus on one of the great joys of visiting France - eating its exceptional cuisine. Restaurants, accommodations, and tastings are all chosen with the local cuisine in mind - experiencing the region's specialties, its wines, and eating the finest foods of the area. This is as much a gourmet tour as a French Alps tour.
This is not a tour that moves quickly from one big city or monument to the next, seeing it all from the windows of a coach. The tour instead savors the gentleness, lifestyle, customs, and beauty of the French Alps in the same way you would savor a fine wine.
"Be our guest rather than a tourist."
Tour Dates for the 2013 Year: June 8 - 15
Abbreviated French Alps Tour Itinerary:
Day One - Arrival and Historic Village of Yvoire - After pick-up in Geneva or Annecy, we will visit the quaint, medieval village of Yvoire on Lake Geneva. In the evening you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner at the Aravis Chalet Lodge in the mountains near Annecy.
Day Two - Mountains, Glaciers and Stunning Views – Take a cable car up to the top of Aiguille du Midi, a 12,600 foot mountain in the Mont Blanc mountain range, see the city of Chamonix, and spend the afternoon visiting the Mer de Glace (glacier and cave of ice), after enjoying a stunning train ride up the mountain.
Day Three - Local Food Specialties, History and Culture – Tour the village of Grand Bornand, visit an artisan pottery workshop, and enjoy the pastoral views, wild flowers, and sounds of the cow bells of the mountain pastures, while eating local cheeses and smoked hams. Visit a historic Chalet and on to a fromagerie to watch the cheese farmers make the local Reblochon, the cheese specialty of the region.
Day Four - Annecy and its Spectacular Lake and Fier Gorges – Start the day visiting the French Resistance Museum and Cemetery, then on to the Chateau Montrottier. After taking in the views, stroll the exciting walkway hanging over the Fier Gorges. On to Annecy for lunch, a Museum visit, and a tour before taking a lovely boat ride to Talloire on the other side of Lake Annecy. Enjoy the sunset from the top of a mountain pass, while watching the parasailers and the sunset and enjoying a French aperitif. Jump off the mountain yourself with your parasailer instructor, if you like.
Day Five - Tastings and Abbey Day - Start the day tasting artisan chocolate. Then on to Chanaz, a characteristic village with an ancient grind mill. Watch the owner make hazelnut and walnut oils and taste a few. After lunch we head to the Hautecombe Abbey for a self-guided tour. On to the Chateau Lucey for a tour and wine tasting. Tonight you begin your stay at the Comtes Chateau with its award-winning restaurant.
Day Six - Historical Tour of Lyon and Vienne – Today we see Vienne's Roman Temple, Museum, and excavated Roman city before heading to Lyon’s Old Town with a tour of its secret passageways, the St. Jean Cathedral, Fourviere Basilica, and Roman Arena.
Day Seven - Chambery and St. Hilaire du Touvet Funicular – Our first stop is Chambery, a fairytale-like city, with an option to visit its art museum. After lunch at a typical Savoie restaurant, we take the incredibly steep St. Hilaire du Touvet Funicular up the mountain for stunning views and to watch the parasailers. For dinner we dine at the Michelin Star Restaurant, Atmopheres, for an unforgettable meal.
Day Eight – Departures from Chambery train station or Geneva Airport
For the Detailed Itinerary and Videos of some of the tour days, click here.
For a PDF of a Photo Itinerary, click here