Champagne pops and fizzes as the vineyards grow with lush leaves and plump grapes; the scent of chocolate truffle fills the confectionery with the promise of decadence to come on your custom tour of France and Switzerland. Medieval cathedrals glisten with stained glass windows as jewelry shops glint with gilded window displays. The layers of history accentuate the contemporary styles of chic restaurants and lavish chocolatiers. Enjoy full immersion into luxury from hidden wine regions to wine...
Paris – Arrive in Celebrated and Vibrant Paris, Known for its Rich Cuisine
Paris is more than just the “City of Love,” and the “City of Light,” as it embodies a spirit of pleasure from the great beauty of the architecture to the stunning colors and texture of the artwork on display. Music pours out of cafes and along the cobbled streets of the old neighborhoods. Window displays offer more than opulent marketing for the local shops but provide an inkling of insight into the delights of a different world, from the glittering bracelets on the Champs Elysees to the vintage-inspired candies found deep in the Parisian alleys.
Your private transfer greets you at Charles de Gaulle Airport and escorts you into the heart of Paris, where you immediately immerse yourself in the sweet aroma of fresh baked chocolate croissants drifting out of the corner patisserie. With the remainder of the day at your leisure, venture to the iconic monument of the Eifel Tower, erected in the 1880s as the gateway to the World’s Fair. The masterful architectural work stands more than 1,000 feet tall with open windows in the gourmet Restaurant le Jules Verne providing a panoramic view of the elegant city. A five-course tasting menu lets you settle into the French lifestyle to savor every bit of your food while you enjoy the glistening lights that spread across the cityscape.
Paris – Half-Day Guided Tour of Paris’s Indulgent Gastronomic Specialties
In the morning, follow the aroma of the fresh buttery croissants that emanates from the patisseries and rich, freshly brewed cappuccino that spills out of the cafes. After breakfast, your guide will meet you at the hotel to escort you on a private tour of Paris’s celebrated culinary delights. The Marche Bastille contains more than 100 stalls with vendors that offer fresh produce, cured meats, cheeses, herbs, and freshly caught seafood. A small booth cooks fresh crepes filled with Nutella and banana as you continue to the neighborhood of Saint-Germain, one of the city’s oldest located in the 6th arrondissement.
The district contains more than two-dozen chocolateries and patisseries that fill their display windows with sensational truffles, graceful bonbons, and delectable pralines. The stunning spires and gargoyle statues of Notre Dame rise above the 19th-century buildings of the neighborhood situated on the nearby Ile de la Cite. Begin at one of the oldest chocolateries in Paris, opened in the 1800s and once the appointed sole chocolate supplier of the French royal family to create handcrafted chocolates. The store’s quintessential blue and gold boxes line the walls behind the counter, and you can get a private lesson to learn the secrets of the creamy, decadent truffle before you visit one of Paris’s favored teashops.
Paris – Delight in a Full Day Excursion to the Vineyards of Champagne
The simple, but luscious, aromas of rustic apple tarts emanate from a wood-burning oven as you make your way outside of Paris for a private tour of the Champagne region. The pearled façade of the Sacre-Coeur atop the central hill of Montmartre glints in the distance before it fades behind the horizon. Travel along the gorgeous Route du Champagne to visit unique wine cellars, beginning in Reims. The city combines big city culture with small town comfort as the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims stands at the heart of the city with soaring towers and a nave that reaches nearly 125 feet tall. The French monarchy held their coronation ceremonies inside the cathedral for more than 800 years and built upon the 5th-century foundations in which the Frankish King Clovis was baptized.
Outside of Reims are the Chalk quarries, a series of underground cathedrals used in medieval times but utilized now as cellars thanks to their optimal temperate conditions. Your guide leads you through the Veuve Clicquot, the largest of the galleries that covers nearly 15 miles of underground networks. Along the stretch of vineyards, find the grounds of Dom Perignon, named after the 18th-century Benedictine Monk credited with the discovery of the fermentation process of Champagne. The vines contain Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier as you sit in the tasting rooms and watch the effervescence pop against the glass before you taste the peaches and citrus flavors of the Champagne.
Beaune – Transfer to Beaune in Burgundy and Enjoy a Half-Day Tour
The frothy layers of cappuccino swirl with delicious sweetness to complement the slight, natural bitterness of the coffee. Paris bursts to life as locals crisscross the streets and make their way to the metro. Catch one last glance at the Seine River as it winds along the cobbled lanes before you venture south to the region of Burgundy, in the city of Beaune. The source of the joie de vivre of the city rises from the wine produced in the region.
Explore the elegant charms of the city after your arrival to where the Dukes of the Burgundy once resided. The Old World charm emanates from the cobblestone streets and colorful medieval houses as the 13th-century tower of Place Monge rises above the center of the city. The most notable feature of Beaune is the Hotel-Dieu, a 15th-century charitable hospital with distinctive Flemish Gothic half-timbered embellishments. Geometric patterned tiles adorn the rooftop as the interior houses a museum that exhibits exquisite tapestries, along with a three-paneled painting known as a “polyptych,” that depicts the Last Judgment.
Beaune – Visit Local Cellars and Renowned Wineries on a Full Day Tour
The sunlight washes over the golden and emerald hues of the countryside outside of Beaune. Lush vineyards wind along a picturesque valley and the hills rise around 38 villages that stretch over 37 miles. Travel along the Cote de Nuits, and the string of vineyards that grow some of the best red wines in the world, including 24 of Burgundy’s famous grand crus. Limestone houses with tiled roofs rise out of the vines marking the traditional winegrowers’ homes. Each one contains an old cellar as the centerpiece of the house and is stocked with stacks of aged wines.
The structures themselves were erected in the 18th and 19th-centuries, and many surround a single Gothic church at the core of the village as a soft, refreshing breeze blows down from the hills. At Chateau du Clos de Vougeot, explore the vineyards that surround the 16th -century castle grounds along the sloped corners of the landscape. The soil adds to the luscious flavors of the wine and provides unique chalky limestone minerals to the grapes. Your guide leads you into the tasting room for a sample of one of the recent vintages. Gather a hint of raspberry and floral aromas on the nose as the silky texture provides a surprising creaminess on your palette. The lingering finish is distinctive and complex and reminds you of the countryside outside the castle.
Beaujolais – Venture to Beaujolais and Explore the Local Castle Grounds
The enchanting medieval streets of Beaune come to life in the morning. Cafes set out their tables along the cobbled streets, and you can hear the machines inside the cafes as they steam milk for decadent cappuccinos and lattes. After breakfast, leave Beaune to find the lush and relaxed pace of Beaujolais. Vineyards roll across the hills to touch the outskirts of charming villages. Old churches tower above the countryside with soaring spires and the vines radiate auburn, orange, yellow, and gold hues. The town of Vaux-en-Beaujolais emerges from the fields as if from a storybook, perched on rocky spur surround by the bright colors of the vineyards.
The cellars of La Cave de Clochemerle date back to the 1950s. The traditional décor, stone walls, and barrels that support the bar accentuate the cave’s richer history and harken back to the Middle Ages, and it feels as though you’ve stepped back in time to a place untouched by modernity. Sip a glass of wine in the cool comforts of the cave and then continue to Mount Brouilly’s summit at 1,500 feet above sea level for a panoramic view of the entire region. Reach your castle accommodation to find it draped in a sea of grape growing vines and settle in for a very comfortable evening.
Beaujolais – Full-Day Immersion in a Private Culinary Tour of Lyon
Before breakfast, you can take a stroll through the French-style formal gardens outside of your room. The scent of cherries carries from the orchard over the manicured hedges and makes you eager to begin your culinary tour of Lyon. Your guide will meet you and introduce you to the epicurean wonders of the celebrated gourmet city as you begin in Bellecour, the beautiful heart of the city.
The cobbled streets of Quartier Saint-Jean maintain its preserved Old World charm, from the picturesque square of Place Neuve Saint-Jean to the 15th-century mansion at Place du Petit College. You quickly realize why Lyon is considered the gastronomy capital of France as restaurants focus on local produce and exciting wines. Stop in at a confectionery opened in the early 1950s that continues to produce some of the world’s best chocolate. Watch the chocolatiers make the treats directly from the bean that promise rich, creamy flavors. Your guide will tell you about the shop’s signature cake, filled with ganache and cherries and topped with chocolate ruffles.
Lausanne – Travel into Switzerland at Lausanne for a Half-Day Tour
The castle grounds fade behind the sprawling vineyards as you cross into Switzerland. Your private transfer will take you alongside the glistening waters of Lake Geneva to the city of Lausanne as it rises with the hillsides on the lakeshore. High bridges span the gorges above as the two rivers cut through the city. Across the lake, the Savoy Alps create the dramatic skyline.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame contains a beautiful 13th-century Apostles Doorway adorned with painted stone sculptures. The edifice rises above the heart of the city almost as a compliment to the mountains. 105 panels fill the elaborate rose window on the south transept that glint beneath the soaring figure of the 236-foot tall central tower. In the evening, make your way to the marina and step aboard a luxurious boat to enjoy the scenic view of Lake Geneva, and a delicious meal of traditional Swiss cuisine accentuated with a modern twist. The exceptional view of the city emphasizes the flavors of the food.
Lausanne – Discover the Chateau de Chillon and the Lavaux Wine Region
In the morning, venture to the nearby lakeshores of Montreux to find the small islet that contains the lavish Chateau de Chillon. This castle housed the dukes and counts of Savoy, who claimed power over the roads between France and Italy for hundreds of years, and the great structure continues to rise above the lapping waters of the lake on a rocky promontory. A modern bridge has replaced the old drawbridge, but elements of the latter’s work remain visible. Once inside the grounds, find the elegant collection of more than 20 buildings, not including the ramparts that connect the Duke’s Tower to the main gate and allows the noblemen to move around the castle without being seen. Dark-wood and painted family crests adorn the walls of the Dining Hall, and the tables remain set as if an elaborate feast were to take place at any moment.
Continue to the Lavaux wine region and through a series of villages that reach 1,100 feet above the shores of Lake Geneva to offer terraces along 40 levels along the hillside. The best way to view the region is with a stroll along the vineyard footpaths to take you through the vines that overlook the water. The earthen aroma rises from the soil and mixes with the sweet scent of the grapes as the winemakers’ homes sprout above the vines that pepper the landscape. Stop at numerous wineries along the trail including one that offers cheese and charcuterie with each tasting to build the splendor of complimentary flavors.
Lausanne – Indulge in the Culinary Secrets In and Around Gruyeres
Set out in the morning to the charming hilltop village of Gruyeres, famous for its cheese and chocolates. The country castle looms over the wide cobblestone main street. Today, the secrets of the region’s delicacies are peeled back to provide you with the experience and visual instructions to recreate the delights at home, beginning with a visit to the local cheese factory at the foot of Gruyeres Castle. Cows roam the hillside to graze on the wildflowers, lush grass, and vibrant herbs that grow throughout the region. The flavor runs into the milk as farmers arrive two times a day to the dairy with canisters of fresh milk to be processed into cheese.
The dairy produces up to 48 wheels of Gruyeres cheese a day, and the aroma of pastures and flora fills rooms of the dairy. You will run your fingers through the herbs and milk canisters for a sense of the textures the cheese-makers create with as a master cheese-maker will lead you as you check the canisters and help to strain the soft curds from the heated milk. The storage facility contains a savory aroma, filled with aging cheese wheels; knock on the ends to hear their thuds and access their readiness. Your guide will explain the proper way to sample cheese and provides you with tastes from different wheels at different ages to allow you to savor each bite.
Geneva – Transfer to Geneva for a Half-Day City and Epicurean Tour
In the morning, you will travel to the lake’s western shores in the city of Geneva. The Jet d’Eau springs above the city in a mighty arch as the fountain on the lake reaches a height of 475 feet as it spouts 110 gallons of water a second. Erected in the 12th-centure, the Temple de Saint-Pierre is the highest point in the old town district; six Corinthian columns from the 18th-century support the western doorway to add a layer of exuberance to the austere interior.
Your guide will meet you in the heart of Old Town to show you the sensational flavor of Geneva, from its cosmopolitan atmosphere to its traditional cuisine. Locals sit in the mythical styles of cafes to bring the dynamic tastes of Swiss cuisine to contemporary relevancy. The Reformation Monument brims with the aroma of the chestnut trees as under the promenade; large statues depict Geneva’s leadership during the Protestant Reformation, from John Calvin to Theodore de Beze.
Geneva – Depart for Home
The sweet aroma of chocolate swirls from the numerous shops around the neighborhoods of the city. Luxury jewelry shops glint in the passing sunlight as the lakeside promenade offers a glimpse of the shimmering water and rising mountaintops around the lake. Locals read newspapers and sip decadent coffee as views from the Quai du Mont-Blanc offer a stunning view of the Mont-Blanc mountain chain that undulates across the skyline. Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel when you’re ready to escort you to the Geneva airport for your flight home.
- Indulge in the sweet chocolates of the oldest neighborhood in Paris on a private tour of the city learning about the history of confections
- Stroll along a wine route meandering through the highest vineyards attitudinally in the world at the Lavaux wine region in Switzerland
- Explore countryside villages and hamlets leading you across the treasured vineyards of the Champagne region, including a tasting at Dom Perignon
- Experience the markets, sweet treats, and savory dishes of France’s culinary capital at Lyon
- Immerse yourself in the luxurious flavors of Gruyeres cheese and chocolate while visiting the local factories producing the Swiss delicacies
- Sip cherished Grand Cru wine in historical cave cellars around the Beaujolais region along the sensational wine route
- Visit a storybook-style castle located on an islet spreading from the shore of Lake Geneva
- Travel along the magnificent and charming Burgundy wine route, connecting enchanting medieval villages with historical winemakers’ homes
- Delight in a scenic cruise along Lake Geneva with superb dinner to accompany the unforgettable view
- Relax in the comforts of five-star properties across France and Switzerland, allowing you to experience grandeur in both luxury and flavor
From the Eiffel Tower to the Lyon Cathedral, the Place de la Palud in Lausanne to the Art and History Museum in Geneva, France, and Switzerland have preserved the grandeur of their past and blend it with the wonder of their present. Your 12-day tour takes you on a culinary journey to highlight the ways in which the two countries utilize their celebrated histories to influence their cuisine in all of its glory, from appearance to taste. Your luxurious tour begins with your arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris as your private transfer escorts you to the heart of the city. Relax in the comforts of your hotel, or venture out into the treasured streets of Paris to enjoy the intoxicating aromas.
Your guide will meet you at the hotel to lead you on a half-day tour of the monuments and culinary delights of the city, including tastings at the chocolateries in St. Germain. Travel next to the Champagne region on the wine route to visit charming villages and delight in tastings across the hillsides, including a sampling at Dom Perignon. Continue to Reims, the site of the French monarchy’s coronations, before moving on to Beaune, the capital of the Burgundy region. Explore the city to see the medieval remnants around the streets.
Next, traverse the vineyards around Burgundy to sample the preferred wines of the region as you visit the medieval villages that rise out of the vineyards and the culinary offerings of Dijon. Make your way next to Beaujolais for a private tour of the vineyards, wine cellars, and ancient villages situated near your castle accommodations. The brilliance of Lyon’s gastronomy, along with the beauty of the city considered France’s culinary capital, comes to light during a private full-day tour. Travel into Switzerland to discover the majesty of hillside city of Lausanne with its views of Lake Geneva. Partake in a luxurious scenic dinner cruise for a unique view of the lake and its surroundings.
Wander next to the grounds of Chateau de Chillon to discover the often-overlooked vineyards of the Lavaux wine region. Relish the charms of the village of Gruyeres before following a master cheese-maker through the process of making cheese at the local factory. In the afternoon, the delicacies continue at the chocolate factory, where you learn the secrets of producing indulgent sweets. Transfer to Geneva for a half-day tour of the cosmopolitan city and its treasured restaurants. Your private transfer will meet you at the hotel and escort you to the Geneva airport for your flight home.
$4,039 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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