France and Switzerland will be yours to enjoy on this 12-day tour of Normandy, Paris, and the Alps. This incredible tour of two illustrious French cities provides a balanced exploration that will immerse you in the local culture, storied heritage, and world-renowned cuisine. From the lowlands of Mont-Saint-Michel to the lofty heights of the Swiss Alps, this tour will provide you with a close look at the rich culture and history in each destination.
Bayeux – Arriving in Normandy
Overlooking the English Channel, Normandy is an outstanding location to start your exploration of France and Switzerland. It is also an off-the-beaten-path portal to witnessing some of the country's provincial charms. After arriving in Paris, you will plunge into Normandy via a private transfer that will lead you to your comfortable accommodation in Bayeux. Here, you will have a chance to settle in before celebrating your arrival during an evening at your leisure.
Bayeux – A Norman National Treasure
Feeling the bracing sea air that sweeps off the channel will be an excellent way to begin your first full day in France. After a fortifying breakfast, the endless array of activities and attractions in this region will be yours to enjoy. Bayeux is famous among history lovers as being the home of the famous Bayeux tapestry. A trip to this museum will be well worth the visit as is the iconic community of Mont-Saint-Michel. This island community is home to stunning medieval buildings and views of the Norman coastline.
Bayeux – The Dramatic History of D-Day
Normandy had a front-row seat for the harrowing history of the 20th century. In the wee hours of the morning on June 6th, 1944, the sky was full of aircraft, and the seas were full of ships when one of the largest military invasions in history was carried on the sandy shores of the coastline a few miles from your hotel. D-Day won the war for the allies, and today, you will embark on an intimate tour of the many memorials and battlefields that have preserved this history with a knowledgeable guide.
Paris – The Capital of French Culture
Today, the windswept coastlines and charming villages of Normandy will be replaced by the regal elegance and class of the French capital. Paris has been a jewel of inland France for centuries and presents visitors with a head-spinning array of award-winning restaurants, historical sites, and a cosmopolitan culture. After enjoying a leisurely morning at your hotel, a comfortable transfer will convey you to the train station so that you can board your comfortable carriage for your journey to Paris. Upon your arrival, you will have the remainder of the day at your leisure.
Paris – Walking in the Footsteps of Picasso
Paris is one of those European cities whose reputation extends far past the city's boundaries and has accumulated in kitchens, literature, and history books all over the world. Today, you will be able to see how well reality fits reputation when you embark on an unguided exploration of the city and its many colorful neighborhoods. A trip to the charming lanes and cobblestone alleys of Montmartre will allow you to walk in the footsteps of Picasso and the other artists who once called this city home. Notre Dame, the basilica of the Sacre Coeur, and the Eiffel Tower are just some of the architectural splendors you can enjoy today.
Paris – A Freewheeling Adventure
Perched on the banks of the Seine River, Paris was originally inhabited by the Celts before their eventual subjugation to the rolling juggernaut of imperial Rome. In the ensuing centuries, it never lost its importance as a trading center for those who traveled along the Seine River. Today, the only ships that ply the waters of this iconic river are ferries and private vessels. You will begin your adventure this morning with a guided visit to the Louvre, Paris's most famous art museum. Afterward, you will take to the city on two wheels for a bicycle tour of the city center.
Paris – A Royal Perspective
Since your arrival in the French capital, you will have heard rumors of a magnificent palace where staterooms are gilded in gold, royalty once walked, and a queen once condescended her subjects with the famous line "...then let them eat cake." Situated in a suburb of Paris, the Palace of Versailles has had a front-row seat for much of the tumultuous history over the centuries. Today, you will have an excellent lens through which to view history. On a guided tour, you will be able to explore the immaculate gardens, gilded interior, and stunning views of this royal palace.
Lucerne – The Slopes of the Alps
So far on your tour, the flatlands of France have been your playground with nothing to impede your views from horizon to horizon. Today, the topography will be doing a little changing when you depart the French capital and plunge into the mountain range that inspired Tolkien's writing of the Lord of the Rings. Perched among the towering Alps, Lucerne will be your destination. After a sumptuous breakfast in your Parisian hotel, you will make your way by train into Switzerland and to the scenic shores of Lake Lucerne.
Lucerne – The Rosengart Collection
With the light shining off the lake and the red-tiled roofs of Lucerne, your first morning in the city will deliver a staggering amount of beauty. The center of Lucerne presents visitors with attractions, such as Europe's oldest covered bridge, the informative galleries of the Swiss museum of transport, the medieval towers of the Church of St. Leodegar, and a host of other sites. You will venture into one such site on a private tour of the conveniently located Rosengart Collection of Modern Art, where work from masters, such as Monet and Matisse, are displayed.
Lucerne – Exploring an Alpine Yosemite
By now, you will have noticed that there is no shortage of natural beauty in the Alps, and the lush meadows, woodlands, and stoney mountains have long inspired and amazed those who traveled here. Today, a day trip into this storybook setting will be yours to enjoy when you depart Lucerne by train and head to Lauterbrunnen. With towering rock cliffs exploding out of the foliage like grey walls, it will be hard not to draw comparisons to the granite facades of Yosemite in California. Upon your arrival, you can explore the village at your own pace before returning to Lucerne.
Lucerne – Fairytale Swiss Scenery
Today will be yours to enjoy Lucerne when you wake to your final full day on this outstanding tour of France and Switzerland. You can feel free to hit the snooze button and bask in the mountain air or take a stroll through the city environs to witness the charming wood cottages. The tranquility of this setting will be enhanced through a voyage across the adjacent lake, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy some outdoor recreation on the lake to appreciate the spectacular views.
Lucerne – Departure
From the windswept coast of Normandy to the lofty heights of the Alps, this extravagant tour of France and Switzerland will have left little to the imagination. As you wake on your final morning, you may be tempted to stow away somewhere in the city so that you do not have to leave this inspiring ambiance. Regardless, a private transfer will arrive after your breakfast to carry you to the airport at Zurich for your return flight home.
- Examine the compelling tale of Norman conquests that are displayed on the intricately woven fabric of the Bayeux tapestry
- Visit the tidal island of Mont-Saint-Michel to explore a charming village and abbey
- Witness the human toll of World War II during a visit to the American national cemetery at Omaha beach, where the ultimate sacrifice was made by many who stormed the shores in the early hours of June 6, 1944
- Amble in the footsteps of Picasso and Monet during a visit to the hilltop community of Montmartre in Paris
- Stand in the shadow of Notre Dame to see if you can catch a glimpse of the elusive hunchback or the impressive stonework and architecture that keep this one of Paris's most beloved landmarks
- Plunge into the depths of the galleries and exhibits at the Louvre during a private tour of this award-winning museum
- Feel the wind in your hair on a two-wheeled excursion through Paris, where the city's safe and well-regarded cycling lanes will be yours to enjoy
- Bask in the final resting place of one of France's most notorious figures during a visit to the enshrined tomb of Napoleon
- Ponder the immensity of the Alps on an exploration of Lucerne, which will act as your launchpad into the quaint villages and natural beauty of Switzerland
$3,835 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
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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