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3 Weeks in France, then a week in Switzerland

3 Weeks in France, then a week in Switzerland

Sep 3rd, 2012, 11:11 AM
  #1  
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3 Weeks in France, then a week in Switzerland

My husband and I are in the initial planning stages for our summer vacation 2013. We would like to spend 4 nights in Paris, then about 16 nights in various wine regions around France (know we will not hit them all....). We will likely travel by train throughout France. Any recommendations on regions to visit or a suggested itineray would be greatly appreciated
Travel_Bug_Cin is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 01:57 PM
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For wines, I like Burgundy the best because it's a very scenic region as well having some of the world's great vineyards. You'll need a car to visit most wineries unless you take a tour.

After Burgundy, head down to Lyon and the Rhône Valley. Finish up near Avignon, which is near Châteauneuf-du-Pape and make a short foray into Bandol and Cassis for some of Provence's best rosés (and a few good reds, too).

Try to get a copy of Frederick Wildman's The Wines of France and savor the pages.

You could actually start by going by train to Strasbourg to visit the vineyards in Alsace-Lorraine, then continuing south to Dijon to begin the Burgundy portion of your trip.
Underhill is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 02:03 PM
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In Switzerland there's the Lavaux wine region (canton of Vaud) outside Geneva.
suze is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 03:35 PM
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Train schedules here:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en?

Trains are handy city to city . Consider renting a car to see the countryside. Autoeurope the toll free number.
RonZ is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2012, 08:02 PM
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If wineries are a priority, you'll need to rent a car for all your travels in the French countryside. Do a one-way rental, leaving the car in the French part of the Basel or the Geneva airport so as not to pay a cross-border drop-off fee.

Between Paris and Switzerland, you'll have to choose between the Champagne region, Burgundy, and Alsace.
Michael is online now  
Sep 4th, 2012, 05:09 AM
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What a great idea, after tasting a lot of swiss wine I offer my opinion that it is horribly expensive, horribly clean and best kept out of my glass. It is great for a blind tating and for this focus on the Vaud as suze suggest as it just about becomes pleasant.

For me the great wine finds of France that are seldom sold everywhere are the Chenin Blancs of the Loire even unto the Vouvray but other areas as well. You will need a car for this.

The sweet wines of southern Bordeaux carefully avoiding Chateau Yquem. Then the whites of Alsace especially from the haut rhin Pinot Blanc in preference to just about all but gewurtz and the AC or close to AC fields are the best.

For all of these you need a car.

If Champagne or Chablis is your thing then you can get by with trains as the tastings in town (I prefer Epernay) are the best,

The Rhone is a geographical mystery even after 3 visits, but one of the best tastings I've had there was in the shop of the Popes palace when the usual coach of Euro 5 tasters had rushed through and we chatted in french to the guide who got the real stuff out.

If doing the South East and South I recommend a visit to du Gassac, it sits soaking up the sun in the middle of a virtually non-wine growing area and makes superb bordeaux type stuff. Again speaking french will pull the better wines out but a car is vital
bilboburgler is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 05:14 AM
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Oh by the way the best way to visit the Alsace wine route is by bike. Start in Equisheim and head south. Stop at Guebwiller and fall off bike. For this you must include Schlumberger, Bruno Sorg, Materne Haeglin (gona need the french again) and Renee Muree.

Some of these offer tastings at lunch, they don't mean it they just say it to appear welcoming.
bilboburgler is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 05:17 AM
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For a week in Switzerland I could think of no better place than the fabulous Jungfrau Region in the Interlaken area - trains are the best way IMO and IME to travel to Alpine regions in Switzerland as many Alpine towns simply ban cars and you have to take trains anyway.

You can take a TGV train from France (Paris or Dijon if in the Burgundy wine district) to Bern and then a short train ride to Interlaken and from there trains go into the high Alps - the glacier-girdled Alpine peaks of the wonderful Switzerland etched in most folks' minds' eyes - toylike trains going everywhere - thrilling aerial gondolas - hiking paths for all degrees of difficulty - lake boat rides on the lake bookending Interlaken and on and on...

Consider using a Swiss Railpass for all your transport needs - trains, lake boats, postal buses, etc - lots of great info on Swiss trains, etc - I always spotlight these IMO fantastic sites - www.swisstravelsystem.com; http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html; and www.ricksteves.com.

A good itinerary would be to drive around France and end up in either the Alsace or Burgundy wine districts then ditch your car and hop the TGV train to Bern and onto Interlaken. Car rental drop-off charges are often high if returning in a country other than the one you picked it up in and in Switzerland trains are so so fantastic and again cars are useless in Alpine areas that are the epitome of the Switzerland one expects (but won't find in cities like Zurich, Geneva, etc though these are also wonderful places.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 05:20 AM
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As a final thought. After visiting Switzerland a fair number of times I struggle to think why you would leave France to go there.

However if you sare et on this mad idea, one great way to do it is to go to the river Doubs area. and walk across the top of the Jura mountains. If done in May the fields are full of wild daffodils, the cows are fresh out of the sheds, the milk maids are rosy cheeked and if you follow the path of the transjurrian cross country ski trail there are lots of little hotels along the way to feed you raclette. You can send your bags ahead and enjoy some of the finest country air going, drink the local Vin Jaune (semi-oxidised dried grape wine) and reduce the stress until you get to a city and see what they charge for a coffee.
bilboburgler is offline  

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