8-day Tour of Lake Geneva & the French Alps
April 5 - 12, 2019
(Inquire for additional dates)
With beautiful Geneva as our home base, we’ll experience the best of French-speaking Switzerland and the French Alps! Join us for medieval castles, charming towns, majestic mountain peaks, rolling vineyards, and of course, sparkling Lake Geneva. Wine, chocolate, and cheese are merely the icing on top.
Switzerland may not seem the most obvious choice for Mockingbird’s “road less traveled” philosophy, but in fact, Geneva is less traveled: it gets plenty of attention when diplomatic negotiations are underway, but it’s almost always overlooked on European tours. What a shame that is, because Geneva is a gem of a city – a little bit French, a little bit German, and completely lovely.
Geneva is the perfect home base for exploring French-speaking Switzerland and the French Alps. Borders are fluid here: We’ll make forays into France to visit Annecy (the “Venice of France”) and to take a breathtaking, heart-stopping trip up to 13,000 feet at Chamonix Mont-Blanc – where we’ll also make a brief crossing into Italy. We’ll channel our inner diplomats with tours of the International Red Cross Museum and the United Nations’ Palace of Nations. Then we’ll follow the northern shore of Lake Geneva to jazzy Montreux, where we can contrast art nouveau and medieval architecture. And our tour wouldn’t be complete without a wine tasting at a vineyard in the famous Lavaux region. Switzerland offers more than great chocolate, after all!
Throughout this tour, you’ll enjoy the comforts of five star hotels, and you can relax in the knowledge that our exceptional tour directors will make your trip as easy as it is enjoyable. There is simply no better way to explore this stunning corner of Europe.
For some of you, this luxury tour might not be completely complete without a weekend in Paris, which you can add to the end of the trip. C’est magnifique!
THE GREATER GOOD
A portion of the proceeds from this tour will benefit the International Committee of the Red Cross. You can read about their work here.
DAY 1: GENEVA
Arrive at any time, with a private transfer from the airport, and get settled into your exquisite hotel in the heart of the city. In the late afternoon, meet your tour director and fellow travelers, and then kick off your Switzerland visit right, with a welcome dinner at one of Geneva’s best fondue restaurants!(Hotel: Hotel Les Armures or similar)
DAY 2: GENEVA
After breakfast, we start exploring! A local tour guide will lead us on a walking tour of Geneva’s charming Old Town, from the famous Flower Clock to St. Peter’s Cathedral. Wear comfortable shoes – this tour involves hills and cobblestones! Then we’ll hop on the tram to Carouge, a neighborhood on the edge of Geneva with a vibrant Saturday market. Shop for lunch from the stalls or enjoy one of its charming cafes – but keep an eye on your watch! In the afternoon, a private tour will introduce us to prestige watchmaking in Geneva, and its long history of refinement, luxury and absolute precision.
DAY 3: ANNECY
Today a private coach will take us across the border to Annecy, France. Dubbed the “Venice of France” and nestled among the impressive peaks of the French Alps, this delightful medieval town will charm your socks off. A local guide will show us around, and then you’ll have free time to explore Annecy’s Sunday market – renowned as one of the best markets in the Haute-Savoie region – and sample some of the region’s best products. (If you haven’t tried reblochon, a soft cheese produced in the Haute-Savoie that’s unavailable in the US, you’re in for a treat! Perhaps you’ll want to have a lunch of fresh lake fish at a canal-front restaurant or take a paddleboat out on Lake Annecy. We’ll return to Geneva for dinner.
DAY 4: GENEVA
This morning we explore the diplomatic side of Geneva. We’ll tour the United Nations’ European headquarters and the moving International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. Spend the rest of the day exploring Geneva at your leisure. Take a lake cruise, visit some museums, or do some shopping in Geneva’s many fine stores – watches, Swiss army knives, jewelry, and chocolate (so much chocolate!) are all in abundance here.
DAY 5: CHAMONIX MONT-BLANC
Today is a truly special excursion. A private coach will take us back into France to the town of Chamonix, which sits at the base of Mont-Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps. A series of cable cars will take us up to Aiguille du Midi, a vantage point that’s as close as you can get to the summit of Mont-Blanc without crampons and ropes. At almost 13,000 feet, the views and the altitude will take your breath away! As if that’s not spectacular enough, another cable car – the highest in the world – will carry us for 5 kilometers across glaciers and valleys into Italy, and then back again. Make sure your camera batteries are well charged for this one!
DAY 6: MONTREUX
Bid adieu to Geneva and hop a train for a scenic ride along the north shore of Lake Geneva to Montreux. Famous for its summer jazz festival, Montreux’s art nouveau architecture and picture-perfect lakefront setting are lovely any time of year. Montreux is made for exploring on foot. In the afternoon, we’ll have a private tour of the Château de Chillon, a bona fide medieval castle perched on the edge of Lake Geneva – an ideal location for repelling invasions and taking selfies. (Hotel: Fairmont Le Montreux Palace or similar)
DAY 7: MONTREUX & CHEXBRES
It’s always the perfect time to become better acquainted with Swiss wine! We’ll take the train to Chexbres, a nearby town in the Lavaux region. Lavaux is famous for its terraced vineyards and produces some of Switzerland’s best wines. We’ll tour a vineyard and (bien sûr) sample some wines. In the afternoon, you can explore Montreux at your leisure. We’ll have a special farewell dinner tonight.
DAY 8: MONTREUX TO U.S.
Sadly, today we part ways. We’ll take the train back to Geneva for your flight home – or extend your stay with our optional Paris weekend!
As long as you’re there…why not stop by Paris, too? We’ll take the high-speed train from Geneva from Paris, where you can spend 2 nights (or longer!) soaking up the City of Light before flying home.
$ 5,695 per person, based on double occupancy.
Single supplement: $ 1,895 per person.
8 days escorted by a certified tour director
7 nights in first class superior hotels in the heart of Geneva and Montreux
7 breakfasts, 2 dinners, and a wine tasting
Airport transfers in Geneva
All ground transportation in Switzerland and France (by private coach and first-class train)
Admission fees for all group activities
A private tour director and local guides
Optional Paris Weekend:
From $ 1,495 per person, based on double occupancy.
Single supplement upon request.
Price of Paris Weekend includes:
First class train ticket from Geneva to Paris
2 nights in a first class boutique hotel in the heart of the city
A private transfer to the Paris airport
Your tour director at your disposal to guide you in your sightseeing or plan excursions
Prices do not include international air to and from the start of your vacation, optional excursions and activities, travel insurance, gratuities, meals other than those listed above, and all other personal expenses.
Minimum 6, maximum 12 travelers
This tour involves light-to-moderate physical activity, including walking and standing for extended periods and hilly terrain. You should be able to carry your own luggage on and off of trains.
Still have questions? We have answers! Contact us to discuss.