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CHAMPAGNE - LORRAINE - ALSACE:
Celebrating Eastern France

Reims' cathedral, the smilling angel
Reims' cathedral, Chagall glass windows
Verdun, WWI cemetery
Storks
Colmar, La Petite Venise
Verdun, battlefield

If you have never experienced the rich diversity of eastern France in Champagne and Alsace-Lorraine, you have a wonderful treat in store! Come with us to discover great natural beauty, historic sites, art treasures and local gastronomic specialties. In Champagne visit Reims, the city that for 800 years was the site of royal coronations, and bustling towns that host prestigious champagne cellars. In Lorraine enjoy the newly restored elegance of Nancy. In Alsace discover a culture unique in France, blending rousing German heartiness with sprightly French style, and adding an underpinning of practicality and warm hospitality that is all Alsatian. Take a canal ride in Strasbourg to reach centers of international government; then stroll through picturesque villages where every house greets visitors with a profusion of flower baskets and local families continue a long tradition of producing fine wines. Trace the complex history of the entire region, which has served for 2000 years as a crossroads of Europe, site of great medieval trade fairs and an important center of culture, but also the route of invading armies and a recurring battleground, from the Roman conquest of Gaul under Caesar through the devastating battles of the First and Second World Wars.

CHAMPAGNE - LORRAINE - ALSACE

Celebrating Eastern France

8 DAYS, 7 NIGHTS

Celebrating Eastern France

  • HIGHLIGHTS:
    • Explore the cosmopolitan city of Strasbourg and the rich local culture of its smaller neighbors, Colmar and Obernai.
    • Browse in tiny Alsatian wine villages -- Riquewihr, Kaysersberg and more - shop for local arts and crafts.
    • Savor the diverse gastronomic specialties and regional wines of Champagne and Alsace-Lorraine.
    • Visit battlefield sites of World War I and II -- Verdun, sectors of the Maginot Line.
    • Discover elegant architecture and rich collections of Art Nouveau in Nancy, crystal works in Baccarat.
    • Tour cellars and taste the sparkling wines of some of the region's most prestigious champagne houses in Epernay.
    • Visit the Gothic cathedral of Reims, destroyed and rebuilt twice during the 20th century, site of the coronation of 25 French kings.

 

Day 1: (Hotel in Reims)

  • Arrival day,
    • Our guides will meet you at Charles de Gaulle Airport and will drive you to Reims. This historic city reflects traditional France with its sidewalk cafés, celebrated restaurants, stylish shops, a canal running through town and champagne cellars underneath, medieval churches and its magnificent Gothic cathedral.
    • Welcome apéritif and orientation.

 

Day 2: (Hotel in Reims)

A day in Champagne.

  • Morning
    • Guided visit of Reims. For 800 years most French kings came to be crowned in the Reims cathedral, including Charles VII in 1429, led by Joan of Arc, "the maid of Lorraine." During World War I 80 % of the town was destroyed, but was rebuilt by the mid -1930s. In World War II General Eisenhower established his headquarters in a local high school, and it is here that the surrender of the Third Reich was signed.
  • Afternoon
    • After lunch we will follow the Champagne Road south to Epernay in the heart of the vineyard country, where some of the best-known Champagne producers maintain cellars. We will spend the afternoon visiting this town and the surrounding area, with the high point a tour of some of the most prestigious champagne cellars.
    • We may also stop briefly in picturesque Hautvillers to see the abbey church, burial place of Dom Pérignon, the 17th-century monk to whom we owe the discovery of the champagne process.
  • Evening

 

Day 3: (Hotel in Nancy)

On the way to Nancy.

  • Morning
    • The hundred miles separating Reims and Nancy are marked indelibly with sites that recall the tragic battles of World War I, almost 100 years ago. The sober monuments from WWI remind us of the courage and suffering of people on both sides of the front. If there is interest, we will visit some of these sites as we drive east, among them the major battlefields of Verdun.
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon
    • Special guided tour Nancy. This beautiful city invites you first to enjoy the golden opulence of its newly restored Place Stanislas and gems of architectural elegance found throughout the city. Then we will want to discover the works of early 20th century artists and architects who joined glass worker Emile Gallé to found the Ecole de Nancy and launch the graceful Art Nouveau style.
  • Late afternoon

 

Day 4: (Hotel in Strasbourg)

From Lorraine to Alasace.

  • Morning
    • Free time to explore Nancy on our own.
    • En route to Strasbourg we may stop briefly in Lunéville to visit its château, called the Versailles of Lorraine and in Baccarat to admire the displays in the Crystal Museum and in local shops.
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon
    • As we arrive in Strasbourg, capital city of Alsace, we will discover a culture unlike any other in France. Shunted repeatedly back and forth between France and Germany, Alsatians have proudly developed their own culture, part French, part German, entirely Alsatian.
  • Evening
    • Dinner

 

Day 5: (Hotel in Strasbourg)

Strasbourg

  • Morning
    • To understand the rich history and the current importance of Strasbourg we will want to see it first with an experienced local guide, starting with a visit of the Petite France neighborhood, where half-timbered houses look out onto a maze of canals. Then we will discover the magnificent cathedral with its sky-high spire and red sandstone façade of Gothic lace work. The cathedral is known for its fine sculpture and fascinating astronomical clock, where a parade of little figures announce the passing hours.
    • After our tour you will have time to stroll in this great city, which feels homey in spite of its international importance as headquarters of the Council of Europe and meeting place of the European Parliament.
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon
    • Fee time.
    • Later we will take a boat excursion on the canals of Strasbourg.
  • Evening
    • Dinner

 

Day 6: (Hotel in Strasbourg)

This will be our time to enjoy the Alsatian Wine Road, visiting flower-bedecked towns and villages which invite passers-by to taste local vintages. We will stop in picturesque Obernai and tiny Ottrot, where we can visit the atelier of an artist who creates fine landscapes using different inlaid woods.

  • Morning
    • Drive up to the Mont Sainte-Odile for a beautiful panoramic view over the countryside below.
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon
    • Later, we will visit the imposing feudal fortress of Haut-Koenigsbourg, rebuilt by German Kaiser Wilhelm in the early 20th century, when Alsace was still German territory.
  • Late afternoon
    • Riquewihr is without a doubt one of the most picturesque villages of Alsace, set amidst rolling slopes of vineyards. We will visit the village and tour the Hugel Winery, one of the oldest producers of Alsatian wines.

 

Day 7: (Hotel in Strasbourg)

Kayserberg and Colmar

  • Morning
    • We will stop to see Kayserberg, a charming village on the River Weiss, with its castle, fortified bridge and 16th and 17th century houses, some topped with nests where storks still raise their young. The town is also the birthplace of Albert Schweitzer, musicologist, physician and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. We can visit his house, now a beautiful little museum which chronicles his life and work at the hospital he founded in Lambaréné, Africa.
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon
    • A few kilometers south of Riquewihr, Colmar is a city of art and good living, whose past prosperity has bequeathed to it churches, fine mansions and works of art. We will spend the afternoon enjoying this typically old Alsatian city, with its tangle of winding streets, brightly painted, crooked half-timbered houses, and its neighborhood of waterways known as the Petite Venise ("Little Venice"). For art lovers, Colmar also has the fine Unterlinden Museum, world renowned for the dramatic Issenheim Altarpiece.

 

Day 8:

Au revoir

  • Morning
    • Our tour ends after breakfast. Our guides will drive you to the train station in Strasbourg, where you can get the TGV rapid train back to Paris or to you next destination.

 

What our travelers say about Champagne, Alsace, Lorraine.