LAKE GENEVA * GOLDEN PASS TRAIN * CHARLIE CHAPLIN'S WORLD * GRUYÈRES * CHÂTEAU DE CHILLON *
Enjoy the dramatic scenery of the Swiss Alps from our base in the village and ski resort of Les Diablerets, situated at an altitude of 1200 metres. It is surrounded by the Diablerets Massif, which includes the highest mountain in western Switzerland and is known for its traditional architecture. Experience the fresh mountain air, a scenic train journey into the Alps, some of the towns and villages around Lac Leman, and the delights of Swiss cheese, wine and chocolate.
After an early start, relax and enjoy a complimentary hot drink on the coach as we make our way to Folkestone for a Channel crossing via the Eurotunnel. From Calais we travel south through Champagne Country to our comfortable overnight hotel, the Mercure Centre in Troyes. A three-course set menu dinner and buffet breakfast are included.D
We are soon back on the road again and the morning is spent travelling through France before passing through the Jura region to reach the Swiss border. During the final leg of the journey there will be views of Lake Geneva before we begin our climb to the mountain resort of Les Diablerets.
Days 3 to 7
One day of your stay will be free to explore Les Diablerets and we include an Access Card allowing free use of local transport and cable cars. There will also be excursions to:
* CHARLIE CHAPLIN'S WORLD at the Manoir de Ban overlooking Lac Leman. At the former estate of the Chaplin family where the actor spent his later years, you will see exhibits including multimedia displays, film excerpts, recreations of sets, family photos and memorabilia, right down to Chaplin's trademark hat and cane.
* GRUYÈRES with time to explore the fortified medieval town. We will pay a visit to the local Cheese Dairy to discover the history of and view the hand made production of 'Le Gruyere AOP'. The other famous product of the region is chocolate, and we will plunge into the world of an authentic chocolate factory at Maison Cailler.
* THE GOLDEN PASS PANORAMIC TRAIN From the shore of Lake Geneva in Montreux, the train climbs on a cogwheel track with many curves then passes through the Tunnel de Jaman. Coming out at the other end it is almost a different world, one of turbulent mountain streams that tumble into the valley below high bridges and dark pine trees. The names of the villages change from French into German as we enter the Saanenland region. We alight in the fashionable resort of Gstaad, situated in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps. The town's soaring mountains and prestigious international boarding schools have long made it a holiday destination for royalty and celebrities. There will be time to explore and find lunch before returning to the Hotel by coach.
* A DAY OUT ON LAKE GENEVA We will visit one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. As well as taking a cruise on the Lake we will visit Chateau de Chillon, a romantic castle on a rocky island which, for four centuries was the residence of the Counts of Savoy. One of Switzerland's lesser known specialities is its wine. The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces stretch for about 20 miles along the Lake's northern shore and high-quality wines have been produced since the 11th century. We include a wine tasting at a local producer before heading back to the Hotel.
Today we leave Switzerland and retrace our route through France to our hotel in Reims, where a set menu dinner and breakfast are included. The Campanile Hotel Reims Centre Cathedral has stylish modern rooms and provides a comfortable final night's stay.B, D
We make our way to Calais then home through the Channel Tunnel to reach Sussex and the waiting taxis by the end of the afternoon.
EUROTEL VICTORIA Les Diablerets
Situated in the pretty village of Les Diablerets in the Vaud Alps, this 4-star hotel has been run by the Wartner family for more than 40 years and has a warm and friendly atmosphere. There are 101 bedrooms, reached by lift. Guests have use of the indoor pool, sauna and steam bath. During our 6-night stay, we will enjoy hot buffet breakfasts and 3-course evening meals. On the night of arrival a welcome drink will be followed by a set menu dinner. On the other evenings there will be a choice of two main courses.
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