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  • Self-drive Touring Holiday to the Alps and Lakes

    La Briqueterie

    La Briqueterie

    Chateau de Gilly

    Chateau de Gilly

    Evian Resort-Hotel Ermitage

    Evian Resort-Hotel Ermitage

    The French Alps

    Hotel Ombremont

    Hotel Ombremont

    Hotel Ombremont

    Chateau de Bagnols

    Chateau de Bagnols

    Self-drive touring holiday to the Alps and Lakes

    9 nights and 10 days
    One of our more dynamic touring holidays of France that proposes a route down eastern France from the lush landscape of Picardy, to the dramatic and picturesque peaks of the Alps. A leisurely self-drive holiday, enjoy the freedom to take your time in discovering the diversity of the French landscape.

    Click here to download a pdf with information about some of our suggested French touring holidays.

    Arriving in Calais via the Eurotunnel, begin your journey by driving through the lush green landscapes of Picardy towards the fertile valleys of Champagne. Your first hotel, La Briqueterie, is located just outside Épernay, the home to many famous champagne houses. After an overnight stay, continue to drive south into Burgundy for a second stopover between Dijon and Beaune. Follow the course of the Saône River as the landscapes of the Côte d’Or are replaced by the patchwork vistas of the Beaujolais. At Maçon, you head east towards the towering peaks of the Alps, skimming the Jura and the Franco-Swiss frontier before following the southern shores of Lake Geneva, arriving at Évian-les-Bains and your prestigious resort hotel, complete with 18-hole golf club, spa and kids’ club, for a three-night stay. From here, explore many cultural treasures and even embark on outdoor pursuits, including water sports, afforded by your stunning lakeside position. Perhaps indulge in a visit to Switzerland to explore Lausanne, Geneva, Montreux or Vevey, city of Charlie Chaplin, by car. Continuing on to your next destination, L'Imperial Palace which is a grand hotel that boasts an excellent lakeside location on the banks of Lake Annecy.  Picturesque Aix-les-Bains and historic Chambéry make for easy day trips by car, allowing plenty of time to return in time for dinner. A meal at the hotel’s renowned two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Bateau Ivre, is an outstanding way to end the day. After two nights here start the journey northwards, perhaps stopping off in Lyon, a city renowned for its cuisine and architecture, as you drive towards Le Montrachet in Pugliny- Montrachet. Spend the night here before continuing to the Champagne region, where you return to your first hotel. Finally, return from Calais to Folkestone.

    PRICES
    Prices for this self-drive touring holiday from £2240 per person

    What's included:
    - Two nights’ bed and breakfast at La Briqueterie in Épernay (one night each way)
    - One night’s bed and breakfast at the Château de Gilly in Gilly-lès-Cîteaux
    - Three nights’ bed and breakfast at the Évian Resort-Hotel Ermitage in Évian-ls-Bains
    - Two nights’ bed and breakfast at the Imperial Palace in Annecy
    - One night’s bed and breakfast at Le Montrachet in Pugliny-Montrachet
    - Eurotunnel return from Folkestone to Calais

    The Alps and Lake of France

    Day-by-Day Itinerary

    DAY ONE
    Calais to Épernay for one night

    Your first stop is among the luxurious green hills and extensive vineyards of Champagne, at La Briqueterie in Épernay. Situated between the Aisne and Marne valleys and at the tip of the Côte des Blancs, this hotel is the perfect base for exploring the vineyards of the region. If time permits, we highly recommend venturing into Reims, Épernay’s rival as Champagne Capital, and exploring the Gallo-Roman underground wine cellars and galleries belonging to internationally renowned firms such as Moët et Chandon and Mercier. Be sure to taste the produce of the region during dinner at the hotel.

    DAY TWO
    Épernay to Gilly-lès-Cîteaux for one night

    The tour now moves on from Champagne into the agricultural region of Burgundy, to the Château de Gilly in the commune of Gilly-lès-Cîteaux. On top of its famous deep red Burgundy wines, this region is renowned for its hospitality. There are many opportunities to discover the wine-making traditions of the region, through tours of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, which extend north and south of the château. Vougeot is the closest vineyard to your hotel, but the nearby Clos de Vougeot is much larger and is owned by over 70 different wine-growers. The 12th Century Château du Clos de Vougeot houses 4 large traditional winepresses, though it no longer produces wine, making it a great place to get to know the processes of the wine-making. Alternatively, explore the many different villages of the area and observe how the flavour of the wine develops. One such village, Gevrey-Chambertin, is the origin of Chambertin, a deep, firm, and tannic red that has become the most famous of all the Côte de Nuits wines. For those looking to experience elements of France’s culture other than the art of wine-making, the city of Dijon is less than half an hour from your hotel. The grand buildings of this iconic French city serve as a striking contrast to the quaint homeliness of the outlying villages. You may wish to spend your afternoon exploring the Cathedral Saint-Bénigne de Dijon, the clock tower of Dijon’s Notre Dame, the Musée de Beaux-Arts de Dijon, the 14th Century Town Hall, or the Puit de Moïse (Well of Moses).

    DAYS THREE TO FIVE
    Gilly-lès-Cîteaux to Évian-les-Bains for three nights

    Your next port of call on this touring holiday is Évian-les-Bains, perched on the bank of Lake Geneva and thus offering the most sublime views and surroundings. Reputed for its mineral water and thermal spa treatments, Évian-les-Bains is the perfect place to pause, relax, and recuperate on this touring holiday. Your hotel, the Évian Resort-Hotel Ermitage, offers many of these famous spa treatments, making it possible to relax with a massage in the evening after a day taking in the sights. With the Swiss border just 13km away, and the Pre-Chablais Alps behind the town, Évian-les-Bains is a quintessentially alpine settlement. The picturesque belle époque town is built around L’Espace Thermal, which lies at its centre and specialises in harnessing the healing properties of the local mineral water. The water-side area offers such activities as water sports on the lake, horseback riding, tennis, golf, hiking, and mountain biking among many others; so, if possible, you may want to extend your stay here. Navigating the town, you will come across the Sainte Catherine old fountain with its freely flowing mineral water, and the Cachat, an Art Nouveau bar designed by Jean Hébrard that accompanies the fountain. The town hall is built in the Renaissance French Style, and is the former summer residence of the Lumière Lyon family, parents to the inventors of cinema. The Antoine Ribaud theatre was designed by a student of Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris Opera House, in the neoclassical style. Every summer, during the Estivales Théâtrales, a series of light comedies are performed here. Évian-les-Bains, on top of its cultural and medical reputation, has an excellent reputation for gastronomy and wine-making. While staying here, try the perch fillets and whitefish caught in the mineral water of Lake Geneva itself, or the number of speciality cheeses, such as Abondance, Reblochon, and Tomme. To taste the wines of the region, head west towards Thonon-les-Bains and Château du Ripaille which, as well as offering extensive beautiful gardens and an enchanting interior, reportedly makes the best white wine in the Savoie department. Nearby, take a relaxing walk through the Forest of Ripaille, or a more adventurous hike up the forested mountain paths below the Bernex-Dent-d’Oche ski area.

    DAYS SIX TO SEVEN
    Évian-les-Bains to Lake Annecy for two nights

    Also part of the Savioe department, Hotel L'Imperial Palace, is blessed with more lakeside views, only this time over Lake Annecy. Situated on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Annecy, the hotel enjoys stunning views and is also just a short drive away from the old town of Annecy, the Venice of the Alps, with its canals, markets and the cobbled streets of its old town. Take time to visit the Chateau d’Annecy, once home to the Counts of Geneva and now containing a museum of artefacts and art. The hotel is ideally located to give guests access to local water sports on the lake, including sialing and water-skiing, and the numerous walking and cycling trails around the lake and into the Alps. Venturing out from the hotel and around the lake edge there are numerous chateaux including Chateau de Menthon-Saint-Bernard and Chateau de Duignt. Further afield is the Lac du Bourget, a little over an hour’s drive away, make sure to stop off at the gothic Hautecombe Abbey, the final resting place of the Princes of the Maison de Savoie and an ideal place to learn about the Savoie heritage. To the north of the lake, just a short detour on the way back to Lake Annecy, is the Cave de Chautagne offers Agri Confiance certified Savoie wines.

    DAY EIGHT
    Le Bourget-du-Lac to Pugliny- Montrachet for one night

    Located almost exactly between Leon and Dijon the small village of Pugliny-Montrachet, famous for its white wine, the charming manor house hotel provides typifies the quintessential French ‘auberge’. Just a 25- minute drive away is the walled town of Beaune, the centre of this wine-making region. Take time to explore the cobbled town, famed for its yearly wine auction held at the Hospices de Beaune, one of France’s most famous historic monuments. Formerly a Medieval hospital foundation, its colourful tiled roof, made of geometric patterns is certainly worth the short drive from the hotel. Guests may choose to explore the surrounding 60- hectares of vineyards and sample the local wines. Burgundy is filled with places of historic interest with numerous chateau and abbeys located nearby, explore the Chateau de Corabeouf, some parts of which date from the 13th and 14th centuries or Citeaux Abbey, founded in 1098 by Robert de Molesmes, both of which are under a 45- minute drive away. Back at the hotel after a day of exploring, enjoy the authentic cuisine of the hotel’s restaurant that uses the freshest local ingredients to create a delicious and inventive menu.

    DAY NINE
    Pugliny- Montrachet to Épernay for one night

    Back in Épernay, spend your final afternoon taking in the beautiful squares and gardens of the town centre, or visit another Champagne winery to pick up a last souvenir. Spend your final night in France at La Briqueterie, making the most of the excellent facilities and beautiful food.

    DAY TEN
    Return to Calais

    Leave La Briqueterie after breakfast and begin the drive North to Calais for the Eurotunnel.

    Driving times for this touring holiday:
    Calais to Épernay: 2 hours 50 minutes
    Épernay to Gilly-lès-Cîteaux: 2 hours 50 minutes
    Gilly-lès-Cîteaux to Évian-les-Bains: 3 hours 10 minutes
    Évian-les-Bains to Annecy 1 hour 30 minutes
    Annecy to Pugliny- Montrachet: 2 hour 30 minutes
    Pugliny- Montrachet  to Épernay: 3 hours 30 minutes

    Alps and Lakes Touring Holiday v2

    Hotel Information

    Below is some information regarding each of the hotels featured in this touring itinerary. Alternative hotels are available in some destinations - please contact us for full details.

    La Briqueterie
    Épernay
    Nestled in the heart of the Champagne region, Hostellerie La Briqueterie is a gastronomic hotel with the ambience of understated luxury and charm typical to all Relais & Châteaux properties. Once the former brickworks of Chevirer, architect of Chaumières de France, La Briqueterie’s name and design appears as a homage to the area’s history, bringing the essence of the ‘country cottage’ to the 21st Century. The 36 rooms and 4 suites are designed individually with modern bursts of colour set against furniture in timeless French style. The wooden beams in the communal areas add unmistakable charm. The bar serves as a lounge where guests enjoy champagne by the fireside and relax in the Winter-Garden, a conservatory with an indoor fountain and exotic plants. There are spectacular views of the Champagne countryside all around and large windows bathing rooms in light. The restaurant is a sensory joy where guests enjoy Michelin-starred cuisine paired with the perfect wine. The spa at La Briqueterie leaves guests with a heightened sense of wellness, with treatments, a hammam steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and indoor swimming pool. The 3 hectares of manicured grounds and fountains are a harbour of peace with stone benches to read on and fragrant flower-lined trails to explore. Days of entertainment and culture are promised with nearby visits to the Champagne houses’ cellars, trips to Épernay and the city of Reims.
    Find out more here.

    Château de Gilly
    Gilly-lès-Cîteaux
    The Château de Gilly is a former residence of the Priors of Cîteaux; still moated and very much palatial in ambience, it offers high standards of accommodation and cuisine and is beautifully situated at the heart of the Burgundy vineyards. The elegant, vaulted restaurant ‘Le Clos Prieur’ was once the palace cellar and is just the place to enjoy a gourmet dinner accompanied by fine local wines. ‘Coté Terroirs,’ a new restaurant, offers local specialities. Breakfast is served in the restored historic Pierre de Nivelle room and musical soirées are held regularly in the Tapestry room. The 48 bedrooms have been refurbished to offer modern comforts whilst retaining their individuality and fine architectural features. To the front of the hotel are remarkable formal French-style gardens. The hotel features an outdoor heated swimming pool.
    Find out more here.

    Évian Resort-Hotel Ermitage
    Évian-les-Bains
    The Évian Resort-Hotel Ermitage is situated above the Évian Resort-Hotel Royal within the grounds of the Évian Resort and enjoys all of the same facilities, but it is very much a hotel in its own right and has its own individual personality. It is a smaller more informal hotel characterised by the presence of wood and dried flowers, with the feel of a country residence. At the Ermitage the emphasis is more on cosiness than grandeur, but the same attention to detail is evident and the décor of the rooms combines an Anglo-Norman influence with Savoie chalet style. As it is situated in close proximity to the Évian Masters Golf course, many keen golfers prefer to stay here. As well as benefiting from the facilities at the Évian Resort-Hotel Royal, the Évian Resort-Hotel Ermitage has its own indoor and outdoor pool and spa. There is a complimentary funicular, which links to the town below. There are two restaurants and one bar, including "La Table" and its elegant cuisine. The Évian Resort-Hotel Ermitage offers a more informal and affordable alternative to the Évian Resort-Hotel Royal and is ideal for couples and families looking for a warm and friendly hotel with excellent facilities.
    Find out more here.

    Hotel L'Imperial Palace
    Annecy
    The Hotel L’Imperial Palace is an imposing and grand building, in a beautiful location on the shores of Lake Annecy. Surrounded on three sides by the waters of the lake the hotel enjoys stunning views across the lake. Although the façade of the hotel is firmly classic and traditional in its style, the interiors are both contemporary and sophisticated. The 99 rooms at the hotel are well- equipped and some enjoy views over the lake itself. The location of the hotel is excellent for those wishing to explore the local area including Annecy, the Venice of the Alps, or try their hand at the water sports offered on the lake. For those looking to relax and enjoy the tranquillity of the hotel, however, there is a spa with a range of treatments offered at the wellness centre that will indulge and rejuvenate the senses. The hotel offers a range of dining options including the delightful restaurant La Voile, which serves elegant French Cuisine, with views over the lakes from the terrace in the summer months. Alternatively, guests may choose the Asian inspired dishes and traditional light meals in the cosy atmosphere of the casino restaurant. The L’Imperial Palace offers comfortable and contemporary accommodation in a stunning location on the shores of Lake Annecy.
    Find out more here.

    Le Montrachet
    Pugliny- Montrachet
    Le Montrachet is a charming 4-star, manor house style hotel located in the main square of the small village of Pugliny-Montrachet, a village famous for its white wines. Built in regional stone, with white shutters and flowers underneath the windows the hotel typifies the image of a quintessential ‘auberge’. A small hotel of just 29 rooms it has a rustic style with all of the rooms decorated simply yet comfortably with contemporary flourishes. In the evenings guests can choose to dine at restaurant at the hotel, which provides a reasonably priced menu that uses fresh, local produce for a regional inspired menu. Le Montrachet is a comfortable and charming hotel and is ideally located for exploring the renowned wine- producing region.
    Find out more here.

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  • France

    Find out more about France

    France FAST FACTS

    Capital

    Paris
    Airport
    Main airports are in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyon, with scheduled and low cost airlines flying into the country from all over the UK.
    Currency
    Euro (£1 = Euro 1.24)
    Size
    Roughly 600 miles wide and 700 miles long
    Population
    66 million
    Average temperature
    Varies dramatically, from about 8 degrees in winter in Brittany to 26 degrees in summer in Corsica, with snow on the Alps and Pyrenees year-round

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