Chateaux to Chalets Tour August 19 – 31, 2019 11 nights $3645 Per Person
Join Your Man in Europe on a unique travel adventure beginning in “The City of Lights” - Paris, traversing stunning Switzerland, and ending in trendy Milan, Italy. Treat yourself to a completely custom European tour like no other. Everywhere you go you will experience a distinctive and unique approach to each destination, doing and seeing Europe in ways simply not offered on any Big Bus tours or cruises. Every day guests will be expertly guided to take in all the wonderful details and personal encounters to be found in some of the most idyllic places in the world. Travel First Class on some of the most advanced high-speed trains on earth, enjoy local touring with private drivers, and stay in truly special hotels – each one in the most ideal location possible. Be part of the places we’ll visit, not just another tourist passing by.
August 19, Monday - Flights depart from USA to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to arrive by 10 AM on August 20. Those interested in extending the time in Paris could fly in over the weekend of August 17/18. Contact Your Man in Europe for assistance in planning & bookings.
August 20, Tuesday – Arrivals at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport by 10:00 AM. Guests will be met at the International Arrivals gate. When the tour group is assembled we will travel by private van into the central city, and our wonderfully-located boutique hotel. After settling in we will go out for a lunch together at just the right Parisian café near our hotel. Afterward everyone will have some free time to explore our island home and just enjoy the ambiance of The City of Lights. For those who would like to join in we’ll have an orientation and casual walking tour of our nearby vicinity. Very nearby, and quite easy to reach on foot are Notre Dame Cathedral and one of the stops for the BatoBus, a boat line on the Seine that travels to 9 stops along the river – all near important Parisian sites. Your ticket is good for 24 hours, and you can hop-on, hop-off as many times as you like.
We’ll get back together in the evening for our “Welcome to France” dinner at a local restaurant brimming with atmosphere, followed by a surprise evening event everyone will love!
August 21, Wednesday – After a very nice breakfast we can decide what everyone would like to do in Paris today. Since some guests will have already been to Paris it’s difficult for us to plan a schedule of activities to suit everyone.
There is no set itinerary; it’s a “choose your own adventure” day. Select the museums and landmarks you most want to see, and off you go! You may want to check out the fabulous Musee d’Orsay, one of the world’s premier art museums. This magnificent museum – across the Seine from the Louvre – is wonderful in that it can be covered fairly well in about a half-day. Or choose to spend the whole day at the Louvre, or go on a “treasure hunt” to see your favorite small museum. You might want to head for some essential sight-seeing: the Arc de Triumph and Champs Elysees, or Place de la Concorde. Or if you bought a BatoBus ticket on our first day it’ll still be good. for at least part of today. Assistance and advice in choosing and getting to various attractions will be offered. There’s something great for every taste. Lunch will be on your own today.
In the early evening we’ll rendezvous at our hotel to get ready for a nice dinner together and a fantastic experience that only a very few visitors to Paris even know about, and one you will surely never forget!
August 22, Thursday - After a lovely breakfast together at a local bistro we’ll check out of our hotel and go to board our train for a short ride to our next destination, Provins. This enchanting old town is one of the finest Medieval villages in all of Europe. Actually it is located in the Île-de-France region. Literally, the name means "Island of France", and was derived from its being bordered by the Seine, Marne, Oise and Beuvronne rivers, which surround it like an island. Within this relatively small area are numerous spectacular villages and sights, too often overlooked by visitors to Paris.
Provins is the former capital of the Counts of Champagne and medieval fair town, and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has remained remarkably intact since the Middle Ages. Visitors can take a stroll around the magnificent fortified surrounding walls, admiring the many gateways and towers on the way, before going through Saint-Jean doorway leading into the charming medieval old town itself. There you'll find the pretty Place du Châtel bordered by lovely old houses, and a host of beautiful monuments such as Saint-Quiriace Collegiate Church, the Tithe Barn, Romanesque House, Holy Spirit Cellar and the Old Hospital. Caesar's Tower is an imposing 12th-century octagonal keep with a square base, and is open to the public. Climb up to top for a superb view over the rooftops and surrounding countryside. The impressive city wall and utterly charming half-timbered buildings will make you feel as if you’ve been whisked back into Medieval France.
After settling into our centrally located boutique hotel – right in the heart of the oldest part of the town, we’ll enjoy a casual guided tour of the vicinity and a wonderful lunch together. Afterward enjoy some free time to explore, shop, and take lots of pictures. In the evening we’ll have a great dinner together in the old town center.
August 23, Friday - After a nice breakfast we’ll take off on a private van tour to Reims, capital of Champagne Region. The Gallic tribe of the Remi, from which Reims derives its name, was conquered without difficulty by the Romans, and the town flourished under their occupation. At the end of the Roman era in the 5th century, Clovis, the Frankish king, was baptized at Reims; and in memory of this occasion most French kings were subsequently consecrated there.
The traditional wool industry was stimulated in the 17th century by King Louis XIV’s finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who was a native of Reims. During World War I, the city was occupied briefly by the Germans in their offensive of September 1914, and after evacuating it they held the surrounding heights, from which they subjected the city to intermittent bombardment over the next four years. In World War II Reims was again almost completely destroyed, although the cathedral escaped damage. The act of Germany’s capitulation in World War II was signed at Reims in May 1945.
We’ll have a tour of the old city including the fabulous Reims Cathedral. This was the site of 25 coronations of the kings of France, from Louis VIII in 1223 to Charles X in 1825. The cathedral, which was begun in 1211 was intended to replace an earlier church destroyed by fire in 1210. The main construction lasted some 80 years, but expansions and decorative work continued for centuries.
Of course our visit to the Capital of Champagne would not be complete without a nice orientation and tasting of the bubbly. We’ll enjoy a nice lunch together in this remarkable city. In the afternoon we’ll return to Provins for dinner on your own. There are several very good restaurants within a stone’s throw of our hotel. Pick one for a fabulous dining experience on your own this evening.
August 24, Saturday - After another wonderful breakfast we’ll have a free morning to spend time exploring Provins on your own and having lunch In the village. After lunchtime we’ll take off by private van on an adventure to the incomparable Vaux le Vicomte, a château in the countryside outside Paris, for an unforgettable travel experience.
Vaux le Vicomte, the largest privately owned chateau in France, has a fascinating story, and is classified as a major historical monument. In 1641, a dashing 26-year-old parliamentarian, Nicholas Fouquet, purchased the modest manor house of Vaux-le-Vicomte and spent the next twenty years transforming it into a masterpiece which still stands as perhaps the most spectacular chateaux and gardens in all of France. But Fouquet’s brilliant architectural achievement enraged a jealous young King Louis XIV, and he was arrested on trumped up charges and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1661. Vaux-le-Vicomte was closed down, its treasures seized, and the family banished. After ten years of struggle Madame Fouquet and her eldest son were finally able to recover the estate, where they lived until it was sold in 1705.
We will be there when the fabulous fountains will be on full display throughout the magnificent gardens using the same hydraulic systems put into place in the 1600s! Stroll and try to take in some of the finest landscaping on earth. In the evening we’re in for more treats. First we’ll have a fabulous gourmet dinner at Les Charmilles overlooking the incredible gardens. But that’s not all. After sundown we’ll have a unique dreamlike experience: a candlelit visit of the château and its gardens! Vaux-le-Vicomte invites you to a night out of time and history, to recapture the magic of the famous party of August 17, 1661 by the flickering light of over 2000 candles.
And if all this isn’t dazzling enough we’ll be treated to a huge fireworks display over the château at 11 PM! Then, after a stunning evening, our driver will return us to our cozy hotel back in Provins.
August 25, Sunday - Our timing could not be better! After breakfast everyone will be free to relax or attend services at one of the nearby churches. Then it’s Harvest Festival in Provins, an annual Bacchanalia with wine, parades, floats, delicious food and more.
Throughout the day, in a verdant setting, roam the streets and public squares of the medieval city so that you can experience the life in French countryside. Various activities and displays are exhibited for visitors: tractors and old vehicles parade, old-style threshing, draft horses and wheat carts, street music, brass bands, wind sections, French and world music, barrel organ, jazz music, drums, artisanal and local products discoveries, ancient tools exhibitions. In the afternoon, a great parade including about 500 participants and wheat-decorated floats will run along the streets of the Upper Town. Provins will be filled with festivities, and we can be part of it all. Enjoy this unique experience. Be part of it all. You never know what you’ll discover! Lunch and dinner will be on your own today.
Note: Because of the Harvest Festival in Provins all local hotel rooms get booked solid. Luckily for us our rooms in the best location in town - right in the middle of the action – have long been secured.
August 26, Monday - We’ll have an early breakfast in Provins before boarding our train for the short ride back to Paris to connect with our high-speed TGV train to Switzerland. Our journey will take us past some of the most gorgeous scenery in France and Switzerland – all in First Class comfort. As we cruise along on this beautiful ride we’ll enjoy a gourmet “train picnic” of local specialties.
Our destination is Kandersteg a wonderfully charming Swiss Alpine village boasting breath-taking 360 degree dramatic mountain vistas. After our spectacular train ride we’ll be ready to check into our cozy chalet hotel in the heart of the charming village. Dinner together at our hotel restaurant will be a great treat: the best wiener schnitzel in Kandersteg! After a long day we’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep in our quaint little hotel in the mountains.
August 27, Tuesday – After a delightful breakfast we’ll be taking off on a magical adventure. There are four ski lift gondolas and a harrowing one-lane road going up into the mountains from the Kandersteg valley, accessing many breathtaking vistas. Depending on conditions and road access, we’ll plan to make our way to the tiny village of Selden located in the gorgeous Gasterntal (a hidden high mountain valley). High above Kandersteg the turbulent Kander River runs through the wild romantic Gasterntal. Enchanted high mountain forests, stunning waterfalls, and scenic meadows weave a spell for everyone visiting this legendary valley. Together we’ll experience an unforgettable experience: an overnight stay in a fantastic high mountain chalet with no electricity. Everyone will have a bagged lunch to eat in a wonderfully scenic spot ‘way up in the mountains. For dinner we’ll savor an authentic raclette meal from the fireplace at the cozy retreat before heading to our snug beds by candle light..
August 28, Wednesday - We’ll enjoy a delightful breakfast and a bit of free time for exploring and picture-taking in the glorious mountains before experiencing the edge-of-your-seat ride back down the mountains to our other Swiss chalet hotel in Kandersteg.
Once everyone is freshened up we’ll continue with a day tour of nearby sights. We’ll take a spectacular gondola and chair lift ride up to Lake Oeschinensee. The deep blue, clear water of Oeschinensee will dazzle you. Enjoy anything from a gentle stroll around the lake to an invigorating hike with even more breathtaking alpine views and towering waterfalls. Enjoy a wonderful lunch on your on at the hotel restaurant overlooking the lake.
After returning to our cozy chalet hotel everyone will have some free time to explore the town and find just the right cozy restaurant for dinner on your own.
Please note: Weather conditions in this Alpine climate are very unpredictable, and will determine on which days we can best carry out our tour itinerary to get the best experience in the Kandersteg area.
August 29, Thursday – After a last Alpine breakfast we’ll check out of our chalet hotel and have a casual morning for some last-minute photos or shopping in the village. Today we will have a fantastic train ride from the snowy Alps to Milan, Italy traveling through several dramatic tunnels under the mountains – one 31 kilometers long!
After arrival in Milan we’ll have a late lunch at a handy café in the awesome Milan train station before moving on to our nearby hotel. There’ll be time to get settled in and relax for a bit before we get back together for a Metro ride to visit the fabulous Duomo, Milan’s magnificent cathedral – one of the largest and most impressive in the world. Besides the awesome Duomo, we’ll have fun visiting the nearby Galleria for shopping, and the famous La Scala opera house. While we’re out and about everyone will have a chance to pick a nice restaurant or cozy café for dinner on your own followed by a free evening to do as you please.
August 30, Friday – After a lovely Italian breakfast we’ll go to see Leonardo daVinci’s Last Supper at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. For this unforgettable experience we will have advance “skip the line” tickets to be sure we can fully appreciate this newly-restored masterpiece.
After our morning art experience we’ll have some free time in bustling Milan. This trendy city boasts some of the greatest retail shopping in Europe – especially for clothes and shoes. On this last full day in Italy everyone may choose to explore the city a bit more, or just kick back for a while. Lunch will be on your own today. In the mid afternoon there’ll be an optional tour offered. For those interested we’ll make our way to one of the often overlooked highlights of this great city: the Cemitaro Monumentale, the Monumental Cemetery. “Monumental” falls far short as an apt description of this unique place. Grave markers are elevated to the level of fine art, making it more of a unique sculpture garden than a graveyard.
In the evening we’ll have our Farewell Dinner together at an authentic Italian neighborhood restaurant – one popular with the locals – the perfect close to a wonderful trip.
August 31, Saturday – After breakfast at the hotel guests will be transferred to their scheduled airport for flights back to USA from Milan. Airport transfers will be the responsibility of each guest, but since everyone is likely headed for the airport at similar times we’ll work out a shared shuttle form the hotel. Guests wishing to stay for an extended time in Europe should keep in touch with Your Man in Europe for assistance in planning and booking accommodations.
What’s in store for us?
This tour is custom-planned for a small group of no more than 12 guests. Even if you are a seasoned traveler, you have never experienced Europe like this. We’re sure the journey will captivate you. You’ll be part of a magical adventure - complete with music, gourmet picnics, and surprises that will delight you at every turn.
This is not a “Big Bus Tour”. There will be no wake-up calls at 5 AM to herd onto the buses. Our travelers will have a friendly, extremely knowledgeable guide for the entire trip – not just a bus driver and hum-drum contracted tour guide. We do our best to set the mood, to weave a spell, and to make yours a total experience. Hotels and most restaurants on the entire tour have been selected for their very specific location or high level of “atmosphere”. The small group size allows us to personalize the experience in a way large groups simply cannot do. We make it easy, comfortable and stress-free. No guest has to worry about the details of where we are going next. You will feel as if you are not a tourist, but a guest of your French, Swiss, and Italian friends.
This is a complete tour; and the prices are not increased during the trip through unexpected charges for “extra” tours and arrangements you must handle on your own. If there will be any optional tours or activities not included in the cost everyone will be advised well before signing up for the tour. Most meals are included, and those that are not included are detailed in the itinerary.
Your Tour Guide: Larry Ivy is the Tour Coordinator and guide for Your Man in Europe, and a long-time veteran of European travel and unique private tour-leading. Larry wants just one thing: for you to have “the best time of your life”!
Complete Prices for the August 19 - 31, 2019 Tour
$ 3645 Per Person
*All prices are based on Double Occupancy. Single supplement is an additional $665
A $500 deposit holds your place on the tour(s). Reservations and deposits for this fantastic opportunity should be made as early as possible, but not later than April 30, 2019. The final balance is due by July 15, 2019. Make checks payable to “Your Man in Europe”. Guests are invited to use our no-interest flexible payment plan.
Tour Includes: Eleven (11) nights of overnight accommodation (based on double occupancy) in exceptional, very specially selected hotels, all eleven (11) breakfasts, six (6) lunches, and seven (7) dinners; all ground transportation (except August 31 airport transfers); and First Class rail travel (where available), admissions to all attractions described in the tour itinerary, knowledgeable guide services, and standard gratuities. There will be no additional charges for the tours and events specifically included by Your Man in Europe. There may be extra charges for tours not included in the detailed in the itinerary. These are optional activities.
Not Included: Airfare to Paris and returning from Milan, optional travel insurance, extra beverages (meals will include one beverage and will be budgeted accordingly); a la cart or premium menu selections beyond the established meal allowances; between meal snacks; gratuities for extra services such as baggage porters, or for superior service (normal gratuities are included in the trip cost); souvenirs; and privately arranged activities.
Also: All overnight accommodations, as well as railroad and minibus travel will be NO-SMOKING.
This tour is strictly limited to a maximum of 12 guests travelling together