Day 1: Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Lille and onwards to Lyon by TGV. On arrival transfer by coach to the Les Grillons Hotel (approx. two hours).
Day 2: Full day exploring Annecy and the lake. One of the most attractive and popular resorts in the French Alps, the town of Annecy sits on the banks of the lake surrounded by breath-taking alpine scenery. The imposing château on the hill and the Palais de l’Ile provide much historical interest, and you’ll find the canals and narrow passages of the 16th century old town enchanting.
Day 3: Full day tour to Chambéry and Aix-les-Bains. Once the capital of Savoy, the dignified town of Chambéry has a distinctly Italianate feel that betrays its history as part of Italy. Highlights here include its much-loved and extravagant Fontaine des Eléphants, Chateau of the Dukes of Savoy dating back to the 14th century and 17th century country house, Les Charmettes, once home to the philosopher Rousseau. Aix-les-Bains is a gracious spa town on Lac du Bourget, famed for its thermal baths and Faure Museum housing a collection of Impressionist paintings and Rodin statues.
Day 4: Full day tour to Chamonix. A busy and cosmopolitan town, Chamonix sits at the foot of Mont Blanc surrounded by the best of mountain scenery – glaciers, snow-capped peaks and lush green meadows. It is the base for all mountain based activities, in summer and winter – for spectacular views take the Aiguille du Midi cable car up Mont Blanc itself, or, for those who aren’t big fans of heights, try the Montenvers rack railway which will take you to the foot of the Mer de Glace glacier.
Day 5: Full day tour to Geneva with a Christmas Eve four-course dinner at the hotel. In terms of being international and cosmopolitan there aren’t many cities that can compare with Geneva. Its location is fantastic, strung along the shore of mountain-backed Lake Geneva, and it is the place that many international organisations choose to base their European headquarters – you may see the UN, WHO and Red Cross. The museums here are world class and the old town is wonderfully picturesque – heading up the 16th century St Peter’s Cathedral gives great views over the city, lake and mountains beyond.
Day 6: Full day to relax and enjoy the hotel grounds and facilities with Christmas Day lunch and dinner at the hotel.
Day 7: Full day tour to Lake Geneva, Évian and Yvoire. The expanse of Lake Geneva (or Lac Léman to the French) forms a natural border between France and Switzerland. The awe-inspiring scenery and fine climate made the shores of the lake popular for health resorts the most well-known being Évian-les-Bains, where you can take a lovely stroll along the tree-lined waterfront. Take a bottle along to taste the famous water from the Source Cachat on the Avenue des Sources. Picturesque Yvoire is a lovely medieval village of narrow cobbled streets and stone houses sloping down to the edge of the water. The castle and two stone gateways date from the 14th century.
Return standard class Eurostar and TGV from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Lyon via Lille, returning from Annecy via Paris
Seven nights' accommodation on dinner, bed and breakfast basis at the three-star Les Grillons Hotel, Talloires
Christmas Eve four-course dinner
Christmas Day lunch and dinner
Transfers and full coach touring itinerary conducted by tour manager
Tour manager throughout
Single room supplement
Standard Premier/1st class upgrade on Eurostar/TGV. On Eurostar this constitutes upgraded seating and light meal with complimentary drink with upgraded seating on the French railway leg
Meals other than those stated
Items of a personal nature such as drinks, telephone calls, laundry etc
Porterage and gratuities
PLEASE NOTE: As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages. Trollies are available at St Pancras, but bags do need to be carried onto the platform. Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890
Places of Interest
Annecy One of the largest lakes in France, Lake Annecy is surrounded by glorious mountain scenery and attractive towns and villages, including one of our bases, the pretty village of Talloires famed for its gourmet restaurants including the Michelin-starred Père Bise. The town of Annecy is one of the most attractive and charming towns in the Alps, set at the northern tip of Lac d’Annecy and surrounded by mountains. Its small medieval quarter is laced with canals, flower-covered bridges and arcaded streets. Perfect for leisurely and relaxing browsing, there are nonetheless some major sights - the formidable 12th Century Palais de l’Isle and the turreted Chateau d’Annecy.
Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) & Route des Grandes Alpes Stirring scenery and the gentle climate have made the shores of Lac Leman a popular resort area since the first spas were built at Evian in 1839. Highlights include the pretty medieval walled fishing port of Yvoire with its massive 14th century castle and Evian (home to the famous mineral water) with its tree-lined lakeside promenade. Drive through wonderful mountain scenery (weather and road conditions permitting) via the ancient ruined abbey at St Jean d'Aulps and the bustling ski town of Morzine - pefect for a hot chocolate!
Chamonix and Mont Blanc At the foot of Europe’s highest peak lies the attractive resort town of Chamonix. Wonderful alpine views are possible from the Aiguille du Midi cable car - the highest cable car in Europe -which takes you close to the peak of Mont Blanc.
Geneva Geneva is one of the most international cities in the world, being the European headquarters of the United Nations, International Red Cross and World Health Organisation. More than 200 international organisations are based here and one in three residents are non-Swiss. Sights include the world’s tallest fountain, the Jet d’Eau, 16th century St. Peter’s Cathedral, UN Building and excellent museums such as the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Museum of Art and History, International Motor Car Museum and Voltaire Museum.
Chambery & Aix-les-Bains Once the capital of Savoy, the dignified town of Chambery has a distinctly Italianate feel that betrays its history as part of Italy. Highlights here include its much-loved and extravagant Fontaine des Elephants, Chateau of the Dukes of Savoy dating back to the 14th century and 17th century country house, Les Charmettes, once home to the philosopher Rousseau. Aix-les-Bains is a gracious spa town on Lac du Bourget, famed for its thermal baths and Faure Museum housing a collection of Impressionist paintings and Rodin statues.
Hotel Les Grillons, Talloires This charming three-star hotel is located on the edge of Lake Annecy (many rooms have lake views) about 15 minutes' walk from the pretty village of Talloires. Facilities include extensive grounds, bar, restaurant and comfortable rooms with all modern amenities (please note there is no lift). Accommodation is on dinner, bed and breakfast basis. Hotel Les Grillons Website
OUR VIEW ON THE HOTEL Les Grillons has attracted rave reviews from our clients for more than a decade, especially for the food. Charming staff, a great location, lovely grounds and comfortable rooms all combine for a memorable stay.
Pre-tour accommodation is available at the Premier Travel Inn, London King's Cross St Pancras, about a 5 minutes walk from St Pancras International, at an approxiamte rate of £120 per room. Bookings can be made direct with the hotel on 0871 527 8672 or visit their website.
PASSPORTS Valid passport required by all, except:
(a) EU nationals holding valid national identification cards;
(b) Holders of national identification cards issued to nationals of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland.
VISAS Are not required by EU citizens. All other nationalities should enquire at the French consulate (PO Box 57, 6A Cromwell Place, London SW7 2EW
Tel: (020) 7838 2000/1. Information Service: Tel: (0891) 887 733. Fax: (020) 7838 2046. Opening hours: 0900-1130 (and 1600-1630 for visa collection only) Monday to Friday (except French and British national holidays).
TRAIN As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages. Trollies are available at St Pancras and Lille, but bags do need to be carried on to the platform. Porters are sometimes but not always available at St Pancras. The Eurostar and French trains are very long (18 carriages in the case of Eurostar and nearly 400 metres long) so there can be quite lengthy walks from the station entrance to your seat. On all legs of the journey you have reserved seat and carriage numbers which are shown clearly on your ticket. Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890
HEALTH & INSURANCE – EHIC CARD Please note that EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) only allows access to the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the EU country they are temporarily visiting. It is NOT an alternative to travel insurance and will not provide the same level of cover as a travel insurance policy. The EHIC will not cover any private medical healthcare or the cost of things such as repatriation to the UK or lost or stolen property. It is also important to note that each country’s healthcare system is slightly different, so the EHIC might not cover everything that would be generally free on the NHS. On the EHIC application website, there is a section called Access to Healthcare Abroad which clarifies all the conditions and inclusions. We strongly recommend that you take out an appropriate travel insurance policy when you travel abroad.
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