Wine, War and More
This 5 night/6 day Tour gives a great overview of Alsace/Lorraine/Champagne regions of France with a brief trip into Belgium to study the Battle of the Bulge. It can be added to if certain areas would like to be explored in more detail or shortened by leaving out certain elements ie Battle of Bulge or the Maginot Line.
The celebrated sparkling wine region of Champagne - the stunning wine region of Alsace in the Vosges - the infamous battlefields of WWI - the Maginot Line and the Battle of the Bulge - Strasbourg the 'European Capital" its famous "pink" Cathedral and Canals - Colmar the picture postcard pretty Alsatian Town - Nancy the ancient capital of Lorraine renowned for its majestic Place Stanislas - Verdun ancient stronghold on the river Meuse which came to symbolize French resistance in the First World War - Bastogne in the tiny country of Luxembourg infamous now for the Battle of the Bulge - Reims, Champagne capital renowned for its bubbles, the Cathedral where most French Kings were crowned and where the Germans first surrendered to Eisenhower.
Day 1: Paris to Strasbourg and Riquewihr
The advent of the high speed rail line to Germany has really made this part of France so much easier to explore. We start by leaving Paris and taking the TGV train to Strasbourg where we visit the Cathedral and explore in the Petit France area, before venturing into the most picturesque wine road in France that takes us into the Vosges Mountains where vines and medieval walled villages lie amidst the rolling hills like charms on a bracelet. We stay here enjoying tastings at some of the better known Vineyards in this area so famous in France for its expression of Reisling, Tokay Pinot Gris and Gerwurztraminer wines not to mention the warming Eaux-de-vie.
Day 2: Colmar and Nancy
The next day we continue on the wine road to Colmar to explore amongst the narrow lanes and painted timber framed houses amidst the canals of this "little Venice" of Alsace before setting off for tonight's destination Nancy, ancient Capital of Lorraine.
Day 3: Verdun and Bastogne
Time to explore here before continuing along the Valley of the Meuse River to Verdun and the surrounding Battlefield.
We spend the day contemplating these killing fields where some villages changed hands sixteen times and no longer exist, concentrating on French and American campaigns.
We now head on to Belgium for our base for studying the Battle of the Bulge - Bastogne.
Day 4: Bastogne, Maginot Line and Sedan
We visit the museum at Bastogne which desribes well the ebb and flow of the celebrated last ditch attempt of the German armour to break through the allies line and during the day we visit various bridges and memorials that relate the terrible events and heroism of this winter battle, before heading back into France to visit the remnants of the Maginot Line our stay tonight is in Sedan frontier town.
Day 5: Reims and Epernay
We spend the day visiting the jewels of Champagne the Cathedral of Reims and a few champagne houses. We look to show the contrast between the big name houses who sell almost exclusively overseas and the smaller family producer who supply the French market. We visit the other Capital of Champagne production Epernay and the grave of Dom Perignon.
Day 6: Return to Paris
What better way to crown a wonderful week than a final glass before heading back to Paris?