Prestigious road trip between the Swiss Alps and the French Riviera

19/06/2020

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Since this summer rhymes with freedom, Little Guest has concocted a series of holiday itineraries full of surprises and amazement. Here comes an exceptional road trip as it is nothing less than a stage between the magnificent Swiss Alps and the French Riviera. A prestigious trip, where luxury and nature will be skilfully combined.

 

The Swiss Alps have been known in the tourism sector since the 19th century with the first ascents of major peaks. Since then, they have been prized for their idyllic setting in summer and winter and their snow-covered peaks. Switzerland is ideally situated on the southern French border and is, therefore, an ideal first stop for a road trip between Switzerland and the historic French Riviera. The Côte d’Azur was one of the first places prized for tourism in the south of France by all Europeans.

As such, it features prestigious institutions with an authentic history. During this itinerary, we propose you to start with a stay at the Hotel Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, then to head in Provence with the Opio Resort Club Med, and finally to join the Royal Riviera Hotel located in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat!

This itinerary will focus mainly on well-being, as it will flourish in the historic sites that have been dedicated to it for decades. Some cultural outings will also be on the program!

 

THIS ITINERARY IN A NUTSHELL:

  • This itinerary will take place between Lausanne (Switzerland, Canton of Vaud), Cannes (France) and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (France), the last two towns being located in the Alpes-Maritimes department (06). It extends for about 655 km.
  • This itinerary will be above all placed under the sign of prestige, art and refinement. It will guarantee you top-of-the-range excursions, especially to the emblematic cities of Montreux, Cannes or Monaco.
  • This is an international itinerary: don’t forget your passports.

 

SOME ADVICE BEFORE YOU LEAVE:

  •  For residents of the European Economic Community, don’t forget that our first stop is in Switzerland and that the Swiss Confederation is not part of the European Union: you will therefore have to convert your euros into Swiss francs before you leave! For our Swiss customers, don’t forget to change your francs into euros before discovering the French Riviera!
  • In this post-pandemic period, remember to find out about border control procedures in the various European countries, particularly via the embassies’ websites.

 

DAY 1: WELCOME TO SWITZERLAND!

Lausanne activités famille prestige

A prestigious institution since 1861, the Beau Rivage Palace stands opposite the Alps and on the shores of Lake Geneva. A little extra, it is also located next to a charming port, near the city of Lausanne. You will undeniably feel privileged within it, since it has welcomed people like Coco Chanel, or Charlie Chaplin over the ages. For this first day, it is therefore recommended that you focus on this architectural gem named « Best City Hotel » and enjoy the exceptional setting of your establishment. You can start your day by choosing to have breakfast (or lunch, for late risers!) in one of the six restaurants of the Hotel and why not, taste some specialities of the Swiss Confederation. If you prefer more exotic or sunny flavours, you can treat yourself to Japanese and Italian cuisine, in restaurants that have been praised in the Michelin Guide itself.

Afterwards, the sportier guests can play a few games on one of the two tennis courts of the hotel, or go for a swim in the swimming pool. If the weather isn’t good, don’t panic! Le Beau Rivage also has a magnificent indoor pool for those dull days.

If you prefer to dedicate your stay to relaxation, your children and teenagers can also enjoy the activities on offer, the youngest ones can be entrusted to the hotel’s babysitters while you can enjoy a Spa or a detour to a luxury boutique.

You can then end your evening by lounging by the lake and admire its reflections and its so particular waves which will already give you a small foretaste of the Mediterranean.

 

DAY 2: DISCOVERING SWITZERLAND

For the second day of our itinerary, we suggest you go to one of in one of the most renowned cities in Switzerland, Geneva. Situated not far from Lausanne by car, you can park again in the large car park dedicated to guests when you come back in the evening, and at Little Guest, we know how important and reassuring it is for everyone to be able to leave their car safely during a road trip.

This excursion, organized by Gray line Geneva is departing from the bus station of Geneva, in an air-conditioned minivan. You will be able to admire the city centre, the local landscapes, visit Lausanne, and make a stop at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee. You will then visit the museum dedicated to Charlie Chaplin in Vervey and discover the Lavaux region and its fantastic wines and cheeses. You can also visit Nestlé’s headquarters. Finally, the big plus of this excursion is the cruise in an authentic steamboat on Lake Geneva, accompanied by visits to the surrounding area, especially the city of Montreux. The excursion lasts about ten hours. The excursion also ends in Geneva, and you will have free time to enjoy the city as you wish. A busy day then!

 

DAY 3: RELAXING DAY ON THE SHORES OF LAKE GENEVA

The cities along Lake Geneva are often referred to as the Swiss Riviera, and as such, the shores are full of beaches, bars and restaurants. We propose you for this third day to enjoy, with your family, the many beaches of the city on the shores of this famous lake. Attention: even in the mountains, caution with UV rays is required, and don’t forget to take your sun cream with you: you can find all our advice to protect baby in this article! Our favourite is mainly the Vidy Beach, accessible without leaving Lausanne! It has a beautiful promenade and creeks of fine sand but also facilities with games for your children, a refreshment bar and a restaurant. The more adventurous can even rent pedal boats.

If you are more of a swimming pool person than a beach one, (it happens!) then we will advise you the magnificent and historic Piscine de Bellerive, a relaxing institution since 1930 and popular with tourists because of its setting between lake and artificial pool. Restaurants, refreshment bars, beach volleyball courts and children’s playgrounds are at your disposal.

 

DAY 4: RELAXATION IN THERMAL BATHS IN THE MOUNTAINS

What would our vision of the mountains be without its hot baths surrounded by snowy peaks? For this fourth day, we propose you an activity organized by Alps Adventure Academy, which undertakes to pick you up at your place of residence. You will then go to the heart of the Alps to enjoy a relaxing moment in the outdoor and indoor baths.

In the evening, enjoy world-renowned Swiss cuisine in local and family restaurants, such as the excellent Chalet Suisse at 40 Route du Signal in Lausanne.

 

DAY 5: FROM SWISS TO FRENCH RIVIERA

Club Med Opio

At the end of the fifth day, it will be time to head towards the city of Opio in the Alpes Maritimes, located 668 km from Lausanne via the A7 and A8. If this long journey may seem daunting, don’t forget to plan games or movies for your children, and why not listen to our Little Guest holiday playlist!

Your on-site hotel will be the Opio Resort Club Med, beautifully located in a olive grove to enjoy a nature and luxurious atmosphere.

Depending on your arrival time, don’t hesitate to have a snack in one of the three restaurants of the hotel and then to go and relax around the pool of your hotel, with peace of mind if you choose the baby-sitting service of the hotel.

 

DAY 6: CAST OFF!

The French Riviera is famous for its yachts and beautiful sailing boats. For this second day on the Coast, we offer you a Catamaran cruise at your choice of sunrise or sunset for the more romantic, with the little extra: champagne or lunch as an option.

Offered by the Rivage Croisière service provider, you will have an appointment from Cannes to sail on an azure blue sea and admire unforgettable landscapes, especially those of the Lérins islands. For the more adventurous, you can rent diving equipment and discover the local seabed, as well as drink and snack on board depending on the options you choose!

If you choose to go on a sunset excursion, we suggest you go on a romantic trip and leave the kids and adults at the hotel’s Kid’s Club, which will give everyone ideas for games, reading, relaxation or crafts!

Attention: For activities such as scuba diving, do not hesitate to ask your general practitioner for advice before the departure of the Road Trip. The sun is also very bright on the French Riviera and the reverberation on the waves is even stronger when you are on a boat, so plan to use creams with a fairly high SPF index.

 

DAY 7: EXCURSION TO THE SURROUNDING COUNTRYSIDE

Take advantage of the Cannes Tourist Office to book excursions, with a guide if you wish, in the surrounding countryside. Accessible with your car, you will be able to discover the city centre of Cannes, but also the medieval Gourdon, the old town of Grasse and its astonishing perfume factory, but also Saint Paul de Vence, a village where you can discover pretty art galleries, but also go shopping with your family and admire the local architecture.

Don’t hesitate to stroll even after the sunset, to enjoy a family dinner in a local restaurant or brasserie under the song of cicadas! We also advise you to plan your family car itinerary in advance for more efficiency, and to target the cities that interest you most, or that are closest to your hotel for example. Gourdon, for example, is 31 km from your hotel, Grasse 21 km away, and Saint Paul de Vence 28 km after the town of Cagnes-sur-Mer.

 

DAY 8: CITY TRIP IN THE CITY OF NICE

Located 47 min drive from your hotel and only 33 km, take the road for the beautiful city of Nice which will delight young and old, to find a little bit of the city while keeping the pretty seaside. Nice’s particularity is its cultural, social and architectural proximity to Italy: a change of scenery is therefore guaranteed. We advise you to stroll along the mythical Promenade des Anglais, but it would also be interesting for your family to visit the Old Nice, the world-famous Nice Castle and its hill, the Saint Nicolas Cathedral, the superb Masséna and Garibaldi squares, or the Palais Lascaris. To choose the places that tempt you the most, don’t forget to consult the sites of tourist offices, but also to ask them on the spot if small guided tours exist to learn more about these monuments.

The tramway will allow you to easily navigate around the centre, and if you prefer to relax on the terrace with a cool drink, play on the beach, or do some shopping, that will also be possible! Our favourite shopping destination at Little Guest is undeniably the Galeries Lafayette place Masséna with its ochre-coloured Italian Turin architectural style facades, which cleverly blend in with the other buildings.

Another favourite, the Lympia art gallery offers various exciting exhibitions all year round.

On your way back from your city trip, enjoy one last time the unique and cinematographic setting of Cannes by taking a little stroll in the city, or by enjoying one of the many restaurants on the Croisette, facing the sea. Don’t forget the mythical photo in front of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes!

 

DAY 9: DEPARTURE FOR THE HOTEL LE ROYAL RIVIERA AT SAINT-JEAN CAP FERRAT

Road trip en famille sur la French Riviera et à Monaco

Saying goodbye to Cannes does not mean saying goodbye to its luxurious and fantastic setting. Your new establishment, located 43 km away in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, is ideally situated between the cities of Nice and Monaco, nothing less! Situated on a peninsula, Le Royal-Riviera ***** offers a green, serene setting and guarantees  unfailing discretion. Surrounded by beautiful, typically Mediterranean gardens and with a view on the sea, you will also enjoy a private beach with direct access.

We suggest you take advantage of this one of a kind setting, starting with a quiet stroll through the acres of gardens surrounding the establishment. If you feel tired these last few days, there is always time to enjoy one of the two gastronomic restaurants of the hotel, which offer a typical Mediterranean menu. The infinity (heated) pool of the establishment will guarantee you a heavenly swim to share with your family, especially since your children will be supervised.

Finally, if your children are always bursting with energy, don’t hesitate to book one of the special children’s excursions offered by your hotel, while you can enjoy the Spa or the fitness centre to get back into shape.

 

DAY 10: VISIT OF MONACO

Separated from France but undeniably linked to it, the Principality of Monaco has fascinated generations of holidaymakers, personalities, monarchs and artists by its original location on a rock. Ideally close to your hotel, it will make a great excursion in your Road Trip. Smallest state in the world after the Vatican in size, it is however big in history and we have therefore tried to concoct a well-filled program for young and old to enjoy the city as it should be.

You can therefore start with the emblematic place of the Principality: the Rock of Monaco, which was the place of its very foundation in 1297 by Francesco Grimaldi. This rock has the peculiarity of being the heart and centre of the city, and after parking your car, you can therefore get lost in its typical alleys and admire its local architecture.

Within the rock are emblematic institutions, such as the Prince’s Palace on Palace Square. If it is possible to visit part of it you can also admire it from outside. If you are punctual, note the changing of the guard every day in the Palace Square at 11:55 a.m.

For marine fauna lovers, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco has made the city’s reputation and has become an emblematic place since its creation by Albert I in 1919. Important cultural point: it was also directed by Commander Cousteau at one time. It is open in spite of some special measures due to the Covid-19 which you will find on the museum’s website. In the aquarium you can admire sharks, turtles, and piranhas for the brave ones or enjoy the « Natural History » section where several models are stored as well as fossils, for the little dinosaur lovers. Check out their website as well if your children want to participate in fun activities such as feeding the animals.

Finally, in the late afternoon, you could go to the famous Monte-Carlo Casino, at least to admire its facade. For our Parisian readers, it will be surprisingly familiar to you because it was built by the same architect as the Paris Opera House, and its Opera House is a replica of it. However, if you want to visit this room, you will be advised to come before 2 p.m. because after this time, access will be reserved for players only.

At sunset, don’t hesitate to visit the Exotic Garden of Monaco located on the heights of the city and enjoy rare species, especially from Latin America in a green setting of 1500 sqm. Afterwards, enjoy an exceptional dinner in the restaurant of the mythical Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo, Le Louis XV, which has three stars in the Michelin guide. If you want to refresh yourself, you can also enjoy non-alcoholic cocktails for the little ones or quench your thirst with a delicious sorbet signed Gérard Taurin at the Café de Paris.

After all these adventures, it will then be time to return to your hotel for a well-deserved rest, you head full of memories after this road trip with Hollywood airs. Don’t forget the videos and souvenir photos, which you can always share with us to our great joy!

 

Have a good trip with your family and happy holidays!

 

Rachel Little Guest

Rachel, 24 years old, passionate about history and travel, Occitan expatriate in Flanders

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