Enjoy the famous wine-making region of Alsace in full autumn splendour by steam train on this enchanting holiday in eastern France.
Thursday 8th October
London to Colmar
You travel by Eurostar from London St. Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord, before a transfer to Paris Gare de l´Est for the onward journey by TGV express to Strasbourg, where you change onto a regional service to Colmar. You check in to your elegant, centrally located hotel in the heart of this picturesque town. The rest of the day is free to explore and discover the timber-framed houses and quaint canals of historic Colmar.
Friday 9th October
Vintage tram tour and scenic river cruise in Basel
This morning you transfer by locomotive-hauled French Railways (SNCF) service train to Basel, across the border in Switzerland. You then enjoy a sightseeing tour of this vibrant city by vintage tram, including one of the few preserved open-sided tram trailers in Switzerland. Crossing the River Rhine, you’ll see the medieval town centre, the cathedral and the ornate city hall. Afterwards you board a vintage motor vessel for a lunch cruise on the River Rhine. Your classic red-funnelled ship oozes charm and boasts wood-panelled dining saloons. A buffet lunch, complete with dessert, will be served as you cruise through Swiss, German and French waters. After the cruise there’ll be free time to explore the city centre before you return to Colmar by SNCF service train in late afternoon. (B L)
Saturday 10th October
Steam along the Rhine; visit to historic Breisach
After breakfast you travel by road coach to visit the Chemin de Fer Touristique du Rhin, located in the nearby town of Volgelsheim. This standard-gauge railway operates both French and German steam locomotives hauling Austrian carriages with balconies. You’ll traverse the 13 km (8 mile) line from Volgelsheim to the Sans Souci Quay at Marckolsheim, where the River Rhine and canal separate. Afterwards you continue by road coach to the historic city of Breisach in Germany, on the opposite side of the River Rhine, famous for its charming old town and impressive Gothic cathedral, located on a scenic hilltop. Lunch will be taken at a charming German inn and you’ll then explore the town. Afterwards you return to Colmar by road coach. (B L)
Sunday 11th October
Steam on the Thur Doller Railway; visit to the vineyard town of Eguisheim
Today you visit the enchanting Train Thur Doller Alsace, which operates a 13 km (8 mile) long standard-gauge branch line from Cernay to Sentheim, along the foothills of the Vosges Mountains and crossing the River Doller. The railway features a rake of authentic photogenic coaches dating from the late 19th century. A powerful early 20th century steam tank locomotive hauls you over this preserved line on a privately chartered train at a time when there is no regular traffic, so numerous run pasts can be staged. A typically French buffet lunch will be served at the station building in Burnhaupt, where you’ll visit the shed and see the railway’s extensive collection of historic rolling stock. At the end of the return journey you travel by road coach to Colmar via the ‘Alsatian Wine Route’, stopping for a visit to the delightful little village of Eguisheim, one of the most famous vineyard towns in France, before returning to dine with fellow travellers at your hotel. (B L D)
Monday 12th October
Steam in the Black Forest of Germany; visit to historic Freiburg
The German theme continues today as you visit the Kandertalbahn, located on the very tip of Southern Germany, near Basel. This 12.9 km (8 mile) long branch line runs through rural scenery in the Kander Valley. Your train comprises an early 20th century German steam tank locomotive with matching period carriages, and a buffet lunch of regional delicacies will be served when you reach the end of the line at Kandern. There will be plenty of photo opportunities until you return to Colmar by road coach later, stopping to visit the historic city of Freiburg im Breisgau, a German city noted for its medieval university and cathedral. (B L)
Tuesday 13th October
Museums and trams in Mulhouse
Today you travel by train to Mulhouse, famous for its outstanding museums, especially the ‘Cité du Train’ and ‘Cité de l’Automobile’, respectively the largest railway and automobile museums in Europe. You’ll receive a rover ticket for the city’s urban tram network, which you’ll use to travel to the ‘Cité du Train’, the national railway museum of France and one of the largest and most amazing collections of technically unique steam locomotives in the world. The vast collection of classic cars in the nearby ‘Cité de l’Automobile’ is also worth a visit. The remainder of your time in Mulhouse will be free to explore its medieval city centre, with both French and Swiss architecture, the pedestrianised Place de la Réunion main square, and St. Stephen’s church. In the evening you return to Colmar by service train. (B)
Wednesday 14th October
Steam at the Abreschviller Forest Railway
Today you make a side-step from Alsace and visit nearby Lorraine. At Abreschviller you will find a remarkable ‘hidden gem’ in the form of the local forest railway, which operates steam locomotives on the unusual 700 mm gauge. You are comfortably accommodated on the railway’s ‘Belle Epoque’ luxury coach and hauled by a 0-4-4-0T Mallet type steam locomotive dating from 1906. Running through dense forests and crossing the Red Saar River, the train will pause for photos and run-pasts near the village of Grand Soldat. At the terminus of the line, you will also see an old saw mill. Once back in Abreschviller, you still have time to visit the local steam shed and see the other stored steam locomotives, before returning to Colmar. In the evening you have a farewell dinner at the hotel. (B L D)
Thursday 15th October
Colmar to London
You say a fond ‘au revoir’ to Alsace today and return to Paris by TGV express train. You transfer from Paris Gare de l´Est to Gare du Nord and board a Eurostar service to London St. Pancras International. (B)
Please be advised that First Class travel will be allocated in Standard Premier carriages on Eurostar services.
All prices shown are per person based on two persons sharing.
Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner