A Wine & Dine Odyssey
Germany, France & Luxembourg
The trip is available for groups on various dates (15 people minimum).
Experience the hospitality of the Mosel and Rhine River valleys, as well as the Alsace and Lorraine regions of France. The countryside is a stately procession of colorful villages and crumbling castles. Sampling the many splendid wines will delight your palate and whet your appetite for the excellent local repast.
Alsace - Lorraine is the home of France’s tastiest cuisine influenced by its German, Flemish and Burgundy neighbors. There is also a wealth of simple regional dishes such as Choucroute Royale (sauerkraut smothered with a mix of meats, sausage and potatoes), Baeckeoffe (casserole of beef, lamb, pork, onions and potatoes), Quiche Lorraine, tarte aux mirabelles and traditional onion tarte. Muenster cheese comes from the local dairies and the dry Alsatian Riesling and Gewürztraminer wines are internationally renowned. Join us and give it all a try!
In Metz we board our exclusive chartered hotel barge, the Merlijn, with twelve comfortable cabins onboard. All have private facilities with a shower, closet, small desk and a safe. We’ll navigate the Mosel River, lined with storybook villages separated by vineyards in use since Roman times. On our final day of travel we journey through the spectacular Rhine gorge with 32 castles and medieval strongholds within a mere 42–mile stretch.
The tour has been planned for your convenience. All gratuities, excursions, transfers and porterage are included in the cost of the tour. All breakfasts and all dinners are included. Complimentary wine, beer or soft drinks are included with each dinner.
Plan to arrive in Frankfurt no later than Saturday. Gerhard will meet your flight and arrange for transfer to our hotel in downtown Frankfurt. We suggest arriving one day early to have time to visit the Goethe Haus and the many interesting museums of art, film–making, architecture, history and even a postal service museum.
Saturday, Frankfurt. We will meet you at the Frankfurt airport for transfer to our hotel. Time to stroll through the historic streets before our evening get–acquainted reception and dinner.
Frankfurt Hilton Hotel
Sunday, Breisach. Stop in Freiburg, the ‘capital’ of the Black Forest. As the seat of a university, it is a lively town with music and street theater. Pass countless vineyards and arrive in Breisach in time to participate in the town’s annual wine festival.
Hotel Am Muenster
Monday, Breisach. Morning walking tour of Breisach includes the cathedral of St. Stephen, built between 1200 and 1500. Finish with a tasting of the famous Geldermann sparkling wine that is locally produced. Good shopping for cuckoo clocks, wood carvings, glass and pottery. Sample the local Torte, better known as Black Forest Cake.
Hotel Am Muenster
Tuesday, Obernai. We cross the Rhine River into France and follow quiet country lanes which lead back into the vineyards -- the famed Alsatian Route du Vin (Wine Road). Castle ruins and villages still hemmed in by ancient town walls, dot the hillsides. Pass through Ribeauville, Riquerwihr and Kaysersberg, the birthplace of Dr. Albert Schweitzer.
Hotel a la Cour d’Alsace
Wednesday, Obernai. Morning walking tour with our local guide. In the 16th century a double fortified wall was built around Obernai, which still encloses the main part of the town with the old half-timbered houses lining the narrow streets. Special dinner in a local winstub.
Hotel a la Cour d’Alsace
Thursday, Metz. This morning we’ll travel to Marmoutier with its 13th century abbey that is considered to be one of the most remarkable examples of Romanesque architecture in the Alsace. We also take a guided walking tour of Saverne, a quaint little town with an impressive red sandstone palace.
Hotel La Citadelle Metz
Friday, Metz. Metz is a hidden secret with great bistros, gourmet restaurants, shopping and markets. Our local guide will give us all the details and highlight the lofty Gothic Cathedral of St-Étienne. Its best feature is without a doubt the stained glass, including windows dating from the thirteenth century and Chagall's 1963 masterpiece representing the Garden of Eden.
Hotel La Citadelle Metz
Saturday, Metz. Today we experience the battlefield of Verdun, with miles of shell–torn landscape, epic forts and huge memorials. Here the French soldiers fought the Great War and the infamous campaign in the trench systems and barbed wire pickets that are still in place. In the afternoon we'll transfer to our river barge in time for a festive dinner. (Aboard the Merlijn)
Sunday, Thionville. Enjoy your first day of cruising as we glide along the Mosel, the longest of the Rhine's tributaries. The Romans brought the famous grapevine to the Mosel Valley and from the 12th century onward, the princes of the Church promoted the production of wine with the help of the monasteries and other religious houses. (Aboard the Merlijn)
Monday, Remich. Travel to the Grand Duchy Luxembourg. A walking tour of its well preserved old town that is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pay a visit to the American Cemetery and Memorial. Over 5,000 American casualties of WW II’s Battle of the Bulge lie buried here, as does General George S. Patton. (Aboard the Merlijn)
Tuesday, Trier. Trier is Germany’s oldest town, founded in the year 16 BC by the Romans. Our local guide will take us to the Old Roman baths and the Porta Nigra – a gateway which is acclaimed to be the finest Roman relic in Germany. Trier is the native town of Karl Marx (1818-83), whose house is now a museum. (Aboard the Merlijn)
Wednesday, Traben-Trarbach. One magnificent vineyard follows another as our downstream route takes us past the renowned wine villages of Trittenheim and Piesport to Bernkastel, the best known of them all. The 11th century Landshut Castle dominates the town skyline of Bernkastel. (Aboard the Merlijn)
Thursday, Cochem. Incredible scenery today as the hillsides next to the river showcase Europe’s steepest vineyards. Stop in the small village of Beilstein to visit the most beautiful marketplace on the Mosel. We finish our cruise in Cochem with the picture perfect 1,000 year old Reichsburg Castle. (Aboard the Merlijn)
Friday, Mainz. We travel by coach along the Romantic Rhine. A succession of massive castles crown the hillsides and we pass the legendary Lorelei Rock. Stop in the 1,000 year old village of Bacharach. The market square is a delight with its flower decked half-timbered houses. From here we take a local river ship to Rüdesheim and the famous Drosselgasse, with shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs.
Hilton Mainz City
Saturday. Pack up your happy memories. Our adventure comes to a close this morning as we regretfully bid farewell to Europe and jet back to North America from Frankfurt International Airport, arriving home the same day. You may wish to stay in Mainz an extra night.
PRICE PER PERSON: $4,995 per person with 22 people in the group.
GROUP SIZE IS LIMITED TO 22 GUESTS MAXIMUM
RESERVATIONS: Contact us for details. In order to offer the lowest possible price, the trips are priced according to the number of participants on the tour. The cost will be lower with more people in the group, and the cost will increase if there are fewer people. Price can also be reduced if you wish fewer meals or other services included. The standard of hotels you choose will also change the price.
AIR TRANSPORTATION: Airfare is not included in the tour price. Flight arrival and departure times should coincide with Gerhard’s group transfer schedule to/from the hotel and airport that is provided on the day the tour starts and ends. Specific transfer times will be listed in the information packet, which is forwarded upon receipt of the tour reservation form.
EXTRA NIGHTS: Special rates are available at the hotels used at the start and finish of the tours. If you wish to arrive a day early or extend your return by a day, the rate of $215 per double room ($180 single) will apply at the hotels in Frankfurt and Mainz. Airport transfer, a buffet breakfast, taxes and service charges are included at both hotels. Additional nights are confirmed on a space-available basis. For those arriving in Frankfurt a day early or staying an extra day in Mainz, a walking tour will also be provided with a local guide.
COST OF TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE: Expenses of passports, laundry, telephone and items of a personal nature; beverages other than those mentioned as being included; excess baggage charges; health and accident and baggage insurance; or any services other than those specifically mentioned as being included. Gerhard’s Odysseys is not responsible for delays or missed portions of your tour relating to flight delays or incorrect travel documents. The itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements for the ship.
View the Tourist Office Web sites for some of the destinations we visit.