When you can fly to Paris nonstop for the same price as flying to California, you book and don’t ask questions. That’s how my most recent trip to France & Switzerland was born – a simple, good ol’ flight deal.
I have been to Paris before, but there’s just something about it that lures me back. Plus, it seemed like the perfect place to spend my 2-year Anniversary with Adam. Of course, we love getting a mix of city and countryside, so we also decided to rent a car and drive to the Champagne region and then to Switzerland to spend some time in the Alps. Though, I have to keep it real. I was browsing the new hotels on the Starwood website (seriously a pastime of mine) and saw the below. It was then that I knew I immediately needed to go to this magical place.
Fortunately, I am Executive Platinum on American Airlines, which means Adam and I can sometimes fly Business Class – and we were fortunate enough to be able to on this trip! After some champagne (lowercase “c” – we were going to get the real stuff in France), we were off!
Our flight worked out swimmingly well because we arrived in Paris very early in the morning. We easily got to our hotel and realized that it was only a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower. Immediately, I got a burst of energy thinking about seeing the sunrise over the Eiffel Tower and dragged poor Adam along with me. I’d say it was worth it though, don’t you think?
After I got the money shot, we headed back for a shower, quick nap and then jetted off to see the city…starting with crepes! I mean, duh. From there, we did a Seine River cruise to get a quick look at many of the famous sights.
Along the way, we saw Notre Dame and knew that we needed to get back there for a closer look. It’s super crowded, but was definitely worth it. Sadly, we didn’t get a chance to go up to the tower and see the famous gargoyles. There’s always next time!
I also love how walkable the city is – you could literally get lost for hours, days, probably weeks just wandering the streets of Paris. We stopped by the Louvre on our way back for a quick change for dinner.
Thanks to our amazing Parisian friend, Ben, we found La Table d’Eugène for dinner. Holy sh*$! We splurged for the tasting and wine pairing and the meal couldn’t be more spectacular.
Of course, buzzed and feeling excited, I demanded we go see the Eiffel Tower sparkle – something that I have seen a few times now, but just never, ever gets old.
The next day, we took a closer look at the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées.
Of course, we stopped at the famous Ladurée for macarons, Louis Vuitton so I could window shop and then had some AMAZING mussels and frites at Léon de Bruxelles.
I was absolutely not ready to leave Paris, but it was time to pick up the rental car and head to the Champagne region. We had a bit of a snafu getting our car (we were late and it was closed) but finally figured things out. We drove to Reims – one of the major gateways to this region and made ourselves home at our cute, little AirBNB for the night.
The next day was our day of wine tasting. We booked a full day tour through La Vigne du Roy and it couldn’t have been more spectacular. I am not even close to a Champagne expert, so I knew I wanted to get a taste of everything. And this tour was perfect for it because it was a mix of smaller producers, along with the most famous producers. We had the cutest Guide, Eric, who grew up in the area. On our way to our first small winery, Eric stopped to show us the pickers who were there doing harvest. Only we didn’t just see the pickers, we literally walked into the vineyard and alongside the pickers – getting to see everything they did to harvest while Eric explained! I couldn’t believe how lucky we got to be able to experience that.
We then went to our wineries and had a tour and tasting at each. Now, this isn’t like Napa – we were the only guests at these smaller producers and got to see the entire facilities – including the unbelievable cellars and caves. It was truly magical.
We then ended our tour at Taittinger, a famous Champagne house.
I have to say, as good as their Champagne was and as awesome as their caves were, it just felt like a typical tourist experience and completely impersonal experience. So much so, that we cancelled our tour the next day at Veuve Cliquot.
The next day, we set off on our 7-hour drive to Switzerland (after I had a giant pastry for breakfast).
Only, little old me got a hold of the Lonely Planet book along the way and realized we were driving through (maybe I made us take a small detour) another one of the great wine producing areas – the Alsace region. Not only does it have stellar wine, the views and cute little towns were so, so fun! It’s a region that’s very close to the German border, so you can definitely see the German influence.
We couldn’t get enough of this wine route and went wine tasting, visited a castle, frolicked through vineyeards, had dinner in Colmar and ended up turning our 7-hour drive into a 14-hour drive. Brown hair, don’t care… because this was one of the happiest accidents of my life!
We drove through the night and finally arrived in Adelboden, Switzerland. And then the next morning, we woke up to this!
I think Adam couldn’t leave the room fast enough to hit the hiking trails and the scenery was just beyond belief. We found a waterfall, then took a gondola up the mountain to one of the largest plateaus on top of a mountain. There, we hiked, watched some locals play “Mountain Golf” (it’s a thing) and then sat in the sun drinking local beers and eating raclette (local cheese). I mean, life is good.
After watching the sun set on our balcony, equipped with a bottle of bubbly from our previous wine tasting trip, we slept better than babies.
The next day was THE day – we were headed to see the Matterhorn. This has been on my bucket list for SO long. It’s worth nothing that you have to drive to Tasch and then take a quick train to Zermatt, which is the base town of the Matterhorn and a car-free town.
From there, you then have to board the Gotthard Bahn, a cog train that takes you up to the Matterhorn. There are several stops along the way to the summit, but we read about Rifelsee, a mirror lake where you could see the Matterhorn reflection on clear days and knew that was on the agenda. After a quick hike, we found this stunning spot and basically just plopped our butts down for a few hours to take in the views and have lunch.
I could have stayed there forever, but we eventually got up to go hike around a bit – and then finally drag ourselves back. I can’t even begin to describe the majesty of being up there – and the beauty – so I will just leave you with a few final photos.
The next day we didn’t think we could do anything to top the Matterhorn, but somehow, we found this place.
After probably the best meal we had in Switzerland, somehow Adam convinced me to go on the Alpine Slide. No big deal you say? Did I mention I have an insane fear of heights. Well, I did it. Not very well considering at one point I was fully stopped on the slide with others coming down behind me…but I am alive to tell the story!
When we got back, we clearly had to use the amazing pool we saw photos of!
After a fully relaxing afternoon, we had dinner and wine by the fire. Adelboden, you sure have my heart.
Sadly, the next day we headed back on our drive to Paris. It was rainy and gloomy (the weather felt our pain), but we did manage to stop in Bern, Switzerland to see the views and have some local beers and see some local bears!
And just like that, our special Anniversary trip was over. I know I always say that everywhere I go is spectacular, but there was just something about this trip. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Everything and every place we went just felt so special. My heart was full and my soul was happy – and that’s a feeling that makes all of the daily sacrifices worth it. Even looking back through the photos and writing this puts me right back in that bliss… Swiss Bliss!