A weekend in one of Europe's most beautiful locations, where the silver lake is surrounded by snowy mountains
The peaceful beauty of great Lake Lucerne, ringed by mountains, is at the heart of this beautiful weekend break. A trip up majestic Mount Pilatus, which crouches protectively over the town, is a hilight, while there’s also time to wander in the old town, enjoy the charming lakeside pace of life, and eat at world-class restaurants. The train journey to this lovely corner of Switzerland runs through glorious Alpine valleys, past snowy mountains, and by lakes and rivers.
Have a relaxed breakfast in one of the chic cafes at the beautifully refurbished London St Pancras , then board the Eurostar for Paris. There is a buffet card on board, and an executive upgrade means food service at your table, a quieter carriage, more spacious seats and a plug socket and free wifi.
Alight at the Gare du Nord, then cross Paris by RER D or Taxi, to the Gare de Lyon, to board the early afternoon train to Basel. There is a hot buffet on board, or buy a picnic at the station. The TGV Lyria trains have interiors designed by Christian Lacroix and are modern, spacious and relaxing, with screens detailing journey information.
Change at Basel for Lucerne, and arrive early evening. The change at Basel is easy but you will pass through passport control as you leave France and enter Switzerland. It’s just a short walk to The Hotel, or a short bus or cab ride to The Montana Hotel, then a ride on the world’s smallest funicular to its entrance.
The hotel restaurants are excellent, so relax on your first night and eat in one of them.
Days 2 - 4
Spend the morning sightseeing in Lucerne- cross the ancient Chapel Bridge, and wander the narrow streets of the Old Town, where many houses are still decorated with murals. Have lunch in one of Lucerne’s lakeside restaurants, or take a picnic to the benches overlooking the lake.
In the afternoon, take the boat across the lake and ascend Mount Pilatus by unique cogwheel railway or cable car, for astonishing views.
Spend the night at the 4* Pilatus Kulm Hotel, and wake to the sight of mountains lit by sunrise beneath your windows.
Leave Lucerne for Basel late morning, or earlier if you wish to be back in Paris or London in the afternoon. Change at Basel for the TGV Lyria and arrive in Paris in time for an early dinner, perhaps at the famous Le Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon. Make your way across Paris to Gare de Nord, ready for your journey back to London St.Pancras on Eurostar.
*Of course, you could decide to stay an extra night in Paris...
If you're coming from Gare de Lyon (or Gare D'Austerlitz and Gare Montparnase) you'll need at least 90 minutes to allow for check-in time at Gare du Nord. Gare De L'Est is much closer, just a 10 minute walk.
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