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4 Day Alsace Road Trip Itinerary Help: Paris to Switzerland

We're renting a car this weekend in Paris for a 4 day holiday weekend. We're heading into the Alsace region, then into Switzerland, and through Burgundy on our way back to Paris.

Reading Rick Steves' France book, I think we're hitting the highlights. We've rented a car from Paris before to travel to Mont St. Michel, and did a whistle-stop tour visiting a lot of cute towns along the way, so we're hoping for a similar experience. We aren't against stopping for an hour to two to get a feel for a cute town and moving on. If it matters, we're a couple in our early 30s and enjoy local culture and cuisine, history and arts. We like to keep a fast pace while traveling.

How does our itinerary look (besides rushed perhaps)? Any recommended sights, destinations, detours, or any restaurants or must-try foods, please let me know! Should we see Dijon or Beaune, or both? I'm really not sure where we should visit on our final day back to Paris, especially since it's a holiday - All Saints Day. Perhaps just a few pretty towns to break up the drive? I'm not sure if anything will be open.
Did we miss any must-see towns/sights? Thank you!

Here's our itinerary:

Day 1 | SATURDAY:

  • Reims
  • Strasbourg

Day 2 | SUNDAY:

  • Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg
  • Riquewihr
  • Colmar
  • Eguisheim

Day 3 | MONDAY:

  • Basel
  • Bern
  • Interlaken
  • Yverdon-les-Bains Spa Resort (for the thermal baths)

Day 4 | TUESDAY (Bank Holiday):

  • Beaune
  • Provins

Our drive will look like this: https://www.google.fr/maps/dir/Gare+du+Nord,+Rue+de+Dunkerque,+Paris/Reims/Strasbourg/Colmar,+France/Basel,+Switzerland/Bern,+Switzerland/Interlaken,+Switzerland/Beaune,+France/Provins,+France/Gare+du+Nord,+Rue+de+Dunkerque,+Paris/@47.9015145,4.2792499,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m63!4m62!1m5!1m1!1s0x47e66e6bfc58a37f:0x4fb63768d2dd790c!2m2!1d2.3553137!2d48.8809481!1m5!1m1!1s0x47e974334a533b09:0x40a5fb99a3b45c0!2m2!1d4.031696!2d49.258329!1m5!1m1!1s0x4796c8495e18b2c1:0x971a483118e7241f!2m2!1d7.7521113!2d48.5734053!1m5!1m1!1s0x479165dff670c1cf:0xe35d7e3e616ce966!2m2!1d7.358512!2d48.0793589!1m5!1m1!1s0x479049c72769304f:0x361ceb70f36d8a90!2m2!1d7.5885761!2d47.5595986!1m5!1m1!1s0x478e39c0d43a1b77:0xcb555ffe0457659a!2m2!1d7.4474468!2d46.9479739!1m5!1m1!1s0x1453996a31921a05:0x9c111af14c02be00!2m2!1d7.8632049!2d46.6863481!1m5!1m1!1s0x47f2f344cd583ffb:0xba8cf496643eff53!2m2!1d4.840004!2d47.02603!1m5!1m1!1s0x47ef31086268d359:0x40b82c3688c4f00!2m2!1d3.299203!2d48.560149!1m5!1m1!1s0x47e66e6bfc58a37f:0x4fb63768d2dd790c!2m2!1d2.3553137!2d48.8809481!3e0!4e1?hl=en

Posted by
20309 posts

This is very unrealistic. On Saturday, you plan one large provincial city (Reims) and one major cultural city (Strasbourg) in one day. Do you have one of those Star Trek transporter beams to get around with?
Sunday is worse. and Monday insane. Of course, you could do this if you never got out of the car except to use the toilet and sleep (they do have McDonald's drive thru's over there).

Posted by
14580 posts

For Sat pick just one Strasbourg or Reims. Better still see Chateau Thierry and Reims, close to each other, drop Strasbourg.

Posted by
15640 posts

use viamichelin.com to estimate driving times, and keep in mind that they don't take into account traffic, pit stops, looking for parking or making a wrong turn.

Posted by
8889 posts

Becca, Yes, this sounds much to much travelling. This is much further than Mont St Michel. Yes, get you travel times from viamichelin, and add 25%+ contingency.
Haut-Kœnigsbourg is a good choice.

The good news is that 1st November is not a holiday in Basel (it is in other parts of Switzerland), and people will not be taking Monday 31st off as a a pont/Brücke/bridge day. So everything will be open.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for the replies! I had used Google Maps for directions, but I'll look at Via Michelin to get better and perhaps more realistic drive times. Based on Google Map instructions, I have 5.5 hours of driving on day one, 2 hours on day two, 4.25 hours on day three, and 6.5 on day four. I'm trying to reduce it so it's less driving on those two final days.

We're going to spend the night in Strasbourg, for easy sightseeing the following day around Colmar. Perhaps we'll cut Interlaken or skip Basel and Bern. I've been to Bern and I didn't think it that interesting. We want to see a bit of Switzerland; my fiance has never been, so I wanted to show him the Alps (I've been to Interlaken and thought it was so beautiful), but I'm thinking it's just too far away. And we want to sleep closer to Beaune on night three to cut down the drive for the final day. So far, we've only booked a hotel in Strasbourg.

On day one, we'll leave Paris at 7 am, arrive in Reims at 8:45 am and stay for 2.5 hours, and arrive at Strasbourg at 2:30 pm and spend the night. Day two looks easy as all those little towns are near each other, and then we'll stay close to the Swiss border. Then, we'll see what we can of Switzerland on day three, and drive back out on our way toward Beaune (not sure where to stay yet). And our our final day, we'll try to see a town or two on the way back to Paris. We return the car at 10 pm.

Posted by
3236 posts

If driving, I would change the route after Reims to drive through Verdun on the way to Nancy and then over to Strasbourg (Well, I'd actually skip Strasbourg). What I'd actually do if I were you would be to take the TGV directly to Nancy, spend the night and see some of the wonderful art nouveau buildings, etc. and then rent a car, drive over the Vosges Mountains to Riquewihr, etc. and continue on. Nancy is one of my favorite towns, few American tourists so feels backdoorish - if you want, and it is a mini-delicate Paris feel, IMO.

Posted by
4 posts

Oh Okay! We already rented the car from Paris, so we'll stick with that plan, but it sounds like Strasbourg isn't that favored, so perhaps we'll savor more time in Reims, and add in Verdun and Nancy, and just get to Strasbourg much later in the day, just to sleep. Thanks for the feedback!

Posted by
1166 posts

Consider staying in Eguisheim at Hostellerie du Chateau - you are right in the middle of the Alsace wine route and can enjoy the region instead of driving from Strasbourg.

You can easily visit many villages through the Alsace region on your day 2 because they are 2 kilometers apart !

But reconsider the days of 5-6 hour driving. Our longest day of driving last week through France and Germany was 3 hours - we hit a lot of construction that we were not aware of. I think 5-6 hours would have toasted us !!

Posted by
3551 posts

Way too rushed as I have done this route myself by car.
The villages u mention Eguisheim and Riq are lovely, skip Strasbourg, Bern, Basel, Interlaken are minor imo. Remember a car also in cities is a pain, and slows u done in general. That will free up your driving time to enjoy the other locales u mention which are wonderful.

Posted by
1633 posts

Report back and tell us how it went. Have fun whatever you do.