One of the biggest proponents of slow travel—the art of getting from one destination to the next via breathtaking drives in a classic car or cruises on a luxe riverboat—Golden Eagle Luxury Trains is helping to revive the long-lost glamour of sleeper trains with their expertly curated lineup of rail itineraries.
For 2018, Golden Eagle is returning to its roots with the Champagne Express, which will whisk guests between Venice and Paris on a 12-night epicurean adventure. The itinerary will hit many of the same wineries and regions that founder (and former wine merchant) Tim Littler did on the rail trip that inspired him to found the company in 1988. Though the westbound and eastbound journeys offer slightly different itineraries, both make their way through some of the biggest wine-producing regions in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, making stops at Michelin-starred restaurants and breathtaking palaces along the way.
Ideal for those looking to get an overall taste of the region, the westbound journey begins with 2 days in Venice before guests board the glamorous Danube Express—which comes with all of the trappings of a luxury hotel (including personal cabin attendants and an onboard doctor). The train will work its way up the Côte d’Azur before heading inland toward Grasse and the Rhône Valley, where guests will take a tour of the medieval village of Saint Paul de Vence and have the opportunity to sip some of the region’s best wines in its 14th-century cellar. After dropping guests off for tours of the Drouhin family estate in Burgundy and the Moët & Chandon estate, the train will make one last stopover for a toast in the cellars of Krug before pulling into Paris.
Those who have made the pilgrimage to the Champagne region before can opt for the eastbound journey, which whisks guests from Paris into Germany for a tasting tour of the Moselle Valley. After sipping the ultra-fine wines of Traben-Trabach, the train will loop back to Alsace before making its way to Chiasso, on Italy’s northern border. The train will then head further south for Chianti tastings in Florence and a Soave winery visit in Verona before pulling into the station in Venice.
Both itineraries will take place next October (booking is available now) at the height of the region’s harvest season. Tickets are priced from $12,495 a person.