Some spend their summer looking after friends and family, and September comes with guaranteed fatigue. Others have not left work all summer long. In any case, the September-October weekends and short breaks represent as many opportunities to escape, and if you’re in the market for a getaway, here are some ideas for enjoying the Indian summer across Europe.
If you have never seen and experienced the colors of a French vineyard in the fall, there is no two ways about it: Head to Bordeaux now!. Just two hours away from Paris by TGV, it’s a portal to another world, as luck would have it, we have a partner hotel there in Les Sources de Caudalie. Featuring an excellent antioxidant and regenerating spa and just across from the picturesque road on which sits Château Haut-Lafitte and its historic cellars, it makes for a unique September break indeed.
September is the perfect time of year to fly to Naples and get in the footsteps of Italian novelist Elena Ferrante and her heroes so beautifully depicted in her #1 best seller novel “My Brilliant Friend”.
From Naples, choose between Capri and Ravello for your next stop. For culture, the island of Capri is the best bet. It has been attracting attention since Roman times when notorious Tiberius ruled the empire from the cliff-top Villa Jovis, while Ravello is the jewel of the Amalfi Coast.
Porto is a bit an anti-Lisbon, but it is equally endearing and rich. Walks through the old town and along the beautiful Douro feels like visiting the Portugal of the last kings. The promenade along the river is lined with palaces that are as much evidence of the rich past of this beautiful city. Then, of course, the hotels this side of Portugal are another reason to check. Our preferred one? Maison Albar Hotels Le Monumental Palace. It’s super central, uber chic and all around cool!
Switzerland has its own riviera alongside Lake Geneva that extends from Geneva to Vevey. A land of predilection to let the body rest and the spirit fly over the mountains in the distance, there is nothing quite like it for a getaway.
In Lausanne, our hotel of choice is the Beau-Rivage Palace, a pure Belle Époque architecture set by the lake and in front of the sublime panorama of the French Alps.
In the east and the more family-friendly but equally elegant area of Vevey, Grand Hotel du Lac is also a member of our collection, and it’s a truly romantic address. The terrace on the lake is simply enchanting, while the medieval town of Gruyère is an open page of the Swiss history book. In Lausanne, a visit to the Musée Olympique comes with our highest recommendaton to capture the ideal of the man who successfully restored the Olympic Games in 1896.
In Oxford, it’s almost “back to school”, the students are already there, and from the traditional pubs, their laughs mark their reunion.
The autumn, this side of England, the light is also soft and beautiful, and the air is sweet while the gardens….ah, those are extravagant. And just 20 minutes away from the old town, you will find the magnificent Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, set in a series of Victorian houses posed with elegance on extraordinary gardens.
There is a good chance that Shakespeare plays are still on, while the last operas of the Garsington festival are performed in front of a cheerful crowd of fans in tuxedo. While you’re here, do not miss the visit to the Waddesdon Palace, former residence of the English Rothschilds and a genuine version of Downtown Abbey.