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"We tested The Grand Tour of the SummitsGrand Tour des Sommets trip in Switzerland!"

Thursday 10 August 2023 | Passenger Testimonial | Swiss Panorama Trains

Françoise and Jacques Mongauchon have put together our Grand Tour des Sommets tour: three Swiss panoramic trains and some very pleasant surprises!

In June, Jacques and Françoise Mongauchon took a train trip through Switzerland, taking in the towns, lakes and mountains. For Discovery Trains, they look back on the experience.

Devant le mont Cervin entière Jacques Mongauchon

In front of the Matterhorn © Jacques Mongauchon

What made you decide to travel by train in Switzerland?

My husband loves trains. We're used to travelling a long way, but this year we didn't want to go too far. I'd seen a programme about trains in Switzerland, but we didn't know the country at all. When we found out about Discovery Trains at the Mahana show in Lyon, we immediately decided to do the 9-day Grand Tour of the Summits 

What was your first contact with Switzerland?

Our tour started in Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Anecdote: as we got off the train, we were trying to decide which way to go to find our hotel, and a policeman we asked for directions kindly walked us right up to the hotel door! He told us all about Montreux and Switzerland... People were staring at us. Luckily they saw us laughing, otherwise they might have thought he was taking us to the police station! Our 4-star hotel by the lake was magnificent and we went to visit the beautiful Château de Chillon.

Have you taken the GoldenPass Express between Montreux and Interlaken?

Yes, it's a lovely navy blue train. It came into service this year and has a technical feature that allows it to adapt to the change in track gauge at Zwieisimmen. My husband was interested in this. What we liked about this train was that there were a few commentaries on board to draw our attention to key points on the route. The timing of the change of track gauge was pointed out. Similarly, when we passed the town of Gruyère... This was not the case on all trains.

Zwiesimmen Jacques Mongauchon

In Zweisimmen, on the GoldenPass line © Jacques Mongauchon

Did you enjoy your stopover in Interlaken, surrounded by lakes and at the foot of the mountains?

In Interlaken, we walked from our hotel to take the cogwheel train up to Harderkulm. And that was fantastic. On the way up, my husband sat next to the driver so he could take photos. And the view from the top was superb. We ate at the platform restaurant. It was a really nice moment. A funny anecdote from Interlaken: under the window of our hotel, a travelling musician was playing the Alphorn. It couldn't have been more typical!

Le cor des Alpes Jacques Mongauchon

The alphorn at Interlaken © Jacques Mongauchon

What were the next stops on your Swiss tour?

We arrived in Lucerne, a beautiful city with a lovely hotel. We went for a walk, saw the covered wooden bridges full of flowers, the mourning lion, we walked the ramparts... we'd arrived at midday, so we had the afternoon and evening. The next day we took the boat to Fluelen. It was a beautiful trip across the lake. We then took our first Swiss panorama train, the Gotthard Panorama.

Lucerne Jacques Mongauchon

Lucerne © Jacques Mongauchon

How does the transition from boat to Gotthard Panorama train work?

The transition from boat to train is very simple: the platform is just opposite the landing stage. You get off the boat and onto the train. In two and a half hours you're in Lugano, on the shores of lake, in a charming, Mediterranean town that's reminiscent of Italy.

You then took the Bernina Express and the Glacier Express.

Yes, first the Bernina Express, between Tirano and Saint-Moritz, then the Glacier Express between Saint-Moritz and Zermatt. On the Bernina, there weren't many of us in first class: it was very pleasant because we could move around for the photos. When the train goes up the cogwheel, it's great. We tried to keep track of our progress on the map so that we could spot the highlights of the itinerary in advance, such as the passage over the Brusio spiral viaduct.
On board the Glacier Express, the atmosphere was very different: the train was full and there were lots of people. But that wasn't a problem, and the service was very good. We were worried that it would be a long 8 hours, but it wasn't at all. The scenery is very beautiful.

Bernina Express Jacques Mongauchon

The Bernina Express train © Jacques Mongauchon

Did you enjoy Zermatt?

Zermatt was a very nice surprise. Unlike Saint-Moritz, a ski resort that's a bit sleepy in June, Zermatt is full of people and very lively. We strolled through all the little streets in the evening. We discovered some very well-preserved old chalets. On our first evening, we saw the Matterhorn from our room. The next day, we took the Gornergrat cogwheel train under an azure blue sky. The icing on the cake: we ate up there, it was truly magical. We then walked back down to catch the train one station down, near a lake. I was worried that I wouldn't enjoy Switzerland's mountains as much after having loved Switzerland's lakes so much, but I was thrilled!

Gornergrat Jacques Mongauchon

Gornergrat and Matterhorn Stellarium © Jacques Mongauchon


What did you particularly like about your trip?

We liked the fact that in all the hotels where we stopped, the staff were pleasant. And we loved the comfort and accuracy of the Swiss trains. They are absolutely punctual, to the minute! Thanks to the app that Discovery Trains had given us, we had all the information we needed on our smartphone. We always knew in advance: the timetable, the platform from which we would be departing, etc. It was really comfortable. It was really comfortable. We are also very pleased that we chose Discovery Trains, who prepared this wonderful trip for us with exemplary professionalism and exceptional kindness. We can't thank them enough.


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