Tour France; Bliss Travels is the Feature Article in France Passion Magazine!


Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 10.09.40 PM
Bliss Travels is so pleased to be featured on the front page of this luxury editorial magazine, which is owned and operated by the French Tourism Bureau! Read the rest of the article right here and get inspired by the author’s musings about our “insider” Provence travel experiences.

One of the first bulls to run free in the square on Bastille Day.

One of the first bulls to run free in the square on Bastille Day weekend. And that’s “no bull”!

One of our favorite meals is outside at a farm overlooking the Luberon valley!

One of our favorite meals is outside at a farm overlooking the Luberon valley!

Bliss clients also enjoyed a beautiful late lunch just outside of van Gogh's Provencal sanitorium.

Bliss clients also enjoyed a beautiful late lunch in a private walled garden in St Remy before joining the public festivities and visiting Van Gogh’s Provencal sanitorium.

We are so excited about our Provence trips this summer. Enjoy 5 nights in the stunning Luberon region of Provence having the benefit of our exclusive access, and then live it up for 3 nights of festival activities or along the Mediterranean staring at the crystal clear water. Enjoy fireworks, bull fights, running of the bulls through the streets, community dances and markets. In addition to the special festival events, this  sophisticated town is home to an archeological dig, Roman ruins,Van Gogh’s residence, as well as wonderful boutiques, museums, galleries and sights. Not to mention an abundance of specialty wines and gourmet meals!

Our summer trips to Provence are some of our favorites for a reason. Come tour France with an insider!

A bientot,

Bliss Travels

Advertisements

Tour France; Bulls and Bastille Day in St Remy de Provence

Bastille Day, July 14th, la Fete Nationale…whatever you may call it, anyone in France will agree that it is the most entertaining holiday of the year. And this summer, Bliss Travels and our clients were lucky enough to celebrate with the French in St Remy de Provence during our July Provence trip!

The town square was bustling!

The town square was bustling!

Each region of France celebrates things differently. In Paris, there are Fireman’s Balls, fireworks at the Eiffel Tower, and a huge military parade, amongst many other things. Provence has a different take on the holiday, especially in St Remy.

One of the first bulls to run free in the square

One of the first bulls to run free in the square

Festivities begin the night before, with a unique tradition. The main square is suddenly sectioned off by a large gate, though the bars are far enough apart that people can squeeze through fairly easily. Everyone–from toddlers to grandfathers–gathers behind the gates, expectant and excited. Some of the bolder young men and boys strut into the unprotected center of the square as a van pulls up to each end of the gates. The van doors open suddenly and, one by one, enormous bulls (or taureaux) burst out into the square, only to be quickly corralled by experts on horseback. They guide the bull to the other end of the square, loading them onto the other van. Meanwhile, the boys in the center chase after the bull, trying to pull its tail and wrestle it to the ground.

Finally, all the bulls are brought to the same van. A brass band plays enthusiastically, the boys in the middle are shooed back to safety behind the gates, and the expectations of the crowd are nearly palpable. All are watching the huge van doors.

Suddenly, they are flung open and the entire herd of bulls comes racing through the town square. The cowboys on horseback chase after them, trying to keep them in line, as the crowd laughs and cheers and sings along to band’s galloping tunes. This carries on late into the night, as it has for decades. Everyone will be sleeping in late for Bastille Day!

The wine lovers on the trip had fun exploring the cellar

The wine lovers on the trip had fun exploring the cellar

The next morning, as promised, is a lazy one. Bliss Travels guests spent most of it wandering around the local Roman ruins, shopping, or relaxing at the pool. When night fell, we had dinner in a private wine cellar, toasting to Bastille Day and good company! The perfect weather of twilight encouraged us to take our desserts of fresh fruits and chocolat fondant (and wine glasses, of course) outside to be serenaded by a jazz band playing on the corner.

The Dancing Marie Antoinettes were a sensation!

The Dancing Marie Antoinettes were a sensation!

Properly satiated, we meandered over to the town square to watch the fireworks with the locals. Afterwards, a large band playing everything from American Top 40 hits, to disco-era medleys, to timeless French classics kept St Remy grooving late into the night. Their Bastille Day song–complete with dancing Marie Antoinettes!–was a huge hit, and the perfect way to end the evening.

Though Bastille Day in Paris is incredible, we almost prefer the quirky and completely unique celebrations in the South of France. Bulls, bands, fireworks, and good food–what better way to celebrate? Come to Provence with Bliss next year to see it all for yourself!

A Bientot-

Bliss Travels

A Photographic Tour of the Best of Provence (One of the Regions of France)


Top 6 Reasons to Visit Provence

Last year I printed the top 4 reasons to visit Provence in the spring. But, really, there are so many more things to explore than just 4, and so many wonderful things to do and see all spring and summer (and fall). Here are Bliss Travels top tips for Provence.

1. Stunning scenery bathed in light that made world famous painters like Renoir, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Monet …..swoon. In May, there are poppies, cherry blossoms, almond blossoms, and all sorts of spring flowers. In June, the cherries are in full bloom. In July and August you have Lavender.bill m france 2008

1984-ABianciella-Provence5-2011May 17, 2012-6-BlissMay2012

IMG_2758

Our class topped the tart with cherries -not fresh like the ones here, found in June in Provence

DSCF0148

Tour France-BlissMay2012

2. The Provencal Markets. Whether it’s the first fruit and spring vegetable, or the late summer melons, peaches and figs, the produce in Provence is unrivaled –and the crafts, crowds and street life are all showcased at the colorful Provencal markets.

Tour France Luxury Vacations in Provence May 19, 2012-39-BlissMay2012DSCN06001797-ABianciella-Provence5-2011provenceTour France regions of France Provence Food
IMG_2896May 19, 2012-26-BlissMay2012

3. The Villages. They are beautiful and each one is a piece of art in its own right!

Pictures 2006 079

October 20, 2011-1-Fall2011France120

Tour France ProvenceTour France: Luxury Wine Trips by BlissTravels-Oct2012629-BlissTravels-Oct2012 Tour France Vacations in Provence1378-BlissTravels-Oct2012 Tour France Visit Provence

3. Food. Mouthwatering, amazing, real, local, sustainable, gourmet FOOD.

tour france provence goat cheeseCaio Chow Linda Blogs about Bliss Travels bourgogne 1291355-BlissTravels-Oct2012Tour FranceBlissTravels-Luxury-Tour-France-ABPhoto-FranceMay2012-10bourgogne 099
Tour France: Provence
wendy 003wendy 006May 17, 2012-216-BlissMay2012May 14, 2012-15-BlissMay2012October 18, 2011-135-Fall2011FranceTomatoes in ProvenceOctober 18, 2011-156-Fall2011France

5. Wines. Provence is home to the Cote du Rhone and has many fine wines, Chateauneuf du Pape among them. It is home to Bandol, Tavel, Vacqueras, Gigondas and many many more.

DSC_2962DSC00513

IMG_9412October 18, 2011-94-Fall2011France288-BlissTravels-Oct2012 copyBlissTravels-Luxury-Tour-France-ABPhoto-FranceMay2012-4 copy158-BlissTravels-Oct2012

May 16, 2012-218-BlissMay2012

6. Festivals. The festivals in spring and summer are wonderful. Everything from fancy markets, to bull fights to street music, to games, to dancing, tasting and more. There are cherry festivals in May and June. Village festivals from May through August. Music festivals in June. Melon festivals in July. Lavender festivals in August. Bastille Day festivals –on Basstille Day (see our earlier post about this.)

DSCN0870161DSCN1310

SAM_1238DSC00057DSCN086679-ABianciella-Provence5-2011

Taken by TourEiffel Fireworks

Taken by TourEiffel Fireworks

6. Time on your own with your family and friends--even with all the activity! Provence is a place with lots of beautiful little corners, fabulous walks, quiet beaches, empty mountain tops, miniscule villages –all where you can see something new, and be away from it all — Be with yourself, your family or your friends, or your thoughts.

IMG_0621


October 19, 2011-125-Fall2011FranceOctober 19, 2011-5-Fall2011France-2October 20, 2011-375-Fall2011FrancePhoto (re)Blog by Anthony Bianciella: May in Provence

DSCN1431160DSCN1264

May 16, 2012-177-BlissMay2012May 19, 2012-212-BlissMay2012Tour FranceMay 19, 2012-148-BlissMay2012

May 18, 2012-217-BlissMay2012

If you’d like to learn more about Bliss Travels, small, custom trips –and how we provide exclusive access to things your typical traveler never sees, please  look at our website at www.blisstravels.com or our testimonials and  email us or call us at 609 462 6213. We have limited spring and summer trips available.

Tour France: Bastille Day Summer Celebrations in Paris & Provence

Taken by TourEiffel Fireworks

Taken by TourEiffel Fireworks

Bastille Day celebrates the formation of the French republic and the overthrow of the French monarchy. This is traditionally symbolized by the storming of the Bastille (the Parisian prison) on July 14, 1789.  While there were many reasons for the revolution, the most well known and emblematic  is the excessive royal life that Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette led at the court of Versailles.

The pivotal moment that Bastille Day celebrates is the freeing of the prisoners from the Bastille. There were, in fact, very few prisoners in the Bastille at that time, so the significance of that event was more symbolic than actual. Each year, this holiday, much like our own July 4th, is celebrated with fireworks, parades, village festivals, huge Provencal markets, music and dances –and of course, the flying of the tri-color flag.

May 19, 2012-121-BlissMay2012

The tri color flag is a reflection of the motto of the French republic: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité — liberty, equality and brotherhood. This was one of several mottos used during the time of the revolution. The Fete Nationale (National holiday) is the largest annual celebration in France.

Paris attracts huge crowds for the celebration. Pedestrians and people picnicing fill every last space on every Seine river bridge, and along the banks of the Seine. They fill the parks around the Eiffel Tower as well. It is a party that begins in the morning with parades and goes late into the night with fireworks and public balls, live music.

 As spectacular as Paris is, and as big as the celebration around the Eiffel tower is, I have to say that the countryside is even better. There you can see fireworks over 100o year old villages, experience festival markets and surround yourself with authentic  ambiance in a way that is not possible in big cities (no matter how beautiful).  The advice of Bliss Travels: Enjoy the best Medieval Provencal village or Mediterranean “fete” possible for this holiday. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and often feels like time stopped  500 years before you arrived.

There’s a reason every major impressionist and post impressionist painter traveled there to paint!

Van Gogh’s interpretations of the countryside give one a sense of what it feels like to be in that “world” over a major national holiday.
Unknownimages-2.

One of our favorite places to celebrate Bastille Day is St Remy, home of Van Gogh –and setting for many of his paintings. The celebrations here include markets, fireworks, bull fights, parades and music.

The markets wind through almost all of the streets of the old village. They fill every small square, and the periphery roads as well.

May 19, 2012-26-BlissMay2012

1499-ABianciella-Provence5-2011

Vendors give out tastes of their products. A sure sign that they are proud of what they are selling. In addition, during the celebrations surrounding Bastille Day, there is music and street performers all over.

The bull fights that take place over the national holiday in France are a game during which the bulls are not hurt (though, often, the participants do suffer some injury). The game is called the “course camarguaise” and involves taking a rosette from the horn of the bull and getting away before the bull can hurt them. The participants leap over the wooden fence that surrounds the main area of the arena while their team mates distract the bull. There is also the herding of the bulls by the “cowboys” and the running of the bulls through the streets of the town. This is a major reason to celebrate Bastille Day in the South –these unique events simply don’t happen in Paris!

Unknown-1

 Image-3786650-137408518-4-Web_0_41076faec83965855a37a55cd85bc243_1.jpg

Herding the bulls through the town. The horsemen ride practically on top of each other to keep the bulls locked in their place. Their riding skill is amazing.

images-3

Along with the Camargue cowboys are parades on horseback with traditional dress.

161

DSCN1415

The celebrations lead to group parties and meals –the Aioli is one of the most common (and best)!

DSCN0870

Tour France: Vacations in Provence and the MediterraneanDSCN0867If you want to learn more about what Bliss Travels does on Bastille Day or for other summer village festivals, contact us now! Hope to see you in Provence this summer!

Tour Provence: Lavender in Provence

Tour Provence: Lavender Season


What’s your favorite color? Well, in summer, my favorite color is lavender. And, right now, it’s in full bloom…From the hills of the Luberon to the valleys, the color lavender is everywhere. It’s Bliss!


Contemplating photos….

Tour France: Mediterranean Vacations in a Day!

OTour France: Mediterranean Vacations in a Day!

On commence avec le déjeuner, biensur.

Start with lunch. Views, sunshine, and a collection of colors.
Lavender, newly planted by a friend to “garnish” the best table in the house! Thank you Florian and Eric for another unforgettable experience–one a group of us will experience in late July and early August.

(Join us in our last room of a small group –10 people –July 28-August 4 along the Mediterranean and in Paris. This trip was not advertised, and there is one room. Contact us for details asap. 609 462 6213 or wendy@blisstravels.c0m)


Of course, after lunch the Mediterranean beckons. It is pure Bliss!

Interested in our last room in July? Details below.

(July 17/18-23 Provence/Paris
A small group all inclusive trip to one of Provence’s most beautiful areas, with exclusive access to private activities and events. Provencal markets, lavender, Roman ruins, Cote du Rhone wines, special dining, Medieval villages, art, castle, hikes… and plenty of independent time. 
 ONE ROOM.

Tour France: The Best Vacation in Provence!

Tour France: Provence in Cherry Season…The best vacation in Provence

Life may not be a “bowl of cherries” but you sure can pick your own treats….Fast food Provence style –pick your own dessert on the way home from dinner!

These cherry trees are so full of cherries that the bows are bent nearly to the ground. This little orchard is off of a Roman road, a few steps from the center of a Medieval village we like to call “home”.On our way back, the view was panoramic.
Today’s adventure begins with market day.

Contact us to know more about our last room in July (NEW dates: Arrive between July 13 and 16 for Bastille Day in Provence or Paris, and then spend July 18-22 in the Luberon) and our trip in October!