Tour France; Atlanta Has a Wine Tasting to Remember!

Sacre Bleu! Bliss Travels owner Wendy Jaeger recently traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to give some past clients a fabulous wine tasting evening. Featured wines came from Wendy’s personal cache and the vineyards that Bliss Travels visits on trips, so clients could “taste” their memories!

Bliss owner Wendy Jaeger brought fun stories and years of expertise to the evening.

Bliss owner Wendy Jaeger brought fun stories and years of expertise to the evening.

Peaches Please blogger Morgan Perkins was invited to the evening of reminiscing, and was an enthusiastic guest–and writer! Here are some snippets from her blog post:

“As we sipped on the wines, Wendy explained where each bottle was from, including personal anecdotes about the vineyards and wine makers. This inevitably led to reminiscing by the folks who had been on tours with Bliss Travels. From the sound of it, everyone who had been on one of the tours had a wonderful time. One gentleman even brought a beautiful book of photographs from his vacation and much time was spent pouring over the pictures and memories.

From everything I heard over the course of the evening, going on on a tour with Bliss Travels is an amazing, one of a kind experience. I hope that one day I am in a position to indulge in vacation like that!”

Past clients brought books of pictures from their Bliss trips to reminisce.

Past clients brought books of pictures from their Bliss trips to reminisce.

To read the rest of the article, and see some more of the fabulous photos Morgan took throughout the evening, check out her blog!

Oh Blissful Indulgence- An Evening with Bliss Travels

Thanks for coming, Morgan! We hope to see you on a trip with us soon.

A Bientot,

Bliss Travels

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Tour France: Travel Experts Bliss Travels Blogged by French Wedding Style

Meet the Experts: Bliss Travels

 As posted on the TOP French wedding blog! French Wedding Style….Wow, Thank you Monique for such a great write up! It’s not too soon to plan for our Valentine’s Weekend Special or for summer. Contact wendy@blisstravels.com now to experience Bliss.

Bliss Travels - enjoying cheese selection on tour

There is nothing more apt when it comes to vacationing in France than the name Bliss Travels. With incredible history, unparalleled beauty, the best food & wines in the world, and a language that can make anything sound romantic, how could it not be the ultimate blissful holiday?

That’s why Bliss Travels, a luxury travel company that designs bespoke trips, weddings and other events in France, has been taking couples through France for over a decade!

French Wedding Style – Photography © most photos by Anthony Bianciella
Bliss Travels teaching photography

Introducing Wendy from Bliss Travels: “Our clients have extraordinary experiences, the kind you can’t buy. We like to say that traveling with us is like traveling with a very well connected friend (who has great taste!) We offer exclusive, insider access to things that no other company can provide. We aim to not only please, but provide “Bliss!”

Many of our trips begin in Paris. How could we deny our clients a chance at specially designed (one-of-a-kind) menus in Michelin-starred restaurants, dining with chefs in their apartments, or in their quaint little bistros; shopping in the fashion capital of the world; and privately guided walks of the major sites and museums?

Bliss Travels - gourmet food and desserts

We love telling people about the surprising histories of famous monuments, sneaking into private little courtyards, and offering up tastes from the shops you couldn’t find on your own. In short, we like introducing people to the little-known treasures of France, and the City of Lights in particular. (Do you know where to find the best hot chocolate you’ll ever drink?  Or how about that great bistro in the Red Light district?)

Surprise Engagements

Sometimes our clients take extra advantage of being in the most romantic city in the world… At the beginning of our wine-tasting trip to Burgundy this September, one of our clients popped the question to his girlfriend after a beautiful meal and an evening stroll along the Seine. So we feted their engagement the next day when we arrived in Burgundy, with a barrel tasting in a 14th wine cellar, followed by a dinner that included red wine poached lobster and finished with luxurious cheeses, all prepared by our private chef. Just a bit more “bliss”!

Wedding planning in Paris

When we design our wine trips, our goal is not just great wines and foods, but also relaxed fun. Bien sur, we have Michelin chefs design private meals in Grand Cru chateaux and taste fine wines from the private collection of wine makers. But we also treat people to authentic experiences, not just formal ones. “Bliss” sometimes means that we are invited into a farmhouse for a rustic meal or a tiny bistro that opened just for us. Sometimes we are invited into a chef’s or winemaker’s home to taste their cooking, as they regale us with their stories. Our goal is to make sure that our clients have extraordinary experiences that are relaxed and enjoyable, not stuffy.

Exclusivity

We’re especially proud of the exclusive access we provide. Whether that means being invited to a vineyard where renowned wine expert Robert Parker was turned away (score 1-0 for Bliss!) or having a special case of (sold out) wine that he rated 100 saved just for us, we want our clients to have experiences they can’t get on their own.  And, we want their biggest problem to be (as one client recently wrote) “How we will be able to go back to drinking the wines we liked before, after tasting so many fabulous ones on this trip!”

Private wine cellar tour with Bliss Travels

After our wine tasting in Bordeaux this year, we decided to take an impromptu trip to Basque country on our way to Spain, just because there were some delicacies we thought people might enjoy! Next stop:  Barcelona to live large! Late nights with gourmet tapas in a private rooftop party, tours with a Gaudi expert to the Sagrada Familia Basilica, and time to explore a city with great nightlife, art, and culture. Perfecto! Adventure seekers call this trip their “Bliss!”

Provence

For more laid back trips, our clients adore the unhurried, cheerful culture of the Provencal region. Miles upon miles of lavender, sunflowers, poppies, perched villages, and ancient ruins make even the drive to a new place gasp-worthy.

Food in Provence is like nowhere else; intimate and relaxed. Where else would a Michelin starred chef create new dishes with us in his kitchen and then joins us for dessert? Or where else could you find a tiny “end of the road” auberge, where the owner brings food out on wood planks and then serenades you by playing an ancient mouth harp, while his goats jump over nearby tables.

Gourmet food tour around France

We always say “you’ve got to see it to believe it.” So get your camera ready! (That’s why we bring a professional photographer with us in the spring to show clients the tricks of the trade.) There is nothing better than realizing you took the Best Photo Ever, of the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen or the most unforgettable experience you’ve ever had.

French Mediterranean

We love to end our trips with a stunning change of scenery: heading to the French Mediterranean to stay in an ancient Chateau atop a cliff, or to visit a festival and watch the bulls run the streets! Many of our clients have called these experiences reminiscent of  “a fairytale”—and we couldn’t agree more.

A day on a private yacht, drifting through the crystal blue waters and going for the occasional dip and sip of wine, leaves each and every person tan, relaxed, and in utter “Bliss!” A summer picnic in a lush garden followed by a night watching the bulls and dancing in the streets is exhilarating and the best honeymoon or anniversary gift, ever. Period.

We have even helped a groom organize a surprise elopement to Paris for his fiancée, which you might recognise from appearing on French Wedding Style.

We’ll see you soon!
A bientot!!

How many experiences in this post are you just itching to be a part of?  What is your favourite activity mentioned?  I love the idea of a bistro owner exclusively opening his doors and kitchen for a private gathering and of course the wine!

If you want to know more about Bliss Travels trips, browse the Bliss Travels website and find more testimonials.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

Wine & Cheese Pairing: 2 Spots Left!

Bliss Travels

French Wine & Cheese Pairing: ROOM FOR 2 MORE PEOPLE. MAX OF 10 PEOPLE AT TASTING. SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS

With products from our recent trip to Paris!

A tasting class and event pairing the best in French cheeses with their compliment in French wines. We are marketing for this trip in Paris! That’s right –our favorite French vendors will be providing a taste of their artisan products! We’ll bring back some cheeses and breads, and a few condiments for pairing with cheeses, so that you can taste something really special. There will be a selection of 6 cheeses (4 direct from Paris), walnut and fig breads from a top Parisian baker, traditional condiments and 5 regional wines.  Plus, we will also make and taste a camembert fondue, a great starter for winter meals and summer barbecues alike.

Whether you are interested to learn more about Bliss Travels, or just want a virtual voyage to France with Bliss, you’re welcome to attend. Space is limited, and reservations must be made by February 9th, so that we can make the purchases in Paris while we are there!

Cost is $80.00 per person. If you want to attend, click on one of the above links and contact wendy@blisstravels.com for details. Event to be held in Princeton. Sunday, February 26th, from 3-5pm. Details provided upon reservation.

Where & WhenROOM FOR 2 MORE PEOPLE. MAX. OF 10 PEOPLE AT TASTINGPrinceton, New Jersey 08540
February 26, 2012
3:00pm to 5:00pm
Save $300 on one of our 2012 trips if you book before February 10th, 2012. See our early booking coupon!

Wine Tasting in Chateauneuf du Pape

Our first day was in Chateauneuf du Pape, where it’s all about Grenache! That’s the grape that is used the most in wines from Chateauneuf du Pape. (Though it’s possible to use up to 13 grapes in the wine.) We tried pure grenache as well as wines with various combinations….And tasted them  it in an ancient cave (with Roman ruins) and a beautiful chateau.

 

 


Photography was hard to resist!
Now for three days in the Luberon! It’s simply the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.

A private “welcome” dinner prepared just for us. And off to bed for a restful night in a Medieval village.

7 “Musts” for the Ultimate Wine Tasting in Burgundy

Want to have the “ultimate” experience in Burgundy, tasting wines and visiting vineyards? Who doesn’t! Here are some tried and true tips for ensuring your trip is over the top fabulous!

1. Location, Location, Location! Experience the “terroir”. Find someone to take you around and “introduce you” to the various parcels of land. You know that fabulous Chardonnay you love? The one from “Les Charmes” (perhaps). Well, visit that plot. See where it’s grown. It’s all about real estate. 

2. Think Small! Some of the best vineyards, and best wine production in Burgundy is from small parcels of land. Just cause it’s tiny and just cause you haven’t heard of it means nothing. Good things often come from small packages!

Continue reading

7 Easy Steps to a Bliss-ful Vacation in France!

1. Pack Light! It’s hard to be adventurous when you’re bogged down. Plus, everything’s smaller in France (elevators, car trunks, closets…). And, the walks are longer. You can’t catch a train on the fly if you’re lugging around everything you own!

2.Think local! Sure, you should read some guide books or talk to a travel pro about what to see, but don’t miss out on the “real” sites by keeping your head in the book. Look up! Get off the main arteries and find local haunts and authentic experiences.

3. Talk it up! Find someone who has actually (and recently) been to France. Ask them where they went and what they liked and why!

4. Eat authentically! Before picking a restaurant, walk the area. Don’t go before 8pm (the start of the French dinner hour). Look and listen. Read menus. Avoid menus with long lists of dishes and translations into many languages. Those places are for tourists. Look for small menus, specialty places and market fresh blackboard specials. Then listen to the patrons (if there aren’t any patrons, keep walking). Are many of the diners speaking French or are they tourists? The best food and the best deals are found in places that specialize in market fresh meals designed for locals.

5. Drink local wines! Don’t order a bottle just because you recognize the name. Once upon a time, food was local, as was wine. They matched perfectly because of this. Order what’s local to match your market fresh meal. That might mean ordering a carafe of local wine or a bottle from a nearby vineyard.

6. Travel “off the beaten track”! Find towns and villages that aren’t on the major tour routes. Spend some time wandering through their streets, sipping a drink at the local cafe, or watching the locals play “boules”. Really soak in the experience of being in France.

7.Slow Down! Some Americans arrive wanting to go, go, go! They want to grab a quick sandwich at lunch so they can visit more sites, or they want to start each day at 7am so they can pack it all in. But life in France has a different rhythm. Many businesses don’t open until 9-10am (especially in the countryside), and most businesses close for a couple hours during lunch. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy your time in France. Linger over your meals. Take an aimless stroll after lunch. And try to mimic the rhythm of a real French day. After all, you traveled many thousands of miles to be there!

For a great selection of French travel off the beaten track trips, visit http://www.blisstravels.com or send me an email at wendy@blisstravels.com.