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


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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

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Tour France: Traditional Provencal Foods, The Aioli

Tour France: Traditional Provencal Foods, The Aioli

Tour France: Vacations in Provence and the Mediterranean

One of the best warm weather traditional Provencal dishes is the Aioli. Named after the garlic mayonnaise like sauce used as the centerpiece of the dish (the word Aioli comes from the words for ‘garlic’ and ‘oil’), this is quintessential Provencal fare. It has it’s roots, like many dishes of that region, in Roman times. It has been revered as a symbol of Provencal life for hundreds of years.

 

“Among the peoples living around the Mediterranean coasts, the use of garlic dates back to the very beginning of cooking itself. But as Leon Daudet observed, with the aioli it attained its peak of perfection, ‘the very highest degree of those truly civilized customs and habits that until health with well-being.’ So that we need feel no astonishment at learning that when the poet Mistral founded a Provencal newspaper (this was in 1891), he called it L’Aioli. The sauce had become a symbol. And he wrote of it with justice: ‘It concentrates all the warmth, the strength, the sun-loving gaiety of Provence in its essence, but it also has a particular virtue: it keeps flies away. Those who don’t like it, those whose stomachs rise at the thought of our oil, won’t come buzzing around us wasting our time. There’ll just be the family.’ And elsewhere again: ‘The ailoi goes slightly to the head, impregnates the body with its warmth, and bathes the soul with its enthusiasm…”
—The Hundred Glories of French Cooking, Robert Courtine [Farrar, Strause and Giroux:New York] 1973 (p. 137-140) 
[NOTE: This book offers a recipe for Aioli de Morue. We can scan/send if you like.]

another home made aioli served with tapenade

It’s served every Friday at the local cafe (because the fish monger comes on Fridays, and that’s the day of the Provencal market). It’s served at group meals –those community meals offered at village fetes and fares during the spring and summer months. This dish is a market fresh favorite.

There are many variations, but the mainstays are this:

Aioli sauce (recipes below)

Hard boiled egg

Boiled potato

Haricots verts (the thin French green beans)

Tomato (raw)

and steamed cod.

Then, the other items you might see are:

sea snails

cauliflower

zucchini

artichoke

mussels (along the Mediterranean)

 

Everything is served room temperature (unless you have steamed mussels, which of course, are served warm). The sauce is cold. You dip each item in the sauce to flavor it.

How to make a quick and simple Aioli:

Take mayonnaise (1/2 cup) and mixed with crushed garlic clove (4-6), a squeeze of lemon, a few tablespoons of white wine (you can determine how thick or thin you want the sauce by how much wine you use), sea salt –and optional flavors such as saffron or herbs de Provence.

Mix well, cover tightly and let sit for at least 3-4 hours. Best if left overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

For a traditional Aioli, this is what Escoffier says:

 

[1907]
“Aioli, or Beurre de Provence
. Pound 30 g (1 oz) garlic as finely as possible in the mortar, add 1 raw egg yolk and a pinch of salt and gradually mix in 1 1/2 dl (9 fl oz or 1 1/8 U.S. cup) oil allowing it to fall drop by drop to begin with, then faster as a thread as the sauce begins to thicken. The thickening of the sauce takes place by turning the pestle vigorously whilst adding the oil. The consistency of the sauce should be adjusted during its making by adding the juice of 1 lemon and 1;2 tbs cold water little by little. Note: Should the sauce separate it can be reconstituted by working it into 1 egg yolk as for Mayonnaise.”
Le Guide Cuilinaire, Escoffier, first translation into English by H.L. Cracknell & R.J. Kaufmann, 1907 edition [John Wiley:New York] 1979 (p. 29)

As the spring and summer seasons in Provence swing into action, you can be sure that people will be dining on Aioli, sipping rose, and enjoying the sunshine.  It’s Bliss!

Hope to see you there!

Wendy Jaeger

Owner, Bliss Travels

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.

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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.
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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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

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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 France: Culinary Bliss

Tour France: Culinary Bliss!

Our trip highlights always include culinary adventures. This trip is no exception. A spectacular tasting menu, a private luncheon, even a special cafe…whether formal or casual, it’s truly Bliss!

Foie Gras…compote….what more can we say?Marscapone ravioli with parmesan foam make the perfect accompaniment —Tomatoes and an incredible fresh ceviche in an almond milk…squab, cherries, and rhubarb….

A nice finish to the day!

 

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: A Mediterranean Adventure

Tour France: A Mediterranean Adventure. It’s Bliss

Summer vacations involve the beach, for sure. But, what many people don’t know is that there are stunning beaches, with world class views, and great dining –on the Mediterranean, that don’t break the bank –and still make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale land (which you are).

Hope you enjoy these photos –as we continue to Tour France.

The view from here:looks like this:And this…as you watch the boats go by. This is a little sailing school. Too Cute!look carefully –there’s a castle at the mid point of the cliffs (top of the lower cliff). Staying there is quite an experience.One room left in mid July and one in August. Contact us toute de suite to book.

wendy@blisstravels.com 609 462 6213.

Tour France: Provencal Perspective

Tour France: Provencal Perspective.

Perspective is an interesting thing. Sometimes it refers to your relationship with people, sometimes time, and sometimes the physical environment…In Provence I usually see all three things at once. And that’s a good day!

Here we are at a typical Provencal lunch. Sure it takes 3 hours…But, it’s not like “Thanksgiving dinner”. We are not all just dying to lay down on the couch to lessen the “pain” of overeating. Rather, it’s a relaxing and integral, yet energizing, part of the day


There’s your perspective AFTER the meal…what do you do? Here’s one idea…Though it’s certainly not the only good idea, it is one that we find Bliss-ful!

(sorry it’s sideways– that’s Emmy taking the road less traveled to the top of the cliffs…)

Then there’s physical perspective –in view and in deed…indeed!

To give you some perspective of the size of these cliffs, the above shot was taken from the cliff it faces –at a distance. The bottom two show CLIMBERS on the facing cliff. You must look quite hard –they are the “ant” like things on the rock face!In this shot, the crevice in the rock is actually big enough to camp on –see the people walking inside of it?

All of this seems to put life in a better perspective. Bliss is not a “holiday” event or a gift. It should be a regular feature in your life.  Call us when you are ready!

609 462 6213 or wendy@blisstravels.com. 2 rooms  in August and October are available. 1 room in July. June and September are full.