Tour France: Cartier’s Grand Palais Exhibit in Paris

cartier_expo_0Ooh la la! Cartier, the “Jeweler of Kings,” has an opulent exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris from December 4th to February 16th. This is a must-visit experience and a great addition to a tour through France. And what a perfect add-on to a Valentine’s trip (you could get some ideas for the kind of ring or tiara she likes 🙂 ) Bliss Travels is currently offering a deal for the Valentine’s weekend trip (the special price is only offered through January 2nd). Check it out here! A romantic opportunity awaits!

The exhibit is the most expensive of its kind. It's simply a must-see!

The exhibit is the most expensive of its kind. It’s simply a must-see!

WWD gushes that Kate Middleton’s wedding tiara and Grace Kelly’s engagement ring are among the star pieces of an exhibition on Cartier opening in Paris today.

Billed as the most extensive show to date dedicated to the French jeweler, famed for its panther-themed jewelry and Tank watches, “Cartier — Style and History” is set to run at the Grand Palais until Feb. 16. It showcases more than 600 items ranging from fine jewelry and watches to decorative objects, many reflecting the influence of exotic locations like China and India. Most are drawn from Cartier’s extensive archives, but about 100 items are on loan from private collections.”

Cartier's signature jaguar stands proud in many of the exhibit's displays.

Cartier’s signature jaguar stands proud in many of the exhibit’s displays.

In an interview with the Guardian, the curator of this opulent exhibit, Laure Dalon, explained its significance. “Cartier is one of France’s iconic companies and is a part of France’s tradition and heritage. It’s not just the actual monetary value of the pieces but their social history, their owners and their place in the history of decorative arts. That makes them priceless, really.”

Hasn't every girl wished to wear something as exquisite as this?

Hasn’t every girl wished to wear something as exquisite as this?

Well said, Mme Dalon! We are delighted to recommend our clients see  this magnificent exhibit during their Valentine’s trip. We can even provide a private guide to accompany and tour this exhibit, and others! Add it to your checklist: we’ll see you there!

A bientot-

Bliss Travels

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Tour France: Bliss Travels Featured on “Places to Visit in France!”

Bliss Travels was featured in an article on Places to Visit in France as a great way to tour Paris for the Valentine’s weekend!

Places to Visit in France said:

Go with an “insider”!

This is our favorite option. You get alone time with your sweetheart while seeing the hidden, more intimate parts of the city that you wouldn’t get in a big group. One of our top choices is Bliss Travels, a luxury travel company that specializes in food and wine (so prepare for a gourmet trip). They are also offering a special Valentine’s weekend trip where everything is taken care of for you, but where you will not be with a group! Check out their site here: http://blisstravels.com/tour-france-valentines-day-in-paris

Read the rest of their article (and pick up some travel tips) at Visit Paris for Valentine’s Day. Sound tempting? Then check out Bliss Travels‘ special holiday deal on our Valentine’s Day in Paris package!

The "I Love You wall" in Paris is a beautiful reminder of your loved one!

The “I Love You wall” in Paris is a beautiful reminder of your loved one!

A bientot,

Bliss Travels

Tour France: Romantic Parisian Proposals & Weddings

Romance in Paris…

Tour France

The best place to say “I love you” in the world!

Tour France I love you wall

This wall is a permanent art exhibit in Paris. “I love you” is written here in over 200 languages. (We even did an elopement ceremony in front of this wall –can you beat that?) Which just goes to say –What is more romantic than Paris? Parisian romance equals pure Bliss! Here are some of our favorite romantic memories of Paris. Perfect to look at as we approach Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t matter whether  you are truly planning something with that special someone or you simply want to get swept up in the fantasy.

Tour France Paris Romance

Last year in Paris for Valentine’s weekend, we saw beautiful romantic window displays all around. Even the crepe stands were decorated 🙂

Tour France Paris weddings

A Blissful Valentine’s Day in Paris!

Bliss Travels…to Paris for Valentine’s Day. What’s up in the city of romance, on the most romantic day of the year! Well, lots! Two of our clients were interviewed by French television and featured on TV, as they enjoyed the things we gave them (a bottle of Champagne, some treats, and a lock for the Pont des Arts). All of our clients enjoyed privately arranged, top, tasting menus special to Valentine’s Day. Meals of a lifetime! And, love was everywhere!

This wall is an example of living art in Paris. It says I love you in 250 languages!

as are the shops…
and the Parisian fountains…(even the empty ones)and the shop windows…
And, bien sur, the weddings themselves! Don’t forget those!  You can always elope to Paris!
Finally, to pay homage to the romantic tradition that resulted in Bliss Travels clients ending up on French television, here’s one of Anthony Bianciella’s amazing photographs of the very bridge on which it occurred!

We hope you can capture a moment with us to travel to France this spring or summer!

7 Chocolate and French Wine Pairings for Valentines!

Chocolate and Wine….

Much like wine, chocolate is harvested, fermented, liquified and “made” into the final product. The “terroir” and the “maker” bring much to the final product.

Cocoa grows near the equator, and the heat and type of plant (like wine) create distinct flavor profiles. Cocoa beans are harvested and then fermented. They are dried and processed and eventually ground, roasted and broken down. Finally, they go through a process called “conching”, which is akin to constant kneading–and determines the texture of the chocolate. At this point the chocolate is then used as a raw product for artisans and large manufacturers to make their bars, ganaches, clusters and other candies.

Each manufacturer adds his/her own special mixture of ingredients –vanilla, sugar, cream, spice, nuts. Different cultures tend to produce similarly styled chocolates. American chocolates tend to be sweeter, less pure (i.e. milk v. dark) and larger. Belgian and French tend to use much less sugar, rely on thinner more delicate shells for their filled chocolates, use pure creams in the centers (not ‘creamy’ sugar fillings),  and produce higher percentages of purer (i.e. more dark and less milk) chocolate.

This blog is going to focus on Pairing French Wine and Belgian or French Chocolate, of course!

Here are 7 tips and pairing suggestions to sweeten your Valentine’s Day at home or abroad.

 

1. Pair Champagne with chocolates. Especially with lighter less rich chocolates, or fresh filled Neuhaus creams. Also, this pairs well with chocolate fruit combinations.

 

2. Pair a French Burgundy (Pinot Noir) with mild, but rich dark chocolates, and dark chocolates with mild spice, roasted nuts or ripe berry fruits. So, consider chocolates with cardamom, hazelnut or dark cherries for these wines.

3. Pair Rhone wines, such as a  Chateauneuf du Pape (and other Grenache heavy wines) or wines with rich spicy flavor and high tannins with highly spiced complex chocolates that can match the power of the wine. So, consider chocolate and chili pepper or chocolate with pink peppercorns or strong tea flavors and spice mixtures as good combinations.

4. For purists, wanting to experience the depth of one flavor,  use a single origin chocolate with a single grape wine. You can focus on the subtly of each more easily.

5. Pair a dessert wine, we prefer a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, with a salted chocolate or salted caramel chocolate. Make sure you use a rich full flavored deep chocolate. Not a milk chocolate.

6. Have a Cognac with a chocolate –either complement it with a cognac flavored truffle or find a very low sugar, almost pure, dark chocolate.

7. Come with Bliss Travels where we do custom pairings and tastings of these things all over France, and in Brussels! At all the best spots! That’s why we call it Bliss!

Soul-full (of) Winter Wonders in Paris (Valentines?)

Whenever we talk about Paris in December or February, people think of the traditional winter foods. Foie gras, truffles, oysters, chocolates, chestnuts, roast and braised lamb…the list goes on! But, there are other types of sustenance. Food for the Soul. Paris if full of things that feed your Soul. And in winter, those things are more peaceful, less crowded, and lit up more beautifully. That’s why we go for Valentine’s Weekend and Christmas Holidays….See some of what we mean below. These shots were taken on normal days, normal hours, but at this time of year. Imagine having the courtyard of the Louvre to yourself! Or having an entire Chateau open for your wine tasting?

Or  wandering down a street, and turning the corner to find…


Don’t get me wrong. Paris still feeds you in all the other ways. Look at some of the wonderful winter fare we’ve encountered!
Red label and AOC chickens and game, along with foie gras and caviar fill the windows of this wonderful butcher…
A flatbread pizza with thin sliced potatoes and topped with black truffles… A rustic apple and raisin tart made especially for our lunch…

And something lighter than air! Tell us what your favorite Parisian treats are…

What to Plan, Pack, Wear for Valentine’s Wedding in Paris!

VALENTINE’S DAY

The most romantic day of the year. Propose? Marry? Just escape from it all? Meet the person of your dreams? We’re doing our version of Romantic Bliss over Valentine’s weekend in Paris….What could be better than a romantic hotel, breakfast in bed, private chocolate and wine pairing from a world class chocolate maker, a star studded (Michelin, that is) dining experience customized to the occasion, a saunter through the best that Paris has to offer….And then the moment….

What would your moment be?

HOW TO PICK A DRESS FOR A DESTINATION WEDDING.

Pick something simple and elegant, or over the top stylish. Pick something you can pack easily so that your trip is effortless. Bring two pairs of shoes. One for the ceremony and dinner, and the other to walk around Paris, so you can get those cool photographs without also getting blisters! Think about what you’d like to wear to your dinner. Elegant, easy to travel with, sophisticated are the Paris buzzwords.

We arranged for a bridal shoot for Nicole Miller Philadelphia in Paris two years ag0, and her dresses work very well. Contact us if you’d like an introduction to Nicole Miller Philadelphia!

HOW TO PACK FOR A VALENTINE’S DAY WEEKEND IN PARIS:

Paris is usually not to cold. Typical weather in February should be about 40 degrees. This past Christmas was unseasonably warm. 50 plus! So, maybe this February will be as well! Whatever the weather, bring a coat, stylish scarf, boots, thin thermal socks (great for keeping feet comfy with all the walking. Pack a pocket umbrella too. I suggest great skirts and knit dresses (everyone was wearing them this season).  And, most importantly, pack a small carryall bag to bring home your special purchases! You don’t want to run out of room!

WANT TO BRING FAMILY AND FRIENDS?

Of course they can come! And we can entertain them. They will sightsee and wine and dine while you and your fiancé decide upon your final plans. They will attend your ceremony, whatever meals you like, and celebrate all over Paris with you…If you like. We arrange for a special itinerary for your loved ones so that they have as memorable a time as you.

 

Think of these images while you decide whether you want to experience true Bliss!