France & Spain: The 2018 Ultimate Food & Wine Lover's Vacation
Bordeaux portion is sold out for 2018. San Sebastian and Barcelona 2018 have 3 rooms available.
2019 dates below.
What is the Medoc Marathon?
*** Medoc marathon is a themed marathon (with costumes) that runs through numerous 1855 top ranked chateaux in Bordeaux (including Lafitte Rothschild, Palmer, Margaux...) all of whom offer tastings of their wines during the race. This event is fun even for NON runners. We provide a private van for those who don't wish to run or wish to walk only a short way. There are 3-4 days of chateaux parties and tasting events, with special meals. Click here to see a video from 2015.
You can choose to travel with us for any length of time (contact us with your preference of trip length, location and budget). Prices begin at $3,000. See bottom of page for itinerary and prices.
- 3 nights or 5 nights (Bordeaux) beginning September 5th.
- 7 nights (3 nights Medoc, Bordeaux and 4 nights Basque France-San Sebastian-Bilbao, Spain)
- 7 nights (4 nights Basque France-San Sebastian, Spain and 3 nights Barcelona, Spain)
- 10 to 12 days (Bordeaux, Medoc, Basque France-San Sebastian, Spain and Barcelona, Spain).
The sample itinerary outline of the entire trip is below.
Pre Marathon days/early arrival: Option to have 2 pre marathon days/nights of luxury lodging and extraordinary wine tasting experiences in Bordeaux. Taste once-in-a-lifetime bottles like vintage Haut Brion, and visit top class chateaux. This is an "ultimate" experience. Want to see what this luxury weekend will be like? Here's a video so you can preview our unique private wine vacations.
Marathon activities in Bordeaux
Three nights in a privately owned small chateau. We have a welcome dinner followed by a day of race registration and wine tasting. (non runners: for race registration day we have other activities planned.) We include the private pre marathon chateau party with 10 wines, live bands and dancing (runners and non runners alike). Click here to see what the weekend is like!
Of course, the race, with its costumed runners, numerous bands, 20+ wine stops, steak stop, oyster stop, foie gras and croissant stops etc are de rigueur! The next day there is a 10k walk through the vineyards, where each winemaker provides tastings and you can hear a different band at every stop. We follow this with a post marathon party in our very own chateau.
Not a runner? Not a problem. Walk part of the course to experience the fun and have the tastings. Join the party! And we will arrange for you to take the van back to the start. Or let us plan an alternate day of sightseeing, relaxation or wine tasting for you. We can even arrange a "city" day in the center of Bordeaux so that you can enjoy shopping, art or historic sightseeing.
Basque France & Spain
Next, you travel to the the storied Basque country to explore the traditional villages, beautiful sea views and the exciting new chefs of the region. Discover the hidden alleys and corridors of a picturesque Medieval village after a leisurely private lunch on the riverfront where your grilled sea bass with orange endive tart is accompanied by the local Basque specialties.
Join us for a day (or more) of tapas and stroll the crescent beach in the culinary mecca of San Sebastian. Gold leaf artichoke filled with foie gras and toasted hazelnuts? Check. Lollipops of crusty langoustine? Check. Smoked hen (smoking as it is served to you under glass)? Check...Would you like something more traditional as well? Of course you would. That's why we offer you the caramelized roast pork topped with quail egg, the tuna tartare on tomato bread and the plates of traditional hams and regional cheeses. Didn't mention your favorites yet? Don't worry, we will show you about 100 other varieties of tapas (or, to be more precise, Pintxos) to choose from. Yum!
Overview: How we create our trips and itineraries
This trip has highly luxurious, unique components to it, as well as the Marathon 4 day experience. This trip provides insider experiences and private tastings you can't find anywhere, at any price. But it is fun and relaxed, and it's about "authenticity". All lodging is uniquely decorated and hand picked. Meals are gastronomic or rustic, local, and truly authentic. Some meals include private chefs and private chateau dining; some include sitting in bars or by open fires. Every meal includes amazing wines. You have a private guide/planner (owner of Bliss Travels), private transportation to all tastings/events, multiple Premier Grand Cru Classe and Grand Cru Classe tastings in Bordeaux, including a private master class with multiple tastings (for early arrival days) This is a unique trip. Nobody else anywhere is doing this trip!
This trip is being custom designed around the guests attending. Clients have the chance to book this trip before our daily itinerary is created in detail. Early bookers will get input into wine experiences and meals. Those of you who know Bliss Travels know that the food and wines will be world class, and that the itinerary will be unique. Guests who book after this point will have input into the specific menu options and wine tasting choices as always, but not the itinerary.
Overview: What our trips are like
Our wine trips are extraordinary. That's because we're always looking for new, exclusive and unique things to experience & taste. We personally vet everything we offer. We custom design menus, tastings, even activities.
That's why when on a recent trip to Bordeaux we gained exclusive access to several world renown chateaux, and experienced things not available to the public, we knew we were going to create another unique France and Spain itinerary. For example, we are going to offer the chance to work with a world renown vineyard to make your own Bordeaux wine.
What should you expect? Expect to be invited where Robert Parker was turned away. (Score one for "Bliss"!) And, for Parker fans, expect to try a wine rated 100 by Mr. Parker. Expect to visit Premier Grand Cru Classe estates. Expect to taste wines most people only dream about: Wines like top ranked Chateaux Pavie, Figeac, Smith Haut Lafitte, Margaux, Haut Brion, and many more. Expect to dine superbly-- whether that's privately in a chateau, in a Michelin starred restaurant, an off the radar tiny bistro or a one-of-a-kind market tour or gourmet picnic. Expect to see, do, taste, and experience special things not open to the public, at any price. Expect to marvel at your surroundings, which will be spectacular. And expect it to be fun and not stuffy. In short, expect Bliss!
Sample Itinerary for our Bordeaux, Basque France & San Sebastian, Spain Vacation, with Medoc Marathon!
Bordeaux 2018 SOLD OUT, San Sebastian and Barcelona open for 2018
2019 Dates: September 11 to 22, 2019. 2018 pricing in effect until June 15, 2018
SEPTEMBER 2018 or 2019 - Below is an example of our itinerary in past years. This year begins on SEPTEMBER 5th with early arrival in Bordeaux. We go to Medoc on September 7th for 3 nights. You may attend any destination or destinations on this trip (i.e. Bordeaux only, Bordeaux and San Sebastian only, San Sebastian and Barcelona only --or all of the trip).
- Pre trip: One or Two nights in Bordeaux, luxury lodging and special schedule and activities TBD based upon interest and who is attending 1 or 2 nights. Example schedule below. Each year is customized and all schedules vary based upon travelers preferences: (video preview)
- Day 1:
- Private transport from train
- Private walking tour of Bordeaux center
- Option to enjoy a one of a variety of special tastings and vintages --Choices of wines like Chateau Margaux or Pichon Longueville or Lynch Bages...
- Day 2:
- Visit to world class top St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe vineyard with tasting.
- Special gourmet dinner in Bordeaux. A unique experience!
- Three nights in Bordeaux: Option to include the Medoc Marathon or just the parties and wine tastings and we'll curate a special "non" marathon day for you (video of last year's group)
- Day 3:
- Transfer to marathon center for registration and activities
- Possible wine tasting in our chateau (time TBD)
- Evening: pre marathon dinner and dancing. Solo's and non runners welcome. This is a huge party at a private chateau with bands, cocktail hour, dinner and unlimited wines from about 10 participating chateaux.
- Day 4:
- Marathon Day!
- For non runners/non walkers, we would be happy to plan an alternate activity for you this day that includes sightseeing, wine tasting, relaxation etc.
- Evening buffet in our chateau, casual dinner
- Day 5:
- 10k walk through the vineyards of Medoc with more than 20 wine tastings, and lots of live music. This fun walk is followed by a late lunch (and yes, more wine!)
- Special gourmet lunch at chateau with wines and bands
- Evening light dinner at our chateau
- Three or Four nights: Basque country: Bayonne or Basque village, San Sebastian and Bilbao, Spain
- Day 6:
- Private driver and transport to the stunning Basque town of Bayonne or other Basque village (trip will be customized)
- Privately guided walking tour of the old city for the afternoon.
- Private driver and transport to San Sebastian
- A walking tour and a Michelin starred welcome to San Sebastian for dinner.
- Day 8:
- A leisurely breakfast
- Bliss Travels' version of a food festival in San Sebastian, along with the option to do a day long walk through the old city, the beaches and the sights.
- Day 9:
- Day trip to Bilbao and visit to the Guggenheim, with a stunning and very special lunch at a Michelin starred restaurant.
- Evening on your own
- Three nights: Barcelona, with possible day in Sitges, Spain
- Day 10:
- Transfer to San Sebastian airport or train station included for return home OR days in Barcelona (flights and trains tickets not included in pricing, but we will handle any train bookings for you)
- Check in boutique luxury lodging in Barcelona OR day trip to Priorat for special private chef event and wine tasting.
- Evening in Priorat or Barcelona TBD
- Day 11:
- Visit to the Gaudi masterpiece, Sagrada Familia with our private guide (no lines!)
- Private art tour: Miro and Picasso
- Evening top "off menu" tapas dinner --not to be missed -with final French and Spanish wine tasting.
- Day 12:
- Day trip to Sitges with gourmet beachfront lunch and private museum visit OR El Born and Gothic Quarter
- Private roof top farewell party
- Day 13: on September 17th
- private transfer to BCN airport included.
Option to add on days, lodging and private tours in Barcelona
Option to arrive early in Paris
Included in trip: All lodging (including luxury boutique lodging in Bordeaux and Barcelona, and small luxury hotel in San Sebastian, plus small private chateau in Medoc), all private ground transportation to/from included activities and private transfers via private car to/from airports/train stations and between cities, daily gourmet breakfasts, all of the listed gourmet meals and wines with meals (including Michelin starred meals, off menu dining and private dining), top level and first growth wines for wine tastings, including some vintage bottles, and tastings in venues and of wines not available to the public, admission (often preferential) to all included activities (marathon, marathon parties, museums, Sagrada Familia...), all privately guided experiences listed above, at least three private guides during the trip depending upon the venue/location, all pre trip planning for a customized experience, personalized itineraries and help with booking connections.
Not included: Flights and trains.
2018 Prices include everything described above as included (luxury lodging, private guides, private transportation, listed meals, listed tastings, admissions, custom itineraries etc). Price ranges offered below are based upon the type of room chosen (standard, deluxe...) and the private transfers. Some inclusions can be removed to make the trip more moderately priced.
Prices for the 10-12 day Bordeaux/Medoc, Basque France and Spain trip $8,000 to $8550 as described above, per person/double occupancy. This includes all of the special activities and our stay in Medoc, Bordeaux plus all of Basque France and all of Spain. September 2018
Prices for 7 night/ 7 day Basque France & Barcelona, Spain trip start at $4,990 per person/dbl occupancy. This trip is all about Spain. San Sebastian and Barcelona are the destinations. Prices vary based upon room level, private transfers and included options (breakfasts, additional tours....).
Prices for the 7 night/6 day trip to Bordeaux and Basque France & San Sebastian Spain from $5,990 to $6,550 per person and vary based upon type of room chosen, private transfers needed and included options (breakfasts...) This trip includes the Bordeaux activities and the 4 nights in San Sebastian Spain (Basque France and Spain) includes all of the parties and activities surrounding the marathon.
Prices for just Bordeaux/Medoc 3 nights range from $2,200 and up.
Partial trip attendance is on a space available basis, and preference is given to people attending the full 11 or 13 night trip.
As of 2015 we were the only company in the US to be able to register a group for the marathon.
Prices variations are determined by your lodging choices of suite or deluxe room, and the wine activities you include (i.e. one or more tastings of rare wines, gastronomic lunch in wine maker's chateau, special gourmet wine paring dinner etc).
Discount give to group bookings of 3 or more rooms.
We are truly happy to work with budgets of any size, so ask us to customize this trip to fit your budget and your dreams! If you wish to attend only a portion of the trip (leaving early) or if you wish to add items or days to your itinerary, please let us know.
Please contact Wendy for further information.
Make a deposit now to guarantee your place on this trip
Deposits are non-refundable as they indicate your intention to occupy a place in this small group. Please contact us if you have any questions about the trip.
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