France & Spain: The 2017 Ultimate Food & Wine Lover's Vacation
Option to include the Medoc Marathon (non runners welcome)!
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. There is no other marathon in the world like this one, with wine tastings, parties and winery visits before, during and after. People can run or walk. There is a bus for those who don't wish to finish. There are 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.
- 4 nights or 6 nights (Bordeaux) beginning September 5th or 7th.
- 7 nights (4 nights Bordeaux and 3 nights Basque France-San Sebastian, Spain) September 7-14th, 2017
- 6 nights (3 nights Basque France-San Sebastian, Spain and 3 nights Barcelona, Spain) September 11--17, 2017
- 11 days or 13 days (Bordeaux, 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
Four 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 then 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!
Will be customized for client preferences
- Pre trip: Two nights in Bordeaux, luxury lodging (video preview)
- Day 1 (September 5):
- Private transport from train
- Light lunch with wines and coffee
- A private master wine class with multiple tastings of top wines.
- Short walking tour
- 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!
- September 7-11, Four nights in Bordeaux: Option to include the Medoc Marathon or just the parties and wine tastings (video of last year's group)
- Day 3:
- private transport to Chateau
- Dinner in our chateau, private chef
- Evening: a special tasting of top bottles from Bordeaux and Burgundy
- Day 4
- Marathon registration and afternoon to relax OR option to visit Bordeaux city center for shopping, tours OR spa day
- 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 5:
- 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 6:
- 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!)
- Dinner on your own
- September 11-14, Three nights: Basque country: St Jean de Luz France and San Sebastian, Spain
- Day 7:
- Private driver and transport to the stunning Basque town of Bayonne.
- We've made special plans to take over the private room of the restaurant of an exciting young chef, who has agreed to plan a special meal for us. We will have a custom menu, a view overlooking the river and quaint Basque town.
- Privately guided walking tour of the old city for the afternoon.
- Private driver and transport to St Jean de Luz or San Sebastian
- A walking tour and dinner on your own
- 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 TBD
- Evening Michelin starred farewell dinner
- September 14-17, Three nights: Barcelona and 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
- Welcome dinner
- Day 11:
- Visit to the Gaudi masterpiece, Sagrada Familia with our private guide (no lines!)
- Private walking tour through El Born and Gothic Quarter with our private guide
- Evening top "off menu" tapas dinner --not to be missed!
- Day 12:
- Day trip to Sitges with gourmet beachfront lunch and private museum visit
- Private roof top farewell party
- Day 13:
- 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.
Prices include everything described above as included (luxury lodging, private guides, private transportation, listed meals, listed tastings, admissions, custom itineraries etc).
Prices for the full trip 12 night/13 day trip (including early arrival and top tastings of vintage bottles) starts at $10,900/per person double occupancy 2016 price. The full treatment! Every activity. Every destination.
Prices for the 10 night/11 day Bordeaux, Basque France and Spain trip start at $8,250 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.
Prices for the 6 night/6 day Basque France & Barcelona, Spain trip start at $4,999 per person/dbl occupancy. This trip is all about Spain. San Sebastian and Barcelona are the destinations.
Prices for the 7 night/7 day trip to Bordeaux and Basque France & San Sebastian Spain start at $4,900. This trip includes the Bordeaux activities and the 3 nights in San Sebastian Spain (Basque France and Spain).
Prices for just Bordeaux 4-6 nights range from $3,000 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.
Additional days in Barcelona
Hotels and privately guided experiences such as private tours of Sagrada Familia (no waiting), visits to Guell Park, private tours of the Boqueria market and special tapas events can be arranged through Bliss Travels. Contact us for your options.
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.
Please see our terms & conditions here for more details.