Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Read on to learn about our trips.
If we are not interested in "group" travel, would we like these trips?
Yes, because our trips do not have a "group" feel. Our trips have between 4-12 travelers, and when we have 12 people we have two planners/guides and two drivers. So our trips are always small and personalized. We handle the details that make travel stressful (translations, driving, how to find that great place to stay) and we access things you cannot, every day. Our trips strike a nice balance between having a set itinerary (so you know what to expect) and a spontaneous flare that you might get if you just ventured out on your own. You always have breakfast to eat when you want and with whom you want (usually from 8am-10am).. You always have time at the end of each day to fit in things you want to do on your own; activities such as dining, relaxing, exercising, shopping or just soaking in the ambiance.
The big difference is that Bliss Travels goes to places that most tourists don't know about or need to know a local for access . We provide access and authentic (not cookie cutter, tourist) experiences. No buses. No crowds.
What do you mean when you say "exclusive access" and "insider"?
Bliss Travels has spent years developing relationships and visiting "off the beaten track" places. Therefore, we are able to take clients to places that they cannot visit on their own. Sometimes that means a place that might be hard to find, like a remote country inn or a tiny, lesser known, village with special charm or spectacular views. Sometimes that means we take you to places not open to the public like a prestigious Bordeaux or Burgundy winery that doesn't accept tourists, or a church built by the Knight's Templar that is opened just for us.. It means meeting people from local artisans and artists to Michelin starred chefs, and being invited into places other people can't go, no matter what the price. Being with an "insider" means experiencing authenticity!
What can you expect on our trips?
Our trips are extraordinary. That's because we're always looking for new, exclusive and unique things to visit, experience & taste. We personally vet everything we offer. We custom design menus, tastings, even activities. 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 relaxed, casual, fun and not stuffy. In short, expect Bliss!
On wine trips, expect to be invited where Robert Parker was turned away. (Score one for "Bliss"!) And, for Parker fans, expect to try wines rated 98, 99 and even 100 by Mr. Parker. Expect to visit Premier Grand Cru Classe estates in Bordeaux and Grand Cru and Premier Cru domaines in Burgundy. Expect to taste wines most people only dream about: Wines like top ranked Chateaux Pavie, Figeac, Smith Haut Lafitte, Corton Charlemagne, Margaux, Haut Brion, Clos Vogeot, Meursault, and many more.
What can you expect to do/see in Provence?
Each trip is customized. We stay in small privately owned inns that have beautifully decorated rooms, stunning views, private pool and garden, as well as wifi and client kitchens (to store that fabulous wine and cheese you want to have one evening while watching the sunset.) We plan for the season, special occasions, client preferences and more. We design custom menus based upon regional specialties and client preferences and choose our wines the same way! Below is a partial list of the things you might do/see. Tell us what most interests you!
- Visit to a Roman olive oil mill
- Provencal market days
- Seasonal festivals
- Visit to a Roman bridge
- Cooking lesson with a Michelin starred chef in his restaurant, followed by dinner and wine pairing
- Wine tasting in a gallery open only for us where we taste the famed Chateauneuf du Pape wines
- Visit to a remote family run Auberge for a traditional four course Sunday lunch and a visit to the 1,000 year old ruins
- Private walking tour of a Medieval village
- Visit to an old Bories village (ancient structures) in the woods
- Tour through a church built by the Knights Templar (not usually open to the public)
- Visit to the “painted village” of Rousillon where you can take the "Ocher walk"
- Boutique and gallery visits
- Lunch in a restaurant opened just for us
- Lunch on the back porch of the home of a Michelin starred chef, with a custom menu and fine wines
- Visit to the home workshop of an amazing artisan sorbet and jam maker for dessert in her private garden
- Visit the village of Menerbes, made famous by Peter Mayle in “A Year in Provence”
- Farm visits and walks through the vines
- Visit a restored Chateau
Trip itineraries are subject to modification without notice due to availability. Some items listed here require additional charges.
What is lodging like on a Bliss trip?
Our lodging is boutique, unique and highly comfortable as well as luxurious. They include all of the things you expect from a high level "insider" vacation; wifi, a/c, amenities, tv, minibar/ in room coffee. All have beautiful public areas/lounges, and most have one or more of these extras: private garden, pool, tasting room, client kitchen, terrace.... Every hotel, private property or inn is centrally and perfectly located. We NEVER use a property in "satellite" neighborhoods or in inaccessible country side. EVERY hotel or inn or private property we use has easy (walking) access to restaurants, shopping and wonderful things to see. Trips have different luxury levels. Private travel can range from high *** to super luxurious *****star. Below are some photos of typical and actual rooms that we use on our trips. We provide these photos for illustrative purposes so that clients can get a preview of the level of quality and luxury level on our various vacations.
Dining, Cuisine, Local Foods
Our food philosophy is simple: Authentic, fresh, prepared properly (or as the French say "comme il faut"). We apply that philosophy to country lunches, picnics, Michelin starred restaurants, bistros and markets. Whatever you do, do it right! We focus on the specialties of that chef, that region and that season. When we visit a restaurant (especially of the gastronomic variety) we often dine "off menu" on special dishes prepared only for Bliss. even in our small homey/local restaurants, it's the same. A special menu based upon what that chef does best in that season.
Variety is as important as quality. Not everything is fancy. Not everything is "homey". And not everything is a picnic or market tasting. We work to provide a full range dining experiences on every trip so that you can experience gastronomic Michelin starred dining, local bistros, country/regional cooking, black board menus and local markets. We do the same with our wines during meals highlighting wonderful local wines that cannot be found in the US while providing you with lesser known picks that you will be able to source when you return.
We customize our menus to account for allergies, special diets and special requests. You never have to worry about sitting down and finding something you don't eat on your plate. We incorporate what you tell us in advance into our trip menus.
On our trips you have the option to be active. We explore different sights including places with hills and valleys, cobblestone roads and, in some cases, rocky paths dating back 3000 years. For those who prefer a more leisurely afternoon, there is always that beautiful cafe table, boutique, town square or garden from which to enjoy the view. Special gear is not necessary for those of you who like to walk and be "active". Just bring good walking shoes.
What are the new "active & independent" vacations and how do they differ from Bliss Travels other vacations?
We've had many requests for moderate trips that are more independent. These requests are from people who would like a bit of "Bliss". Our active and independent vacations are our response to this request.
These are vacations that offer travelers a small taste of our custom trips, but in a more moderate setting, with plenty of free time on their own to plan, wonder and enjoy. They are not the same as our full service Bliss Travels trips. These trips are offered only in Bordeaux and Tuscany.
All "active & independent" vacations are 5 nights. They include lodging in small, charming hotels and inns. All include 1-2 hours of physical activity (such as hikes, walks, runs, horseback riding) 3-4 mornings during the trip. All include 1 wine tasting of local wines, 1 privately guided ("Bliss") walking tour of the local destination or other special activity, and 1 or 2 authentic, high quality meals. We provide a Bliss Travels associate for the included activities only. Guests are traveling independently the rest of the time, and therefore free to explore on their own. They may wish to rent cars in some situations. For those seeking a moderate vacation in an exciting venue, with a few special touches, this trip is for you!
We offer a similar sorts of independent vacations of various luxury and service levels in Paris, Barcelona and Florence. You may opt to have us arrange guides and private tours or not, as you wish. These independent trips have written self guided itineraries as well as reservations for lodging and transfers. Look at our destinations to determine what interests you, or simply write firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also design fully private independent OR privately led trips. See our Bespoke Travel page for more details.
For those wanting a fully custom voyage with exclusive access to "closed to the public" venues, and "insider" experiences, full service, mythic wines, and custom menus, our traditional Bliss Travels trips are the best choice for you!