Exploring Provence’s Luberon with Bliss Travels
The forecast was for sweltering weather, those blue sky-cicada-filled days that scream for poolside lounging in Provence.
As I packed the car, I wondered (again) why I was joining a Bliss Travels trip with founder Wendy Jaeger? I do not consider myself a “tour” person – what would the group dynamics be like? Jaeger had gathered a collection of savvy travellers for a five-day stopover in the Luberon. Admittedly, I was curious to see whether Bliss Travels could really deliver on their “off the beaten path” marketing. Would I experience anything new or would it be a standard “seen the Provencal sights” trip?
Jaeger is an American, lawyer who started her bespoke company in 2003; she told the group that she spent two full summers in Southern France developing her itineraries and establishing personal contacts. She visited every proposed location, stayed in each hotel and tasted many restaurant meals.
Clearly, that was a tough job!
Jaeger explained that in the early days of Internet surfing she stumbled across photos of a perched village in the Luberon – it was a place that called to her. Years later, that same hamlet, rich in its Provencal history, has become her home base when she is visiting Provence. It is her “bliss” and was the inspiration for her company name.
The Bliss Travels’ philosophy is to have their clients experience a location, authentically. The groups are deliberately small (maximum of 12) and the program is developed to allow for a perfect blend of relaxation and exploration. A morning off followed by a light hike to a viewpoint. A market tour to pick up supplies for a picnic by a Roman bridge. A cocktail next to some Roman ruins. That is a Bliss Travels tour.
Jaeger builds on her legal research training to understand each of her guests’ likes and dislikes before they arrive. It is those personality profiles that help her to create a memorable customised trip for everyone. Clearly, her formula works, as much (80%) of the Bliss Travels business come from repeat customers.
In our case, the Bliss Travels experience was compressed so Jaeger could provide an overview of what is typically offered on a typical food and wine tour of Provence. In my case, Jaeger made it her goal to find at least one thing, per day, which might be a new “insider” Luberon discovery for me. She delivered – daily!
A rosé cocktail overlooking a perched village.
A collection of Roman artefacts in the middle of an agricultural working town.
A wine tasting under a castle.
A fort high on an escarpment complete with paleo-Christian tombs.
And, the list went on…
Wendy Jaeger likes to demonstrate the extremes of Provence on her tours. A Bliss Travels tour might include barely inhabited villages and chic towns full of tempting boutiques. Or, you might find yourself looking at a private art collection after learning about the bull and horse culture of Provence’s Camargue region.
If you are considering a trip to Provence, whether it is your first time or not, Bliss Travels will deliver the pure joy of a new discovery. These tours are designed for food and wine lovers who love to travel, make new friends and discover unexpected venues.