As part of Travcoa’s celebrated Anniversary Journeys, we set out to create a singular tour of France that takes elegant excess to new head-spinning levels. Well, we don’t mean to brag, but our Tour d’Elegance journey elicits more “Wow!” moments than most travelers experience in a lifetime. Here are five of the most fabulous:
Peeking inside a parfumerie — Smell the roses — along with jasmine, iris, and pivone — at Fragonard, one of Frances leading perfumeries. Travcoa guests are treated to a private, behind-the-scenes tour of this legendary, family-run factory located in an enchanting, aromatic gardens in Grasse. Fragonard is famous for its Etoile fragrance inspired by the broaches Provencal women once wore, and the parfumerie maintains a unique collection of antique perfume items.
Dining with the stars — Culinary experiences reach celestial proportions on our Tour d’Elegance journey, which includes numerous meals at Michelin-starred venues. Lunch at Le Bastide Saint Antoine in Provence, where chef Jacques Chibois performs epicurean alchemy in the midst of 1,000-year-old olive trees. Christian Etienne is one of Avignon’s top tables, occupying a 12th-century palace adjacent to the Palais des Papes. It’s white-on-white décor at über-elegant Le Millenaire (The Millennium) in Reims, a blank canvas for chef Laurent Laplaigne’s famous black truffle-stuffed pastry and other seasonal fare. The list goes on….
Designing a dream gown — The Parisian haute couture house of designer Ana Quasoar creates custom, “dream-to-wear” wedding gowns for the world’s most discriminating brides. Only the finest materials are used: rare Calais lace, silk from France and Italy, precious items that express a woman’s individual personality. Travcoa guests enjoy the rare chance to go inside the house and meet with the designer to discover her inspiration and gain unique insight into her craft.
Experiencing a bonsoir of bubbly — Founded in 1729, Ruinart Champagne cellars is the world’s oldest Champagne house. While relatively unknown beyond the realm of sophisticated oenophiles, Ruinart produces some of the world’s most exquisite bubblies, and was favored by royal courts throughout Europe. Our exclusive evening begins with a private tour of the winery, followed by a cocktail reception and extravagant dinner pairing a different Champagne with each course.
Stepping into a Van Gogh canvas — Picturesque St. Remy de Provence was immortalized in the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. A stroll through the narrow, cobbled streets of this charming village, with its hidden squares and centuries-old plane trees, brings the master’s work to life. So too does a visit to Saint-Paul de Mausole, the medieval monastery where van Gogh lived with houses a small museum including a reconstruction of the artist’s room.
Special Mention: Just missing the list are the Paris city tour in a vintage Citroen Deux Cheveaux, and an enology course in Lyon followed by a pairing lunch at the acclaimed 101 Vins by Pierre Many restaurant.