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Tips & Tales: Hiking with Giulia



According to German philosopher Nietzsche, the well-being we experience while we are immersed in nature derives from the fact that nature has no opinion on us, it doesn’t judge us.

Perhaps, this is the reason why we often feel the necessity to move away from the more tourist itineraries to see natural areas of great and impervious beauty.
 
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We begin with one of our Luxury Experience Designers from our Italian office... Giulia, an enthusiast hiker! She will tell us more about this sport, not only from a technical point of view, but also and above all from an emotional one. Let’s begin!

Hi Giulia, welcome to our ‘Tips & Tales’ column! When and why did you start hiking?

'Hiking' is a very simple word, but it involves a multitude of aspects. From a purely technical point of view, hiking is a sporting activity practiced in natural contexts, such as mountains, meadows or woods. Going for an excursion certainly requires good physical preparation, as the main element is walking.

I live near the Italian Prealps and since I was a small kid my parents always took me to the mountain to spend some time surrounded by pure nature and landscapes.
 
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Growing up I started feeling that nature is my ‘happy place’, it is where I feel myself, complete and happy. This feeling increased a lot after moving back from London, a city that I loved, but where I really missed my mountains and lakes.

In the last years I have been trying to spend at least one day per week hiking. It has become a sort of therapy that helps me to feel peaceful, and it reminds me that we are so small compared to the magnificence of nature. 
 
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What are your best 10 hiking tips for beginners?

1. Wear comfortable shoes.

2. ‘Dress like an onion’, that means to wear several layers of clothes as the temperature may vary a lot while hiking.

3. Bring water and some healthy snacks.

4. Never forget your camera.

5. Don’t hike alone if you are a beginner or if you don’t know the path and the area. 

6. Bring with you sun protection, first aid supplies, and at least a waterproof jacket. 

7. Leave no trace on trails.

8. Watch your feet. 

9. Bring a GPS or a map. 

10. Don’t rush, enjoy every step.
 
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And what about the 5 steps you think are essential to ‘plan out’ a great adventure?

If you are planning a hiking trip in a place you don’t know, here my tips:

1. Check the best period of the year for hiking in that region.

2. Contact a local expert who will arrange the trails according to your level of fitness.

3. Prepare in advance the essentials to bring with you.  

4. Have a local guide accompanying you during the walk, to have the opportunity to learn about the area, its history and natural aspects.

5. Start your adventure with the right spirit, don’t be afraid to fail.

In your opinion, what is the best place for hiking in Italy?

In general, I love places that combine mountains and lakes or sea, where you can enjoy two opposite views. For example, the Cinque Terre, in the Ligurian Coast, is an unmissable place to go for hiking.
 
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If we go North, definitely the Ferret or Veny Valleys, in the Aosta Valley, with its Monte Bianco or ‘Mont Blanc’. And the Dolomites with their well-known peaks. Of course, I have to mention the place where I live, Varese, a province that boasts wonderful mountains and seven lakes located among Milan, Lake Como, Switzerland and Lake Maggiore. In my opinion, they are truly magic places.
 
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Here some of the experiences recommended by Giulia and available on our website: Hiking & Trekking and Hiking at Altitude.

Tips & Tales: Reiki and Meditation with Sylvia



We are delighted to introduce you to our ‘Tips & Tales’ column! 

Our first guest to Tips & Tales is Sylvia, our Account Director USA from our France office. Sylvia is extremely passionate about Reiki and Meditation, and today she will talk about these ancient and peaceful techniques, by also giving us some insightful tips which we hope might be helpful to overcome this hard time that we have all endured, and help us find a new light in our life path.

The idea comes from the desire to share with you the stories of our beloved team members who, besides being excellent professionals and employees are wonderful human beings, full of great passion with many stories to tell and tips to dispense!

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Hi Sylvia, welcome to our ‘Tips & Tales’ column! We’re happy to have you here today, and we are very curious to hear about your passion. 

How would you describe Reiki and Meditation?


Thank you for having me! It’s an honour for me to share my passion here with you. Reiki is a traditional technique used for healing and enlightenment by using Ki, which is the Universal Energy. This Universal Energy exists in everything. It is the life energy inside the human body that gives us natural healing ability and the power to live with vigour.

The use of Reiki was developed as one the secret methods in ancient times. It had been handed down without being revealed to the public eye until being systematized and perfected by Usui Mikao in 1922. Since then Reiki has travelled from Japan through many countries. In Reiki, the effect does not differ from the believer to the non-believer, so we can apply it to anyone who wants to receive it and to animals and plants as well.
 
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Mindfulness means to be present. It means being ‘in the moment’, experiencing life directly as it unfolds. It's a way of stepping back and resting the mind in its natural state. But after a lifetime of being lost in thoughts, the right conditions are needed in order to learn how to step back in this way. That's where meditation comes in, simply as a technique which provides optimum conditions for practicing the skill of mindfulness.

When and why did you start practicing Reiki and Meditation?

Reiki & Meditation brings out joy into my everyday life. My journey to Reiki began in early 2019 when Julia Sidko, my dear colleague at ‘Queen of Clubs Paris’, introduced me to a Reiki Master in Paris. I took three Reiki sessions from the Reiki Master and from the first session I felt a stream of energy flowing through me. I knew deep down in my heart that I wanted to have this serene feeling every single day.
 
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I decided to learn Reiki and I received a First Degree in April 2019. Then I wanted to share this wellness technique to others as well, so I continued the training and I received a Second Degree Reiki in February 2020. As for meditation, I did it for the first time when I was living in Bali, back in 2011. I did it on and off for several years. Then I began to meditate more regularly in 2017 when I was pregnant. I saw a huge benefit not only for me, but also for my family. Today, I continue to practice and I include three short sessions in my daily schedule.
 
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What are your best meditation tips for beginners?

It’s pretty helpful to see meditation as a practice. It’s an experience which gives us nothing new than what we already have within us. However, it helps us to release all the things we no longer need, such as worry, fear, anger, guilt, shame, and so on, so that our inner Light can appear. Meditation is not a quick fix, so we cannot hope to do it once and expect miracles.
 
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At first, we can start with only a couple of minutes a day. We can sit down to meditate first thing in the morning. Alternatively, we can go to our meditation pillow in the evening before going to bed. We can even try it for one minute at the beginning, to establish a daily habit. As we continue, we no longer see meditation as a chore we have to do, instead as a gift we offer to ourselves to relax.

If you are inspired by Sylvia’s passion and you are now looking for unique experiences to reinvigorate your mind and body, take a look at some of the experiences below before you go! 
 
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When it comes to our mind and body we simply deserve the best, and the wellness of our clients is very important to us, so if you are planning to travel to Ibiza we have the right experiences for you! Ibiza is not only one of the best party scenes in the world…. there is definitely something else you can do! 

Why not indulge yourself in unique wellness activities ranging from kundalini yoga to massages and sound meditation? We have a vast amount of options for you to discover when on the island. If a more therapeutic wellness experience is what you seek, you can try our crystal therapy or water therapy experiences. Whatever you may decide on, relaxation will be a guarantee! Take a look at our Wellness section and treat your mind, body and soul to blissful peace and detoxification.

A big thank you to Sylvia for this reinvigorating chat, we hope you enjoyed our first ‘Tips & Tales’ column, wishing you a peaceful and safe day!

 

Road Trip to St Tropez



As promised, here we are with the third and last part of Jennifer and her family’s road trip: St Tropez!

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The Gulf of Saint Tropez is surely the most famous beach destination of the Var coast which provides some of the most spectacular colours in the south of France, the blue waters and white sandy beaches set perfectly against the red rocks from the glorious mountains.
 
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Although its port hosts the largest ships of the French Riviera, originally St Tropez was a simple fishing village discovered by Guy de Maupassant and Paul Signac in the 19th century and in the 20th century became officially what it is today, a glitzy, fashionable hot spot in the south of France thanks to Roger Vadim’s film ‘And God Created Woman’, starring the French sex symbol Brigitte Bardot.
 
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Fully satisfied with their days in Provence amongst the scented lavender fields, little medieval towns overlooking the sea, unmissable museums, exciting horse rides and exhilarating hiking trails, Jennifer and her family left this lyrical landscape straight to St Tropez arriving at Hotel Byblos’ in time for a dip in the pool and lunch.
 
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They then drove out of St Tropez to Ramatuelle to visit ‘Hotel La Reserve’, an intimate and infinitely pleasing home away from home that offers hotel rooms, suites and villas.

There they met Alexandre Lebrat, the Director of Sales, with whom they had an exquisite aperitif with. We would like to thank Alexandre for his warm welcome and great hospitality!
 
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Their first day ended with them dining at ‘Chez Camille’, a lovely on-the-beach restaurant located in Bonne Terrasse, at Ramatuelle. Since 1913 ‘Chez Camille’ offers an authentic ‘family cuisine’ which includes the famous bouillabaisse - a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille - recognised as the specialty of the house, as well as a great selection of seafood and Mediterranean lobsters grilled over a wood fire.

Jennifer loved both the spot and the food. It was her first time trying bouillabaisse and her husband Luca said it was so good that he had four!
 
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On the second day Jennifer decided to visit the traditional open air market held twice a week - every Tuesday and Saturday morning at the famous Place des Lices.

This is a fantastic market which sells a huge range of foods including bread, pastries, cheese, sausages, flowers, olives, spices, herbs, fruit and vegetables, as well as souvenirs, good quality home accessories, antiques, mirrors, vintage posters, paintings, arts and crafts and necessary items such as t-shirts, bags and the typical French Riviera style fashion accessories.

Jennifer loved shopping there and the prices were so good she ended up buying a couple of dresses and cover ups and recommended them to any market lover!
 
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The day ran smoothly and they were particularly excited for the evening, they had a very special aperitif at the Three Michelin Star Restaurant ‘La Vague d’Or’ at ‘Hotel Cheval Blanc St Tropez’.
 
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We would like to quote Jennifer on this: ‘It was amazing!!! It is such a special and insanely beautiful hotel’ gorgeous place to watch the sunset, a true St Tropez hideaway of the rich and famous.
 
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Jennifer truly loved the hotel's position and view of the coast as well as the food at the restaurant. Highly recommended!
 
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After the aperitif, the driver from the ‘Hotel Cheval Blanc St Tropez’ drove them to the port in their Riviera blue Bentley to view some of the biggest and luxurious yachts they have ever seen! They then had dinner at the ideally located ‘Le Girelier’, a charming enlightened venue with an elegant décor, chic crowd and a wonderful view of the harbour, they ate an amazing fish meal.
 
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The morning after they were ready for another great day! They went hiking to the Sentier du Littoral with guide Jean Bernard. It was a very scenic walk, rocky, but very nice to enjoy the coast – encountering some hikers along the way as well as sunbathers on private beaches.  The views were really beautiful and there were some quiet spots which really make the south of France such a special place.
 
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After a great hike under the sun they were definitely ready for lunch and a refreshing swim, and headed straight to the cool and very chic ‘Club Les Palmiers’ a premium moment by the sea!
 
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‘Club Les Palmiers’ is an eco-friendly beach club, gorgeous décor with a very cool crowd, the perfect place to relax and lose yourself in the blue horizon. Both the restaurant and the beach were well-equipped; you can enjoy your swim while receiving great service right at your chair until sundown...
 
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In the evening, they went for dinner in town, at the Place des Lices, where there is no market at night, just lots of people hanging out under the beautiful lamps and trees and playing pétanque - a form of boules where the goal is to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called cochonnet. The atmosphere was magical, a great spot for people watching!

Another day, another lovely beach club, ‘La Réserve à la Plage’ located on Pampelonne beach, echoes exceptional natural surroundings.
 
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The service was another level! You will never find a grain of sand on your sunbed again! The wonderful staff regularly brush the sand off your sunbed before you comfortably lay and relax.

Using your phone on the beach has never been so easy with the good wi-fi connection along with secure lockers where you can charge your phone or keep your belongings. In addition, you can also get a relaxing massage at your sunbed, as well as food and drinks.
 
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Bar, restaurant, beach shop and sunbathing are available from morning to night, and amid the chic bohemian atmosphere, a few surprising details recall the heady pop-art vibe of the original Tropezian myth.
 
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Before lunch Jennifer and her daughter Lily went parasailing and were collected by boat, the experience was unforgettable!

The views were sensational, taking in sites of the beach, the inland and the amazing yachts docked at the harbour made the adventure super exciting, Lilly absolutely loved it and wanted to go again immediately after!

We highly recommend this experience to anyone who would like to try something different with their families and have loads of fun!
 
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In the evening, they had their last dinner in St Tropez at ‘Le Strand’, an idyllic restaurant and champagne lounge which offers a chic and relaxed atmosphere, paired with a succulent selection of French dishes. The location, food and service got a ten out of ten by Jennifer and her family too!
 
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Although Cinque Terre and Provence were truly stunning, St Tropez definitely stole Jennifer’s heart! It was her and her family’s favourite destination from their entire road trip.
 
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It is always very sad to reach the end of our holidays, and this is what Jennifer felt too, but it was lovely to share her special time on the road with us all. 

If you liked the places Jennifer visited, you can check below the best way to explore this gem on the southern coast of France.

We leave you for now, but we might come back soon with another trip to tell, who knows!
 
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Welcome to St Tropez is the perfect full day experience to explore the city. Your private driver/guide will take you on a tour to discover this centuries-old town, its harbour, its lovely market, and glamorous lifestyle. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy the local fresh food and a boat tour around the famous peninsula.

Did You Know? The Palace of Versailles is the Result of a Sweet Royal Revenge by Louis XIV!



All started when Nicolas Fouquet, the French finance minister, who was known for his intelligence, boldness, and devotion to the monarchy, decided to build a Palace to reflect his grandeur. Louis Le Vau, Fouquet’s architect, helped him to realise his project and created for him a half-stone half-brick building that would represent a transition in the history of architecture. Louis Le Vau mixed Classicism and Baroque and created a perfect compromise called 'Palace of Vaux le Vicomte'. 

In August 1661, Louis XIV was invited to the newly-finished Vaux-le-Vicomte, where Fouquet organised a party to showcase his extraordinary Palace, including the beautiful gardens and their fountains, as well as the architecture of the entire building. It was such a big show that it would be remembered as one of the finest celebrations in 17th century France.

But Louis XIV was not pleased at all. He wanted a château of his own, a testament to his sovereignty, something that could show his authority, and no one else could own something better! The 22-year-old King drew up a plot to ensure Fouquet’s downfall and he had him arrested a month later. 

Ultimately, Louis XIV decided to renovate his father’s small hunting lodge near the village of Versailles. He designated Fouquet’s architect, painter, and gardener as the team that would work on his project. Guess what? The Palace of Versailles came to life!

Curious about visiting Versailles with this in mind? If so, we can help you plan a private visit to the ‘Galerie des Glaces’ - Versailles to Yourself - former home of Louis XIV, an exclusive and unique full day tour including a visit to the local market of Versailles, the matchless gardens - which were Marie Antoinette’s private sphere - the Grand and Petit Trianons, and also a luxury picnic in the gardens of the Palace itself - Luxury Picnic in the Gardens of Versailles.

Instead, for those who want to see the place that moved King Louis XIV to the jealous rage we definitely recommend either a half or a full day tour, respectively Vaux le Vicomte and Vaux le Vicomte & Fontainebleau.

Road Trip to Provence



Last week we left Jennifer in Cinque Terre, a coastal area within Liguria in the northwest of Italy - if you missed it you can click here and have a quick read before immersing yourself in the beauty of Provence and the French Riviera, also known as the Côte d'Azur, where Jennifer and her family headed to after Cinque Terre.
 
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The Côte d'Azur forms the ultimate pleasure zone, where the mix of the chic French, the Mediterranean climate and the Latin lifestyle, make this region one of the best in Europe. 

The South of France, with its picturesque hilly villages and seaside hotspots was first discovered in the 18th century by foreign aristocrats, and then by artists who hung out there and made it one of the world’s most magical coasts.
 
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Whether you wish to chill at the beach, visit antique markets, see hot exhibitions, taste amazing meals at some of the world’s top Michelin star restaurants, go hiking, climbing, white-water rafting, horse riding, or walking through the lavender fields in Côte d'Azur you can really do it all!

Jennifer and her family did most of these activities and we are going to sum up their best moments with beautiful shots they took along the way.
 
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Their first stop was Saint Paul de Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera, well known for its modern and contemporary art museums and galleries such as the ‘Fondation Maeght’, and also for its famous hotel and restaurant ‘La Colombe d'Or’ where artists like Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre and many others stayed, and who in exchange for a room donated their art.

The hotel still sells their artwork, located in the gardens and displayed on their walls. Jennifer and her family had lunch there on their first day, a unique experience that combines exquisite food and extraordinary art.

And if you would like to make your day even more special you cannot miss a walk through the village, among the typical medieval alleys, wonderful galleries, all enhanced by the stunning view of Cote d’Azur sea and gorgeous landscape.
 
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Then onto ‘Villa La Coste’, a contemporary Luxury Hotel and SPA situated halfway between the historic town of Aix en Provence, home of Cezanne, and the famous Luberon Natural Park situated in the midst of the Provençal landscape, in the heart of the biodynamic vineyard Château La Coste, an international destination for art, architecture and natural beauty. 

To end the day on a super high they enjoyed dinner at the restaurant Francis Mallman, where they tasted the finest Argentinian meat which was excellent along with the ‘Chateau La Coste’ red wine, very, very good! 
 
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The day after they decided to relax and enjoy the hotel and pool along with really good food served at ‘Villa La Coste’. In the evening, they drove for about 30 minutes to Aix en Provence for a relaxed walk and dinner.  

After a day of chilling they were ready for a new adventure and hit the road again! The Rhône delta city of Arles was waiting for them…

Arles is an intimate village characterised by a maze of narrow stone streets, located at the crossroad of the Rhône River and the Via Aurelia in the 6th century BC made it a natural choice for development by the Romans. Once you have seen the Roman ruins, you can also learn about the former splendour of Roman Arles at the ‘Musée départemental Arles antique’. 
 
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ART LOVERS ALERT! Visitors usually travel to Arles to visit Van Gogh’s old haunts, where he lived and worked with Gauguin, and the ‘Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles’, where art lovers will find a collection of works by contemporary artists in tribute to the Dutch artist.

But the actual gem is ‘Luma’, a cultural centre originally established by Maja Hoffman in Switzerland in 2004 and dedicated to providing artists with opportunities to experiment in the production and presentation of new work in close collaboration with other artists, curators, scientists, innovators and audiences.

The Luma Foundation's current focus is to create a truly experimental cultural complex in Arles, not open to the public yet.
 
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After their morning art fix in Arles it was time for a fabulous feast at ‘La Chassagnette’, a Michelin starred restaurant and organic garden from which Chef Arnal draws his inspiration according to the seasons, this was one special vegetarian lunch to remember! Completely unique!
 
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The day was not over yet and the best part was still to come!

Right after lunch they drove for about 1h to Camargue, a mysterious flat wild area of lagoons and marshes, salt flats and rice fields, where you can still see cowboys riding white horses and groups of flamingos flocking together through the waters.

This is one of France’s greatest wildlife reserves and Jennifer and her family enjoyed an amazing hour riding horses while also looking at a large number of flamingos in their natural environment.
 
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After this incredible experience, they drove back to ‘Villa La Coste’ for the last night.

The following day they drove to ‘Chateau Fonscolombe’ and visited this breathtaking Relais & Châteaux in a listed historic monument with a winery and hectares of vineyards, located in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade.

They also met with GM Vincent Bergmann, who we would like to thank for his kind hospitality as well as their enjoyable stay.
 
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They dropped their luggage and drove straight to Marseille, loving the scenery and its history. They spent their day touring by boat, visiting the famous Calanques and Cassis and discovering the coast with the support and passion of the captain.

Following on from this beautiful day by the sea they then visited a must-see natural attraction, the lavender fields in the Luberon!
 
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Provence's fields start to bloom in June and by the end of the month most of the region's lavender will be flowering - the fields peak in early to mid-July. Dozens of lavender fields can be found down to the hills of Valensole Plateau, about an hour north of Aix-en-Provence. 

Then, off they go again to another spot! They went to Roussillon and hiked the ‘Path of Ochre’ - ‘Les Sentiers des Ocres’ - which they loved, as well as the very charming village of Roussillon and its magical views of the Luberon. 
 
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And so, we reach the end of Jennifer’s road trip to Provence and we promise, the third and last trip will be the coolest. 

Here’s a clue: the fashionable star of the Var coast, also connected to the French sex symbol Brigitte Bardot. Any guesses?

Meanwhile, if you feel inspired and interested in booking any of the experiences Jennifer and her family enjoyed, then take a look below, we have listed the very best for you! 
 
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Considered to be France at its finest, you can discover the wonderful villages of the Luberon and enjoy spectacular countryside views, orchards and hilltop villages of this stunning area of Provence with your friendly guide by choosing Picturesque Luberon

If you would like to find out more about the Provence of Van Gogh, while visiting beautiful provincial villages as well as tasting some local wines at Chateau Lacoste with your friendly and knowledgeable guide, then go for Van Gogh’s Provence.

If you liked Jennifer’s hiking experience in the Roussillon, then we highly recommend Hike and Culture of Provence. This tour is the perfect mix of culture, history, and sport activity. Discover the beautiful villages of Provence and enjoy a hike in the Roussillon with your friendly driver/guide on this exceptional tour of this fantastic area.

Obviously, we also have something for history, horses and lavenders lovers: Romans in Provence, Beautiful Camargue and Lavender Fields in Provence.

And for a half day tour exploring Marseille, a vibrant and lively port bursting with history, creativity, and diversity you can opt for the City Tour of Marseille.

Our Planet



Over the years, our negligence has catapulted us into a new era of crisis which brought us to enter the so-called ‘decade of action’. We are now facing the most urgent call humankind has ever faced, climate change and, along with it, so many other issues caused by the threats our planet Earth has endured because of mankind. In this regard, we would like to share with you a book by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, ‘The Future We Choose’, we found very insightful and on-topic. 

‘for centuries […] conquerors of distant lands pillaged colonies for metals, minerals, and exotic foods, in many cases leaving little more than chaos, infectious diseases, and Bibles in exchange. As managers of fertile soils, we humans have proved remarkably effective at extracting trees and nutrients, leaving only depleted topsoil in our wake. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these instincts. They help us grow to meet rising challenges. But our growth, both personal and professional, is a two-way street: what we get and what we give. As a species, however, we have become used to a one-way transaction, that of getting, often losing sight of the void that our taking has created. […] Staring us in the face is a huge red sign that reads STOP: PRECIPICE AHEAD’.

This statement helps us think about how humans have always taken from nature without giving back or at least respecting it. Nature provides us with our oxygen, regulates our weather patterns, pollinates our crops, produces our food, our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, and most importantly, oxygen, the air that we breathe, are all provided and regulated by the sea. 

We really need to protect our ocean, all our wonderful animals, plants, species on Earth, and coexist harmoniously, not only because we need them, but because we occupy the same space since our planet originated, and we both have the same rights to be here.

We can all do something, both as individuals and businesses. Now, more than ever before, our goal is to adopt a sustainable way of living by taking very few precautions: donate what we don’t use, avoid wastefulness, recycle, respect and support local economies, help children to become aware during their growth, use affordable and clean energy. 

Together we will do our best to protect our planet, and we truly believe becoming closer to nature is our future to happiness, so from today onwards we’ll meet you weekly on our social media feed to share authentic pictures and videos of the beautiful nature from all of our destinations with the hope you’ll enjoy our point of view on what we believe is the greatest treasure of our life.

Another Day, Another Valley - #TravelBecause



Whether they were explorers, pilgrims, merchants, errant knights, colonisers, captives, castaways, ambassadors, pirates, or scientists, travellers filled most of history from medieval to modern times.

In the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries the history of travelling in Europe was characterised by a new paradigm for travelling, called the ‘Grand Tour’, usually described as the traditional trip undertaken for pleasure by the social élite.

It began as a French expression, ‘le grand tour’, but it was appropriated by Britons of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries who had enough money to travel. It was a social ritual aimed to prepare these young men for leadership.

The Grand Tour had a common itinerary: crossing the Channel, going through the Loire Valley, Paris, and then Geneva; after that, the tourists would cross the Alps and proceed through Turin, Milan, Florence, Venice, Rome, and Naples. The average duration was around two years. On their way back the tourists’ journey would include Austria, Germany, and Holland. However, Italy and France were the most popular destinations.

Throughout the centuries, travelling has taken on different shapes, starting in the form of educational experience for aristocratic students, then it evolved into something different. Travelling, as we know it nowadays, embraces a new way of being in the world. The modern travellers want to broaden their horizons, while also enjoying the leisure aspects of it. This is the case of our lovely team member Giulia, who has recently been to Courmayeur in Italy hiking among the stunning Alpine villages, such as Valgrisenche, Val Veny, Val Ferret and many others.

Unfortunately, Covid19 has harshly hit our lives and the travel industry sector, but at the same time it has pushed us to reconsider the place where we live. Therefore, even though for the most it’s very difficult to travel due to the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel, we can still travel within our country - as Giulia did - and enjoy the beauty it offers.

We have to join together, in this collective effort, so that once these hard times are over we’ll be able to travel freely once again, and we’ll be stronger than ever and waiting for you, ready to be at your disposal with our love, passion and experience.

#TravelBecause authentic travel experiences can open your mind to life’s endless possibilities.

#TravelBecause the more you see of the world, the more you’ll realise how it works.

#TravelBecause it increases happiness.

#TravelBecause you’ll discover as much about yourself as you do about the world.

#TravelBecause travel is what makes us feel part of the same world.

Did You Know? The Real Capital of Light is Lyon!



For over 30 years, every year at the beginning of December, the city of Lyon lights up in an explosion of lights and colours. The streets, the squares, and the facades of emblematic monuments welcome artistic installations created by designers, artists, and video makers.

This tradition originated in 1643, when the citizens of Lyon made a vow to the Virgin Mary to protect the city from the plague, promising that if they had survived every year they would have climbed the Fourvière hill to pay homage. Every year the Lyonnais went to the hill and decided to build a church dedicated to the Virgin.

Two hundred years later, on December 8, 1852, a strong storm interrupted the inauguration of the bell tower on which a statue dedicated to the Virgin was resting. Suddenly the storm stopped, the sky cleared and the Lyonnais illuminated the facades of their homes with lanterns and they went out into the streets to celebrate the Virgin Mary until late at night. Since that day, the Festival of Lights - ‘Fête des Lumières’ - is celebrated every year.

‘Beauty, Science, and Art Will Always Triumph' - Christo



An exquisite phrase written in a 1958 letter by artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, most famously known as Christo. He was born on June 13th, 1935, in Gabrovo, Bulgaria.

In 1958 where he went to Paris, where he met Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, his wife, life partner, and creator of outdoor and indoor monumental environmental works of art. Jeanne-Claude passed away on November 18, 2009. Unfortunately, Christo passed away of natural causes earlier this week in his home in New York City. A statement from Christo's office says: "Christo lived his life to the fullest, not only dreaming up what seemed impossible but realizing it.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude's artwork brought people together in shared experiences across the globe, and their work lives on in our hearts and memories. Christo and Jeanne-Claude have always made clear that their artworks in progress be continued after their deaths.
 
'L'Arc de Triomphe Wrapped' is one of them. First conceived in 1962 with his partner Jeanne-Claude, the piece is to involve the covering of the iconic arch in 269,097 square feet of recyclable silvery-blue fabric, making it one of Christo's most prominent works to date. His studies about this unprecedented work date back to 1961, when Christo was renting a room near the Arc de Triomphe. After further education in the 1970s and 1980s, and after almost sixty years, his project will finally be recognized. It won't receive any public funds, but it will be wholly funded through the sale of his drawings, collages, and preparatory studies of the project.
 
'L'Arc de Triomphe Wrapped' was initially expected to debut in September of 2020, but due to COVID-19, it has been postponed to September 18 – October 3, 2021. Anticipation grows as we wait to see another of Christo's masterpiece coming to life. However, as France enters phase two of deconfinement, we can enjoy the reopening of many museums and galleries from June 16th, as well as a compelling exhibition in memory of Christo at Centre Pompidou, which will highlight the work of one of the most celebrated contemporary artist.

The exhibition 'Christo et Jeanne - Claude Paris!' will run from July 1st to October 19th 2020, get in touch with us for more information, and don't forgtet to put your mask on!

The Most Dangerous Thing About Coronavirus is the Hysteria



Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This message comes intentionally relatively late as we did not want to add more misleading information into your already congested inbox after this hysterical week.

After all the recent events in Italy, Europe is in fightback mode, trying a concerted approach to lessen the coronavirus panic.

I am sure that worlds' governments will act the same as this is to be considered a global issue and would be a mistake to think that this problem can be circumscribed to certain countries.

We are worried that an "epidemic of misleading information" would damage "more than the virus itself", which has in fact infected so far 0.1% of certain towns in Italy and even the local governments admitted that a normal life should continue as it has been.

"It's time to stop the panic", said the Prime Minister in Italy, asking the national broadcaster Rai to "tone down".

Everybody appeals for calm. Milan and the North of Italy are re-opening museums, bars and public attractions reducing security measures which were put in place just at the beginning to take the necessary time to better understand the facts of the situation at hand.

But this is a story driven by perceptions, and if it's true that "The most dangerous thing about coronavirus is today hysteria", I truly believe we should all take the time to think carefully before reacting in an emotional and fear based way.

While it is human nature to worry, we are confident that your clients understand how to discern a real threat from a perceived one, therefore, if the idea is to cancel their trip and their travel dates are more than two weeks away, we recommend to wait another week or so before making any final decision.

Please contact us to discuss alternative options as we are here as your partner to insure that clients ultimately experience a memorable vacation while not putting their health and safety at risk.

Reminding you that Queen of Clubs hotline is open 24/7 every day and Jennifer and I are always at your complete disposal,

I wish you a peaceful Friday,

Filippo

​​​​​​​Delve into Paris’



Unique collections of art this year!

Celebrate Henri Matisse’s 150th birthday with a visit to the Centre Pompidou showing an original exhibit of the relationship between the painter and literature. And what would Paris be without a bit of fashion? Explore the Christian Louboutin exhibition devoted to this amazing designer’s work, creativity and inspirations.

Don’t forget, its Paris Design Week in September, sprinkled with exhibits from across the world, its fast becoming a world-renowned celebration of talent.

We have so many more wonderful exhibits, keep an eye on our Ticket page! 
 

Museum Openings in Paris



Great news for art lovers!

Such an exciting time for museums in Paris this year with so many openings, you must try and fit them all in!

The Pinault Collection, opening in early 2020, will house the private collection of French billionaire François Pinault. This includes around of 5,000 works by artists such as Jeff Koons, Cy Twombly, and Cindy Sherman.

The Palais Galliera’s Chanel collections, the Paris exhibition by Henri Cartier-Bresso at The Carnavalet Museum, Victor Hugo's house museum in the heart of the Place des Vosges he wrote Les Misérables and the historic monument built under Louis XV opposite Place de la Concorde are all open this year and promise to encapsulate the spirit of Paris!

#queenofclubfrance

Only the Best for the Euro 2020



It’s that time to indulge in a month of fantastic football. 12 cities. 12 countries. From the finest in hospitality and accommodation to private jets, transfers, and fantastic experiences, we have amazing packages for you!

Premium Locations
Get into the game with luxurious service available in Rome, London, Glasgow, Dublin and now also in Amsterdam! Enjoy sublime cuisine and fine dining. See the matches from the best vantage points. Experience the most superb hospitality luxuries available and pamper yourself with the most delicious tastes of Europe as you’re immersed in the action and spectacle.

Exciting Packages
With packages including the finest seats available for the best views, access to private suites before and after matches, dedicated service, high-end cuisine, and a vast array of beverages as well as additional entertainments, food stations, commemorative gifts and more, there’s definitely something for everyone!

Around the Globe
We also offer incredible packages at the additional destinations of the remaining matches. Enjoy the game at the best venues in these cities offering perfect views of the matches, committed service and relaxing luxuries for the ultimate in sophisticated enjoyment.

Service meets Luxury
Queen of Clubs can help you with every aspect of your trip. We offer private jets, meet and greet services and superior cars as well as amazing experiences, tours and luxurious accommodation. All of our services are available on request so please do get in touch with us to find out more.

For additional information on what we can offer, please request our newly published Euro 2020 Brochure, just email sports@Qofclubs.com

New Decade New You



2020 is a new decade and definitely the season for change. From your personal style and your home to amazing new experiences for you and your family, grab 2020 by the horns and live!

Look très chic. A makeover is just the ticket to banish those January blues. New hair, fresh look, update your wardrobe. Let our stylists help to transform you into your best self.

Maybe it’s time to redecorate? There’s nothing like starting afresh with your home; both inside and out. Let our gifted interiors designers work with you transform your space into a haven.

Think variety and personal growth for 2020! Start checking things off that bucket list with some of the amazing artistic experiences available in Paris. You can learn flower arranging, table setting, create your own table linens and even paint with a true Parisian artist!

Shop for antiques with an expert of Fashion or Art both in the City of Light and outside where the dealers find their treasure troves. Explore the amazing antique markets of Paris and Provence such as St Ouen or the Isle Sur la Sorgue.

Get the kids into the ‘new you’ mood too! There are some great workshops what will really kick their creativity into full speed while they have a ton of fun! They can visit a DJ’s workshop and learn to mix or go to a Vinyl concept store and find that perfect, epic album.

Let the new year begin with delicious cuisines in exciting places! There’s nothing like Parisian delicacies to excite the palate. Have dinner or tea with a Parisian couple and immerse yourself in French culture.

You’ll feel so at ease you may decide you want to buy a home from home in Paris! We can help you find the ideal apartment in a perfect neighbourhood just for you. And then our designers can help you decorate it!

France is known for the quality of its medical treatments, why not consider it for your cosmetic or medical needs? Our concierge services include finding the best medical advice, practitioners and surgeons within 72 hours. Everything we do is highly personalized and delivered by a caring and conscientious team who take the time to understand your priorities, needs and requirements. During your journey, we are also happy to organize you and your companions' activities outside your medical appointments as well.

Truly Jet-setting



Air travel is a truly luxury experience and flying privately really is the only way to fly!

Travelling ‘door-to-door’ is just what the doctor ordered – relaxing, less stress, more efficiency. It’s a much happier and luxurious experience all around!

In a schedule that revolves completely around you, get from A to B conveniently no matter where A and B are! Bordeaux to the South of France? No problem. Travel between Madrid or Barcelona to Ibiza, St Tropez and Ibiza, Paris, London, Rome, Florence, or Naples with no connections and no lengthy waits.

Single, return and multiple leg journeys can be tailored to you and your needs. If you are a group of 4 or more, it may even be more cost effective to travel for business or leisure via private jet. Specific scheduling or flight routing for attending business meetings has never been easier.

By-pass security. Fly from private terminals in bespoke aircrafts. Travel with no connections through smaller airports. Meet your pilot, and unwind during your flight, feeling refreshed at the other end - this is what private jet travel is all about!

Queen of Clubs is an official licensed private jet broker and an expert in private jet travel within Europe. We can source the best plane for your trip of complete luxury!

Paris News Update



We have seen sudden and unexpected closures of monuments such as the Catacombs without notice. We are also monitoring this continuously to ensure that everyone on the ground remains as unaffected as possible.

Clients could be impacted by these strikes such as potential late arrivals to meeting points, entrances to museums and for sightseeing with guides, timed touring/experiences or restaurant reservations. Therefore, in the lead up of the arrival of your clients, we would like to suggest that you consider organising a car to stay at their disposal (minimum of 4 hours), so that they are not impacted negatively by these strikes. Traffic will still exist and pick up times will be earlier than usual.

Should you require further clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact us. If you do have any clients coming to Paris during this period and you are unsure if they will be impacted, please call us for assistance at +33 1 77 72 17 31 or by emailing: Booking.Paris@Qofclubs.com

Thank you for your continued support! Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2020!

 

That Yuletide Feeling in France



There’s something about Christmas in France - that wonderful feeling it gives you at this time of year; a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that just can’t be duplicated anywhere else. 

Strolling through the grounds of beautiful chateau, decorated for the season with amazing displays of light is a must. The Chateau Vaux Le Vicomte definitely doesn’t disappoint! The dazzling lights and visual aesthetics transform the estate into another world.

Or, on Paris’ left bank in the Jardin de Plantes lurk warm seas and mysterious abysses in an amazing festival cutting through the winter’s nights. The ‘Océan en Voie d’Illumination’ is very popular, especially for the little ones with its illuminated animals and entrancing Poles.

While you’re in Paris, check out the Louvre’s Dav Vinci exhibit, marking 500 years since the master’s death. See his most famous paintings as well as many drawings that have survived half a millennium. 

There are also some amazing pieces by Frances Bacon and Charlotte Perriand and even an NBA Game on the 24 January between the Hornets and Bucks in the first ever regular-season game in the city!

With its Christmas markets, well-known attractions, not to mention a plethora of seasonal concerts (from Swan Lane and the Cirque to Soleil to Chopin and even Harry Potter!) the City of Light is the ultimate destination for the end of 2019 and into the New Year. Not only is there an abundance of fun to be had on Christmas Day, but the 26th isn’t a holiday at all. Every attraction is open and waiting. 

News From Paris - National Strike 5th of December!



News from our Paris office!

You might be aware of the planned National strike action (trains, buses and Metro, airports and Air France) in France on December 5th, as well as the recurring Yellow Vest movement on Saturdays in December and January.

At the moment, Queen of Clubs cannot guarantee any short usage of cars during the national strike, such as transfers on the 5th December. However, cars booked for a minimum of 8 hours will not be affected.

The Queen of Clubs team will monitor and advise all travelling clients. On Saturdays, QOC recommends avoiding city centres and enjoying Paris’ surroundings such as a trip to beautiful Versailles, Champagne or to the Chateau Vaux Le Vicomte.

The opening hours of some attractions in Paris (and the rest of France) might be affected, however, the City of Light will still be its same romantic self for your visit!

With love Queen of Clubs France x

10 Years



Over the past ten years, it’s been a wonderful journey, making great friendships, forming lasting partnerships and creating a lifestyle of wanderlust and luxurious experiences.

We thank you all deeply for keeping our wonderful dream alive and helping to keep Queen of Clubs at the forefront of the industry.

Our biggest thanks goes to our team at Queen of Clubs who, each and every day, strive to make the company everything it can be.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Filippo & Jennifer

Celebrating 10 years of limitless luxury.

Excited to Be Live!



We are just over the moon to present our new and exciting website! The idea was to create an exclusive platform for ease and dependability with everything at your fingertips - just for you.

Password protected, navigating through our weird and wonderful experiences and luxury services is quick, easy and stress-free! Explore our vast range of tickets that we can acquire for concerts, sports, ballet, opera, cabaret, and other events - even if they’re sold out!

The elements of our QofC Lifestyle section have been carefully selected, listing our suggested hotels and restaurants. Enquire about nightlife - including a star selection of Beach Clubs and the best of Ibizan bars and clubs.

All of this can be enjoyed whilst listening to the beats of Filippo Torriani’s playlists on our Music page, complementing the vibe of your week, and don’t forget to keep an eye on this page – Stories – to stay caught-up on the latest news of our four destinations: UK, France, Italy and Ibiza.

Get started
You’ll be asked to fill in a quick, one-time form to create a password for our exclusive experiences. This will be sent via email and that’s literally it; you’ll be able to view our full range!

We hope you love our new website as much as we do. 

Enjoy browsing! With love