Popes Palace Avignon, France: Private Experiences

French Wine Explorers | Tuesday, Oct 21st 2008
popes palace

The Popes Palace in Avignon, Private Experiences and Tours

In Avignon, at the Popes Palace, we continue our wine and culinary tourism conference, and today is dedicated to meeting as many wine and culinary tour suppliers as physically possible in one day-under one roof. The trade show is represented by regional and local tourist boards, but there are also accommodation and service providers and my mission is to see if there’s anything that we should include in our product mix.

The day is set up like speed dating, pre-selected (by us) appointments lasting 20 minutes. During that time you need to extrapolate the heart of what you are looking for-so niceties and being fashionably late are a scarlet letter to the uninitiated. I managed to squeeze in 11 this morning before heading to lunch, which I consumed very quickly in order to squeeze in a couple of visits outside of the trade show with local hotels, and then returning in the afternoon for more appointments. I’ll dedicate one blog to accommodations to give a description of the six hotels visited.

I made some really great additional connections with local providers, as well as those representing Champagne and Burgundy, two areas that are always in demand with our guests.

Back to the hotel before venturing back to the Popes’ Palace where we had an enchanting evening of fine dining paired with marvelous wines during a private reception in the Palace itself. Our meal was thematic: all courses revolved around the famous black truffles of the area. For those who have never had black truffles, this was probably a lifetime’s experience with the elusive truffle: from the appetizers, to the entrees, main course, and yes even dessert included truffles. The evening ended with Cirque du Soleil-esque fireworks and luminary display-luckily the weather cooperated with us (we had rain almost every day along with the mistral).

We now have connections so that, by request, guests can enjoy a private “Secret Palace” visit culminating with a private dinner in a portion of the Popes’ Palace not open to the public, on an enchanted terrace with an outstanding view of Avignon. This is  subject to availability (outside of the summer months). This little gem is the ideal location for an special occasion dinner, incentive celebration, or just because (up to 18 persons max)!

Tomorrow I spend the afternoon with Olivier, our trusted guide for the Southern Rhone, where we’ll spend some time visiting estates, and of course tasting fine wine.

What is on your wish list for things to do on a wine tour? Let us know below!

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