share this blog

Facebook Twitter More...

Postcards from La Champagne and Paris

I have just returned from an incredible trip to the amazing region of LaChampagne in France followed by 5 wonderful days in beautiful, sunny Paris.

While I often get asked about a day trip to Reims from Paris (just one hour by train) to visit a champagne cellar, never have I been asked to design an itinerary around a week or so in this spectacular region totally void of tourists. If you have plans to return to France and enjoy a glass of bubbly, this region should be high on your list. With the 3 beautiful cities of Reims, Epernay and Troyes anchoring the area, miles and miles of scenic vineyards and countless, gorgeous stone villages interspersed, there is enough to see and do to keep you busy for days or even weeks. We even squeezed in a visit to Renoir’s House and Studio in Essoyes. Between our educational talks at the International Wine Tourism Conference, and the many visits to world-famous champagne houses such as Veuve Clicquot, Taittinger, Collet and Mercier along with several visits to small independent wineries producing amazing champagnes – some selling for just 15 Euros a bottle – we learned a wealth of facts and figures about this fabulous product. During our stay there, we sampled champagnes paired with all kinds of foods … with the exception of a very rare table wine called Rose de Riceys produced from only certain pinot noir grapes in one small village, the bubbly was served exclusively at every meal. Usually 5 different varieties with 5 different courses. Only very few producers make Rosé des Riceys wines, and in limited quantities, so they are very rarely seen outside France. Stretching from Reims in Marne due east of Paris south to the Aube and the border of Bourgnone (Burgundy), La Champagne covers a large and beautiful area of France that should definitely be on your must-see list!! With the help of all my new found friends in the area, we can design a fantastic itinerary for you!


Following my week in LaChampagne, I traveled by train into Paris where I took time to explore in depth the areas of St. Germain de Pres and the Marais as well as visit some of the lesser known museums, such as the Musee de Cluny, L’Orangerie, and Musee Rodin which were all small and amazing. A visit to Monet’s house and Gardens in Giverny rewarded us with a blaze of color thanks to the incredibly warm weather. Finally a return to the summit of the Eiffel Tower after 45 years! Here despite having the required timed ticket entry, the lines for the elevators to reach the summit took over an hour … and then there are the lines to get down again. BUT I have discovered the secret sauce … how to get up the Eiffel Tower without waiting in the elevator lines! Ask me how for your next trip to Paris.

Stays in two of my favorite Left Bank Hotels, Relais Christine and L’Espirit St. Germain just made our visit very special.


Definitely missing my glass of champagne today …….



Paris & Normandy - In Celebration of Wine

We have an exclusive extension of the early booking discount until August 31st, 2015. Also we are now able to give you $150 per person on board credit. COME AND JOIN US …. CAN YOU SAY “CHAMPAGNE!!”

Paris & Normandy (wine)_Largay Travel - Trisha Iannazzi VERSION 2-with Holly Howell bio_Page_1



Top 10 European Rail Journeys

A&K Destination management company
Top European Rail JourneysRomantic, comfortable and sublimely picturesque, rail travel is one of Europe’s great pleasures.

It is also a fast and relaxing way to combine destinations to create your perfect itinerary.

Meanwhile our outstanding Concierge Rail Service ensures your travel between destinations with the ease and comfort you have come to expect from an us.

For inspiration, take a look at our top 10 European rail journeys.

Top 10 European Rail Journeys

1.    Zermatt to St Moritz
2.    Moscow to Vladivostok
3.    Zurich to Milan
4.    Paris to Barcelona
5.    Amsterdam to Germany
6.    Budapest to Vienna to Prague
7.    London to Edinburgh
8.    Verona to Munich
9.    Santiago di Compostela to León
10.  Fort William to Mallaig

Should you wish to incoroparte any of these fantastic journeys into a European adventure we would love to hear from you.


We are so excited that our favorite River Cruise company will FINALLY have a fabulous new ship on the magnificent Douro River. This is one of the most scenic and wonderful experiences you will ever have.  Also the new Seine itinerary in France is super wonderful! Call us now before they all sell out!

AmaWaterways - Leading The Way In River Cruising
Introducing The Seine & Douro for 2013
Special Inaugural Season Savings
Complimentary land program in Paris or Lisbon
Or save $1,000 per stateroom
Paris & NormandyCruise the Seine River on board the beautiful AmaLegro, part of AmaWaterways Sensational Six. AmaWaterways Sensational Six are custom-designed, premium vessels carrying up to 150 passengers and introduce a new standard of River Cruising on the great waterways of Europe. Your journey takes you from Paris to Paris through the heart of Normandy, exploring the beautiful countryside that inspired many famous painters, including Monet and Van Gogh. Visit Giverny, Rouen and Les Andelys, as well as the famous Normandy beaches before returning to Paris, the “City of Lights.” Book this itinerary and receive a complimentary 2-night stay in Paris.

Paris Complimentary 2-night stay in Paris
With 7-night Seine cruise on board the beautiful AmaLegro

Select Paris & Normandy cruises embarking from March 29 through Nov. 8, 2013
Starting from $2499* per person
Paris | Vernon | Giverny | Rouen | Normandy | Honfleur | Les Andelys | Conflans & 2 nights in Paris 
The Douro River ValleyDiscover the rich history of Portugal and Spain as you journey through the Douro River Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, onboard the brand new AmaVida. This grand 108-passenger vessel features balconies in most of its staterooms and suites. Receive a complimentary 3-night stay in Lisbon when booking the Enticing Douro or the Port Wine & Flamenco itineraries. Highlights include visits to Porto, Salamanca, Régua and dinner at the Alpendurada Monastery.


Lisbon Complimentary 3-night stay in Lisbon
With 7-night Douro cruise on board the brand-new AmaVida

Select Enticing Douro or Port Wine & Flamenco cruises embarking from Jun. 25 through Aug. 27, 2013
Starting from $2,899* per person
Porto | Régua | Barca d’Alva | Vega Terrón | Pinhão | Régua | Bitetos & 3 nights in Lisbon

State-of-the-art ships | Spacious staterooms with French balconies or full balconies
Complimentary in-room Internet & Wi-fi access | Complimentary shore excursions
Gourmet dining with free wine, beer & soft drinks | Nightly onboard entertainment

Book Now – Limited Time Offer!


* All prices listed are in U.S. dollars. Offers are valid on new Enticing Douro and Port Wine & Flamenco cruise bookings made by June 30, 2012 or Paris & Normandy cruise bookings made by July 31, 2012. Offer is not combinable with any other promotions or discounts. Rates may vary per departure date. Offers are valid on new cruise bookings only and are not combinable with any other offers. Guests must purchase 7-night cruise to receive complimentary land program. Complimentary land program are based on double occupancy with a maximum of 2 persons per hotel room and applies to the hotels selected and contracted by AmaWaterways. $1,000 Savings is per stateroom, based on double occupancy and is not combinable with complimentary land program; single bookings receive $500 off per stateroom. Bonus commission is per double occupancy bookings, single occupancy bookings receive $250 commission per booking. Availability is limited on these cruises, capacity controlled and subject to change or discontinuation without notice. Some restrictions may apply. **Premium River Cruise Experience applies to most ships; please ask for details. AmaWaterways is registered as a seller of travel in the State of California. CST#2065452-40

Two New European Canal & River Cruises Offer Great Savings

For families and friends this is a fantastic vacation option…….

Reserve by May 31 and Save on Two New European Canal & River Cruises
Reserve by May 31 and Save on Two New European Canal & River Cruises

The charming old towns and villages of Western Europe are linked by a vast chain of water – rivers and canals that flow from bustling cities to quaint hamlets, passing through tranquil yet breathtaking landscapes. Set out to discover this intimate side of Europe on board two new comfortable barges for a leisurely, all-inclusive vacation – a great value in today’s European travel market.

Save Now on Two New Cruise Itineraries for 2012: Call us for more details – we just love barging….

Benefits of European Canal and River Cruising

A great value in Europe today
All-inclusive: accommodations, gourmet meals with wine, guided sightseeing and paid entry fees
Great for families or a group
Comfortable, leisurely holiday
An intimate view of Europe away from the crowds
'Panache': Alsace-Lorraine
‘Panache’: Alsace-Lorraine
7 days | 12 guests
Save $1,000 per cabin or 10% per charter
Cruise aboard ‘Panache’ through the German-influenced French region of Alsace-Lorraine. Find time to relax in the on-deck hot tub while you take in the incredible scenery. Reserve by May 31 and save $1,000 per cabin on hotel sailings or 10% on charter sailings from June 17-October 28.
'C'est la Vie'
‘C’est La Vie’
7 days | 8 guests
Save 10% per person or 20% per charter
Enjoy the ever-changing scenery of the Canal de Bourgogne in the Burgundy region of France, passing vineyard-clad hillsides and quaint villages along the way. Dine on gourmet cuisine on board and save 10% per person on May hotel sailings or 20% on any 2012 charter sailing when you reserve by May 31.

Explore Burgundy


Explore Burgundy By Bike or By Foot With B&R


Experience Burgundy: where the pursuit of happiness is easier (and tastier).

Burgundy is vintage Butterfield & Robinson territory ,y—our backyard if you will—, and we know it better than anyone else. And what a backyard it is! Exquisite biking and walking routes, tailor made for daydreaming. Exceptional wines. Timeless villages. What’s not to love? On a B&R trip you’ll meander through lush vineyards, sip grand crus in the fields where they were conceived, and wander cobblestone streets to find old friends. You’ll dine at some of the region’s best-known establishments and at bistros revered by the locals for their hearty country fare. It’s the only place we know of where fights can erupt over selecting the right vintage to pair with a prized Époisses .

Private Escape in Burgundy
In the middle of Burgundy’s bucolic vineyards lies the beautiful town of Beaune. We’ve crafted the perfect 4-night experience, featuring a stay at the most intimate of accommodations, the Butterfield’s own private residence. It’s the ultimate romantic getaway for two.

To book a magnificent biking or walking tour in Burgundy or any other of the many B&R destinations, just give us a call at 585-624-1285

Ring in the New Year European Style

A&K Destination Management Company
Enjoy Free Sightseeing in Europe this New Year

New Year is an event celebrated the world over as people gather together full of hope for the year to come. With such expectation, it can often be difficult to decide how to see in the New Year, but we have the perfect solution to your dilemma. Why not take advantage of a truly worldwide event and make this year the year to experience something different, somewhere different.

In Europe we like to welcome the New Year in style with street parties, dinners, fiestas and balls taking place across the continent and dazzling firework displays illuminating the skies at midnight. Among the exuberance and festivities, Europe boasts some quirky and unusual traditions sure to bring you luck and good fortune, or an evening of entertainment at least. We have depicted a few of the more popular traditions below. Come and revel in the European atmosphere this New Year, learn more about our fascinating rituals, and maybe even take part in a few customs yourself.

Book a minimum 5-night tour anywhere in Europe this New Year and receive a free day’s sightseeing with one of our hand-picked, local guides who, with their unrivaled local expertise, can take you on an insightful journey into the culture of your chosen location.

To give you more inspiration we have put together six very special itineraries incorporating the highlights and spectacular New Year festivities of London, Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and St Petersburg, guaranteeing you a celebration to remember. Book now to avoid disappointment as these events are very popular and tickets are likely to sell out soon.



New Year Traditions Around Europe

New Year’s Eve, known as “la Saint-Sylvestre” in France, is celebrated with “le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre”, a special feast with family and friends thought to bring good luck. Signature dishes include pancakes, foie gras and champagne.

Bleigiessen is a popular tradition in Germany and involves the telling of fortunes.The unusual ritual involves dropping molten lead into cold water and the shape it forms is used to predict the person’s future.

New Year trees are popular in Russia. Known as Novogodnaya Yolka, these are decorated like a Christmas tree. Russians say farewell to the old year by remembering the most important events of the last 12 months and making a wish for the New Year.

Home to the lively Hogmanay, Scotland upholds a number of unusual traditions. Auld Lang Syne, directly translated as “times gone by”, is an old Scottish song, first published by the poet Robert Burns. The song is now sung at midnight while everybody links arms. First footing is a custom in which the first male visitor to enter a house on New Year’s Day brings with him coal, whisky, or perhaps shortbread, as a symbol of good luck. However, a blonde or red head is not allowed to enter first.

In Spain it is traditional to eat twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock at midnight. It is thought the tradition dates back to 1909 when grape growers suggested it as a way to cut down on surplus production from the year.

“La Festa di San Silvestro” in Italy is often celebrated with a meal. Lentils are thought to symbolise money and good fortune while pork symbolises the richness of life in the forthcoming year. Wearing red underwear is also thought to bring good luck!


Celebrate the Holidays in Style!


Lake Placid LodgeLake Placid, NY
Be Thankful at Lake Placid Lodge
Enjoy a special feast and daily activities this Thanksgiving.
Starts at $500
Cristallo Hotel Spa & GolfCortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
A Magical Christmas Offer
Spend 4 magical nights at Cristallo this holiday season.
Starts at €950
Ponta dos GanchosBrazil
Christmas with the Family in Brazil
Don’t miss this opportunity to bring the family along!
Starts at BRL 7,020
Hotel Fouquet’s BarriereParis
Celebrate Christmas and New Years in Paris
Spend an enchanting Christmas and New Year in the City of Lights.
Starts at €1020
Micato Safaris
Safari in Style This Holiday Season
Have a grand adventure with the World’s Best.
The Legian Bali
The Ultimate in Holiday Indulgence
Spoil yourself this holiday season at The Legian.
Starts at $2,700
Castiglion del BoscoTuscany, Italy
Christmas in Tuscany
Experience a traditional Italian Christmas
Starts at €1,730
Hotel Plaza Athenee, New York, New York
Classic Holiday Package
Enjoy the holiday sparkle of New York City this season.
Starts at $2,540


Paris Business Class Thanksgiving Special

Paris Museum Pass

Paris Special Business Class Air from selected gateways
Strictly Limited Offer
From $2,195*
4 nights at Hotel Le Littre
Private airport-hotel-airport Transfer

November in Paris: Explore art in the City of Lights

Cezanne and Paris at Musee du Luxembourg:

For lovers of Paris, a major show at the recently re-opened Musee du Luxembourg explores the artist’s love affair with the city of light.

Diane Arbus at the Jeu de Paume:
One of the 20th century’s most gifted lenses is the subject of this retrospective.

Pompeii comes to Paris at Musee Maillol:
The lost city of Pompeii has always been a point of fascination for its remarkably, eerily conserved artifacts and remains.

Package Includes:

  • Round trip Business Class air on Air France
  • 4 Hotel Le Littre Nights in a Superior Double Room
  • Round trip Private transfer airport to hotel in Paris
  • 2 Day Paris Museum Pass
  • Daily breakfast at hotel and hotel taxes

* Price is Per Person based on double occupancy
Price as shown is for NYC departure
West Coast price from $2,995
Travel dates: November 20 through November 30, 2011
Taxes, fees and fuel surcharges of approximately $775 are
Add $20 processing fee per person. Certain
conditions and restrictions may apply per carrier rules.
30-Day advance purchase required.
Must be ticketed by October 14, 2011


Book a Last-Minute A&K Fall Trip Today and Save


Subject to availability. All prices are per person based on double occupancy. Not combinable with any other promotion or discount.