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Cooking in Provence


This exceptional 8-day tour is designed to introduce you to French cuisine as well as to French culture.

Discover Provence and its regional products and learn how to use them in cooking: olive oil, cheese, truffles, nougat, chocolate and of course local wines, including the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

You will have "hands on" cooking classes with some of the best Chefs in the region, as well as visits to markets, herb gardens, vineyards, local restaurants and cultural sites.


© J.Hagan


We believe that you learn more by attending sessions taught by different chefs rather than one chef for the whole week.

The settings for your cooking program will be the restaurant or workshop of French chefs. All classes will be in English and a complimentary cooking apron will be provided (for you to keep).

Between your cooking sessions, Jackie will take you on daily trips to enjoy the wonders of Provence, the colorful markets, the hilltop villages and to taste delicious local products.


 

Day 1: Welcome Reception



We will pick you up at the Avignon TGV train station. Upon your arrival at our guesthouse, you will have time to settle in and explore the village. In the evening, you will enjoy a welcome reception followed by a gourmet dinner.


Day 2: Olive Oil and Truffle Hunt in Gordes


Morning: From Olive Tree to Oil
A local producer of olive oil will take us on a walk through his olive fields and share with us his knowledge and passion for olives.

After the walk, he will show us the olive mill and the visit will finish with a tasting of his olive oil and tapenade (a purée of black or green olives). The history and the production of olives will have no secret for you after this enjoyable visit. You will have a chance to buy all olive products like tapenade, oil, olives but also bowls and items made out of olive wood.



Lunch in the hilltop village of Gordes
The amazing village of Gordes, listed "one of the most beautiful villages in France", sits on a rock with an incredible view on vineyards and hills.

Afternoon: Truffle Hunting and Tasting
Haven't you always dreamed of going truffle hunting? Now you have the opportunity to do so!

Discover the secret of this mysterious mushroom. The truffle is a specialty of Provence. In April, you may be able to find either the Winter black truffle or already the Spring white truffle. We will be accompanied by a Master and his dog who will teach us how to find the truffles under the oaks. Meeting a local farmer will be an unique experience.

Back at his farm, we will have time to savor some truffle on toasts served with wine from Luberon.

 



Day 3: Learning from "One Star Michelin Guide" Chef


Today we will go to the food market accompanied with a Professional Chef. He will share with you his tips and tricks: How to choose the fresh vegetables? Is the smell a big help? How to recognize fresh fish?

Back at the chef's workshop with your fresh products, you will learn how to prepare a three course Provencal meal: hors d'oeuvres, main dish and dessert.

You will savor your meal with the chef. It will be served with special wines selected by the sommelier.

Back home mid afternoon, you will have the choice between relaxing by the pool at our hotel or exploring St Remy de Provence.



Day 4: Ratatouille and Chateau Neuf du Pape Wine



Morning: Cooking session in a farm
Located near Mont Ventoux, the Pedagogic Farm will open its doors to us so that we can discover their biologic agriculture world: grapes, olives, lavender, cherries, herbs, forgotten vegetables and, of course, their animals. We will help the farmer pick the herbs and veggies needed for our meals and together we will prepare the typical provencal meal: ratatouille.

You will also have time to visit with all the animals in the farm.

 



Afternoon: Wine Tasting in Chateau Neuf du Pape
Chateau Neuf du Pape village is dedicated to its world famous wine "Châteauneuf-du-Pape" which is also part of the famous Côtes du Rhône.

We will have a guided visit in a well known winery, to learn everything about this famous wine, including a session on how to taste wine. The visit will end with the tasting of three exquisite Chateau Neuf du Pape wines.

 


Day 5: Provencal Market and Van Gogh in St Remy de Provence


Morning: Provencal Outdoor Market
Stroll and shop in the incredible and colorful market. It is an accessible and rewarding way to immerse yourself in the lifestyle of the area.

Fresh food and its artful display speaks for itself. But there is much more than food: colorful array of Provencal fabric, tablecloths, silk scarves, natural soaps with dozens of scents and of course lavender products.




Afternoon: In Van Gogh's footsteps in St Remy

We will visit the beautiful old monastery of St Paul Mausole in St Remy de Provence. This is where Van Gogh spent the last year of his life and painted 150 of his famous paintings. This is now a nursing home that has a permanent exhibition of paintings by the patients.

It is very emotional and fascinating to stroll through the bedroom where Van Gogh stayed during his very troubled time in 1889-90.

You will also find beautiful reproductions of some of Van Gogh's paintings.

 



Day 6: Cooking in St Remy de Provence and Medieval Village of les Baux de Provence



Morning: Cook your gourmet lunch
You will have a chance to cook a gourmet lunch with a chef from St Remy, using ingredients you would have chosen on the market with him in the morning.

This will be a three course meal with hors d'oeuvres, entree and dessert. We will share this lunch together, accompagnied with wine.


Afternoon: Medieval village of les Baux de Provence
After our gourmet lunch, you will have the choice to relax back at the hotel or to come with us to the beautiful village of les Baux de Provence.

Discover this amazing medieval village dominating the valley and its Château. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the site provides a unique view over the vineyards and olive fields of Provence towards the sea.




Day 7: Pastry cooking at la Mirande in Avignon


Morning: Free time in Avignon
This morning you will have leisure time in Avignon. There is so much to do.

Visit the Palace of the Popes (the size of four normal French cathedrals). This amazing and expansive structure is the highlight of Avignon.

You can also stroll in the old streets in search of antique dealers and art galleries, visit the daily covered market, or shop for Provencal materials, ceramics, pottery and other specialties of the region.

You will also have a huge choice of museums (10 in the old Avignon) including one with paintings from Cezanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, Degas, Modigliani,…

 



Afternoon: Cooking workshop at the 4 star Hotel La Mirande
The venue for our cooking session will take place in one of the oldest and most prestigious properties in Avignon: the 4-star hotel, La Mirande. The classroom is an impressive kitchen from the 19th century with its ancient cast-iron stove.
Le Marmiton, which is the cooking school, offers cooking classes with many of the most reknowned chefs of Provence. Under the eyes of an expert chef, you will spend 3 hours preparing the most delicious meals or desserts (depending of the chef's specialties that week).


Day 8: Departure


After our last breakfast, we’ll say good-bye and drive you to Avignon train station, your heart-warming memories of a glorious week in the heart of Provence, still fresh for your journey home or wherever your travels may take you.



Accommodation


We have chosen an elegantly restored villa-hotel dating from the XVIIIth century located in the heart of Provence (25 minutes east of Avignon).

The luxury hotel offers 16 bedrooms with private full bathrooms all with high comfort, tranquility and relaxation, with its 2 heated swimming pool set in over 2 acres of private grounds.

The refined cuisine of the Chef, based on fresh seasonal local products, is an innovative blend of Provencal and contemporary gastronomy.

Each bedroom has: a flat screen TV set, telephone, heating and AC, a minibar, a safe, ADSL and WiFi and a big full bathroom.







 

 



Testimonial:


"Showing the pictures I took to friends and family brings so many smiles to my face. We did such unique and interesting things thanks to the itinerary you assembled for us.

If I'd travelled to Provence on my own I could have seen the usual sights, but there's no way I would have experienced the most memorable moments of our trip such as our time with Cathy on the farm, truffle hunting with Robert, or learning all about French olive oil.

And of course there was our time with the chefs. I didn't only learn more about food, including selecting produce and unique preparation methods, and I didn't only get to try *amazing* dishes, but I also learned more about French culture and values through our time in the kitchen. To me, that's the most precious and priceless part of our trip.

You and French Escapade provided me with the most memorable vacation of my life. Thank you Jackie! I can't wait to my next adventure with French Escapade!!"
Sherri M., cooking trip 2012






Dates and Rates 2014


Not scheduled in 2015

Includes

  • Avignon train station pick up (3:30pm) and drop off (10am)
  • A welcome reception
  • All breakfasts
  • All nights at our boutique hotel
  • All cooking sessions (4)
  • Seven gourmet meals (4 dinners and 3 lunches) including wine
  • Entrance fees to all sites on the tour
  • Transportation in a comfortable van with A/C
  • A personal bilingual chauffeur/guide throughout the week
  • Cold soft drinks, bottled water during day trips
  • A free Paris planner for a self guided visit in Paris: suggestions of hotels, restaurants and places to visit


Excludes
  • Flights to and from France
  • Train to Avignon (from either Paris or Marseilles)
  • 4 lunches and 2 dinners (we will still go with you for the non included meals)
  • Optional activities (those not described in the itinerary)
  • Personal expenses and tipping




Toll free: 1-888-483-5713
Local: 1-510-483-5713
contact@frenchescapade.com