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.
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
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. Weather permitting, we wil have a picnic
under the olive trees.
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 with a Dog
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
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
Afternoon: Medieval village of les Baux
After our gourmet lunch, we will visit 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
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.
We have chosen an elegantly restored villa-hotel dating from the
XVIIIth century located in the heart of Provence (25 minutes east
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.
"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.
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
- 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
- Flights to and from France
- Train to Avignon (from either Paris or Marseilles)
- 4 gourmet lunches and 3 gourmet dinners
- Optional activities (those not described in the itinerary)
- Personal expenses and tipping