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Fun Cooking Vacations France

Join Louise Pickford for a wonderful cooking holiday in one of the richest and most famous culinary regions in France. Learn how to cook with locally sourced food and also vegetables and fruits that you will pick from the garden or from the surrounding wild areas. Enjoy the beauty of the landscape and learn about the culture and rich tradition of Nouvelle-Aquitaine in this holiday perfect for families and singles as well.

Meet the instructors

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  • Trips to local markets
  • Hands on cooking classes
  • 1 lunch out at a local restaurant
  • Daily breakfast and four evening meals
  • Visit to amazing local producers farms
  • 4 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


3 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 6
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Check-out Time:

During this culinary vacation, you will be staying in The Courtyard at Sainte Catherine. The Courtyard at Sainte Catherine is a four-star award winning family friendly Gîte and Chambre D’hotes holiday rental in the heart of the Charente. It is a perfect base to discover the region and the wonderful historic towns of Jarnac, Cognac, and Angouleme.

The buildings that make up The Courtyard were virtually ruins when it was acquired in 2004. However, the location was so peaceful and the views so beautiful, that it was took on for renovation. Despite the rural location, there is everything that you could need on a daily basis just two minutes away, in Rouillac.

It is a pretty village which dates from before Roman times and is still host to one of the oldest and largest farmers markets in France on the 27th of each month. The accommodation is fully equipped with linens, bath towels, Wi-Fi, private parking, end-of-stay cleaning, private garden, barbeque place, kitchen, and a TV.


All classes will be held at the residence of Louise, in Les Cardinaux, Aignes et Puyoeroux, Charente, a very pretty 35 minute drive away from your accommodation.

Daily schedule

Day 1

Arrive at your accommodation on Saturday afternoon between 4 and 7 p.m. where you will be met by Louise and Steph. Settle into your accommodation and then enjoy an apero such as drink and nibbles together while discussing your three-day course. Steph will then provide you with a delicious welcoming dinner

Day 2

You will meet at 10:00 a.m. at Les Halles in Angouleme, the covered food market where you will take in all the amazing produce available and then enjoy a lunch at one of the stalls. You will then have your first cooking class in the afternoon, making a delicious evening meal together, before you return to your accommodation.

Day 3

The morning is yours to relax and enjoy and Louise will meet you at 2 p.m. at a local producers farm to learn about the making of the produce and you can shop or just explore the farm. Steph will cook dinner for you.

Day 4

You will start your day at 10:30 a.m. and you will begin the preparation for your gourmet dinner. Afterwards, you will have a light lunch of local meats, cheese, and salad. After a short siesta, you will cook together to create a further three-course meals for your final evening together. Hopefully, you can eat al fresco before you return to the accommodation.

Day 5

Today will be the end of the weekend retreat and Steph will see you all off safely to your next destination.

Included excursions

  • Visit to Cognac and Pineau des Charentes wineries
  • Visit to duck producer
  • Visit to foie grass
  • Visit to goat cheese producers
  • Visit to local markets at Angouleme and La Rochelle
  • Visit to organic fruit and vegetable growers
  • Visit to oyster and mussel farms
  • Visit to saffron producer


Louise Pickford
Louise Pickford has been a food editor of several food and lifestyle magazines in London and Sydney. She now lives and works in South West France with her husband Ian Wallace and her dogs, Bosco and Parker. She fell in love with cooking in her early twenties and it was then that she decided to follow her heart into working in the culinary world. Her journey has taken her all over the globe where she has been fortunate enough to work with some of the best chefs and cooks.


This cooking holiday will take place in Les Cardinaux, Aigenes et Puyoeroux, Charente, France.

Nearby places

  • Bergerac - 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Bordeaux - 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Caen - 6 hours
  • Calais - 7 hours
  • La Rochelle - 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Limoges - 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Poitiers - 1 hour and 50 minutes
  • Saint Malo - 5 hours
  • Roscoff - 6 hours



  • Cooking classes
  • Swimming
  • Swimming pool


  • Barbecue facilities
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant nearby
  • River nearby


  • Car rental nearby
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Local market
  • Parking lot


During this cooking holiday, you will have daily breakfast, two lunches, and four dinners included in the price of this holiday. Two of the dinners will be cooked by you during the hands on cooking classes with Louise, the rest of the dinners will be prepared by Steph at the accommodation. Louise can also cook every type of food from around the globe and can also cater on specific dietary requirements upon request.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Painting Holidays
  • Visit to Cognac
  • Visit to Rocherfort
  • Waterskiing
  • Wine tours

What's included

  • 1 lunch out at a local restaurant
  • 2 hands on cooking classes
  • 4 dinners
  • 4 nights accommodation
  • Daily delicious breakfast
  • Handbooks with the recipes prepared
  • Meals al fresco with beautiful view
  • Trips to local markets of Angoulome and La Rochelle
  • Visit an oyster and mussel farm
  • Visit saffron producers
  • Visit to goat cheese, foie gras, and duck producer
  • Visit to organic fruit and vegetable growers

What's not included

  • Additional activities, excursions, and services
  • Additional meals and drinks
  • Airfare
  • Car rental
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel arrangements

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Limoges-Bellegarde Airport (LIG). You can also book your flight to arrive at Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD), Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport (EGC), Poitiers-Biard Airport (PIS), or La Rochelle-Île de Ré Airport (LRH).

The journey between the accommodation and Limoges-Bellegarde Airport (LIG), Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD), Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport (EGC), or La Rochelle-Île de Ré Airport takes about one and a half hour, whereas the journey between the accommodation and Poitiers-Biard Airport (PIS) takes one hour and 50 minutes.

Arrival by ferry

  • The nearest ferries are in Saint Malo, Calais, Roscoff, and Caen. It takes between five to 7 hours to get from each of the above mentioned ports to the destination.

Cancellation Policy

  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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