This exceptional Gallic tour is designed to introduce you to the French gourmet cuisine as well as to the French wide culture. Discover Provence and its regional products, and learn how to cook delicious meals with them: olive oil, cheese, truffles, nougat, chocolate, and of course local wines; including the famous Chteau Neuf du Pape wine. You will have hands on cooking classes with some of the best chefs in the region, as well as visits to local markets, herb gardens, beautiful vineyards, local restaurants and fascinating cultural sites.
French Escapade has chosen an elegantly restored villa-hotel dating from the eighteenth century located in the heart of Provence. The luxury hotel offers sixteen bedrooms with private full bathrooms; all with high comfort, tranquility and relaxation, with two heated swimming pool set in over two 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, Wi-Fi, and an ensuite bathroom.
French Escapade will pick you up at the Avignon TGV train station. Upon your arrival at the 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.
Morning - From olive tree to oil
A local producer of olive oil will take you on a walk through his olive fields and share with you his knowledge and passion for olives. After the walk, he will show you the olive mill. The visit will finish with a tasting of his olive oil and tapenade (a pure 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 as "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. You will be accompanied by a master and his dog who will teach you how to find the truffles under the oaks. Meeting a local farmer will be a unique experience. Back at his farm, you will have time to savor some truffle on toasts served with wine from Luberon.
This day you will go to the food market accompanied with a professional chef. He will share with you his tips and tricks: how to choose 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 midafternoon, you will have the choice between relaxing by the pool at the hotel and exploring St. Remy de Provence.
Morning - Cooking session in a farm
Located near Mont Ventoux, a pedagogic farm will open its doors so that you can discover their biologic agriculture world: grapes, olives, lavender, cherries, herbs, forgotten vegetables and, of course, their animals. You will help the farmer to pick the herbs and veggies needed for your meals and together you will prepare the typical Provencal meal: ratatouille.
Afternoon - Wine tasting in Chateau Neuf du Pape
Chateau Neuf du Pape village is dedicated to its world famous wine "Chteau Neuf du Pape", which is also part of the famous Ctes du Rhne. You 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.
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. 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
You 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.
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, entre, and dessert. You will share this lunch, accompanied with wine.
Afternoon - Medieval village of les Baux de Provence
After your gourmet lunch, you will have the choice to relax back at the hotel or to go to the beautiful village of les Baux de Provence. Discover this amazing medieval village dominating the valley and its chteau. Perched on a rocky outcrop, the site provides a unique view over the vineyards and olive fields of Provence towards the sea.
Morning - Free time in Avignon
This morning you will have leisure time in Avignon.
Afternoon - Cooking workshop at the four-star hotel La Mirande
The venue for your cooking session will take place in one of the oldest and most prestigious properties in Avignon, the four-star hotel, La Mirande. The classroom is an impressive kitchen from the nineteenth century with its ancient cast iron stove. Le Marmiton, which is the cooking school, offers cooking classes with many of the most renowned chefs of Provence. Under the eyes of an expert chef, you will spend three hours preparing the most delicious meals or desserts (depending of the chef's specialties that week).
After your last breakfast, you will say goodbye and French Escapade 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.
Cooking and touring in Avignon
Cooking in St. Remy de Provence
Local food market
Medieval village of les Baux de Provence
Olive oil and truffle hunt in Gordes
Pedagogic farm near Mont Ventoux
Provencal outdoor market
St. Paul Mausole monastery in St. Remy de Provence
Wine tasting in Chateau Neuf du Pape village
This gourmet tour will take place in Provence, France.
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During this culinary vacation you will savor daily delicious breakfasts, also four gourmet dinners and three gourmet lunches, all of this delectable meals include finesse wine. Cold soft drinks and bottled water are also included during the day trips.
Explore Avignon on day 7. 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 (ten in the old Avignon) including one with paintings from Cezanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, Degas and Modigliani
Visit to Paris
Please book your flight to arrive at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or at the Marseille Provence Airport (MRS).
Upon arrival to the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or at the Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) please take the TGV train to get to the Avignon TGV train station. French Escapade will pick you up from the train station. The pick-up is included in the price.