Everyone loves a good learning holiday, but sometimes one activity just is not enough. French Holiday Plus invites you to a unique jewelry making and cookery holiday in the Gascony region of South West France, designed to satisfy your every creative and culinary desire. Design and craft your own jewelry, get fun French cooking lessons, and experience day trips to various places.
During your course, you will stay at Baron-Figués which is a part of a gorgeous 150-year old farmhouse with three beautifully appointed en-suite twin or double bedrooms. One of the main attractions of this farmhouse is its large and open traditional kitchen. The accommodation combines the wonders of rural Gascony, modern home comforts of a traditional French farmhouse, and unbeatable food and wine experiences that will stay with you forever.
This holiday can be tailored to meet the needs of the group. From private helicopter transfers to special private tours, please contact French Holidays Plus to discuss your personal requirements and your holiday is ensured to be exactly how you want it to be.
Arrive at Agen train station and be greeted by your hosts before being driven to the farmhouse where your holiday will begin. Settle into your charming room before getting to know your fellow students over delicious aperitifs. Enjoy a social evening with a three-course gourmet dinner served in the farmhouse kitchen along with a short introduction from your hosts about what to expect over the next few days.
After breakfast, you will go to a local and delightful village market to explore the area and discuss your first project designs with the rest of the group and your tutor, Caroline. You will then return home to begin your first jewelry making class. You will learn the technique of making hollow forms, which is perfect for creating forms such as classical silver ball earrings or a beautiful textured bead pendant for earrings.
Caroline will teach you the basic techniques using precious metal clay (PMC) to give you the maximum freedom to develop your own designs. You will also learn syringe work with bronzes and use stones and semi-precious beads to create your unique designs. A delicious lunch will be served by the pool or in the farmhouse kitchen.
In the afternoon, you will learn about the processes of designing, creating, and finishing your pieces, including how to use tools such as kilns, torch burners, sanding, and polishing tools. Once your fine silver piece is finished, you will be taught to add findings and beads so that your jewelry is ready to wear. In the late afternoon, you will visit a beautiful chateau, famous for its aperitifs and wines, for an afternoon of wine tasting.
Dinner will be served back at the farmhouse, giving you time to relax in the lounge or by the swimming pool or to take advantage of one of the onsite activities such as table tennis and cycling
After a leisure breakfast, you will choose something natural of your choice, such as a leaf, to influence your fine silver jewelry designs. Lunch will be served by the pool or in the farmhouse kitchen with views of the countryside all around to help inspire your creative side. After lunch, you will create your own personal fingerprint jewelry. Fingerprint jewelry is when you set the prints of loved ones (or even pets) into fine silver. This is a unique process and the perfect gift or memento to keep for yourself.
In the early evening, you will visit a family-run Armagnac distillery (which Gascony is famous for) and learn how it is made, the history behind it, and more importantly, taste the Armagnac and local produce. A three-course gourmet meal will then be served back at the farmhouse kitchen accompanied with local delicious wines.
You will have a free day for you to spend at your leisure. You can choose to spend more time perfecting your metal clay techniques and work on your jewelry in the studio or take time to relax by the swimming pool with a good book. All meals are included for this day. You can enjoy a well-earned rest before your cookery experience begins.
After breakfast, it would time to enter the kitchen and begin your culinary experience. Your host and chef, Adam, will be hands-on at all times to ensure that you will learn as much as possible during the informal and fun cookery lessons and culinary excursions. Adam will accompany you on a culinary excursion which will be confirmed upon arrival, depending on the group’s preference and the season.
Your visit may include any of the following: visits to a local duck farm, butcher, boulangerie or patisserie, vineyard, Armagnac producer, cheese maker, chocolatier, prune producer, organic farm, or charcuterie. You may also take an accompanied tour of the cultural and historical sights surrounding the school, including Auch Cathedral, Chateau Henri IV, Collégiale at La Romieu, or the art gallery at the Abbaye de Flaran.
Upon returning to the farmhouse, enjoy a leisure lunch before your first cookery lesson. Adam will teach you how to create a delicious three-course French menu. After your lesson, you will enjoy a group dinner of the dishes you have prepared in the kitchen with a well-deserved glass of wine.
You will enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the morning. Adam will then accompany you on another culinary excursion to awaken your senses, introduce you to local life, and ignite your passion for fresh, local food. Afterwards, you will return to the farmhouse to enjoy a light lunch before re-entering the kitchen for your second cookery course.
Learn to cook delicious country meals with Adam, for just a little show and a lot of passion as you learn about real French food, how to prepare, cook, and serve it.
The dinner will be tasting of the delicious French dishes you have learnt to cook and you will have a discussion about where to go tomorrow for your day excursion around the beautiful location.
Relax with a delicious breakfast in the morning before heading out on a fun excursion for the day. You will enjoy an excursion to a location of your choice. Your hosts will take you to either Dune de Pila, Bordeaux, the Pyrenees mountains, or Biarritz, depending on the group's preferences. Explore the stunning scenery, relax, and enjoy lunch while you are out. In the evening, you will return home for your final dinner, where you will reflect on the week and how much you have learnt.
After breakfast, you are asked to check out by 10:00. You are welcome to relax and enjoy some free time if your flight is not until later in the day, before being taken to the airport or train station for your return journey. You will return home with a lot of fantastic memories.
Caroline and her husband, Adam, have decided to leave their comfortable life in Kent and headed off for a new adventure in France with their four young children. The summers spent vacationing by the Mediterranean had instilled in them a love for the outdoor life. Looking back, this was probably madness, as they had little knowledge of France and no real idea of what they were coming to. Caroline, a qualified teacher for over 20 years, loves her work running PMC Studio France. She enjoys meeting fascinating people from all over the world who come to learn or enjoy a relaxing holiday.
After working in global consulting and finance, Adam jumped at the chance to rebalance his life more in favor of family. Adam's passion for food and wine has been cultivated during these early years and he has honed his skills over the last decade living in “Garden of France”, an area rich in gastronomic delights, fabulous wines, and amazing Armagnacs. For Adam, cooking is a journey through the senses. Next to him, you will understand how local produce is made and the traditions behind it.
This holiday will take place in Gascony, France. Gascony is an undiscovered region in Southwest France, so there is no chance that you will have to wrestle with crowds when you go to sample the wonders that make this region so special. You will quickly learn why Gascony is famed for its sumptuous local produce and seasonal recipes and you will realize that the locals take their food very seriously.
If you are partial to a cheeky little treat, Gascony is one of the main producers of foie gras, which is not just a mouth-watering food you have to look forward to. You can't visit Gascony without trying out the fruits of the vine. Wherever you walk, you will be able to see the many vineyards sprawling over the hills and valleys and discover that the wines are individual, full of character, and exquisite.
All of your daily meals, drinks, and tastings are included in the total cost of this holiday. You will have the chance to enjoy a three-course gourmet dinner and wine tastings.
All extracurricular activities in this holiday are free. So, if you do not feel like taking a trip after your lessons, you can try onsite table tennis, basketball, horse riding, shooting, archery, and cycling, or you may just like to relax by the heated pool with a glass of soul-warming Armagnac. There is also a great selection of board games that will amuse you during the warm nights and let you enjoy the company of other guests.
Please book your flight to arrive at Toulouse Blagnac Airport (TLS), Bordeaux-Mrignac Airport (BOD), or Bergerac Dordogne Prigord Airport (EGC). Transfer from and to these airports are available upon request.
The closest train station is Agen train station. French Holidays Plus will pick you up from the train station. The pick-up is included in the price.
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