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3 Days Château de La Barbée Cooking Holidays in France

French Culinary Vacations

Château de La Barbée is one of many private châteaux in the Loire Valley - but few offer an experience like this. They welcome you into their home for an authentic “vie du château” experience, where you live, cook, eat, and play. In this French cooking course you will learn some basics and traditional French dishes and at the same time, enjoy meals in a beautiful setting. So, what are you waiting for? This is a vacation experience in France you don't want to miss out on!


  • Cheese party
  • Fresh ingredients
  • Interesting excursions
  • Hands-on cooking sessions
  • 18th century château setting
  • 1 night accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate


3 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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The rooms in the château are simply but elegantly furnished, with shared or private bath or shower and WC facilities and views overlooking the garden.

The extensive grounds and gardens are there for you to wander, and you are welcome to relax in the library, the salon, outdoors on the terrace, or by the fountain. You are the guest and La Vie Du Château wants you to feel at home during your stay.

Meals will be taken in various locations in the château. Your formal dinner will take place in the formal dining room. More casual meals may be served in the dining room, the sunny foyer, or on the terrace.


Welcome to the Friday to Sunday cooking program - a mixture of cooking, open markets, laughter, good food, and good times. At La Vie du Château, mornings begin with a breakfast of fresh croissants, assorted pastries, homemade jam and honey, cereals, homemade yoghurt, coffee, tea, fruits, and juices. Classes begin at 10:00 unless otherwise specified. Lunch at the château is usually at 13:00 and dinner at 20:00.

Day one - Get Settled, enjoy lunch and get cooking!

Arrival for lunch, after getting settled and acquainted, enjoy a relaxing lunch on the terrace, looking out over the fountain and fields beyond. Afterwards, you will get your aprons on and get cooking to prepare a delicious dinner.

Day two - Cooking and cheese party

Today after breakfast you head straight to the kitchen. After a leisurely lunch, you will have time to wander and discover the hidden treasures on the estate, relax by the fountain, or rest in your nice spacious room. Then you will put your aprons back on and continue preparations for a four-course dinner. Before dinner, you will head down to the Orangerie for a cheese party with an abundant choice of cheeses and discussions about all the different varieties, accompanied by a variety of local wines.

Day three - Open market and cooking

You drive to the outdoor market in the nearby town to buy the freshest meats, seafood, and produce one can get. You will take the scenic road that goes through the apple orchards that the region is well known for and pass by a beautiful chateau or two, or three! Back home, with your baskets full, you will prepare an enjoyable Sunday lunch with fun discussions about food, cooking, and why the French do things the way they do. Departure after lunch.

Program specifics may vary due to weather, current and evolving inspirations, and to take advantage of seasonal products. For non cooking guests, there are many local attractions that La Vie Du Château is happy to advice you with, or you can just relax and enjoy the beautiful setting.

Included excursions

  • Cheese party in a conservatory
  • Visit to outdoor market


This cooking holiday takes place at Château de La Barbée, an 18th century castle in the Loire Valley.


During this program you will learn to make some of the basics and standards of French cooking - coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, cheese soufflé, ratatouille, gratin dauphinois, tarte-tatin, mayonnaise, vinaigrette, and pastry - and some other special and elegant dishes - sea bass in a croute de sel (salt crust), beurre blanc, terrine de lapin, cognac peaches, rasberry bavarois and dark chocolate mousse. But, you will always look to the market for seasonal inspiration!

Lunches and dinners are served with baguettes and wine. Dinners are followed by after-dinner drinks, infusions, and chocolates in the grand salon, which guests are invited to enjoy. Program specifics may vary due to weather, current and evolving inspirations, and to take advantage of seasonal products.

What you’ll be cooking:

Day one

  • Oeufs en gelée (eggs and smoked salmon in aspic)
  • Bar “de ligne” en croûte de sel (white sea bass in a salt crust)
  • Beurre blanc
  • Endives braisées (braised endives)
  • Tarte aux prunes a la crème d’amandes (frangipane plum pie)

Day two

  • Salade frisée aux lardons (frisée salad with lardons and poached eggs)
  • Poulet rôti à la marocaine (maroccan baked chicken)
  • Crèpes suzettes
  • Mousseline de choufleur (cauliflour mousseline)
  • Boeuf bourguignon (beef bourguignon)
  • Pommes “château” (potatoes the “château” way)
  • Bavarois au framboise (rasberry bavarois)

Day three

  • Plateau de fruits de mer (fresh seafood platter)
  • Soufflé au fromage (cheese soufflé)
  • Ratatouille d’oncle Charlie (uncle Charlie’s ratatouille)
  • Tarte tatin

Menus depend on market availability, freshness and current inspiration.

Things to do (optional)

  • Explore nearby châteaux and abbeys
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go zip lining, tree climbing, and canoeing
  • Indoor and outdoor go karting
  • Play polo
  • Take horse riding lessons
  • Visit archaeological sites
  • Visit local distilleries
  • Visit local markets
  • Visit nearby museums

What's included

  • 2 nights accommodation
  • All drinks and wine with meals
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Cheese party in the orangerie
  • Complimentary Château de La Barbée apron
  • Excursions to local market
  • On-site translation
  • Recipe booklet
  • Transfers to and from La Fleche
  • Tuition for cooking classes
  • Wi-Fi

What's not included

  • Additional activities
  • Additional meals
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Transfers from and to airports and train stations other than La Flèche
  • Travel insurance

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

There are direct flights from London to local Angers airport. You can also find flights to Tours, Nantes and Paris.

Arrival by bus

From Le Mans train station, take the bus to La Flèche, which is approximately 8 EUR. La Vie Du Château can pick you up in La Flèche for transfer to La Barbée. The transfer is included in the price.

Arrival by train

High speed trains operate directly from Paris and the Charles de Gaulle airport to Le Mans. La Vie Du Château can arrange for transfers to the château. Car rentals are available at various locations.

Arrival by taxi

From Le Mans train station, you can take a taxi, which costs approximately 50 EUR. Please send an inquiry to La Vie Du Château to make arrangements.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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