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French Cooking Vacations in the Loire Valley

Welcome to La Vie Du Château's 6-day French cooking holiday, where you'll go to markets, chateaux, vineyards, abbeys, bistros, distilleries, have lots of cooking and lots of fun! During this program you will learn to make some of the basics and standards of French cooking, such as coq au vin, and some other special and elegant dishes. You will always look to the market for seasonal inspiration!


  • Cooking classes
  • 4-course dinners
  • Visit outdoor market
  • Loire Valley chateau visit
  • Guided tour of the Cointreau distillery
  • Wine tasting and lunch at local vineyard
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • Cheese party

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 6
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You will stay at Château de La Barbée, an 18th century family castle.


Classes begin at 10:00 unless otherwise specified. Lunch at the château is usually at 13:00, dinner at 20:00.

Day 1, Sunday - Arrival, relaxed lunch, cooking and cheese party

After getting settled and enjoying a relaxed lunch by the fountain, you begin dinner preparations. You will then have a break to enjoy and discover the beautiful surroundings, and meet afterwards at the Orangerie for a cheese party with a nice variety of selected cheeses and some of the local anjou wines. Then, head back to the kitchen for your final dinner preparations.

Day 2, Monday - Cooking and a visit to a 12 century Benedictine Abbey

Today you’ll be doing lots of cooking but take the time to discuss, laugh, take photos and relax a little too before heading out to listen to the monks' Gregorian chants.

Day 3, Tuesday - Cooking, visit to Angers, lunch in a bistro and tour the Cointreau distillery

Today you’ll start some dinner preparations before heading out to Angers where you will see the impressive fortress of the Kings of Anjou, have lunch in a bistro, followed by a guided tour of the Cointreau distillery. Then you'll go back home and finish up dinner preparations.

Day 4, Wednesday - Open market and lots of cooking

The local market is one of the largest in the region with the freshest of local produce, cheeses, meats and seafood. With baskets full and lots of inspiration, you will spend the rest of the day preparing meals, and enjoying them!

Day 5, Thursday - Cooking, visit to a beautiful chateau, lunch on the Loir river and formal dinner.

Today you’ll begin preparations for an elegant 4-course dinner that you’ll set up in the formal dining room. Then head to the Chateau du Lude for a guided tour and enjoy lunch in a beautiful setting right on the Loir river. After lunch you’ll finish your dinner preparations and set an elegant dinner table with all the details of French etiquette.

Day 6, Friday - Picnic and wine tasting

After preparing a delicious picnic, you head out for some wine tasting and guided visit at a troglodyte wine cellar and picnic lunch in the middle of the picturesque vineyard, followed by leisure departure afterwards.

Included excursions

This tour will take you to visit the markets, chateaux, vineyards, abbeys, bistros, and distilleries.


This cooking holiday takes place in the Loire Valley.


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. Lunches and dinners are served with baguettes and wine. Dinners are followed by after-dinner drinks, infusions and chocolates. Following are examples of dishes you'll be preparing but it will always depend on market availability and freshness.

Au caviar

Bar au croute de sel

Beurre blanc

Cheese souffle

Coq au vin

Damandes fondant au chocolat Crme anglaise

Foie gras en papillote de choux (Foie gras wrapped in leaves)

Frise aux lardons

Gigot dagneau la sept heures (Seven-hour roast leg of lamb)

Haricots verts extra fines (Very thin French green beans)

Mary's get married vinaigrette

Mousse au chocolat (Dark chocolate mousse)

Mousseline de chou-fleur

Parmesan crisps

Pêches rôties au cognac

Pommes chateau

Poulet marocain

Salade aux fines herbes

Tarte aux prunes et creme


Uncle Charlie's ratatouille

Glace a la vanille et anisette

Salade dendives, noix et roquefort

Saumon a lunilateral

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

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

  • Organic
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Seafood
  • Whole food
  • 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

What's included

  • 5 nights stay at the château
  • All drinks and meals
  • Complimentary Château de La Barbée apron
  • Recipe booklet
  • Translation
  • Tuition
  • Wi-Fi

What's not included

  • Restaurant lunch in Angers is not included.
  • Transportation/transfers to the château from all points except La Flèche bus station.

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Several high speed trains operate directly from Charles de Gaulle airport to Le Mans. Car rentals are available at multiple locations at the airport.

Arrival by train

From Le Mans train station, taxis are available for about 50 EUR . You can contact us to make arrangement. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Le Mans train station to La Flèche for about 8 EUR . We will pick you up in La Flèche for transfer to La Barbe. You can also take a train from Le Mans to Sable then take a taxi to La Barbe. Car rentals are also available at Le Mans station.

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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