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4 Days Essential French Cooking Holiday

French Cooking Vacations in the Loire Valley

Welcome to our extended weekend cooking course - a mixture of cooking, open markets, laughter, good food, and good times. At La Vie du Château you will learn to make some of the basics of French cooking - coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, cheese soufflé, ratatouille, gratin dauphinois, tarte-tatin, chocolat mousse and more! We will always look to the market for seasonal inspiration. We will enjoy meals in the château along with some very fun excursions.


  • 4-course dinner
  • Cooking classes
  • Visit outdoor market
  • Wine tasting and lunch at local vineyard
  • 3 nights accommodation
  • Cheese party

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate


4 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.

Our extensive grounds and gardens are there for you to wander, and you are welcome to relax in the library, the salon, outdoors on the terrasse, or by the fountain. You are our guest and we want you to feel at home during your stay.

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


Day 1 - 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 we will get our aprons on and get cooking to prepare a delicious dinner.

Day 2 - Cooking and cheese party

Today after breakfast we 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 we will put our aprons back on and continue preparations for a four-course dinner.

Before dinner we 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 3 - Open market and cooking

We drive to the outdoor market in our nearby town to buy the freshest meats, seafood, and produce one can get.

We will take the scenic road that goes through the apple orchards that our region is well known for and pass by a beautiful chateau or two, or three!

Back home, with our baskets full, we will begin preparations for lunch and dinner, and have fun and interesting conversations about food, cooking and whatever else comes to our minds, sometimes with glass of wine in hand.

Day 4 - Cooking, excursion and picnic in a local vineyard

With all the best ingredients and inspiration from yesterday’s market we will spend a short morning in the kitchen preparing a delightful picnic lunch.

We will then head out to have a guided tour of a local wine producer and their troglodyte cellars.

Afterwards, we will enjoy our picnic in a beautiful setting, in the middle of the vineyards.

Departure after lunch.

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.

Included excursions

We drive to the outdoor market in our nearby town taking the scenic road that goes through the apple orchards and pass by a beautiful château or two, or three!

We will also have a guided tour of a local wine producer and their troglodyte cellars. Afterwards we will enjoy our picnic in a beautiful setting, in the middle of the vineyards (weather permitting).


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


What you’ll be cooking:

Day 1

  • 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 2

  • 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 3

  • Plateau de fruits de mer (fresh seafood platter)
  • Soufflé au fromage (cheese soufflé)
  • Ratatouille d’oncle Charlie (uncle Charlie’s ratatouille)
  • Tarte tatin
  • Foie gras en papillote (duck liver in parchment)
  • Magret de canard, sauce grand veneur (duck breast with hunter’s sauce)
  • Gratin dauphinois
  • Au gratin potatoes
  • Pêches rôties au cognac (baked cognac peaches)
  • Glace à la vanille maison (homemade vanilla ice cream)

Day 4

  • Chiffonade de crevettes (shrimp chiffonade)
  • Terrine de lapin (terrine of rabbit)
  • Canouga nappé de creme anglaise (flourless chocolate cake served with creme anglaise)

Menus depend on market availability, freshness and current inspiration. Lunches and dinners are served with baguettes and wine.

Things to do (optional)

An optional 5th day is available upon request. This includes dinner, morning breakfast, an excursion to one of the grand Loire Valley chateaux, lunch in a medieval village or the Cointreau distillery. Please contact us for pricing.

What's included

  • 3 nights stay at the château
  • All drinks and wine with meals
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Complimentary Château de La Barbée apron
  • Excursions to markets, chateaux, vineyards, abbeys, bistros, distilleries, with all entrance fees included
  • On-site translation
  • Recipe booklet
  • Transfers to and from La Fleche
  • Tuition for cooking classes
  • WiFi

What's not included

  • Transfers to and from airports and train stations (except La Flèche)

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

There are direct flights from London to local Angers airport.

Arrival by train

High speed trains operate directly from Paris and the Charles de Gaulle airport to Le Mans.

We can arrange for transfers to the château.

Car rentals are available at various locations.

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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