8 Days Country Cooking Holiday in France

  • Château L’Age Baston, Saint-Projet-Saint-Constant, 16110, France

Overview

Country Cooking Holidays in France

A deliciously hands-on week for people who enjoy cooking and want to discover more about the food of France. You will be using the best of ingredients, locally sourced or fresh from the garden, to make the tastiest meals. Mornings in the kitchen with demonstrations by Alex and practical work. The optional afternoon sessions might even include preparing some of the dishes for the evening dinner. You will end up with a folder of fine recipes and a fresh approach to creating great French food.

Highlights

  • Local markets tour
  • 7 or more hands-on cooking classes
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner accompanied by wine
  • Dine on dishes prepared in class
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Unique location
  • 7 days with instruction
  • English
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LAge Baston has 20 acres of gardens, woods and meadows for you to enjoy; large paneled salons and a dining room with rare 17th century tapestry. The spacious bedrooms are decorated in traditional style; most are en-suite with modern bathrooms. All the rooms have lovely views. Take a dip in the solar heated salt-water pool, relax on the patio sun loungers, borrow a bike or a book, or enjoy a trip to the nearby historic town of La Rochefoucauld.

The entrance hall has beautiful Minton-style floor-tiles, paneled walls, and doors off to everywhere. Turn left and you come to the sitting room; bright, sunny and paneled with views of the courtyard at the back and of the terrace at the front. People often meet here for aperitifs. From here you go into the dining room with its 17th century Flemish tapestry. You have breakfast here and sometimes sumptuous candle-lit dinners when there is no feas held in the courtyard.

Continue on the ground floor and you reach the kitchen from whence cometh all good things to eat and drink. Slip upstairs by a 19th century walnut staircase and you find three of the charming bedrooms. One of the bedrooms has a delightful view over the drive and the others have lovely views over the courtyard. If you turn right out of the main hall you pass the main staircase and then the little library. Through yet another set of doors (there are 32 doors on the ground floor) and you come to the first French language rooms.

The walls are paneled and the floor tiles have ancient Sanskrit good luck symbols. This room also has a guest computer with internet access and printer. Next is the grand salon, a huge paneled room with original oil paintings and lots of mirrors. Blessed with beautiful views out over the front meadows and copse, the grand salon is sometimes used for French in daytime. There is UK and French TV, a DVD player and a Wii. Leading from the French room is your guest kitchen. Help yourself to teas, coffee and an almost constant supply of biscuits at any time, day or night.

Bedrooms

Glide up the 17th century main staircase of oak to find five more of the delightful chteau bedrooms. These are en-suite double and twin rooms with beautiful beds, lush fabrics, antique furniture and old fireplaces. Each is an astute and comfortable blend of historic charm and modern comfort. Polished wooden floors, high ceilings and generous spaces give a period ambiance and the views into the courtyard and over the valley are outstanding. To wake refreshed in your bedroom at LAge Baston, with the morning light peeping through the shutters and the sounds of the house coming to life around you, is an experience to be treasured.

Guardians house

Just across the courtyard is the guardians house; an independent dependence complete with two bedrooms, bathroom and simple kitchen facilities. Ideal for friends coming together.

  • Alexandra Waddington

    Your host and French country cooking tutor, Alexandra Waddington, has been resident boss of the L’Age Baston kitchens for the last 20 years. Her specialties are pastries, tarts, terrines and sauces and she favors dishes that have a distinctive regional character using produits de terroir like Pineau, Cognac, walnuts, saffron, soft and subtle goat cheeses, rillettes, canard (the list is quite extensive). Her repertoire is large and her recipe book is impressive. Her ability to create memorable meals from fresh, simple ingredients is outstanding.

This location will take place in Saint-Projet-Saint-Constant, France.

Activities
  • Art classes
  • Canoeing
  • Cognac tasting / tour
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf course
  • Horse riding / rental
  • Karting
  • Outdoor swimming pool nearby
  • Shopping nearby
  • Swimming
  • Tennis court
General
  • Bar nearby
  • Caf nearby
  • Concierge desk
  • Dining area
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • In-room safe
  • Kitchen
  • Lobby
  • Lounge
  • Restaurant nearby
  • Smoke-free property
  • Special menu request
  • Terrace
Services
  • Convenience / grocery store nearby
  • Free Wi-Fi / computer
  • Hair dryer
  • Local market
  • Parking lot
  • Toiletries
  • Tour assistance nearby

All meals are prepared in-house using local fresh ingredients, wherever possible from the chteau garden. Keen to grow as many of the fruit and vegetables used in the kitchen as possible, Alex and John have plans to expand the garden plots and plant more fruit trees to compliment the crop of walnuts in the orchard.

Angoulmes old quarter - a visit to Angoulmes old quarter with beautiful little cobbled streets, exquisite boutiques, lovely pavement cafes and restaurants and super murals and trompe doeils on the buildings. You can walk the old city walls, known as the ramparts, take in the magnificent views across the valley to the river Charente

Aubterre tour - a lovely town with a famous church hewn out of solid rock

Brantome - the Venice of the Charente, rivers, caves, architecture

Canoeing - its a great way to get a perspective on the countryside and get a peek at riverside chteaux and mills. Theres always the chance of a Kingfisher or two. You get taken up stream to your point of launch with all the kit and then canoe back down to where you started. The river Charente and the Vienne are popular with longer distance canoeists while the river Tardoire is local and great fun for all canoeists from beginners upwards

Chteau of La Rochefoucauld - visit the ducal chteau that LAge Baston, swore fealty to. Home to the long line of dukes one of whom (Francois 6th) was the author of a world famous collection of bitter, cynical and misanthropic maxims. See the medieval kitchens, the solid 14th century square keep, fairytale style turrets, renaissance galleries and the superb, swirling Da Vinci staircase

Chteaux: de Peyras, de Bayers, Chalus

Chocolate making at Trois Palais - the chocolaterie Letuffe is an old established and highly reputable maker of fine chocolates and confectionary. They not only sell great chocolate but they do demonstrations and workshops that you can join in too. Its great, fun and you get to eat what you make

Cognac Distillery - there are lots to choose from and they all offer tastings. Before or after your tour, you can explore the town of Cognac, especially the old town with its narrow streets lined with medieval timber framed houses and handsome 16th century mansions that were once home to wealthy merchants

Cognac tour - tastings in the morning, explore the town or take a river trip in the afternoon

Cycling - bikes are available if you would like to cycle into La Rochefoucauld. Alternatively, you could borrow a map and head out further afield to discover the beautiful surroundings. Cycling around LAge Baston is great fun; not excessively hilly and with the traffic density of the UK like it must have been fifty years ago

Golf - there is a spectacular course at La Prze, just outside Montbron. Its a beautiful location with hills, woods and lakes. It offers a main 18-hole course, a driving range and 9-hole pitch and putt as well as a lovely club house. This is apparently a not unchallenging course. (Please note proof of handicap may be required to use the 18-hole course)

Fishing

Futuroscope tour - science and technology theme park with spectacular exhibits and thrilling rides

Horse-riding

Karting

Limoges tour - the center for fine porcelain and enamel work, the national Ceramics Museum, and the train station is a national treasure (theres a super little train right from La Rochefoucauld though an early start is required)

Sometimes the big Cognac houses are left in favor of one of the small artisan producers where you get a more intimate look into the mysterious alchemy of making Cognac

Piegut Pluviers market - visit the weekly Piegut Pluviers market in the Dordogne. This is one of the largest markets in the south-west of France. You will find everything here from artisan foods, arts and crafts, clothes and shoes to household goods right down to livestock. Whether you come to shop, taste, and paint or simply look, its a lovely morning out

Poitiers tour - historic, beautiful city where Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II in 1152

Sources of the Touvre - major resurgence and magical spring (trout as well)

Tennis

The archeological park at Cassinomagus (Chassenon) - a roman baths and healing sanctuary

The medieval village of Tusson: rural life museum, exhibitions, herb gardens

The Moulin de la Verger Paper mill - genuine hand-made paper made by genuine characters

The prehistoric caves of Bandiat-Tardoire during the Summer excavation programs

Villbois Lavallette - A hilltop chteau overlooking a pretty little town that has a wonderful wooden open market building in the center and one of the least modernized cafes in France. Cafe Reunion is not to be missed

Walking - if you visit the chteau on the week when walking course is being run, you may join in on any of the morning guided walks for a local charge of 25 EUR. Most of the walks last 2.5 to 3 hours. If you visit when a course is not being run, LAge Baston would be very happy to loan you maps and offer suggestions on where to go and things to see

  • A barbecue soire
  • A gala evening (glad rags and party pieces optional)
  • Airport and train transfers
  • Aperitifs and canaps on first and last night
  • Bikes to ride, books to read and boules to play
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full board accommodation
  • Guest kitchen - tea, coffee and biscuits always available
  • Hands-on cooking classes
  • Trips to local places of interest
  • Wine with lunch and dinner
  • Activities not mentioned above
  • Airfare
  • Train tickets

Driving directions

Chteau LAge Baston is approximately 7 hours from Calais and 5 hours from Caen. Guests travelling by car can plan their route via the AAs route planner or via Michelins route planner. If you enter your departure postcode and destination postcode (16110), the route planner will schedule your journey for you. You can also choose to set a via points if you wish to stop somewhere en route. The best time for you to arrive at LAge Baston is mid-afternoon.

Arrival by airplane

The nearest airports to the location are Limoges - Bellegarde airport (LIG) or Bordeaux - Mrignac airport (BOD). LAge Baston will pick you up from any of these 2 airports. The pick-up is complimentary. If you arrive at Paris - Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG), then you can take the train to Angoulme where LAge Baston will pick you up. The pick-up is complimentary.

Arrival by train

Eurostar from London St. Pancras via Lille or Paris, then TGV to Angoulme. Free collection service to Chteau LAge Baston. Please note that Eurostar and TGV reservations can only be made up to three months in advance of your departure date.

Distances

  • Caen - 5 hours
  • Calais - 7 hours
  • La Rochefoucauld town - 20-minute walk
For information about the booking conditions, please send L'Age Baston an inquiry.

Testimonials

  • Review by Maria P

    "I came to L'Age Baston for my painting holiday but it was so much more than a" holiday". It was an experience I will never forget. The art instruction was unbelievable, the food was wonderful, the people were great and the entire experience was set in a fabulous place! Alex and John were very hospitable and welcoming. It was really a trip of a lifetime for me!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Roy B from Kent, UK

    "To become part of the community of L'Age Baston is to enjoy a family holiday with new-found friends. The range of interests covered by the courses on offer is generous and attracts returning visitors every time. It is not a 5 star hotel, but it offers so much more in other ways. This year's was our fifth visit and will not have been our last."

    "New visitors are advised to study the course options to choose the right course of study, and then to choose the dates that fit. "

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Quirkyfolia from Yeovil, United Kingdom

    "L'Age Baston never fails to delight - this was our fourth visit over many years, which says it all! Alex, John, Mark and El are the loveliest people on the planet - we had an absolute blast as usual and the two friends we took, enjoyed it as much as we always do."

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Carol A. from UK

    "A truly memorable week, brilliant. The house and grounds are lovely, our hosts did everything to make sure we all had a wonderful time, the tuition and facilities were excellent the food superb and all combined with a lovely friendly atmosphere."

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Peter from UK

    "This was our third holiday at this wonderful place and it certainly won't be our last. Guests can be seen visibly relaxing soon after they arrive, having been warmly welcomed by Alex and John, enjoying the activity that they have selected or even just chilling, using the pool and surroundings. One of us walked in good company and lovely terrain and one painted, this time with the inspirational Chris Forsey. As ever, the food was always delicious and the wine flowed freely. Do look up the website of this unique Chateau, and believe me, there are absolutely no hidden costs. One you have arrived you do not need to spend anything extra at all. There is a London phone number and Victoria is always ready with help and information."

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Juliet from Saffron Walden, England

    "A large room and bathroom. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom well equipped including nice towels. Long lunches and dinners al fresco all beautifully cooked. John was the perfect host providing lashes of wine and serving delicious coffee. The pool was very welcome and well maintained."

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Sidcup, England

    "We selected this venue for something different for our family (daughter-15). I completed a French cookery class with Alex and my daughter completed the painting class with Jenni, my wife opted for the sit by the pool. Being slightly out of the average type of visitor for L'Age Baston we were concerned that our daughter would not enjoy here time. We were wrong. She wants to return.As far as my cooking course was concerned Alex will teach you all she knows (if you have time) the dishes cooked are from easy to more challenging. Food is plentiful at L'Age Baston with one guest describing it like being on a cruise. Both Alex and John and delightful hosts who cannot do enough for you.They had a young "couple" helping them and they were also helpful and friendly. There are plenty of other things to do like walking and cycling. You can walk to town and we went out to a market one day. Value for money is super. Three meals a day and wine included with lunch and dinner. If you are apprehensive of taking younger family members (late teens and above) then do not be. Guests and hosts make them most welcome and engaging."

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Claudia from Perth Hills, Australia

    "What a welcome! All meals served with excellent quality wine. All meals were fantastic prepared by the wonderful host Alex and her helpers. I felt like I had a lunch party and dinner party every day. The value for what I experienced was unbelievable.And on top of the wonderful meals in the company of the hosts and their helpers, we had the most wonderful entertainment provided by the hosts. The room was superb big enough for a queen!! The tuition I received was intense and made this stay just so much more worthwhile. I will be back in 2015, latest 2016 to sample another week of luxury at an affordable price. See you then Alex and John!"

    Trip Advisor website, edited

London, United Kingdom

L’Age Baston is a beautiful, friendly château in south-west France that provides relaxing holiday courses.

Speaks English

Offers starting at --

8 days / 7 nights

Early bird discount

Some of the prices below include an early bird discount of 50 GBP per person. To benefit, book or reserve before the end of January 2017.

Departure:
Saturday July 1, 2017
(8 days / 7 nights)

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