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Bread Baking Vacation in France

Le Gargantua has created this exciting French bread baking course where you can learn how to make baguettes, classic loaves, sourdough bread, regional specialty bread and brioche. Those attending this bread course will be able to take the skills they learn and recreate a range of wonderful baked goods at home. During the course, Le Gargantua only uses domestic cooking equipment so that you learn how to bake delicious bread with the equipment that you already have in your home. It's just one of the things that makes Le Gargantua's French bread course so popular.

Meet the instructors

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  • Hands-on French bread making sessions
  • Bake traditional baguettes, breadsticks, sourdough, brioche
  • Use of bike to explore the surrounding areas
  • Transfer from and to a local train station
  • Daily meals and drinks included
  • 3 nights accommodation


2 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 6 participants
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Check-in Time:
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  • Dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Lobby
  • Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Free bicycle
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Parking lot

The guesthouse, Le Gargantua, is located in the tiny village of Anzex, surrounded by glorious sunflower fields, only a couple of minutes drive away from the pine forest of the Landes de Gascogne, and 10 minutes from the pretty market town of Casteljaloux.

Facilities include:

  • Private off-road parking
  • Private ensuite shower room and toilet in each bedroom
  • Linen and towels
  • Hair dryers
  • Tea and coffee-making facility in each bedroom
  • A complimentary bottle of local wine and home-made cookies in your room on arrival
  • Lounge / diner
  • Free internet Wi-Fi connection
  • Outside shaded sitting area
  • Garden furniture
  • Sun loungers
  • Bikes at your disposal for a ride in the countryside
  • Games and magazines to keep you entertained

The bedrooms are situated on the first floor, therefore the house is, unfortunately, unsuitable for wheelchairs. Pets are not allowed in the guests' area. Le Gargantua has a strict no-smoking policy inside the house.

The bedrooms

The house has four spacious and comfortable double bedrooms of an average size of 22 square meters (227 square feet), all with private en-suite facilities. Furnishings and decoration are of traditional French country style. The house and bedrooms have bags of character with exposed stone walls and sloping ceilings showing original oak beams. The perfect mix of rusticity and elegance.

The rooms will be allocated on a first come - first served basis, on confirmation and payment of your deposit.

Pantagruel (twin bed)

Pantagruel is a cozy twin bedroom perfect for friends to share. Melusine" and "Pantagruel" are adjoining rooms, and can be attributed as a family room.

Grangousier (double bed)

Grangousier is a large bedroom with double bed and traditional French rustic furniture. The leather armchairs provide a perfect way to relax after your cooking or patisserie session.

Gargamelle (double bed)

Gargamelle is a spacious bedroom complete with pine wood double bed and furniture that compliments the warm country feel.

Melusine (four-poster double bed)

Melusine is a sizeable bedroom with a romantic four-poster bed. The French windows look out to the rolling fields of the countryside.


Whilst the recipe is an important factor in bread making, it is by no means the deciding one. Good bread-making also relies on an understanding of which ingredients to choose, how to prepare them, and on mastering the skill of handling and kneading the dough.

Those who attend this French bread-making course will get to cook, bake and eat their own delicious bread and be taught both the theory behind bread baking and the hows and whys of dough structure and how each ingredient used has a purpose. It's a French bread course designed to educate the mind, stimulate the senses, and give you a life-long appreciation and love of baking bread.

Le Gargantua hopes very much to see you soon.

What you'll learn

During the intensive bread course, you will practice each of the different kneading techniques used to make different types of French bread and become acquainted with the different rising agents such as fresh yeast, poolish, and sourdough starter.

You'll also discover the different proofing conditions (single or double proof, at room temperature or in the fridge) and get to use the various fillings needed to create a classic loaf, traditional baguette, sourdough, fougasse, and brioche.

You make, you bake

Just like with Le Gargantua's seasonal cooking and patisserie courses, their bread course is fully hands-on and will have you measuring, mixing, and hand-kneading from the outset. There's no demonstration-watching here, as you learn so much more when you get stuck-in and fully involved.

You will be taught the hows and whys, as well as the role each ingredient plays so that you gain a comprehensive bread baking knowledge that will last you a lifetime.

If you read the labels of mass-produced bread from the supermarket, you'll see that they can contain as many as 20 different ingredients, additives, and preservatives. The flours Le Gargantua uses are sourced from a local mill and are mostly organic, so they are as pure as nature intended and you'll even get the chance to take some home with you!

Eating home-made bread comes with an array of health benefits and there's a certain enjoyment and satisfaction that comes with making it yourself, so the Le Gargantua team hope they can tempt you into joining them for a fun and educational experience.

All this baking gives Le Gargantua the perfect excuse to introduce you to some of the finest local delicacies to accompany your various bread. You'll be presented with a selection of fine cheeses, foie gras, charcuterie, spreads, and dips to enjoy with your baskets of baked goods, as well as mouthwatering aperitifs and local wines to turn your bread course baking experience into an authentic immersion into French food and lifestyle.


Day 1

Your first day will start from 4 p.m. and you'll have the time to settle in and make yourself at home. You'll then meet your fellow bread course classmates before dinner with a welcome drink, perfectly complemented by a selection of canapes before moving on to enjoy a delicious three-course dinner.

Day 2

After breakfast, you meet in the kitchen at around 9 a.m. for a detailed presentation of the ingredients and the different steps involved in bread-making. Then you will go on to prepare a quick bread dough, a sourdough, and a baguette dough, before breaking for lunch at around noon.

At 1 p.m., you then head back to the kitchen to use the quick dough to create a traditional fougasse and olive (or other fillings) bread. You finish in the kitchen at 4 p.m., so you will have time to relax before you meet up again at 7 p.m. for an aperitif before dinner.

Day 3

You meet again in the kitchen after breakfast to make brioche dough and you will also shape and bake traditional baguettes. After lunch, you get straight back in the kitchen to make breadsticks, finish off the sourdough loaf and to shape and bake the brioche.

You will then get some more time to relax before aperitifs and dinner. Once again, your bread will be served before and with your evening meal that very same night.

Day 4

Sadly, this is the end of the bread course and the day you will leave Le Gargantua. Your room is yours until 11 a.m. if you have your own vehicle, but if you don't, drop off at Tonneins stations is at 7.45 a.m. Whichever way you depart, you will leave with your freshly made brioche in your possession to enjoy when you get home.


Marlene Weinberg


Le Gargantua cooking school's house is located just one-hour drive southeast of Bordeaux, and one hour and 30 minutes northwest of Toulouse, in Lot-et-Garonne, Aquitaine, in the better known Gascony.

Lot-et-Garonne is known as "the Garden of France", the landscape is quite unspoiled, nature and wildlife are preserved and agriculture is thriving. The surrounding colors are the ones of wheat and sunflower fields, vineyards, and the deep green of the pine forest of the Landes de Gascogne. It enjoys a very pleasant climate, mostly dry and sunny.

This is a land of eventful history, featuring Richard the Lion Heart, the musketeers, and Henry IV. Many old stones still stand, silent witnesses of the region's historical heritage. Discover the Gallo-Roman relics, Romanesque churches, the impressive castles, the old wash-houses.


Included in the package:

  • Continental breakfast every day (bread and croissants, fresh fruit, coffee, English tea, cereals, yogurts, home-made jams, and local honey)
  • Lunch every day
  • Three-course dinner every night
  • Welcome drinks and canapés
  • House aperitif before dinners
  • Local wines with all lunches and dinners
  • Water, tea, coffee, and cold drinks and beers throughout the day
  • Coffee and English tea making facilities in your room

If you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, please let Le Gargantua know when booking.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Alcoholic beverages

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

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • 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

Things to do (optional)

Places of interest

The Bastides

These medieval fortified villages were built in the shape of a square, surrounded by arcades, and a web of narrow streets off the square. As opposed to most other towns that were built around a church, the bastide's central square was dedicated to the market, the arcades all around were used by the traders in case of bad weather. The four-strong walls around the town were making it a fortress, pretty essential feature in those times of war (12th and 13th centuries mainly).

Near Le Gargantua cooking school are the following: Villefranche du Queyran (2-minute drive), Damazan (10-minute drive), Vianne (20-minute drive), Bazas (35-minute drive). The best-preserved bastide (almost intact) is probably Vianne, which during the entire summer hosts a nocturnal market every Friday.


It was one of the four capitals of the region. It is bordered by pine forests and is a pretty market town. Discover the charming "Maison du Roy" (used by the office of tourism), the impressive church "Notre Dame" and the original 15th-century "colombages" (timber, stone, and brick façades) as you wander down the narrow back alleys.

Spend a day on the beach at the lake of Clarens, enjoy the colorful farmers market (Tuesdays and Saturdays), have a little fun at the casino, play a round of golf or get pampered at the thermal spas. Casteljaloux is about eight minutes' drive away.


This beautiful town became the capital of the (Navarre) region in the 16th century under the influence of the royal family of Albret. Base of the loved Henri IV and the queen Margot, city of plenty, the center of culture, arts, and politics, it was known as the "Athens of Gascony" because of its quality of life.

Nérac is surrounded by the vineyards of Buzet and river Baïse runs through it. Nicely preserved and maintained, a walk through the old town takes you back in time. You will also find in Nerac the Chocolaterie "La Cigale" which inspired the author Joanne Harris her bestseller "Chocolat" (which became the film starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche).

Take a stroll in the Royal parc of la Garenne, visit the remaining wing of Henry IV's castle (now a museum), the Imaginary Castle, the fortified Four-Towers Mill in nearby Barbaste, or go for a cruise on the river.

Nerac is a 25-minute drive away from the cooking school.


Of course, everyone recognizes the name for being one of the best-known wine appellations in the world. But Bordeaux is so much more! Come and discover what really is behind the name. A breath-taking city, listed as world heritage with UNESCO. There are so many different faces to Bordeaux that everyone can be charmed. Stunning architecture, great shopping (trust me!), beautiful food, wonderful museums, and more.

Although Bordeaux is the fifth largest city in France, it has a real village feel to it, and you will love wandering its old cobbled streets or walking the beautiful promenade along the river.

The Atlantic Ocean coast

Grab a picnic and spend the day on the coast. Nature parks, water theme park, and near Arcachon, you can see (and climb) the highest sand dune in Europe: Grande Dune du Pyla, 107 meters high. Breath-taking view from the top, on the ocean, Landes forest, and even the Pyrénées mountains if the sky is clear enough.


A stunning medieval city, listed by UNESCO world heritage. A must-see for its location, its historical monuments, its vineyards, and numerous Grands Crus.

Impressive churches, the cloister of the Cordeliers, the monk Emilion's cave, the Catacombs, the Trinity Chapel, the city walls, the ruins of the Cardinal Palace. There is a commented excursion in a touristic train, giving you a glimpse of some of the most prestigious chateaux.


There is plenty to do and see. You will be particularly busy if you like a bargain, as there are "vide-greniers" (bootfairs / fleamarkets) in nearby towns and villages several times a week in the summer. Additionally, most towns and villages have their own celebration day with all sorts of games and events and the day ends with a big banquet (generally a themed one like snails, sardines, paella, BBQ).

You can also just relax, strolling around the picturesque little villages and watching the world go by whilst sitting at a café's terrasse. But if you are the active kind, you can go swimming, visit thermal spas, or do a family outing.

What's included

  • Tansfers to / from a local train station
  • Taxes
  • Continental breakfast every day
  • Lunch every day
  • Three-course dinner every night
  • Drinks
  • Hands-on cooking experience
  • All ingredients, equipment, and apron provided
  • Recipe folder to take home
  • 3 nights accommodation
  • Use of linen and towels for the duration of your stay
  • Bikes on-site free for your use to venture out and discover the surrounding countryside
  • Free Wi-Fi connection

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Driving directions from the A62 motorway, between Bordeaux and Agen

  • Take exit N° 6 off the motorway (Aiguillon), and follow the sign to Casteljaloux on the road D8.
  • Get onto the D11 to Casteljaloux, for about 8 km (5 miles) then turn right onto the D120 towards Anzex/Villefranche (DO NOT TURN LEFT INTO ANZEX).
  • The house is on that very road about 2 kilometers from the junction on the left-hand side.

Driving directions from Casteljaloux

  • Follow the sign to Agen.
  • Do a left onto the D11 towards Damazan/Anzex, for about 5 miles.
  • Turn left onto the D120 towards Anzex/Villefranche (DO NOT TURN LEFT INTO ANZEX). The house is on that very road, about 2 kilometers from the junction, on the left-hand side.
  • Le Gargantua recommends that you hire a car for the duration of your stay if you wish to visit the area at the end of your cooking days and time off, or simply to go into town.

Arrival by airplane

The closest airports are Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport (BOD) and Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport (EGC) . Rental cars are available from both these airports.

There is a shuttle service between Bordeaux Airport and Bordeaux train station, called Direct'30. Departing from Terminal B (arrivals level) at the airport, the Direct'30 shuttle connects Bordeaux Airport to Bordeaux train station via the city center every hour, 7 days a week. The ride from start to finish lasts around 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

You'll find all the comfort you enjoy on the plane, to get your trip off to a good start or finish. Bordeaux Airport is not big, so providing you don't have any checked-in luggage to wait for on arrival, you can count on catching a Direct30'Bus just 15 to 20 minutes after landing.

Arrival by train

As of July 2017 a new fast speed service - TGV Océane - between Paris and Bordeaux will be available. The journey time from London will take five hours and 50 minutes. For more information, visit the official website.

You can catch a Eurostar from London to Paris, or a fast train from most cities in Europe to Paris. You then need to get to Paris Montparnasse station, to catch a train to Bordeaux or Agen.

Bordeaux Station is traveler-friendly with great facilities such as free wifi access and charging points for mobile phones, tablets, or laptops.

The local train station is Tonneins. There are TGV (fast trains) or slower regional trains coming to Tonneins from Bordeaux or Agen. There is approximately one train every hour. You can check the national train timetables and book your ticket online.

If you book a residential cooking course with Le Gargantua, they will be happy to collect you from Tonneins train station at NO ADDITIONAL COST! Drop off to Tonneins station is for the 8:10 a.m. train.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Value for money
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4 days / 3 nights
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Course information

Children are more than welcome (they only have to be tall enough to reach the workbench) under their parent's supervision.

Non-cooking guests are welcome.

Sunday March 6, 2022
(4 days / 3 nights)

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