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Cooking Classes In France

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My Mother and I are in the begining stages of taking a trip to France in a year or so. We are thinking about going in either September or May (not this year but next year).

We both love to cook and have been greatly influenced by French cooking---mostly by Julia Childs. We would love to take a cooking class for 2-4 days as part of our trip. We have both been to Paris before (my most favorite place on Earth) and are interested in visiting other areas of France. Possibly Provence, Bordeaux, or Burgundy---but in all honesty we are up for anything.

I'm looking for suggestions of places you have experienced where there is hands-on lessons in English. Something unique with a genuine French feel is exactly what we are looking for.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. L'atelier des chefs offers cooking classes in Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon (and Bruxelles).

    http://www.atelierdeschefs.com/index....

    1. Le Cordon Bleu in Paris offers avocational cooking classes of one-and two-day duration, in French with English translators, http://www.cordonbleu.net/ as does the Ritz-Escoffier Cooking School. http://www.ritzparis.com/actu/index.a...

      I have taken classes in both places, and they are enjoyable and educational.

      Patricia Wells also offers excellent classes in both Paris and Provence (www.patriciawells.com), and Susan Hermann Loomis does the same in Paris and Normandy (www.onruetatin.com). Both are hands-on, and offer wonderful experiences.

      Also in Provence, in St. Remy de Provence, the Mas de Cornud has hands-on classes www.mascornud.com in a lovely setting near the Roman ruins of Glanum, and Erick and Madeleine Vedel have a charming B&B and cooking school (hands-on as well) at www.cuisine provencale.com.

      Hope this helps.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        Thank you ChefJune.

        The places in Provence sound great---especially if it includes a cozy B&B or someplace to stay where the classes take place.

        I've heard of Patricia Wells classes from one of my travel Guides. In particular they mentioned a chocolate making class. Mmmmmm!

        1. re: Elyssa

          Both the places in Provence have beautiful B&B's with nice amenities.

          1. re: Elyssa

            Patricia Wells is already booked up for 2008!!!! Very popular!!

        2. So now I'm obsessed with idea of going to Provence! So any 2-4 day cooking classes in this area would be perfect. All I've been finding are week long programs which doesn't really work for us since we plan to spend some time in Giverney and elsewhere. Still open to other areas though if the programs are hands-on, not a whole week, and taught in English.

          Thanks!

          1. Maybe you can be diverted of your newly acquired and costly Provencal obsession with Brittany? Roellinger, one of the greatest artists in cooking in my opinion, has started a teaching program that he seems to adapt to demand. www.maisons-de-bricourt.com . Also, the Ritz school mentioned above is highly recommendable and highly professional.

            1 Reply
            1. re: souphie

              I've heard good things about the Ritz school but its in Paris only correct? We have both been to Paris (me twice) and even though its probably my favorite place in the world we are eager to explore new places.

              But I've heard wonderful things about Brittany so I'll check out Maisons de Bricourt. Thank you.

              Btw...I'm not totally tied to Provence but the idea of the lavender fields and checking out the area that inspired Van Gogh is very tempting. :)

            2. Elissa, there's another place... in Ecully outside of Lyon, the Institut Paul Bocuse is housed in a gorgeous chateau. They have avocational classes at some times of year. You would have to check their web site.

              The restaurant at the school is picturesque, and the food is wonderful. http://www.institutpaulbocuse.com/

              2 Replies
              1. re: ChefJune

                Thank you so much ChefJune! You've been a wonderful resource. If you yourself have an actual restaurant in Paris/France I would love to hear about it so I can stop by. :)

                1. re: Elyssa

                  In provence there is a wonderful week or couple day option in Nice or the mountains near there. Check out Tasteofprovence.com It is taught in english and includes some touring. I had a wonderful time and the chef is really friendly.

              2. Don't know HOW I could have forgotten about Kathie Alex's program, "Cooking with Friends in France" http://cookingwithfriends.com/ . In the hills above Grasse, Kathie runs a wonderful culture and cooking program in Julia Child's old house! How's that for ambiance?

                1. Lucky you!!! I long to go to the Rhode School of Cuisine in Provence. I've been to their cooking school in Tuscany and have been trying to get to France ever since. Here's their site: http://www.rhodeschoolofcuisine.com/

                  Enjoy!!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: HungryLetsEat

                    Wow! they have quite a business going!

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      ChefJune I read your suggestion about Cooking with Friends ...and may just have to book a room for the truffle hunt in February! I have read Julia's autobiography and loved her narratives of all of the cooking she did in that house with Simone Beck. Can think of no better place to soak in "Julia vibes" and learn about truffles. Sounds like heaven! Thanks for turning us on to that place.

                      1. re: HungryLetsEat

                        my pleasure!

                  2. We did Kathie Alex's Cooking With Friends week-long class near Grasse a few years ago and it was fabulous! Seven people in my family participated and we stayed in Julia's home there and also in Simone Beck's house which is next door. The lessons were conducted in Julia's kitchen each morning and we had lunch there, then were free for the rest of the day. We also visited the market in Cannes, a cheese cave, a Michelin starred restaurant in Mougins where we had a cooking lesson with the chef, the kitchen of the Palm D'Or in Cannes followed by a wonderful meal on the terrace. The whole week was just wonderful and I would highly recommend it.

                    1. Two friends from the Bay Area who went to the Cordon Bleu, told me that they think the classes with the Princesse Marie-Blanche de Broglie were a good place to go when visiting Paris. They felt that the Cordon Bleu was too regimented with their technique. They thought the Princesse was a truly French experience. I have yet to get the chance to go to her classes, but am trying to find time to do it with my daughter.

                      http://www.cuisinemb.com/

                      For the past three decades, Princess Marie-Blanche de Broglie has been teaching French cuisine and the traditional art of entertaining to the Tout-Paris (rumor has it that Lady Diana took lessons there too). As well as daily programs where students prepare and share lunch, her school offers three diploma courses including the "Grand diplôme Princesse Marie-Blanche de Broglie" of 20 cooking classes, three pastry groups, five "art de vivre sessions," two tastings (French cheese/ French Wine) and a graded final exam for 3 000E.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Bagel in France

                        <They felt that the Cordon Bleu was too regimented with their technique> I'm not sure what that means. The classes are demonstration classes! Yes, they do show you how to do things the correct way. When you get home you can do it any way you want.

                        I've gotten a great deal out of the classes at both LCB and the Ritz-Escoffier school.

                        If you do take the "Princess'" classes, be sure to let us know how you liked them.