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"Cooking with Kathy in Provence" - Cook in Provence

In our group of bons vivants are two couples from Connecticut, John and Laurie, and Dick and Gerry; Barbara and Alicia, a mother-daughter duo from Washington and Montana; Gail and Brynn, old friends from law school, now living on separate coasts; and me. We arrive separately in Avignon via the TGV high-speed train from Paris on Friday afternoon, and have just an hour or so to settle into our rooms and explore the house, which is nestled in the heart of the village. Each of our bedrooms is different, but all reflect Carole's love of color, regional fabrics, and whimsical accents.

My cozy room on the third floor has a gleaming modern bathroom and is decorated in shades of mint and raspberry, with an Art Deco vase, a turn-of-the-century armoire, and earlyth-century photographs.

I am relieved to discover that the bed is firm, new, and very comfortable, something that all too seldom awaits you in a French country house or hotel. Carole is a good-humored and accessible teacher, her recipe instructions punctuated with a wealth of helpful chef's trucs technical tricks and tips.


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We are juicing lemons. Slice the flesh into a tic-tac-toe grid, cutting to the halfway point of the lemon.

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The juice comes spurting out, while the seeds stay in. Who needs a juicer? A lavish spread in the cozy saffron-hued salon rewards our two hours of hard work. We are tired, but pretty pleased with ourselves. Look at the feast we've made! We sample a variety of oils from tiny plastic cups, the flavors ranging from green and spicy, with an aroma of freshly mowed grass, to fruity and ripe, with chocolate and truffle top notes. Between tastes, we clear our palates with bites of tart green apple from local orchards. The olive oil tasting sparks our appetites; a good thing, since the next stop, La Maison at the Domaine de Bournissac, is a Michelin one-star property.

We wind our way along little country roads to Bournissac, a bucolic farm with olive groves and fig trees in the village of Les Paluds-de-Noves.

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We're dining at Chez Bob, a famously funky, beloved restaurant on the mosquito-infested plains. Never go to the Camargue without slathering on mosquito repellent. The mosquitoes here are as vicious as piranhas. Vintage photos cover the walls of this former ranch, many featuring the handsome Bob, a charismatic Resistance hero Bob is a nom de guerre.

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Conviviality and generosity define the family-style meals here. Days pass in a mellow haze of sunshine and sated appetites. We drift down every morning for a breakfast of breads and croissants from the boulangerie , with jams, fruit salad, and fresh orange juice that sustain us until lunch. One afternoon we visit La Bambouseraie, exotic bamboo gardens in Anduze, and later have a demonstration class and a marvelous meal a short drive away at the Michelin-starred Les Demeures du Ranquet, a dreamy country inn with aromatic herb gardens and lavender fields.

We watch as the radiant blond chef-owner, Anne Majourel, who sports a cheeky white crew cap, prepares our basil-themed dinner: every course, including a dessert of roast figs with olive oil ice cream and strawberry-basil sauce, stars the iconic Mediterranean herb. Tuesday morning finds us standing at attention in our embroidered aprons at the handsome kitchen of La Mirande, a luxurious hotel in the heart of Avignon.

FRENCH and ITALIAN Music for Cooking - Romantic Traditional Music from France and Italy

Dessert today is a labor-intensive gratin of grapes and pine nuts in a sabayon sauce, and we set to work peeling and seeding 14 pounds of grapes. If you want to take cooking classes in Provence France or try Plein Air painting, you have to book one of our memorable trips. You'll take home artwork made by you and impress your friends with delicious meals. Our all-inclusive vacations let you experience French culture up close. You will become a part of local village life during your stay, learn about local history, and enjoy the stunning views of Provence.

The rich culture of this area is unparalleled.


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Classes for Spring of are now being booked in March and April. Contact Us. Cooking in Provence in Les Arcs sur Argens provides weeklong cooking and painting vacations. Discover France through delicious cuisine and stellar vistas, while staying in a gorgeous hillside town. Our inviting home has private suites for couples, and our ample kitchen space is fully equipped for chefs of all levels. And, of course, all classes include costs for food and wine.

Enjoy Plein Air painting courses with renowned artist, John Stoeckley, and capture the stunning local scenery on canvas. Our guests have a choice to either participate in our cooking classes or painting outdoors each day.