Client Comments about Provençal Adventure
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The Provencal Adventure was wonderful. Christine was fun, the food great and Tavel was storybook perfect.
We completely loved our cooking school. Christine is a wonderful cook/teacher and a joy to spend time in the kitchen with. We made recipes which were staight forward to prepare but were so unique, we would have never tried them here at home (e.g. zucchini soup with smoked salmon ice cream – to die for!!!!). Christine and her husband Erik are wonderful people and enjoying your dinner with them is like spending time with old friends. Our accommodations were excellent…lovely rooms in a century old building and the village of Tavel is totally charming (like it was taken from a novel). The location of Tavel is excellent for day visits to wineries, historic churches, the Pont du Gard and many other communities with unique histories and charm. We will be going back again!!!
Gary and Linda, Canada
Hello! I just wanted to write to tell you how much we enjoyed our “Provencal Adventure” this April! ... We had an absolutely fabulous time: my parents, my husband and myself. The B&B where we stayed (Le Jardin de Bacchus) was stunningly beautiful, as was the village where it was located, Tavel. It is rustic, unspoiled and lovely, surrounded on many sides by miles and miles of vineyards. The weather during our stay was 70’s and sunny, with only a few windy days (the famous Mistral, as recounted by Peter Mayle). We thoroughly enjoyed our cooking lessons, set as they were in our host Christine’s sunny kitchen, with doors open on to the terrace. We made herb-crusted chicken, Coq au Vin, Brandade de Morue (salt cod mixed with cream and potatoes and baked in pastry), goat cheese wrapped in eggplant slices, 3-chocolate mousse, strawberry/basil/lemon terrine, Pissalidiere (a kind of sweet-onion “pizza” with black olives and anchovies), among other dishes. With those dishes, we enjoyed aperatifs of muscat and Pastis, jaw-dropping local wines (Tavel rose and red Lirac by La Genestiere) during the meals. On nights when we didn’t have a lesson, we enjoyed one of Tavel’s exceptional restaurants, all within walking distance of the B&B. Our host Christine, who is fluent in English, assisted us in planning our day trips to le Pont du Gard, la Camargue, the Uzes market, Castillon du Gard and the Popes’ Palace at Avignon. We had been slightly worried about driving in France, but it was no trouble: everything is very clearly signed at the various roundabouts, and driving from Marseille to Tavel via the highway was equally easy. What a fantastic vacation: we were all very sorry to leave. If we had searched elsewhere for months, we would not have found such a lovely and enjoyable place. Thank you!
I’m not sure I have enough space to tell you how much we enjoyed this trip. The B&B was absolutely fantastic, mostly because of Christine’s hospitality and warmth. She is a wonderful guide to the area, and was able to give us great ideas about where to go and what to do. The cooking classes were fantastic, with a lot of menu variety and plenty of hands-on experience. The driving part of this program was not nearly as confusing as we thought it might be. Apart from the usual (for me) missed turns, the area is quite easy to navigate in, and we really did not get lost during the entire trip, including driving to and from Marseilles and to the Camargue. I suspect that the time of year we traveled (April) made a big difference in the amount of traffic on the roads, so others traveling in the summer might not find it so easy. A detailed map of the area (I had a large Michelin fold-out map) helps a lot, but roads are well-marked and the abundance of round-abouts makes it easy to turn back if you have to. In terms of activities, a couple of very special outings for us were to the Uzes market and to a small village called Castillon du Gard, which is extremely quaint and offered a fabulous view of the Pont du Gard from a distance that really emphasized how big the Pont du Gard is. From the food and wine perspective, every meal was memorable, but in particular our class-prepared picinc at the Pont du Gard and dinner at La Genestiere (walking distance from the B&B) were particularly good. Several wineries in Tavel offer free degustations, and all of the wines were excellent. Make sure to try Tavel rose while you are there—Americans used to fruity, sugary rose will be pleasantly surprised, and the local residents are extremely proud that this is what the village is known for. A couple of hints to those considering this trip: 1) Although many people in the area do speak some English, it helps a GREAT DEAL to have someone with you who is proficient in French. You can certainly get by, and I think the locals are used to a little miscommunication with tourists, but you can tell that they appreciate it when someone makes the effort to learn some French and uses it. 2) I would recommend flying to Paris, taking the TGV to Avignon, then renting a car in Avignon. We flew to Marseilles from Paris, then drove from Marseilles to Tavel, and though it’s not a difficult drive, it does mean an hour-and-a-half drive when you’re jet-lagged from the trip, which isn’t for everybody. The drive to Tavel from Avignon is only about 15 minutes, which would be much more manageable. Whew! I think that’s as much as I can think of now.
Glen V., MN