Cooking Vacations in France: 4 Nights in Normandy
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Discover Normandy: 4-night
Benoitville (Basse-Normandie)

About the location: The beautiful region of Normandy has something for everyone, from  350 miles of rolling coastlines to a rich culture and history. There is also, of course, a world-class gastronomy here, one known for its hearty dishes made with regional produce, as well as seafood, dairy herds, and presalé lambs.  Whether you choose the 4-night or 6-night stay, you'll experience a rural way of life in the northwestern part of France, as your hosts introduce you to the art de vivre à la française, where socializing and meals are an integral part of everyday life. Your cooking courses will be at an 18th-century restored farmhouse, located in the breathtakingly beautiful Cotentin Peninsula in a tiny, typical Norman village. The farmhouse is also located just a few miles from the nearest sandy beaches and less than 15 miles from the lively port town of Cherbourg. This trip is perfect for history and food lovers alike.

About the cooking courses: While your hostess, Sinéad, is Irish by birth,  she and her husband Philippe, the local veterinarian, have lived in Normandy for more than two decades now. Sinéad quickly realized that her culinary background transcended borders and she delved into the gastronomy and way of life of her new home. In your cooking classes, she will introduce you to Normandy's best and freshest ingredients and rich flavors. 

For the full description of this program, please visit the 6-night cooking vacation page for Discover Normandy

Discover Normandy: 4-night Itinerary

Day 1

Order of activities may change depending on the season and your start date.

  • Arrival on your own at your accommodations. (The nearest rental car offices are in Cherbourg, about 15 miles away.)
  • Time to chill out, and explore the accommodations and surroundings. You might wander the grounds and have a look at the lavoir and 1789 boulangerie, or head into the village of Benoitville or our local town, Les Pieux.
  • Enjoy a light dinner featuring a Normandy cheese board, wine, and dessert.
  • Overnight.

Day 2

  • Continental breakfast: freshly-squeezed juices, a range of home-made jams, croissants, pains au chocolat, sourdough bread, café au lait/tea, and sometimes an Irish touch in the form of buttermilk scones!
  • Morning excursion to the market in Bricquebec. While you select the freshest local produce with the help of Sinead, you will sample items offered by the proud, enthusiastic stall holders.
  • At 10:30, head to Sinead’s kitchen for your first hands-on cooking class about all French cuisine.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts, drinks included.
  • In the afternoon, around 4:30 p.m., visit the local organic cider farm, where you’ll also have a tasting of calvados, cider, and apple juice.
  • Dinner on your own. Sinead can provide recommendations as well as call and make you reservations.
  • Overnight.

Day 3

  • Continental breakfast.
  • In the morning, take part in your second cooking class with Sinead.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts, drinks included.
  • At 2:30 p.m., visit the ferme auberge, a working farm where, along with Francois, you’ll prepare a three-coourse meal that you’ll cook in an 18th-century bread oven that once made bread for 100+ locals who worked on the farm. This is a treat for serious foodies and history lovers alike.
  • Following, a quick visit to La Maison du Biscuit, a fabulous grocery store featuring regional specialties.
  • Enjoy an aperitif with Francois, followed by dinner ‘en famille.’
  • Overnight.

Day 4

  • After breakfast, head to the kitchen at 10 a.m. for the last time for your third cooking class.
  • Lunch to follow, drinks included.
  • Afternoon on your own. Perhaps visit La Maison du Biscuit, a fine grocery store that is one of the most visited sites in the area.
  • Dinner on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day 5

  • Breakfast and departure.