About the location: Avignon is a city famous for its history, and not just because its often referred to as the “City of Popes.” After all, this city on the Rhone is one of the few places in France to preserve much of its historical center, ramparts around the city, picturesque bridges, and buildings such as the impressive Popes’ Palace. Whether exploring the ancient cobblestone streets on foot or by bus, Avignon’s charm and friendly atmosphere is everywhere, from beautiful private mansions hailing from the 18th and 19th centuries to its many parks and gardens. Avignon, too, is the center of Provencal food. With the oldest covered market in the city, Les Halles, along with cooking classes, visitors can discover Provencal specialties and local products, such as honey, nougat, chocolates, olive oils AOC, Côte du Rhône wines, and so much more. With its central location, Avignon is the perfect place to discover the surrounding Provencal countryside, including the Luberon mountains with their breathtaking views, Roussillon’s unique ochre landscape, and small villages like Chateauneuf du Pape that are famous for their wines.
Your accommodations for the week are at a lovely 4-star hotel in central Avignon very close to the Popes’ Palace and many cafes and small shops. Previously a 19th-century house, today the hotel offers 66 modern, cozy rooms decorated in warm colors, and offering individual air-conditioning/heating,WiFi access, plasma TV, and mini-bar. Top-floor rooms also offer a terrace with a beautiful view of the city.
About the cooking lessons: Your hands-on cooking classes will take place in a variety of kitchens throughout central Avignon and the Provencal countryside so you’ll discover all the different facets of the local cuisine. Visit Les Halles, a traditional Provencal food market full of farm products including vegetables, fruit, cheeses, honey, wines, flowers, and poultry, and learn how to create traditional Provencal cuisine. In one cooking class, set up shop in a 19th-century kitchen and work around a huge wood-block table. The kitchen’s original stove is fired up with oak wood three hours before class even begins, and you’ll discover authentic traditions as you prepare menus that feature traditional Provencal and French recipes. In Avignon, you'll also visit a charming restaurant and discover how to pair wines with your meals as you learn from Chef Jean Marc Larrue, who is passionate about using local flavors and infusing them with something exotic. Your fourth cooking class takes place in the charming Provencal commune of Carpentras with Chef Gina. In all four classes, local wines are included.