Salon of the Chateau
Plated dinner on a culinary tour of France
Cooking class in southern France
A view in Bearn on your culinary tour of France
Profiteroles on a culinary tour of France
An old bridge in Southwest France
The garden and park of the Chateau
Finishing the dish during a cooking class in France
The pond of the Chateau
Cooking lesson at the Chateau
Bathroom of the Chateau
The exterior of the Chateau
Double bedroom of the Chateau
Double room of the Chateau
The family suite at the Chateau
Detail of the interior of the Chateau
Overview

Cooking in a French Chateau

Currently not available, please see our similar experiences: Culinary Vacations in France.

It has been suggested that French cuisine originated in the South West of France, the Basque country, but also in the neighboring Bearn. The region is known for the dry and sweet white wines of the Jurancon area, as well as for the red from the Madiran. You will get to taste both as you explore the local cuisine in a true farm-to-market and market-to-table experience.

It is the pittoresque little village of Moumour that you will find your home for the week, a beautifully restored Château set in a luscious park with stunning views of the Pyrénées. Summer residence of the bishops of Oloron Sainte Marie, the nearby town with a medieval cathedral, the chateau is grand and has been totally renovated to modern 5* luxury standards. It is an ideal starting point for exploring the beauties of the National Parc des Pyrénées, which is right around the corner.

Your hosts for the week are the owners, Christine, a sculptor who did the interior decoration of the Château, and Laurent, who will be your Chef and instructor. For partners that do not like to cook, there are many options to occupy your time, from a nearby golf course to a sculpture class with Christine, the library, gymnasium, home cinema, or swimming pool.


Latest Review

No rating given with this review
We loved the chateau, it's absolutely beautiful and has been immaculately renovated. The property feels so historic yet has amazing modern amenities, like high-tech showers. Even at a five-star hotel, I've never seen this! The interior decor is gorgeous, with lavish curtains and plush beds. We also enjoyed the peaceful remote location in the French countryside. Most of all, we appreciated the special attention given to us by our host, Larry. He truly went above and beyond in his hospitality. Since he drove us all around, we had a chance to see so many places that we would never have seen on our own! The region is full of picturesque villages and vineyards and interesting churches. We took a private tour of an interesting church in Monein, and we visited a goat farm and tasted handcrafted goat cheese in the Pyrenees mountains. Larry also drove us to two different three-star Michelin restaurants, an hour away in rainy weather. We also enjoyed the wine-tasting at the chateau and visiting a vineyard in Jurancon. In addition, Larry did a great job in teaching us to cook authentic French cuisine. He is very organized and thorough and is truly passionate about French cuisine. I was especially impressed that he could even get my Dad to cook! That was amazing!! The recipes took some effort, but it was definitely worth it. Larry has amazing attention to detail. He thought of everything and everything was the best, from the Michelin-star restaurants to the private winery tour with lunch including fois gras. Another detail: the croissants we had for breakfast came from a bakery twenty minutes away because they are better than the ones from the village. I'd never tasted croissants that good before! Of course the cuisine that we prepared with Larry was delicious. It was such a treat to have fancy French meals in the elegant chateau dining room. We thoroughly enjoyed being pampered at the Chateau de Lamothe and wish that we could return soon! I only have very minor suggestions for improvement. Perhaps the visit to the goat farm could also include a short nature walk or hike. This was one of the most beautiful natural places I've ever visited, and I would have liked to have spent a bit more time taking in the scenery. Another comment: I absolutely loved the meal in San Sebastian, this was definitely a highlight of the trip. However, somehow I'd imagined that the restaurant would be in the city of San Sebastian (it turned out to be in the outskirts) so I felt slightly disappointed not to see any of San Sebastian. I'm not sure if Larry could include a visit on that day of the tour (it might be too much with the long drive). However, you might mention to International Kitchen guests that they won't actually see San Sebastian on that day of the tour, then they could arrange to visit San Sebastian on their own. Hope that this review is helpful. Sorry it took me so long to complete this survey! Thank you so much for creating this wonderful vacation! Lisa A., CA

Trip Details

Your 5 cooking classes will teach you the techniques and recipes of classical and modern cuisine. Chef Laurent always loved cooking, and after selling his shipping business, he and his wife Christine opened a bed and breakfast in the Château. To improve his already fine cooking skills, Laurent followed intensive courses at the Alain Ducasse institute in Paris, and Bocuse in Lyon, as well as working with chefs in restaurants in Paris, Marseille and Florence. Laurent, or ‘Chef Larry,’ cooks with a passion, not only traditional French dishes like coquilles St. Jacques and crème brulée, but all sorts of sauces, vegetarian and vegan dishes, and even some molecular cooking.

Itinerary

Day One

Cook in a French Chateau

  • Arrival and transfer to the chateau.
  • Welcome drink and light lunch, followed by an introduction to the program.
  • Take some time to relax and unwind. Perhaps take a stroll through the park or a dip in the swimming pool.
  • Start your first cooking class, followed by dinner based on your efforts.
  • Overnight.

Dessert class in a French Chateau


Day Two

  • Following breakfast, go shopping to buy ingredients from local suppliers for your second cooking class.
  • Return to the kitchen for your class.
  • Lunch based on your efforts.
  • In the afternoon, some time on your own.
  • Enjoy a fabulous dinner at Michel Guérard’s 3 * Michelin restaurant Les Prés d’Eugénie in the village of Eugénie-les-bains. (Drinks not included).
  • Transfer back to the chateau, and overnight.

Bedroom in luxury chateau


Day Three

  • Breakfast.
  • Transfer to Monein, a small village in the Jurancon wine area. Visit the church of Saint Girons, which has an interesting wooden roof structure.
  • Return to the chateau for a light lunch and time to rest.
  • This evening, your next cooking class, followed by dinner.
  • Overnight.

Cooking class in a French chateau


Day Four

  • After breakfast, depart for a a winery visit in the medieval city of Lucq de Bearn. You will taste the foie gras mi-cuit you hve made, will bake fresh foie gras, and will sample it with the Jurancon sweet wine of the winery.
  • Return to the chateau for your next cooking class.
  • Dinner and overnight in the chateau.

Cooking vacations in France


Day Five

  • Breakfast.
  • Today is all about vegetables! You will make the real choumous, baba ganoush, kofte, and vegan apple cake.
  • Lunch to follow.
  • In the afternoon, visit La Verna, the largest cave in the world that is open to the public. It is so big they one flew a hot air balloon inside!
  • Return to the chateau for dinner and overnight.

Chateau garden in France


Day Six

  • Breakfast.
  • Departure transfer.

Trip Details

Included in the 5-Night Trip

Accommodations

5 nights accommodations at the Chateau de la Mothe

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 5 lunches (including arrival day)
  • 5 dinners

Classes & Instructors

Your 5 cooking classes will teach you the techniques and recipes of classical and modern cuisine. Chef Laurent always loved cooking, and after selling his shipping business, he and his wife Christine opened a bed and breakfast in the Château. To improve his already fine cooking skills, Laurent followed intensive courses at the Alain Ducasse institute in Paris, and Bocuse in Lyon, as well as working with chefs in restaurants in Paris, Marseille and Florence. Laurent, or ‘Chef Larry,’ cooks with a passion, not only traditional French dishes like coquilles St. Jacques and crème brulée, but all sorts of sauces, vegetarian and vegan dishes, and even some molecular cooking.

Excursions

  • Visit to market and local suppliers
  • Excursion to Monein
  • Winery visit and tasting
  • Visit of La Verna cave

Transfer Details

  • Transfers are not included but can be arranged from Pau-Pyrenees and Biarritz airport, or Pau and Oloron Sainte Marie train stations for an additional cost

Not Included

  • Beverages with meals
  • Transfers

Accommodation Information

Dating back to the 1100s, the Chateau has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the past few centuries. It’s been lived in by the bishops of Oloron as well as the Lamothe family. In 2007, Christine and Laurent renovated the chateau with modern conveniences to a 5* standard while still retaining the building’s charms. Five bedrooms feature king-sized beds and ensuite bathrooms, as well as TV and Internet access, and a ‘family’ room includes two double beds and two singles. In addition to the stunning panoramic views, the property also boasts a swimming pool. Please note there are no twin-bedded rooms.

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Pricing & Tour Dates

Looking for tour date information?


Year-Round Pricing:

5-night Program
US$3000 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$550 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)

No longer available.


Tour Dates

No longer available.

Reviews

No rating given with this review
We loved the chateau, it's absolutely beautiful and has been immaculately renovated. The property feels so historic yet has amazing modern amenities, like high-tech showers. Even at a five-star hotel, I've never seen this! The interior decor is gorgeous, with lavish curtains and plush beds. We also enjoyed the peaceful remote location in the French countryside. Most of all, we appreciated the special attention given to us by our host, Larry. He truly went above and beyond in his hospitality. Since he drove us all around, we had a chance to see so many places that we would never have seen on our own! The region is full of picturesque villages and vineyards and interesting churches. We took a private tour of an interesting church in Monein, and we visited a goat farm and tasted handcrafted goat cheese in the Pyrenees mountains. Larry also drove us to two different three-star Michelin restaurants, an hour away in rainy weather. We also enjoyed the wine-tasting at the chateau and visiting a vineyard in Jurancon. In addition, Larry did a great job in teaching us to cook authentic French cuisine. He is very organized and thorough and is truly passionate about French cuisine. I was especially impressed that he could even get my Dad to cook! That was amazing!! The recipes took some effort, but it was definitely worth it. Larry has amazing attention to detail. He thought of everything and everything was the best, from the Michelin-star restaurants to the private winery tour with lunch including fois gras. Another detail: the croissants we had for breakfast came from a bakery twenty minutes away because they are better than the ones from the village. I'd never tasted croissants that good before! Of course the cuisine that we prepared with Larry was delicious. It was such a treat to have fancy French meals in the elegant chateau dining room. We thoroughly enjoyed being pampered at the Chateau de Lamothe and wish that we could return soon! I only have very minor suggestions for improvement. Perhaps the visit to the goat farm could also include a short nature walk or hike. This was one of the most beautiful natural places I've ever visited, and I would have liked to have spent a bit more time taking in the scenery. Another comment: I absolutely loved the meal in San Sebastian, this was definitely a highlight of the trip. However, somehow I'd imagined that the restaurant would be in the city of San Sebastian (it turned out to be in the outskirts) so I felt slightly disappointed not to see any of San Sebastian. I'm not sure if Larry could include a visit on that day of the tour (it might be too much with the long drive). However, you might mention to International Kitchen guests that they won't actually see San Sebastian on that day of the tour, then they could arrange to visit San Sebastian on their own. Hope that this review is helpful. Sorry it took me so long to complete this survey! Thank you so much for creating this wonderful vacation! Lisa A., CA
No rating given with this review
We had a wonderful trip. Larry was great and when he realized that we were experienced, he went out of his way to challenge us. He also was a great guide. The dinner at the 3 star restaurant in Spain was really special. And, he shared his personal wine collection with us too. Don't miss his wife's art work! Bonnie P., MD
No rating given with this review
Our hosts were so gracious and inviting and welcomed us warmly. The property has been so beautifully renovated reflecting the period and creativity of the owners. Christine's sculptures and studio were an awesome enhancement. Laurent was very attentive to our preferences and adjusted his plan accordingly. We learned so much and had so much hands on experience. Our lunch at Arzak was an exceptional experience. [Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Very thorough and attentive. [Any additional comments?] It would have been helpful to have print copies of the recipes during the classes in order to take notes and better document our experiences. Mary Kay G., SC

_Response from The International Kitchen:_ Thank you for your feedback! We will let Chef Laurent know about having printed recipes.
No rating given with this review
The whole experience was fantastic from start to finish. The setting was stunning and the Chateau was beautifully renovated and decorated. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the course was just for our friends and us. Larry had lunch ready for our arrival and we spent lunch chatting about what we would like to learn and what level the course had to be pitched at. Whilst not a novice, I'm not advanced either. We learnt to make quite a few dishes and even a few short cuts. Since our return, I have successfully recreated quite a few dishes. The course was very busy and a few dishes were added on as time went on. [Regarding the cooking vacation packet:] A hint as to what we could be cooking would've been useful before hand, but, not essential. Graeme and Rosemary C., UK

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