Top 5 cooking vacations in France

It’s quite possible that we love French food as much as they do. Famed for producing exquisite culinary delights such as the classic tarte aux pommes, the scrumptious ballotine de poulet, the crunchy French baguette and the oh-so-delicate macarons, French cuisine is familiar yet indulgent.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could learn how to prepare these gastronomic treasures yourself? And it really isn’t as difficult as you may think.

French cookery vacations give you the chance to master these dishes during fun hands-on lessons with expert French chefs in their hometowns.

Add a dash of French culture, a sprinkling of sunshine, a generous spoonful of welcoming accommodation and you’ve got yourself a magnificent immersive holiday experience in France.

“I still feel that French cooking is the most important in the world, one of the few that has rules. If you follow the rules, you can do pretty well.” – Julia Child

What exactly is a cooking vacation?

Just like the perfect dish, a cookery vacation must provide the right balance of culinary adventures and some relaxing downtime. It is your holiday after all.

Wake up in charming accommodation. Enjoy a fresh pastry and coffee on the terrace. Visit local markets to the best regional ingredients. Enjoy a dip in the pool. Don your apron and head to the kitchen. Learn to create classic French menus. Share the results with like-minded travelers over a glass of wine as you share stories into the night.

cooking with chef in French kitchenWho goes on a cooking vacation?

You’ll meet interesting people of all ages and nationalities. There really are no limits or restrictions on these holidays.

What is for certain is that you are all passionate foodies with a love for great meals and new experiences.

You can expect to join solo travelers, friends, couples or families travelling together. Groups are kept small to ensure everyone gets enough personal tuition and guidance.

Do you need to be a good cook?

Absolutely not! The great thing about cooking holidays is that everyone is welcome. From those who don’t know how to chop an onion to the more experienced cooks.

You’ll be guided by experienced chefs who have had experience running these vacations for years. They have worked with a wide variety of ages, nationalities and abilities so they are able to pitch the lessons, menus and tasks at a comfortable pace that suits the group’s needs.

Top 5 French cooking vacations

Master French patisserie in the Loire Valley

Do you love cooking but have more of a sweet tooth? Want a French cooking vacation that’s full of variety but heavy on the sweets? Look no further – Chefs Alison and Sidney have got your back.

These award-winning chefs leave nothing uncovered and over 36 hours of hands-on cooking you’ll discover the secrets of creating everything from eclairs to macarons to croissants and everything in between.

Not to mention the guided excursions to local food markets to sample the best local produce. And have we told you about the dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant yet? Yeah, there’s that too.

This holiday only runs a few times a year so don’t miss your chance to join them in the stunning Loire Valley.

Chefs decorate French macarons with gold leaf in kitchen

Sidney and Alison – patisserie master chefs!

Book your spot to join Sidney and Alison on their next French dessert and patisserie holiday.

French cooking and gastronomy vacation in Brittany

Brittany is a charming region, famed for its rich seafood and coastline. And here nestled in the rolling hills of the countryside, you’ll find Michelin trained chef Poul’s cookery school.

During the week, you’ll be preparing over 37 dishes, which will see you covering a wide variety of cookery skills ranging from filleting to baking & patisserie and much more.

But don’t be fooled, it isn’t all hard work. With free-flowing wine and great company, your hosts will ensure this is a holiday to remember and a culinary extravaganza you’ll remember forever.

French chef guiding cookery students to open oysters

Get hands-on in a traditional kitchen

Click here to find out how you can reserve your spot with chef Poul on this cooking holiday in Brittany.

Cooking and wine holiday in Gascony

Get two chefs for the price of one on this holiday, which is one of our most popular holiday choices among solo travelers and groups.

Acclaimed chefs David and Bernard will guide you through fun hands-on cooking lessons in a professional kitchen. Once lunch is over, you’ll be escorted on guided tours of the area, visiting local producers and learning about their trade.

Accommodation is in a beautifully restored farmhouse, complete with hot tub and amazing views across the Gascon countryside.

Solo traveler Mary from the USA said…

“An amazing week in a beautiful setting of Southern France. Chefs David and Bernard were so very nice with incredible enthusiasm for teaching us great cooking skills. It was a wonderful experience highly recommended for anyone who would enjoy learning new cooking skills in a fabulous place.”

group eating dinner on cooking course in Gascony

Enjoying their results al fresco

Don’t miss your chance to join this French cooking and wine holiday in Gascony.

You call the shots on this cookery break in Normandy

Are you eager to learn French classics but not a fan of seafood? You could even be a vegetarian and want to be sure it’s going to be a strictly meat-free zone.

Then this is the vacation for you. Plan your ideal menu with Chef Spencer before hitting up the local markets and producers for the best ingredients to make your meal.

Having the freedom to cook what you want to cook means you can also be sure that you make that tart you’ve always wanted to or have a go at some irresistible ingredients that flirted with your curiosity at the market.

And once back at your private gite, you’ll spend the day in the kitchen with your private chef before sitting down to enjoy it all with a glass of wine.

french apple tarts on wooden table

Delicious homemade apple tarts – fresh out the oven

Click here to create your own perfect menu on this cookery break in Normandy.

A cooking vacation with a sparkly twist

Maybe you don’t want to spend all of your time in the kitchen. Or maybe your the cook but your friend or partner is more of a creative type.

Enter this cooking and jewellery making holiday in the Gascony region of South-West France. Husband and wife team, Adam and Caroline, will take you on a gastronomic journey of the region from Armagnac and wines to charcuterie and regional specialities.

When you’re not in the kitchen, whipping up multi-course dinners with Adam, you’ll be in the tranquil studio with Caroline making beautiful unique pieces of jewellery to take home with you.

Here’s what Linda from the USA thought of her time there:

“The holiday was really wonderful. Caroline and Adam are amazingly nice people who really care about their guests. Caroline and Adam are experts in their field and impart their knowledge with patience, humor and flexibility. The accommodation is up to date and very comfortable. The side trips were interesting, beautiful and informative. The welcoming, down to earth ambience is more than relaxing it’s restorative. As a single traveler I was never made to feel uncomfortable or out of place. Without reservation, I recommend this holiday.”

restored french barn by pool at night

The stunning studio and pool by night

Find out how you can combine two skills on this cooking and jewellery making vacation here.

If these cooking vacations in France have left you hungry for more, check out our other French cookery holiday ideas.

*This article was updated in September 2019 to reflect updated holiday availability*