Join us for a week in the countryside of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France
surrounded by mountains, the sea, olive groves, wineries, lavender fields and rows of cypress. Following is our abbreviated itinerary. Interested in this trip?
Our trip begins on Saturday, March 10th:
Arrive at Mas Bramafam and settle into your room. Explore the grounds or enjoy a cup of tea and a good book like Mastering the Art of French Cooking. You’ll meet your fellow chefs over a glass of rosé on the veranda and around the table at our welcome dinner prepared by Barbie.
Days Two Through Five:
Our daily schedule is still being finalized but our excursions will include:
A few leisurely mornings and a lesson in French omelettes
Three to four afternoon cooking classes by Barbie where we’ll prepare dinner featuring recipes by Julia Child and Simca Beck.
A day of visiting the surrounding towns and villages to gather groceries for dinner as Julia would have done, basket in tow. We’ll shop for locally made Provencal hand-painted ceramics, fabrics, olive-wood bowls and lavender goods. We’ll search out traditional regional specialties like tapenade, olive oil, goat cheese and lavender honey. And of course, we’ll visit the local boucherie, fromagère, boulangerie, and patisserie. We may visit:Grasse, considered the perfume capital of the world, is the home of dozens of fragrance companies and is where the flowers used for making the world-famous Chanel N°5 are grown and harvested. We'll visit Valbonne, a pretty medieval village close to the house, the center of which is arranged in a grid with narrow cobbled alleys. Here we’ll shop for our dinner of bœuf en daube à la provençale and accoutrements.
A tour and tasting at Confiserie Florian, a confectionary shop founded in 1949. The shop is located in a breathtaking setting along the banks of the Loup river, in the lower hills of Grasse’s beautiful backcountry. March is when violets, jasmine, and verbena, are crystallized into fragrant candies. We may also see chocolates and caramels being created in preparation for Easter.
We’ll dine for lunch in Mougins at a Michelin-starred restaurant and experience a tasting menu. Close to Cannes, this area has been frequented and inhabited by many artists and celebrities, including Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Man Ray, Christian Dior, to name a few. There is also a strong culinary history with such great chefs as Roger Vergé and Alain Ducasse. We have many options for a fabulous meal. Details will be given in final itinerary.
A Visit to a family farm raising black pigs organically and taste their charcuterie. Also, organic olive oil and goat cheese producers.
A day trip through the French Alps to to medieval villages and picnic in:Gourdon, which is rated one of the most beautiful medieval village in France. Its perched configuration has given it the nickname of “the Eagle’s Nest” from which the whole French Riviera can be seen. And, Saint Paul de Vence, surrounded by ramparts dating from 12th Century. Great painters like Picasso, Marc Chagall, and Renoir have stayed here, inspired by the light and superb environment.
A visit to the Côte d’Azur ending in Antibes where you will have time to pursue your own interests. We’ll have a list of suggestions such as the the Musée Picasso, fabric shops or the many food shops featuring provencal specialities. Or, you may choose a leisurely seafood lunch along the Côte d’Azur. Lunch is on your own today. Dinner will be at a local restaurant featuring fruits de la mer or “fruits of the sea”.
Day Seven, Eight & Nine:
We’ll have a light breakfast, pack the remaining cheese and baguette, and head to Nice where we will stay in the area for two days in a boutique hotel. Nice, on the French Riviera, sits on the pebbly shores of the Baie des Anges and was founded by the Greeks and later became a retreat for 19th-century European elite. The city has also long attracted artists.
Friday you’ll have a free afternoon and evening to enjoy the city. A few of the many options for your afternoon will be:
The Musée Matisse and Musée Marc Chagall, Roman ruins and "old town", the Promenade des Anglais, an integral part of Nice city life since this embankment was built in the 1820s.
Saturday we will be up early for a guided tour of the Cours Saleya located in Vieille Ville (Old Nice) off the Promenade des Anglais. The history of this market goes back to the early 18th century. It is famed for its colorful and diverse market stalls with flowers, fresh produce and the famed Nicoise cuisine. Our tour guide will be lead by Béatrice Levinson, Traditional Naturopath and Certified GAPS Practitioner. You will have met Béatrice at La Peetch as she and her husband will join us for dinner. We'll taste olives, lots of olives!
After our tour, we will have time to rest, pack, or do a bit of last minute shopping before dinner.
Our final dinner together will be at a traditional restaurant featuring Nicoise cuisine. Fresh fish, ratatouille, fougasse, tapenade, soupe au pistou and pissaladière might be on the menu.
Sunday morning: breakfast à bientôt! Flights home or perhaps to Paris!