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France, Loire Valley & Paris – Christmas Cooking & Markets

From $6445pp

  • duration-trip
    9 Days
  • trip-travelstyle
    Travel Style
    iconCooking Classes iconFood & Wine iconSmall Group
  • Product Code


Christmas is a beautiful time to travel to Europe. The crowds are gone and the locals are in their element.

This week-long package gives you three days of festive cooking classes in the Loire Valley, before heading to Paris to take in the Christmas markets, Moulin Rouge and a whole lot more!

Staying in quality accommodation throughout, and hosted by award winning chefs, this will be a Christmas you will long remember.

Arrival Day

Arrive any time after lunch and settle into your accommodation.

This evening there will be a welcome Champagne cocktail and the opportunity to meet your fellow guests. Dinner will follow, cooked by your chef hosts who will presents their ‘Taste of the Loire Valley’ dinner in the ‘Old Stable’.

Overnight Relais Manor House, Loire Valley

Meals D

Cheese, Ravioli & Pithiviers & Beef Wellington

After breakfast we visit our local goat cheese farm and producer where we taste and experience what is known as the best goat’s cheese in the world, St Maures AOC.

When we return from the farm, we use the cheese purchased to prepare a classic goat cheese ravioli as well as a goat cheese pithivier. We then enjoy our morning’s cookery for lunch.

After a break you will return to the kitchen to prepare one of our most popular dishes – Beef Wellington with a light truffle jus, pommes fondant and medley of seasonal vegetables. This creation then becomes your dinner!

Overnight Relais Manor House, Loire Valley

Meals B, L, D

Desserts, Pastry & Seafood

Today you will enter the French world of desserts and pastry, where you’ll learn how to create some of the world’s most sought after classics. These include dark and white chocolate delice with spiced pear, and speculoos & lemon soufflé with christmas berry ice cream. Your experiments are now your lunch to enjoy!

In the afternoon it’s all about seafood! You will be taught the best catch for each season and how to identify your fish and ensure it is fresh. Dishes for this session will include Olive Oil Poached Salmon with Foie Gras and Spicy Lentils and Pan Roasted Monkfish in a creamy mussel and curry sauce.

Take a break until dinner to recharge and refresh.

For dinner tonight your hosts will take you to out to their friend’s restaurant which is Michelin Starred – the chef’s name is Jacky Dallay at the renowned Promenade Restaurant in le Petit Pressigny.

Overnight Relais Manor House, Loire Valley

Meals B, L, D

Croquembouche, Chenonceau & Amboise

Learn how to make the festive and impressive Croquembouche with Nougatine – A wonderful table centrepiece for your Christmas Lunch.

Enjoy a simple lunch before visiting the Chateau Chenonceau to experience its décor at this festive time of the year. You have the early afternoon to explore Chenonceau at your leisure.

This was once the property of the Crown, then royal residence, Chenonceau Castle is an exceptional site not only because of its original design, the richness of its collections, its furniture and its decorations, but also because of its destiny, since it was loved, administered and protected by women, who were all extraordinary and who, for the most part have marked history.

We then move on to visit the royal Château Amboise. Confiscated by the monarchy in the 15th century, it became a favored royal residence and was extensively rebuilt. King Charles VIII died at the château in 1498 after hitting his head on a door lintel, and where you can visit the chapel in which Leonardo de Vinci is buried. This is also we will have dinner this evening!

Overnight Relais Manor House, Loire Valley

Meals B, L, D

Market Day & Bûche de Noël

We depart and spend the morning in Tours where we can enjoy Les Halles food market and do a little sightseeing. We visit Tours best bakery to choose our breakfast pastries which we will enjoy in a little market coffee shop.

This morning we explore both the indoor ‘Les Halles Food Market’ and the twice weekly outdoor market. We visit the old town which clusters around Place Plumereau; its old houses restored to their former glory. Today this is the place for pavement cafes and people-watching in the summer, but stroll the smaller, narrow streets like Rue Briconnet where you step back into the historic medieval city in winter.

To the south you’ll find a Romanesque basilica, the Cloitre de St-Martin and the new Basilique de St-Martin. You’re in the place which was once on the great pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. St-Martin was a soldier who became bishop of Tours in the 4th century and helped spread Christianity through France. His remains, rediscovered in 1860, are now in the crypt of the new Basilique.

The cathedral quarter, on the other side of the main Rue Nationale, is dominated by the Cathédrale St-Gatien, a flamboyant Gothic building with 12th-century decorated stonework covering the outside. Inside the highlights are the 16th-century tomb of Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne’s two children, and the stained glass.

Return to home base for a traditional French lunch prepared by your chef.

This afternoon learn how to make and present a spectacular centrepiece, Bûche de Noël for your Christmas table. This traditional dessert originally referred to the Yule log itself, and was turned into a dessert only after this custom had fallen out of use, presumably during the first half of the 20th century.

This evening your chef will host you for a festive dinner celebration.

Overnight Relais Manor House, Loire Valley

Meals B, D

Macarons & Paris Markets

This morning we prepare a trio of festive Macarons using praline, caramel beurre salé and a chocoholic option!

Enjoy a simple lunch before we depart for Paris. Check into your hotel and settle into the room.

Tonight you are free to enjoy the Christmas market along the Champs Elysees just a short walk from your hotel. Enjoy the festive atmosphere and partake in the street food and be sure to have a glass of mulled wine to keep warm.

Overnight 4* Paris Hotel

B, L

Montmartre, Au Pied de Cochon, Trocadero & Moulin Rouge

This morning we visit Rue Montmartre, home to Paris’ Kitchen and Chef Shops. Here you can purchase key pastry and kitchen utensils you may need to prepare your festive meals back home.

Take in lunch at the much celebrated Au Pied de Cochon brasserie, which is situated in Les Halles area – this is a Parisian institution. Au Pied de Cochon is also highly regarded for its setting, typical of leading Parisian brasseries and its huge terrace overlooking a pedestrian street with a view of the Saint-Eustache Church.

This afternoon we visit the Market at the Trocadero with its Chalets selling artisanal Christmas gifts and decorations. From here you have a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower. Keep an eye out for the sparkles every hour on the hour whilst its beacon shines over Paris, The City of Lights.

Tonight our adventure continues with Champagne and the show at the world renowned Moulin Rouge. Moulin Rouge is best known as the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the Can-Can dance. Originally introduced as a seductive dance by the courtesans who operated from the site, the Can-Can dance revue evolved into a form of entertainment of its own and led to the introduction of cabarets across Europe. Today, the Moulin Rouge is a tourist attraction, offering musical dance entertainment for visitors from around the world. The club’s decor still contains much of the romance of fin de siècle France.

Overnight 4* Paris Hotel

Meals B, L, D

Shopping & Le Marais

Following breakfast, we take you to Galeries Lafayette and Printemps to indulge in a little time on your own to do some last-minute Christmas shopping.

We then visit the Marché ‘L’Estaminet’ des Enfants Rouges in the heart of Le Marais where there is a choice of several little restaurants to have a light lunch for your own account.

This afternoon your hosts will share with you a few of Paris’s unknown and secret little shopping streets with small boutique-styled shops. This is where the locals do their festive and day to day shopping.

Le Marais is the closest you will get to the feel of medieval Paris and has more pre-revolutionary buildings and streets left intact than any other area in Paris.

Tonight will there will be a grand farewell dinner at Le Train Bleu.

Overnight 4* Paris Hotel

Meals B, D


Bid your new friends farewell after breakfast and continue on your journey.

Meals B

  • Seven nights quality accommodation

  • French breakfast daily

  • Meals as per itinerary, including wine

  • Transport for all activities in the itinerary

  • One way train Loire Valley to Paris

  • Personalised apron and recipe folder

  • Entrance into Chateau Chenonceau

Departure Date

04 December 2023

Please note that prices are indicative only, subject to availability for your travel dates and the exchange rate.
$6445 per person

based on twin/double share


Supplement for single room

Please note that prices are indicative only, subject to availability for your travel dates and the exchange rate.
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