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Explore the real Provence at your leisure with one of CW Adventures’ unique walking itineraries, relaxing in luxurious accommodation each evening

as it’s alive, fragrant and inspiring. Soaking up the natural splendour of France on a bike never gets boring for me, even after 20-plus years.” For a self-guided hiking or biking

tour, contact CW Adventures (, which was formerly known as Country Walkers and specialises in active travel experiences with unique itineraries and insider access. Walking tours like ‘Classic Provence’ (7 days, from $2,548 per person) let you explore the countryside on your own schedule, with annotated maps, charming accommodations and transfers to/from the train station. Of course, this adventure outfi tter also offers guided tours, and one of the most popular is in Provence. “We take travellers away from the region’s mainstream sites, on off-the-beaten-path walking routes,” says Alex Hynes, the company’s Product Manager, who was born in France. “Our guides live in Provence

and take pride in introducing guests to the region’s specialties at the lively outdoor markets, and they know where to fi nd a game of pétanque for our guests to join. We visit the Châteauneuf-du-Pape winery and explore terroir with an expert vintner. “We explore the hill towns of Gordes and Bonnieux, walk among olive groves and vineyards, and follow tracks that hug the ochre cliffs. As with all of our trips, hospitality is essential and guests will experience 19th century-style luxury at the Château de Mazan, the former residence of the Marquis de Sade.”

TO MARKET, TO MARKET Cooking schools & culinary tours

Thanks to Julia Child, generations of aspiring cooking students have made culinary pilgrimages to France, in order to learn the secrets of French gastronomy. Whether you’re looking to be an active

participant in a cooking class, or an enthusiastic taster while you are boutique-hopping on a Paris food tour, options abound.

Follow in Julia’s footsteps and

enrol in the legendary Le Cordon Bleu ( Founded in Paris in 1895, this culinary arts institute is known in all four corners of the globe as the champion of classic French cookery. “On a half- or full-day cooking class in Paris, you learn how to make iconic French dishes or discover the secrets behind those complicated French pastries,” says Kathy Morton, a France travel expert who designs epicurean trips for Tour de Forks ( “I still cook in my well-worn Le Cordon Bleu apron (while sipping my favourite La Clape wine) to keep that strong French connection à la Julia Child.” Today, Le Cordon Bleu recruits its staff of chefs from top kitchens and Michelin-starred restaurants.

Day-long ateliers like ‘Boulangerie’ start at €180 and, bien sûr, serious students can also enrol in the professional formation, to earn the sought-after Grand Diplôme. Food author Susan Herrmann Loomis runs the On Rue Tatin ( cooking school from her 15th-century Normandy home (3-days, €2,000 per person). She also hosts one-day classes in a professional kitchen in Saint- Germain, Paris (€250 per person). “I cook with locally produced, seasonal ingredients, buying them straight from the hands of the person who cultivated them,” says Susan. “I teach students to get the most out of their ingredients and let them shine, a classic French culinary precept. “Each dish we make is a mirror of the region and the season. Each technique I teach is used to coax the best from the ingredient. The result is delicious meals,

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