Forget sipping wine with Netflix. My latest obsession? Blue Zones – places where people live long, happy lives. Turns out, the secrets to longevity aren't hidden in vitamins or genes. They're woven into the tapestry of France, discovered over steaming plates of buttery brioche and salty oysters, laughter echoing through medieval streets, and waves crashing beneath ancient ramparts.
Our French Culinary Holiday wasn't just a trip; it was a pilgrimage to these Blue Zones, our passports stamped with experiences like mastering soufflés at The Walnut Grove Cookery School, sipping Michelin-starred magic in the Loire Valley, and exploring fairytale chateaux. But the final chapter held a crown jewel: Brittany and Normandy, where France kisses the sea.
Mont St Michel: Where History Holds Your Breath
I'm not religious, but as Mont St Michel rose from the mist, cloaked in golden sunlight, I understood why pilgrims flocked here for centuries. We arrived early and hired Chef Eric Duvin, our culinary guru from The Walnut Grove. He's not just a master chef; he's a walking encyclopedia of Mont St Michel, unlocking hidden passages and weaving history into every cobblestone. His knowledge was worth every euro!
His tip? Stay on Mont St Michel after the crowds melt away. Imagine walking these hallowed grounds bathed in moonlight, the ocean lullaby a whisper beneath your feet. Pure magic. There are a few inns he can recommend.
His Deluxe and Advanced courses also include a visit to The Abbey!
Cancale: Emerald Embrace of the Sea
If you don't crave fresh seafood like it's oxygen, we probably can't be friends. But trust me, even the skeptics will swoon in Cancale, an hour from Mont St Michel. Picture a New England seaside town sprinkled with French charm, where locals gather for oysters plucked straight from the emerald sea. Grab a glass of wine, choose your bivalves, and settle on the waterfront steps. Savor the briny perfection, toss the shells back, and compost your lemon in the designated bin (seriously, they have one!)
Saint Malo: A Medieval Playground with Modern Mojo
Remember "All the Light We Cannot See"? We do, and Saint Malo, a 30-minute drive away, brought the book to life. Leave your car outside the ramparts; trust me, your cobblestone-loving shoes will thank you. This medieval marvel is all about beauty. Stroll narrow streets, browse charming shops, sip coffee in cafes, and feast on fresh seafood in harbor-side bistros. We were too cold for nighttime rampart walks, but sipping a glass of mulled wine felt equally perfect.
Saint Malo whispers French joie de vivre. It's where wealthy Parisians have summer homes, and I get it. This place is simply spectacular.
A Fond Farewell et Bon Voyage. It's Time to Plan YOUR French Holiday
Whew! We've traversed chateaux, devoured oysters, and conquered soufflés, all in the name of the perfect French escape. But before you start packing your baguette and beret, remember this: The Walnut Grove Cookery School is your dream culinary launchpad. Skip the Parisian frenzy and make it your first stop – an 80-minute TGV train ride from the City of Lights puts you in the heart of rural charm, with legendary France at your doorstep. Cancale's oysters, Mont St Michel's grandeur, the Loire Valley's vintages – they're all within an easy day trip, ready to be devoured and explored.
If you want to sign up for Eric's news, you can do so here. He just launched The Copper Kitchen Collective - bringing recipes and goodies to all gourmands who visit or just dream of doing so.
He also just launched a Special Offers section on his website. Right now, if you reserve a class by March 31, 2024 and travel by December 31, 2024, you could save up to 20%. Click here for more details.
Bon appétit mes amis!