The south of France is famed for its rich soils and hot climate – two features that make its raw ingredients simply delicious. Add in the fantastic towns and dreamy landscapes (not to mention the wine), and it’s a perfect place to learn how to cook or to fine-tune those cooking skills.
L’Atelier des Chefs, Aix-en-Provence
Situated in the heart of Aix-en-Provence‘s Old Town amid its cobbled streets is L’Atelier des Chefs (The Chef’s Workshop). Prices start at €17 for a half-hour lunch cooking class where you’ll learn how to cook salmon fishcakes with ginger or sea bream with stir-fry vegetables in soy sauce.
If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, go for a two-hour class where you’ll learn all the secrets of French patisserie chefs and learn how to make several desserts. Les Atelier des Chefs is closed Sundays and Mondays.
L’Atelier des Chefs, 14-16 rue Constantin, Aix-en-Provence, France, +33 4 42 96 41 03
La Serviette Blanche, Cannes
La Serviette Blanche is the leading culinary business in Cannes, having won lots of awards (it was a 2017 Luxury Travel Guides Winner). Tour the local market with the chef, Eliane, and then learn how to cook in a hands-on cooking class in a luxury apartment in the centre of town. Ideas range from tapas cooking and French appetizers to a full-blown Meditteranean cooking class.
If cooking classes aren’t your thing and you’d prefer to just eat the food, La Serviette Blanche offers a chance to eat at a private Chef’s Table. Guests can enjoy an apéritif, followed by a three-course menu paired with wine for the occasion by a private chef. It’s a great way to enjoy the best food in an intimate atmosphere without lifting a finger.
La Serviette Blanche, 4 Rue la Fontaine, Cannes, France, +33 6 23 92 80 25
Provence Gourmet, Aix-en-Provence
Provence Gourmet offers a very local way to discover not just how to cook but to go on a little food tour of Provence. If you do the tour in Aix (they are also available in Marseille) you will be met at the Tourist Office by the chef, Gilles, a true Marseille local. He’ll take you for a tour of the market and guide you through all the seasonal produce. After a short 10-minute drive you’ll be back at his 12-acre property but not before stopping at his favourite Château to pair the wine with everything you’ve bought.
After touring his vegetable patch you’ll begin cooking up a storm with a two-hour class that ends in the best part: the eating. There should also be time to walk in the forest before you get dropped back in Aix-en-Provence, the city of 1000 fountains. The day runs from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm. There must be a minimum of two people to run the session and a maximum of eight.
Provence Gourmet (address after booking), France, +33 6 09 60 60 84
Les Petits Farcis, Nice
Les Petits Farcis is a cooking school in Nice on the French Riviera. ‘Petits Farcis’ is French for stuffed vegetables – one of many delicious Provençal dishes you can learn to cook in the region. Chef Rosa Jackson has been giving local market tours and cooking lessons out of her apartment for years and was so successful that she was able to open the school in Old Town.
The school is now able to offer lots of different cooking courses and experiences too, ranging from private street food tours of Nice to full-blown masterclasses in choux pastry or Provençal macarons. The original market tour, cooking class, and lunch runs every other day but check the schedule for specifics. Discounts are given for bookings of four or more people.