Join us for a cooking holiday in south west France

A holiday with a difference near Bordeaux, in south west France... courses and patisserie courses in France with a French cook, for an authentic experience!

Discover the beautiful region of Gascony, its gentle pace and beautiful produce! Our hands-on cooking classes and patisserie classes are in English (unless required in French) and are designed around you and your specific levels and wishes. There is no demonstration watching, just "real-food" lovers cooking together to produce great tasty food! I teach classic French cuisine as well as French pastry, not by following a recipe to the dot, but by explaining the interaction of ingredients within each dish.

Le Gargantua Cooking School

We cover all kinds of traditional French dishes and techniques on our seasonal cooking courses, from bread to pâtés, mousses, quiches, stews and sauces. You can also choose to learn to make classic French pastry like eclairs, macaroons, millefeuilles or croissants, on our patisserie courses, and we even offer to show you the ropes on how to prepare foie gras, confit and rillettes on our fat duck course.

French-born Marlene welcomes you in the heart of the Gascony countryside, for a fully hands-on cooking course in English.

I moved to this beautiful part of France in 2004, leaving the grey skies of North of France behind me, and after 3 years of renovation, transformed the derelict house into a lovely home, guesthouse and cooking school: "Le Gargantua". Two daughters, two dogs and one cat later, I invite you to share not only my home, but also a "slice" of my life amongst my family.

I was born and raised in Calais, where I was a wine buyer. I have always been a food lover, whether it involved making it or eating it. Cooking is my passion and I love to share it! I am on a mission to demystify French cuisine.

Interested in traditional French cuisine..?

... come and learn with a French cook !

Cooking should never be a daunting moment, nor a posh affair. It is for everyone, every day, and should never be reserved to an elite. I will demystify French cooking for you, by guiding you into producing French patisseries or traditional French cuisine, from rustic every day meals to dinner-party food!

You will cook from scratch, to learn not only recipes but mainly techniques that will stay with you for the rest of your life, so you can improvise a French meal or French pastries back home for family and friends whenever you feel like it. I have a multitude of tips and tricks to share with you that will make your life easier in the kitchen. Just pick your course: Seasonal Cooking , French Patisserie, or Fat Duck Course, and join us for a fun and authentic experience!

You will not be stuck in a kitchen! You will not only cook but you will get a real taste of the French life as I take you around the local villages. You will get a glimpse of our beautiful region, and make the best of the local seasonal produce. Meet the producers, visit the farms, taste the products and immerse yourself in south west France! If the harvest allows us, you will cook with our own grown organic fruit and vegetables and pick herbs from one of many herb plants we grow.

We do not dress to impress... no pretentious dishes, no "oui chef!" required, no chefs whites... just food that makes your tummy smile! Giving food is giving love and cooking should be an enjoyable time, so we will give you a relaxed experience in our French kitchen. We supply the aprons, just bring your good humour and your love of good food!

Our kitchen has been purposely built and designed to host up to 6 cooks at a time, our goal being to give everyone enough room without ending up elbow to elbow, but most importantly individual attention. We make sure every participant has a go at every preparation instead of giving everybody a different task, which would make you miss out on a specific preparation.

There is no hidden cost: your accommodation , every single meal (with drinks) and all taxes are included. Check out the location of our courses.

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Cooking Holiday Courses

On my seasonal cooking classes, I teach the traditional French cuisine, the one mothers and grand-mothers are cooking in their kitchens all around France, the same one I learnt from my own grand-mother. We will of course plate up and "pretty-up" our dishes, because presentation is important and food should please the eyes too, but make no mistake, we are all about taste! I can't wait to take you around the markets and producers to make you discover the outstanding local produce which will be the base of our cooking!

On my French patisserie courses, I will break down for you most techniques so you can make at home a good variety of classic French pastries and bakes, from bread to croissants, from eclairs and tarts to more fancy desserts.

My house is set in rural south west France, but only 1 hour from Bordeaux, and 10 minutes from Casteljaloux, base of the famous "Cadets de Gascogne" (the Musketeers). So you can enjoy my little haven of tranquillity, only a short drive away from markets, thermal spas, golf courses, lake, vineyards, and beautiful medieval villages... Learn more about our location.