cooking holiday or cooking vacation
. . . take a culinary or cooking tour to delight the senses
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   Cooking Holiday in France  
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. . . for a wonderful, magical, unique experience of cooking in France

LE PISTOU Cookery School in the South of FrancWhat better place to be inspired to cook than in sunny Languedoc - with its ingredients that burst with flavour, colour and sunshine.. its ancient traditions and its close links with the land, its vines and its history?

LE PISTOU Cookery School is located in a Sixteenth century house in the heart of Uzes, beside the Tourist Information Office. Courses are followed by lunch and are limited to 8 participants.


Subjects of the cookery courses largely depend on the Seasons and what fresh produce is available - hence in summer there will be more traditional Provencal and regional Mediterranean dishes, while in winter we will concentrate on traditional French comfort food or exotic winter warmers - food from the Middle East for instance, or Mexico, or Indonesia. We may even dabble a little in molecular cuisine!

The cooking classes (hands-on for those who want this) take 3 hours. Some may include a market tour others a tutored wine tasting - providing a unique opportunity to learn about both FOOD and WINE and how one relates to the other.

Occasionally, we may offer a full two-day cooking/wine course on "INTUITIVE COOKING" (to find out more about this click on Cooking with Flavours).

Our cooking classes and wine tastings are flexible, easy-going and fun. Fees include cookery demonstrations and/or wine tastings plus lunch, and you will take home all the information, checklists, recipes and tasting notes you might need to practice your new skills.

Needless to say we use ingredients that celebrate the vibrancy, sunshine and abundance of local seasonal produce.




Let yourself be seduced by Uzes' charm . . . by its winding, cobbled streets that hide a multitude of quaint shops, artists ateliers and galleries, restaurants, historic buildings and secret gardens - all in the dappled shade of its ubiquitous plane trees and vaulted arches.

Its most well-known testament is the nearby aquaduct Le Pont du Gard - built by the Romans around 50BC to supply water to the city of Nimes.

Popular food destinations in Uzes are first and foremost its must-visit open-ar food markets at Place aux Herbes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You'll also find artisan patissiers and chocolatiers and not far out of town you'll find an olive press, a snail-breeder, the famous sweet factories of Haribo, a spirulina farm (the superfood you may have heard of), an artisan micro beer-brewer and an artisan coffee roaster.

A little further afield the fascinating saltpans of the scenic fortified city of Aigues Mortes are worth a visit. As is the famous Marseillan based Noilly Prat producer - an essential ingredient for a great risotto (and much superior to the Italian vermouths).

Spring and summertime in Uzes is perfect for exploring the fresh green countryside, indulging in waterside picnics or visit the Camargue and its beaches. Go visit winemakers for a tasting, cycle or walk magnificent gorges. Summer temperatures can be hot but what could be nicer than strolling through Uzes' cool narrow streets and visiting its chic little shops for some retail therapy? Or try a spot of people watching in the dappled shade on one of Uzes' many outdoor Cafe terraces.

Autumn in this part of the world means wine harvest time and the heady smell of fermenting grapes is in the air wherever you go. Visit in October and you'll witness beautiful autumn colours, yet the climate in Uzes is such that you'll be able to eat outdoors well into late October, and often later.

Winter can be cold or pleasant in the Gard. Uzes' most exciting events during the colder months are Christmas, New Year and of course the Truffle Festival at the end of January.



In her late teens Petra studied French Literature in Paris, then moved to East Africa to run tented safari camps in the wilds of Tanzania.

Back in Ireland, she trained and worked as a chef, cultivated vast collections of culinary and medicinal herbs and taught her sons the essentials of life (such as how to cook and climb trees).

She subsequently worked as private cook for famous people, and as food-writer, stylist and food photographer for many publications, including Wine Ireland and the Irish Times. She was food-editor of Irish Tatler for ten years and launched SQ Food Magazine which she wrote and edited for four years.

After finishing a BA in Fine Art (while continuing to write and photograph food) she aspired to become an artist - painting and photography remain favourite pastimes.

In 2005 she moved to the South of France to restore a large old house near Narbonne, which she ran as a B&B with a foodie and artistic edge. For 10 years she gave cookery and art courses here, but as the B&B became busier and there was less and less time for her courses, she sold up and move east towards Provence.

She has since settled in medieval Uzes where she runs Cookery and Wine School LE PISTOU from her little 16th century house.



UZES Apartment overlooking Place aux Herbes

A spacious, stylishly decorated, recently renovated, apartment that overlooks everyone's favourite square in the South of France: La Place aux Herbes in Uzes.

Everything at your feet . . . the twice-weekly markets, the art, flower and antique fairs, the square and restaurant terraces in the dappled shade. Nor will you ever need to miss another impromptu musical serenade or a magician's show.


View from the lounge Place aux Herbes at night time
Arches underneath the apartment View from the bedrooms
Tour Fenestrelle Uzes Running of the bulls at the Abrivado




You want to cook like a Provençal? Then we must start with a visit to the market. Be at the school at 9am and we'll walk the 3 minutes together. Once past 10am the market is too crowded.

We'll choose the freshest produce and we'll bring it back to the school. Then we'll turn it into some more and some lesser known Provençal dishes that burst with bold flavours, colour and sunshine. Flexible 'anytime dishes' that, depending on portion size, can be served for lunch, with an apéritif or for supper.

Naturally we won't have time to make all of these dishes in 3 hours but to give you an idea, think in terms of Brandade de Morue . . . and that classic, adored by everyone - Pissaladière . . .Fishermen's mussels (Moules Pesquiere), the famous Soupe au Pistou, a Tarte fine aux Tomates. For mains a summery Grand Aioli or Lamb with anchovies and rosemary. Then perhaps for dessert a Clafoutis of fresh figs or peaches in Muscat, or again a croustade of apricots and almonds?

Naturally we'll include plenty of suggestions on how to present and serve these dishes and of course you'll be learning knife skills and different techniques throughout.


If you are in any way afraid of cooking with fish, then this course is for you - it will remove your fear forever. But first we have to visit the market-stall which is at 3 minutes' walk from the school.

We shall cover a great collection of delicious, contemporary and fail-safe recipes that will become part of your life. You'll wonder how you ever lived without them!

Dishes may include a fresh and vibrant Ceviche, a super-quick Mackerel with Chilli Glaze, stylish Serrano-wrapped Monkfish with Lemon-creamed Peas, a traditional Marseillais Bouillabaisse, Cod with Chorizo, Gravlax, Chargrilled Squid with olive oil, parsley and lemon, Moules Pesquiere and others depending on the seasons.

We shall of course give you plenty of ideas on how to attractively present these dishes, and you'll learn new techniques as we go along.


People in the South of France love entertaining informally - often in the form of an aperitif or what the French call un aperitif dinatoire. So it's a great idea to learn lots of little dishes which can at the same time, either individually or together, make up an entire meal.

Think Brandade de Morue . . . or the dish adored by everyone: Pissaladière. Salt dried duck (bit like pancetta but made with duck), Moules Pesquiere (fishermen's mussels), home made cheese with different flavours and coatings.. the famous Soupe au Pistou, a Tarte fine aux Tomates, Grande Aioli, roast shoulder of lamb with anchovies and rosemary. And for dessert perhaps Peaches in Muscat or again a croustade of apricots and almonds..

Naturally we'll give you ideas how to present and serve them..


Every culture has its ways of making abundant, perishable summer produce last throughout the lean winter months. In France many of these preserves have become cherished delicacies - think rillettes of goose, gravlax, confit de canard, salt-dried duckbreast, fruit vinegars and flavoured oils, quince paste, preserved cherries or chocolate- coated, sugared oranges, limoncello . . . This course is about how to to make these valuable 'basics' from scratch - and how use them afterwards . . .

Of course we'll include lots of ideas on how to serve these dishes in the most imaginative ways. And as always you'll be picking up various skills and techniques on the way.


This course focuses on effortless food for lazy summer days - think pretty summer salads, light dishes incorporating vegetables or new-season goatscheese, and easy meat or fish dishes that can be prepared beforehand to give you maximum time with your guests - Mediterranean-themed dishes with bold flavours, aimed at people with busy lifestyles but who still want to eat modern food that appeals to all ages.

For afters we're talking clafoutis, croustades, pannacottas, tarts and other desserts incorporating fresh summer fruit such as cherries or figs, summer berries, peaches and apricots, as well as chocolate or almonds..

Naturally we'll give you ideas how to present and serve these dishes..


This course teaches traditional French Bistro fare - daily changing Menus du Jour (entrée, plat and dessert) - retro dishes like those served by countless 'petit restaurants' all over France..

To start perhaps Salade Niçoise, Oeufs Mimosa, Salade Tiède de Foie de Volaille or Bouchées à la Reine or Terrine de Jambon Persillée.

For mains Coq au Vin perhaps, or Boeuf Bourguignon, Aile de Raie, Escalope de Veau Milanaise or Moules Marinères,

And to finish maybe Mousse au Chocolat, Crème Brulée or Petit Crème Renversé . . . UNLESS you have other requests for old favourites of course!


Mostly vegetables . . .


Selected North African and Middle Eastern dishes that will brighten your table at any time of the year . . .


To make the daily drudge into healthier and tastier fun . . .


Quick, laid-back meals made with what most of us have in the fridge, freezer or larder. Easy food to make at the flick of a wrist, when you need to. Great for unexpected visitors.


A super selection of dishes and condiments that make up this traditional and exotic feast.


Petra Carter
Le Pistou
Rue Sigalon

+33 (0 )77 723 4157
If you have any questions about cooking holidays send us an email <click here>
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