Monday, March 15, 2010

Be There... Don't Just Go There...

Treat yourself to a French country experience in the heart of Bourbon Auvergne at  beautiful   Jardins des Thevenets.  It's the opportunity to relax and enjoy new friends, explore a medieval village, learn how to make mustard, attend a wine tasting at the oldest vineyard in France, all while learning new cooking techniques and sampling new foods.  You will enjoy all of this in one of the most beautiful spots in France. 
Surrounded by 9 hectares of woods and organic herb fields the old Manor house has been renovated to allow modern amenities but still retains it's old world rustic charm. The carriage house is now a beautiful idyllic pool. Perfect for a swim before your afternoon nap.

Lying between Lyon and Paris, The Auvergne is the best kept secret of France. Off the beaten track in the heart of the countryside, it's only a short drive to Vichy and it's chic boutiques and restaurants. You'll enjoy the quiet of the country and the amazing charm of the surrounding area. What you won't see are hordes of tourists and the blare of traffic. 

Lynn and Olivier Chaulieu your hosts, will welcome you and make you a part of their home.  
We will enjoy the carefree lifestyle of rural France, while learning new cooking techniques and eating all the best the area has to offer. 
 All bedrooms are decorated in a different theme and have their own toilet and bath or shower.  Both Lynn and Olivier are artists and this translates into a gorgeous and eclectic style.  
An authentic French adventure, a visit to Jardins des Thevenets will take you to the heart of french hospitality and adventure. Lynn a vivacious and outgoing hostess knows everyone in the area. With Lynn we will meet the people that make the Auvergne unique place it is. She knows everyone personally and this opens the doors to having the authentic experience of being there not just going there. 

Lynn, a woman who can do it all,  holds an Organic Agricultural Diploma. She tends the land surrounding the Manor House, runs the B&B,  and is a gifted and intuitive cook. She can whip together an delicious, organic meal for 12 in under two hours using the best ingredients of the region. What's more she is willing to share her shortcuts and recipes. 
Pam, a trained chef has been cooking professionally for over 25 years. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, she has been teaching students the fine art of preparing meals in a simple and healthy manner. As a Flight Attendant, Pam has traveled extensively and brings with her a knowledge of the world's finest cuisines.Together, we combine the cuisines of Asia, South Africa and Europe to enhance a cooking/learning experience that will enrich your culinary expertise.
Upon arrival you will receive a booklet of recipes and gift of cooking utensils that you can utilize in the future recreating the meals you made here in France.
Remember, this is not just a cooking class, it's a French Experience! We will relax in a beautiful well appointed manor house, travel around the district meeting and dinning with locals. Visit antique markets, food markets and and the chic stores and boutiques of Vichy. 
 Our dining experiences will run the gamut from Maison Decoret, an amazing fine dining experience to dinner at the local bistro. 
This year you will learn to temper chocolate, prepare chocolate bark, and an assortment of Truffles and chocolate treats you will be able to take home with you.
The tap water is the water bottled for Volvic! Does it get better than that? 
France, Jardins des Thevenets, food and wine,  a perfect escape. 
Join us, won't you?

Day 1 Sunday
Upon arrival at Gare de Vichy you will be met and transported to Jardins des Thevenets. Settle into your room, relax with a swim in the pool. We will meet for aperitifs and all meet in the lounge for welcome aperitifs and hors d'oeuvres. Lynn will prepare one of her delicious dinners with the best organic and locally produced ingredients.
Day 2 Monday
Each day begins with a petite dejuener of fresh pan au chocolat, croissants, homemade muffins, homemade jams, yogurt, fruit, tea, cafe or chocolat au chaude and juice.
After breakfast we will take a short trip to the medieval town of Charroux and enjoy some of the many things it offers including Moutarde de Charroux, an old world shop featuring hand made mustard, and freshly pressed oils. Simone Maenner, chef d’entreprise, will demonstrate the artisan technique using equipment from the early 20th century.
Afterward, we will explore the town and dine at the local Bistro, Le Petit Cafe.
We will dine on the luscious salads and sandwiches, all fresh and tantalizing. Enhanced by a bottle of St Pourcain.
After lunch we are off to St Laurent, a lovely cave in Saint Pourçain, an ancient vineyard in the heart of the Auguverne.
Home for a hands on class, where we will prepare our dinner.


After breakfast we will begin our chocolate class. After a short break, we will prepare a lovely lunch to be enjoyed in the garden.
Tonight we will enjoy a wonderful dinner at a local resto. 

Day 4 Wednesday

After breakfast we head to Vichy for the market experience. Here we will explore all the market has to offer. We will buy fresh, local ingredients for our dinner. Then off to lunch at the Maison Decoret.
Afterward we will explore the charming Napoleonic city. Filled with beautiful chateaus, cafe's and boutiques. Vichy has much to offer.

Off to a Spa for a relaxing afternoon. Return home for a hands on dinner class.
Day 5 Thursday

After breakfast we will continue with our chocolate  class. B Dried Fruit and Nut Bark, hand dipped fruits and truffles all benefit from chocolate tempering. You will learn how to temper and enrobe fresh and dried fruits, nuts and berries.

We will also enjoy a hands on cooking class where we will prepare lunch. Dinner at Chez Minou and Kiki in Espinasse Vozelle.


Day 6 Friday
 After breakfast it's off to the train station to begin your return journey.  


Dates; Arrive September 26, 2010 - Depart October 1, 2010
All prices are based on double occupancy

$2000 per person

$ 300 single supplement

  • Arrival and departure transfers from Vichy Train Station
  • Five nights accommodation, based on double occupancy.
  • Welcome aperitif, hors d'oeuvres and dinner
  • Daily Continental Breakfast
  • All meals, wine and beverages
  • All hands on cooking classes
  • All excursions, including Charroux and Vichy
  • Lunch and dinner at several local restos and bistros.
  • Recipes and a Gift Bag, including your own Gypsy Chef at JDT apron
  • Free internet and email.
  • Spa afternoon
  • Wine and beverages
  • Taxes
Book before June 1st to receive a 10% discount.
Payment details
30% due at booking, balance payable eight weeks prior to start of Holiday.
All text and photos are property of The Gypsy Chef


Debbie Sofos
I attended this fabulous cooking holiday and can personally vouch for the wonderful time that we all had. Lynn and Pam are a fantastic team. Upon my arrival to Jardins des Thevenet, I was greeted by instant friends. Lynn and her husband, Olivier, are the most gracious hosts you could ever meet, and I at once felt comfortable in their beautiful B&B. And Pam, the "Gypsy Chef", is a whirlwind of energy that you just have to experience. The week was a nice balance of cooking together in Lynn's fabulous kitchen, visits to the countryside and nearby Vichy, and plenty of R&R. I highly recommend this french culinary and cultural adventure with Lynn and Pam. You will not be disappointed!

Randy Ashton
I had a great time in France with Lynn, Pam, Olivier and the other guests.  The atmosphere at Jardins des Thevenet is a unique combination of French culture, cuisine, interesting things to do, charming people and is set in an elegant yet casual environment.  The Bourbon Auvergne area of France is gorgeous.  Lynn, Pam and Olivier seem to know everyone in the area which gave me a feeling of truly having a French experience.

Pricing Menu


  1. What an exciting trip, Pam. I so wish I could do something like this! I swooned at the photo of all the berries and the scenery is magnificent!
    Lynn and Olivier look like perfect hosts and their home is lovely!

  2. You lucky girl:) This trip looks amazing!

  3. Such a fascinating cooking class TRIP! Sorry to let you know that I've never attended to any cooking classes before... it's not in my budget list! But thanks to blogging! I've learned so much from here and meeting lots of new friends from all over. Most of all, I'm honoured to meet a Pro Chef like you.
    Have a wonderful day, Pam!
    Best Regards,

  4. Barbara, It is exciting, I know I am. But then any excuse to go to France!Come we would love to have you. And yes, Lynn and Olivia are wonderful.

    Bonnie, Thanks for dropping by!

    Monique, This trip is amazing. I do feel lucky!

    Kristy, You don't need a cooking class. You are an amazing cook! I am honored to meet a woman with so much enthusiasm for life, and such a great cook to boot!

    buffalodick, That's what I thought on my first visit. Then I said an experience I have to have over and over in my lifetime.

  5. OH Pam! how wonderful to be part of the team in a fairy land......its beautiful and absolutelty are very lucky to be part of such a beautiful place. ^^

    tq for the visit Pam. I was looking for your email address on your blog but I couldnt find it. I would like to send you something. Do give me a tinkle on my email. . ^^

  6. This looks so amazing... I would love to go... maybe next year??

  7. How fabulous daaaaahling. I am jealous. I'd love to do something like that with a cookery class included. My problem is I end up gaining so much weight whenever i go on a vacation. So if its a foodie vacation, its bound to be trouble!!!
    *kisses* HH

  8. This looks like an incredible experience! I wish I could do it! For one thing, the food. Second, that POOL! Heavenly. But mostly I'd really like to meet you in person one day, Pam!:)

  9. What a wonderful trip. I know this area a little bit, and it's the perfect location for this. I'm jealous!

    I love the new bannerhead. Did you make the macarons? I'm double jealous!

  10. What a fabulous place to spend a week Pam. I've never been to the Auvergne, but it sounds like the perfect place to learn French cooking. Lynn and Oliver would be the perfect hosts. I know my husband would love to go there and, of course, so would I.

  11. Deana, your welcome anytime!

    Kathleen, We would love to have you! No need to kill anyone.

    HH, I guess we will have to include diet food too! We will keep you slim and trim!

    HD, I would love to meet you Hungry Dog. What's say we meet up in San Francisco sometime?

    Kate, If you know the area you should stop in and see Lynn. Join us my dear!
    The macarons we bought at the local patisserie in Vichy.

  12. This looks amazing. If I wasn't just getting settled into and renovating my house, I would be there. Do you do this every year?

  13. OH! wow! I would have loved this! Guess what? Maybe next year; this coming September I have signed up to tour Greece with a food blogging tour and it is going to be my first trip to Greece ever! But I long for France!
    Oh by the way, you were asking me about geranium; the fragrant geraniums leaves are used in Lebanese cooking , for example in making jams and such; since I never had any in the US, I put it out of my mind, but when I am in Lebanon this summer I will cook with them our garden is full of them!