A Culinary Tour de France & Genoa

Welcome to A Culinary Tour de France with le Calabash, join us on a gastronomic journey through the heart of France, where every bite tells a story and every meal is an experience to cherish. Your hosts, Alison and Sidney guide you through the charming streets of picturesque towns, bustling markets, and iconic landmarks, all while indulging in the finest flavours that France has to offer.

Price per person sharing:


Price includes:

  • Meals as indicated on itinerary
  • Transportation
  • Excursions
  • Air-conditioned bus
  • Superior Accommodation
  • Beverages with selected meals/ wine pairing menus as per itinerary
  • Gratuities
  • Tours

Price excludes:

  • Meals that are not included as shown on itinerary
  • Laundry
  • Phone calls
  • Beverages which are not included with menus as per itinerary
  • Beverages consumed in excess or personally ordered
  • Travel insurance highly recommended
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08:30 - Start your day with a traditional French breakfast.

This morning we enjoy the vibrant flavors of Mediterranean cuisine, renowned for its emphasis on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients—a philosophy we hold dear and eagerly share with our Culinary Family.

Throughout your classes, you'll not only learn main dishes but also learn the art of crafting complementary accompaniments and side dishes.

• Prepare an array of Mediterranean delights using locally sourced ingredients, including

Quiche Lorraine
Lyonnaise Salad

13:00 - For lunch we enjoy our mornings cooking.

This afternoon, our Mediterranean exploration transcends French borders, as Sidney reminisces about cherished moments cooking alongside his mentors and a talented young chef. Meanwhile, we prepare our Brioche dough, essential for tomorrow's creations. Alison adds a delightful twist to a globally beloved dessert.

• Savor the irresistible flavors of Roasted Garlic and Camembert Brioche, Gnocchi of the moment, succulent Free-range Chicken, and a refreshing Panna Cotta infused with summer essence.

17:30 - Enjoy leisurely activities until dinner.

19:30 - Gather around for dinner and enjoy the dishes we've collaboratively prepared

08:00 - Start your day with a traditional French breakfast.

08:30 - Depart for Tours

9:00 - This morning, embark on a culinary exploration of Tours, beginning with a visit to both the indoor ‘Les Halles Food Market’ and the bustling outdoor market. Wander through the charming old town clustered around Place Plumereau, where restored historic houses transport you back in time. Stroll along the narrow streets like rue Briconnet to experience the medieval city's historic charm. Discover the Romanesque Basilica, the Cloitre de St-Martin, and the new Basilique de St-Martin, once part of the great pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.

In the cathedral quarter, marvel at the Cathédrale St-Gatien, a stunning example of flamboyant Gothic architecture adorned with 12th-century decorated stonework. Inside, admire the exquisite stained-glass windows and other architectural wonders.

13:00 - Enjoy a truly French lunch in Tours before we head back to Le Calabash.

This afternoon, join Alison as she unveils the secrets behind crafting one of the world’s most coveted classics, the Macaron, adding her own unique twist.

• Chocolate Macaron.
• Seasonal Macaron Creations

19:30 - At dinner we enjoy a relaxed evening indulging in French Cheeses and Charcuterie, savouring the flavours of the region in the comfort of our culinary haven with a few of Chef Sidney’s favourite wines.

08:30 - Start your day with a traditional French breakfast.

This morning, we learn the art of making soufflés, a culinary skill that combines elegance with a touch of excitement. Learn the secrets to creating perfectly risen soufflés.

• Classic Cheese Soufflé.
• Savory Soufflé of the moment.
• Passion Fruit Soufflé, accompanied by coconut and lemongrass ice cream.

13:00 – Enjoy a French Light Lunch,

This afternoon Alison, and Sidney as they unveil their adventurous side with 'Fire and Spice.' Drawing inspiration from their experiences in Africa and their love for outdoor cooking, this hands-on class promises to ignite your passion for cooking over open flames. Discover the depth, flavours, and techniques of what they fondly refer to as 'Taking a Walk on the Wild Side.'

17:30 - Indulge in leisure activities until dinner.

19:30 - This evening we have a flavourful dinner experience with a 'Fire and Spice’ dinner featuring some of the creations made during the afternoon.

Enjoy an early morning breakfast

Following breakfast, we journey to the quaint town of Saint Emilion, a region known for its fine wines and breath taking scenery.

Upon arrival, we enjoy a lunch at a quaint traditional restaurant, setting the stage for an afternoon filled with exploration and wine tasting in one of the world's most renowned wine towns.

Saint Emilion's rich history dates back to the 8th century when a Benedictine monk named Aemilianus established his hermitage in a cave in the Ascumbas forest. Over the centuries, the town flourished, marked by the construction of catacombs, a monolithic church, and the establishment of a vibrant religious community.

From the 9th to the 12th century, Saint Emilion thrived under English domination, fostering the growth of vineyards and trade in Claret wine. Despite periods of unrest, including the Religious Wars of the 16th century and the turbulence of the French Revolution, Saint Emilion's wine revolution in the 18th century propelled it to prominence.

In 1884, the winegrowers of Saint Emilion formed the first Winegrowers Union of France, championing a legacy of exceptional quality. This commitment to excellence culminated in the establishment of controlled appellations in 1936 and the revival of the Jurade in 1948, a brotherhood dedicated to promoting the wines of Saint Emilion worldwide.

After exploring Saint Emilion's rich history and wine culture, we leave on a scenic drive through the picturesque French vineyards to Bordeaux.

Upon arrival in Bordeaux, settle into your luxurious accommodations before dinner in a brasserie on the promenade, soaking in the vibrant atmosphere of Bordeaux's casual evening lifestyle.

Enjoy an early morning breakfast.

After breakfast, you'll embark on a guided tour of Bordeaux, a city steeped in a rich gastronomic history.

We'll share with you the tradition of the French meal, as we come together to savour glasses of Bordeaux wines, sample local specialties, and share anecdotes that delve into the heart of our culinary heritage and its evolution over the centuries.

As you wander through Bordeaux and its surrounding region, you'll have the opportunity to visit artisans’ shops and taste their finest local culinary offerings first-hand. Open your mind, open your mouth, and allow yourself to be fully immersed in the sensory delights that await. We'll be your guides on this unforgettable culinary and cultural experience.

Following the tour, you'll have the rest of the afternoon free to indulge in shopping and further exploration.

We'll meet in the foyer later for a glass of bubbly before embarking on an evening of culinary splendor in a Michelin-starred restaurant, where you'll be hosted by one of France's most renowned chefs.

Enjoy an early morning breakfast.

Following a breakfast, we leave on a scenic drive to the Dordogne region to explore Domme.

Touted as one of France’s most enchanting walled towns, Domme stands as a testament to medieval grandeur amidst the picturesque landscape of the Dordogne. Traverse beneath the town's fortified arches and meander along the ramparts, where remnants of history abound, including the prison graffiti etched by the Knights Templar, who met their fate within these walls during the 14th Century.

Venture deeper into the annals of time with a visit to the Grottes de Domme, a mesmerizing 450-meter cave nestled beneath the town centre, adorned with captivating stalactites and stalagmites.

We have lunch in the walled town overlooking the valley.

After lunch, we proceed to check in to our chateau hotel. Take some time to freshen up, settle into your luxurious accommodations, and unwind amidst the tranquil surroundings.

Tonight, we’ll reconvene to enjoy a delightful dinner together.

Enjoy an early morning breakfast.

We then take a drive to explore the captivating town of Sarlat.

Sarlat, nestled amidst the rolling landscapes of southwestern France, stands as a living testament to the splendor of 14th-century France. Largely untouched by the currents of modernity, Sarlat's historic center boasts an impressive array of 77 protected monuments, earning it a coveted spot-on France's Tentative List for future nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Credit for its immaculate preservation is owed in part to the efforts of André Malraux, a writer, resistance fighter, and politician, who spearheaded the restoration of Sarlat along with numerous other historic sites across France.

As we wander the labyrinthine streets of Sarlat, we'll be enchanted by its bustling marketplaces, where locals showcase their crafts and culinary delights. We walk through the vibrant atmosphere, soaking in the sights, sounds, and aromas of this medieval gem.

For lunch, we'll have the pleasure of dining amidst the historic charm of Sarlat, savouring traditional flavours and culinary specialties unique to the region.

This afternoon, our journey continues to the ancient city of Carcassonne.

Since antiquity, Carcassonne has stood as a formidable symbol of medieval fortification. Its origins trace back to the pre-Roman era, and today, it stands as a magnificent example of a fortified medieval town. Encircled by imposing walls and punctuated by a majestic castle and Gothic cathedral, Carcassonne transports visitors back in time to an era of chivalry and intrigue.

Upon arrival, we'll check into our luxurious accommodations, where you can unwind and settle in before our evening activities.

Tonight, we dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant set within the historical walls of Carcassonne.

8:00 - Enjoy an early morning breakfast.

This morning, you have the leisure of exploring the walled city at your own pace. Whether you opt to wander solo or join Alison and Sidney, who boast a wealth of knowledge about the city and its historical significance, you're in for a captivating experience. Consider picking up a traditional Cassoulet dish to share a taste of your culinary adventure with loved ones back home.

For lunch we enjoy a Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a hearty French dish originating from the south-western region, particularly Toulouse. It's a slow-cooked casserole featuring white beans, various meats like sausage, duck, and sometimes pork, all simmered together in a rich, savoury broth flavoured with tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. With its comforting blend of textures and flavours, it's often considered the epitome of French rustic cuisine.
After a satisfying lunch, we make our way to "Nice la Belle," the beautiful city of Nice.

Upon arrival, we check into our hotel.

The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy as you please. Whether you choose to stroll along the iconic Promenade des Anglais or simply unwind and soak in the atmosphere, the choice is yours. Later, for dinner, you're invited to explore the culinary delights in the old town of Nice.

After breakfast, we'll take a leisurely walk through the lively Niçoise markets, soaking in the vibrant atmosphere filled with local vendors, colourful stalls, and enticing aromas. Explore the diverse array of fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and regional delicacies, experiencing the essence of Provence. Following our market visit, we'll enjoy a lunch in the heart of Nice, savouring the authentic flavours of the region in a charming setting.

With its captivating blend of urban vibrancy, historic grandeur, perennial sunshine, and picturesque coastal setting, Nice reigns as the unofficial capital of the Côte d’Azur, an essential destination for every traveller. Since the 19th century, it has beckoned sunseekers and high-rollers alike, offering an irresistible array of attractions – from vibrant markets and a captivating old town to magnificent architecture and an abundance of superb restaurants.

Notable highlights include La Promenade des Anglais, a scenic esplanade that winds along the waterfront, inviting you to linger with a refreshing drink or lounge on the sandy beaches. For a touch of luxury, consider reserving a lounger on the hotel's private beach, to be arranged a day in advance. History enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Palais Masséna, where the rich tapestry of Nice's past unfolds from the Napoleonic era to the mid-20th century. Meanwhile, a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of the old town, known as "Vieux Nice," reveals the bustling market of Le Cours Saleya, alongside an array of inviting bars, cafés, restaurants, boutiques, and souvenir shops. Art aficionados can explore museums such as the Musée Chagall and the Musée Matisse, while architectural wonders abound throughout the city, with the Russian Cathedral standing as a highlight – a dazzling testament to Russian opulence and the most visited monument in Nice.

In the evening, we reconvene for a truly memorable dining experience. We whisk you away to a romantic Michelin-starred restaurant where, a decade ago, Elise and Mickaël Gracieux realized their culinary dream. Since earning their Michelin star in 2010, L’Aromate has been celebrated for its modern, creative cuisine crafted from the finest locally sourced ingredients. Prepare to savor dishes that are a true delight for the senses, with a wine pairing included to enhance the experience.

8:00 - We embark on a journey across the border into Italy, arriving in the captivating city of Genoa.

Our first stop is in Monaco, where you'll have the morning to explore at your leisure. Perched against the mountains and extending to the shores of the Riviera, Monaco is a sovereign state with its own government, led by His Highness Prince Albert.

Monaco's privileged location is evident, boasting some of the world's most luxurious and expensive properties.

After a light lunch on your own account, we resume our journey to Genoa.

Upon arrival, we check into our hotel.

For dinner, we indulge in the flavours of Italy at a charming restaurant overlooking the picturesque harbour.

8:00 - Enjoy Breakfast

This morning, we embark on a delightful Gourmet Food tour through the vibrant streets of Genoa.

It's not just about indulging in delicious cuisine, but also about strolling along the city's oldest streets and exploring its most significant landmarks.

Our culinary journey begins with a quintessential Genoese breakfast: Focaccia & cappuccino. Dip your focaccia into the creamy cappuccino for a unique blend of salty and sweet flavours and ends with a slice of Traditional Genoese cake, fragrant with almond flavours, from the pastry shop that originated this beloved delicacy.

Before our tour concludes, we savour gourmet coffee, adorned with delightful garnishes to suit every taste.

In the late afternoon, you have free time to explore the city's attractions, with Alison and Sidney on hand to offer guidance and assistance.

For dinner tonight, you have the opportunity to dine at your leisure. Consider enjoying a meal at one of the charming restaurants along the Marina, soaking in the picturesque ambiance of the harbour.

8:00 - Enjoy an early breakfast before we set off for Lyon, one of France’s culinary capitals.

This leg of our journey is the longest, spanning about 5 hours, yet it promises to be the most breath-taking, offering vistas you'll remember for a lifetime.

Along the way, we'll make a stopover in a charming Italian village for lunch, where you can explore quaint shops and savor authentic Italian cuisine.

We'll traverse the Swiss and French Alps, immersing ourselves in their majestic beauty as we make our way back into France.

Upon our arrival in Lyon, we check into a charming boutique hotel nestled on the outskirts of the city.

20:00 - Tonight, we invite you to experience the essence of Lyonnais cuisine as we dine in a traditional Lyonnais Bouchon.

A Bouchon is a unique establishment, exclusive to Lyon, where you can indulge in authentic homemade Lyonnais meals. These intimate bistros have a rich history, originating from taverns and inns frequented by silk merchants in the 17th and 18th centuries. Here, they would enjoy a hearty meal, tend to their horses, and even find lodging for the night. The term "bouchon" refers to the twisted straw brushes used to clean the horses, lending these establishments their name.

Each year, the Association de défense des Bouchons Lyonnais certifies those bouchons that uphold the highest standards of authenticity. Proudly displaying their designation, these restaurants, numbering around twenty, offer a genuine taste of Lyonnais culinary heritage, inviting you to savor the flavors of tradition.

After a leisurely breakfast, we embark on a fascinating journey through the Vieux-Lyon.

We wander through the famous cobblestone alleyways of the Saint Jean area, traversing its internal courtyards and traboules. Immerse yourself in the distinctive atmosphere, reminiscent of a bygone era. Dating back to the Middle Ages, this area spans 24 hectares and showcases a remarkable blend of Gothic and Renaissance architecture from the 15th and 16th centuries. Step back in time to the era of grand fairs that once flourished here, shaping the city's prosperity and renown. Uncover the stories of prominent local and Italian families who left an indelible mark on this historic quarter, the first in France to be inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

As the morning draws to a close, we venture to the renowned Les Halles market.

Established in 1971 in the La Part-Dieu neighborhood near Lyon's main train station, Les Halles underwent extensive renovations in 2004. Today, it boasts 13,000 square meters of food vendors spread over three floors. The market gained further acclaim when master chef Paul Bocuse lent his name, solidifying its reputation as a premier destination for gastronomic excellence. Les Halles is a treasure trove of the finest produce, complemented by several bars and restaurants offering Lyon's culinary delights. Whether you're enjoying a family outing or a romantic evening, Les Halles promises an unforgettable experience.

You'll have the opportunity to savor a light lunch from the myriad stands at Les Halles (for your own account).

The afternoon is yours to explore Lyon at your leisure, and here are some suggestions:

The Fourvière Basilica: Dominating the skyline from the Fourvière hill, this magnificent church is Lyon's pilgrimage site, featuring several Roman archaeological sites.

Musée des Beaux-Arts: Housed in a 17th-century former abbey, this museum showcases a vast collection of fine art spanning centuries, including works by renowned artists like Degas, van Gogh, and Picasso.

Lyon Cathedral: A stunning example of Gothic architecture, Lyon Cathedral boasts original stained-glass windows dating back to the 1300s and a remarkable astronomical clock installed in the 1600s.

Shopping: Lyon offers a wealth of boutique shopping opportunities in areas like Le Carré d’Or, Vieux Lyon, and La Croix Rousse.

Tonight, we culminate our Lyon experience with a dinner at Paul Bocuse's renowned 2 Michelin-starred restaurant. Often hailed as the "King of Chefs" and the "Chef of Kings," Paul Bocuse has held his Michelin Stars since 1965 and is celebrated as one of the world's greatest culinary luminaries. Indulge in an unforgettable dining experience, with wine pairing included.

08:00 - We begin our journey to the City of Lights, Paris, after an early breakfast.

Upon our arrival, we settle into our hotel, marking the beginning of your Parisian adventure.

Immerse yourself in the allure of Paris. Explore its iconic landmarks, stroll along the romantic streets, and indulge in the vibrant culture that graces every corner of this magnificent city.

Tonight, we head to Le Paradis Latin for an exceptional evening. Step into a realm of wonder as we experience a captivating dinner complemented by Champagne and an enthralling show at one of Paris's oldest cabarets. Enjoy the timeless elegance of Le Paradis Latin, where sophistication and entertainment converge in a mesmerizing spectacle. Experience an evening filled with charm and excitement, celebrating the artistry and creativity of this iconic venue. Revel in the vibrant atmosphere and create unforgettable memories to treasure for years to come.

Enjoy Breakfast

We head to Rue Montmartre, a haven for Parisian kitchen and chef shops. Here, you can explore and purchase some of the finest pastry and kitchen equipment to enhance your culinary skills back home.

Lunch at Pied Cochon to experience a French lunch in a cozy yet elegant ambiance

Following lunch, we take a leisurely drive along the iconic Champs-Élysées, soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of this renowned boulevard. Pausing to admire the grandeur of the Arc de Triomphe, we then make our way to the iconic Eiffel Tower. Afterwards, we head to the charming district of Saint-Germain for a delightful shopping excursion amidst its bustling streets and quaint boutiques.

For our final evening together, we gather for a memorable farewell dinner at the illustrious Le Train Bleu. Here, amidst the opulent surroundings, we'll fondly reflect on our culinary journey through France and raise a toast to the cherished memories we've created. Wine will be provided to complement our culinary celebration.

After breakfast, we bid farewell to France as our memorable culinary tour comes to an end, marking the beginning of our journey back home.