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Learn French language wit French cuisine, the perfect match

French culture

Getting a taste for French culture and language through its food and drink makes a lot of sense to Vacances Actives Linguistiques!
It’s hard to say no in a country jam-packed with mouth-watering ingredients and dishes that are part of the country’s identity and heritage: “the gastronomic meal of the French” has had UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status since 2010.

You could call it a recipe for success when it comes to getting French students together to improve their language skills as they learn about the country’s customs and culture. 

Cooking, tasting food, buying top produce and learning cookery techniques: the art of gastronomy makes learning French a piece of cake.

Take a French food tour of Parisian neighbourhoods

Hit the food market in Les Halles in Paris

Les Halles and Le Marais are two leading lights on the Parisian food scene and icons in the capital’s culinary history.

Les Halles market was known as Le Ventre de Paris, as in The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola, and is now a sprawling foodie district where people come to stroll, sample and select the best ingredients to rustle up a tasty meal.

A walk through Les Halles and Le Marais is a golden opportunity for French learners to chat to traders and spice up the everyday experience of going to the market with a shopping list and set budget. 

Cured meat, cheese, baguettes, rustic bread, lunchtime snacks (carottes râpées, céleri rémoulade!), some fruit… in a nutshell, your immersive language class has become a get-together over food. 

Depending on the season, the French group and their guide can turn market produce into a classic French lunch at a cookery workshop or meet up for a picnic in one of the local parks in summer.

The market tour and lunch give French students an insight into the milestone moments in the Parisian culinary history and just how big the food culture in France is: the importance of eating well, the diversity of dishes, products and flavours and how much the French love talking about food!!

French cheese tasting in the 16th arrondissement in Paris

This workshop is the place to brie if you want to put your palates to the test. Visitors at the Parisian cheese shop in the 16th arrondissement learn how different cheeses are made depending on milk type (cow, sheep, goat) before delving into their origins. They learn about cheese in all its glory be it pasteurised, unpasteurised, soft, veiny, hard or with a bloomy rind. There are hundreds of different types of cheese and even more regional variations and ways to store and cook them.

So which do you choose? What makes a good cheese? What’s the right way to eat it?

Our expert guides your tasting journey from the mildest to the strongest cheese during the class. If you’re feeling brave, have a go at a blind tasting at the cheese shop: can you recognise the best-known cheeses in France

Students will be served some tasty bread to try Normandy camembert, Touraine goat’s cheese brique and Comté (France’s favourite cheese!) before moving onto Roquefort and eye-watering Époisses! 

You’ll need some breath-freshening gum or a toothbrush after the last couple of cheese samples!!! 

Join a baking or chocolate making workshop in Paris

There’s a sweet note to our gourmet adventure through France. With breakfast croissants, macarons to go with your coffee or tea plus raspberry tart, Paris-Brest and Saint Honoré, French pâtisserie is as famous as its wine!

We give our visitors the chance to experience a baking class followed by a tasting session during their stay. Despite being technically challenging, macarons are a firm favourite: being able to make them yourself is a real luxury!
Or has the croissant class or chocolate workshop tickled your fancy? Whichever you choose, learning new techniques puts the cherry on the cake. 

A regional food tour in France

Shall we say goodbye to Paris and head to another region to explore French gastronomy?
There’s lots to learn in other towns and cities…

Take part in a flammekueche workshop in Strasbourg

Alsace is big on local specialities (and calories) too!

Soak up the region’s food scene with our cookery classes introducing students to the famous flammekueche or tarte flambée in French. 

There’s nothing too tricky here: you need good ingredients, good dough and a good bake to make a flammekueche. Everyone gets their own workstation and ingredients that they can put their own technique and soul into: just add a little care and love to the dish for best results when it comes out of the oven! It’s a great way to get learners working together and chatting as they compete to make the best tarte flambée. A bit of healthy competition, a sprinkling of indulgence and lots of belly laughs make speaking French as easy as pie.

Institut des Frères Lumière à Lyon<br />

Hit the market at Halles Bocuse in Lyon

Institut des Frères Lumière à Lyon<br />
Institut des Frères Lumière à Lyon<br />

No foodie tour of France would be complete without a trip to Lyon, the capital of French gastronomy. The city celebrates food in all its forms, from humble fare to fine dining with the Michelin-starred chef Paul Bocuse at the helm. Lyon is famous for its bouchon eateries serving rib-sticking bistro dishes on check tablecloths and has a wide array of signature dishes for you to sample as you explore the market.

Halles Bocuse is the perfect place to feast your eyes on stalls run by fruit and veg traders, butchers, cheesemongers and more as you fill your basket with classic local dishes and products: cervelle de canuts (cheese dip), saucisson wrapped in brioche, Saint-Marcellin cheese, some good bread and praline tart. It has everything you need for a delicious regional smorgasbord. 

Its foodie tours and workshops are golden language opportunities to help the group bond and work together as well as encourage them to use their skills in a French-speaking environment.

Planning a language experience on the theme of food and drink means the world is your oyster when it comes to destinations, things to do and flavours! Sweet or savoury delights, food and wine pairings for adults, advanced workshops for apprentice chefs etc. 

French gastronomy is the perfect subject to enhance social interaction and help French students feel relaxed and spontaneous as they chat in an immersive environment. Cookery workshops, tastings and meals bring the group together and introduce learners to the culture surrounding the “gastronomic meal” and art of eating well, a pillar of the French identity. 

We love tailoring schedules and experiences to suit the needs and abilities of our adventurers: from novice cooks to apprentice chefs and French levels B2 to A1!

You have everything to gain from this experience… even a few extra pounds 🙂

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