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Heaven in the Hills of Umbria

Todi, Italy

Undulating hills, speckled with centuries-0ld, ocher-colored villas, surrounded by olive orchards and vineyards, glisten under the brilliant blue sky. This is Umbria, Tuscany’s breath-taking neighbor, relatively untouched by tourism. If this sounds like heaven, join us at the Villa Tre Grazie, a magnificent 16th-century villa perched on a hilltop overlooking the Tiber valley, with panoramic views of the rooftops and spires of Todi with her lovely Renaissance temple.

The Villa Tre Grazie (Three Graces), is surrounded by two hectares of gently rolling land including an olive orchard, a fruit orchard and formal gardens with terraced swimming pool and bath house.
During our weeklong sojourn, we will learn to make handmade pastas, pizzas cooked in the Villa Tre Grazie’s own 16th-century outdoor brick oven and many other Umbrian specialties. In addition to these hands-on cooking classes with local experts, we will taste the very best regional wines, cheeses and olive oils, shop for fine hand-painted Italian ceramics and hand-woven Italian fabrics in Deruta and Montifalco, and enjoy in depth tours of Orvieto and Assisi.
To round out this extraordinary week, we will take a stroll in the Umbrian hills, to enjoy the stunning views of the countryside. Andiamo!!

 

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

• Arrive at the Villa Tre Grazie in the late morning in time for a buffet lunch in the garden.
• Afternoon free for relaxing in the garden, swimming (weather permitting) or napping.
• Aperitivos al fresco at sunset.
• Festive Welcome Dinner at home in the Villa.

Day 2

• Breakfast at home in the Villa.
• Morning cooking class on hand-made pastas with several sauces taught by a very special local expert followed by lunch.
• Afternoon visit to Orvieto with plenty of time to see the sites and to shop.
• Dinner at home in the Villa.

Day 3

• Breakfast at home in the Villa.
• Morning visit in Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis who founded the Franciscan religious order in 1208. We will have a private tour of the Basilica of St. Francis, including the magnificent Giotto frescoes and other important historical sites.
• Late lunch.
•Afternoon visit to the home and painting studio of two remarkable American artists, Alan Feltus and Lani Irwin.
• Dinner at home in the Villa.

Day 4

• Breakfast at home in the Villa.
•After breakfast, we will heat up the 16th-century outdoor brick oven for our afternoon cooking class.
• Morning visit to a farm making some of the best local cheeses. We will be able to watch the cheese-making process and taste the cheeses at various stages of development.
• Visit to Deruta to shop for hand-painted Italian ceramics, both new and collector pieces. We will have a special private tour with Grazie, owner of MOD ceramics and close friends of the Villa Tre Grazie’s owners.
• Lunch in the Old Town of Deruta.
• Late afternoon pizza cooking class using the Villa’s brick oven.
• Dinner at the Villa feasting on our very own hand made pizzas and salads.

Day 5

• Breakfast at home in the Villa.
• Morning visit to the charming city of Montifalco, noted for its lovely 14th century church, San Francesco, and special hand-woven Italian fabrics. We will visit the very best fabric shops for excellent shopping.
• Lunch at the Alchemist, a delicious local trattoria.
• Afternoon wine tasting in Montifalco where we will taste the Sagrantino di Montifalco chosen by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas for their wedding!
• Dinner at home.

Day 6

• Breakfast at the Villa.
• Morning hike in the Umbrian hills around Todi, OR free time for shopping in Todi, or relaxing in the garden.
• Lunch together in Todi.
• Farewell Dinner.

Day 7

• Linger over a final breakfast at the Villa Tre Grazie.
• Return to the Rome airport or Todi train station in the late morning.

 

Accommodations & Cost

Accommodations: Villa Tre Grazie is a magnificent private 16th-century villa, complete with orchards, gardens and swimming pool. All participants stay in the Villa Tre Grazie’s lovely bedrooms.
Included in the cost: 6 nights accommodations; all ground transportation; all meals including aperitivos and carefully selected regional wines; all cooking classes; and all sightseeing and private visits as described above. Limited to ten class participants.
Not Included in Cost: Airfare to and from Rome, Italy. Alcoholic beverages except as specified in the program.
Cost: $4990 per person in a double room. $600 single supplement.
Important note: substantial changes in the value of the dollar may require changes in the price of the tour.
Deposit: $1000 per person.

 

Register for this trip — check-out the general information section about Les Liaisons Délicieuses trips — see what other travelers have to say — check for when this trip is scheduled or discuss a custom trip based on this itinerary.

A Winter Indulgence in Truffles and Foie Gras in the Dordogne

with Chef Pierre Corre
Auberge de la Truffe, Sorges

Toast with the Countess and her son, Dordogne

Toast with the Countess and the Chef

Turn winter doldrums into delights by treating yourself (and perhaps your spouse or a friend) to 7 days and 6 nights at the Auberge de la Truffe in the Dordogne for a culinary adventure at the height of the foie gras and truffles season. Chef Pierre Corre, a native of the region, will take us on a tour of the renowned Thiviers foie gras market. He’ll teach us the secrets of preparing all the gastronomic treasures of Périgord in hands-on cooking classes. Classes will be limited to 8 participants, with simultaneous translation provided.

Tours and excursions will include a truffle hunt (complete with guide and pig), a visit to the Truffle Museum, a visit to the “HUSO” de Neuvic,  a fish farm with a caviar tasting, a visit to the world-famous prehistoric cave paintings of Lascaux, a tour of the splendid Château d’Abzac, with a cooking class, wine tasting, and lunch at the château,  and meals at other fine area restaurants.

Truffle hunting, Dordogne

Truffle hunting, Dordogne

Spouses and guests who are passionate about the tasting but not the preparation of these delicacies are welcome to join us on the excursions and at the table as we feast on our creations.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival in Sorges at L’Auberge de la Truffe before dinner.
  • Festive welcome aperitif and dinner at the Auberge.

Day 2

  • Morning visit to the truffle market in Thiviers with Chef Corre.
  • Cooking class on duck, followed by lunch at the Auberge.
  • Afternoon visit to the Truffle museum.
  • Late afternoon visit to a foie gras farm with tasting and products available.
  • Dinner at the Auberge.
Chef Pierre and Patti with enormous truffles, Dordogne

Chef Pierre and Patti with enormous truffles, Dordogne

Day 3

  • Truffle hunt with a truffle specialist in Mareuil
  • Lunch in a bistro in Brantôme.
  • Afternoon visit of the village Brantôme.
  • Cooking class with a focus on truffles.
  • Dinner at the Auberge.

Day 4

  • Morning visit to and lunch in Lascaux.
  • Surprise culinary visit in the afternoon.
  • Dinner at the Auberge.

Day 5

  • Departure for the Château d’Abzac.

    Château d’Abzac

  • Cooking class on fish at the Château followed by lunch.
  •  Tour of the Château and vineyard
  • Dinner at the Auberge.

Day 6

  • Morning visit to a 14th century walnut mill where walnut oil is produced the traditional way.
  • Visit to the “HUSO” de Neuvic,  a fish farm with a caviar tasting.
  • Visit to the colorful market in Périgueux with Chef Corre.
  • Lunch at the restaurant, Chez Fred.
  • Dinner at the Auberge.

Day 7

  • Morning cooking class on desserts.
  • Farewell gastronomic lunch at the hotel.
  • Departure for the train station after lunch.

Accommodations & Cost

Accommodations: Auberge de la Truffe is a two-star hotel and restaurant. All participants stay in private rooms at the Auberge. Each includes a private bathroom.
Included in the cost: Six nights accommodations; all ground transportation; all meals including aperitifs and carefully selected regional wines; all cooking classes; and all sightseeing and private visits as described above. Limited to ten class participants.
Not Included in Cost: Airfare; trains; alcoholic beverages except as specified in the program.
Cost: $3,990.00 per person, single supplement $600. Important note: substantial changes in the value of the dollar may require changes in the price of the tour.
Deposit: $1000.00 per person.

Register for this trip — check-out the general information section about Les Liaisons Délicieuses trips — see what other travelers have to say — check for when this trip is scheduled or discuss a custom trip based on this itinerary.

Spa/Thalasso Sojourn in France – La Baule

with Les Liaisons Delicieuses
Hotel Royal-Thalasso Barrière, La Baule

Let your mind unwind while you pamper your body and tickle your palette at the legendary, Belle Epoque Royal-Thalasso Barrière in La Baule, the diamond of the Côte d’Amour. The welcome at the Hotel is truly extraordinary with personalized, attentive, yet discrete service on all levels. Miles and miles of the beautiful Atlantic coast stretch out before you with paths for walking and biking. The Lucien Barrière resort has a casino, Tennis Club (35 courts), and golf courses (45 holes), but best of all, connected to the Hotel is one of the finest centers of Thalasso Therapy in all of France.  And, Chef Mikael Amisse’s food is heavenly and very healthy.  (Chef Mikael Amisse created the menu with Michelin 3 star chef, Pierre Gagnaire.)  In addition to Thalasso/spa treatments and cooking classes, we will visit the markets in La Baule, the salt marshes and town of Guérande and the amazing Eco-museum of Ocean liners in St. Nazaire.  If thalasso/spa treatments are not of interest to you, golf, tennis and biking could be substituted for the half days at the spa. The Royal Thalasso Barrière-La Baule has 45 holes of golf, a superb tennis club, and miles and miles of places to bike.

Le Royal Thalasso & Spa

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

We will be met at the SNCF train station in La Baule Escoublac and be taken by van to the Hotel Royal-Thalasso Barrière in the late afternoon. After settling into our rooms, over-looking the sea, we have some free time to enjoy the health club, indoor pool, sauna, hammam or simply take a nap! A welcome cocktail and presentation of the program for the week will take place just before dinner, along with a local oyster tasting. A festive Welcome Dinner will be served in the restaurant, La Rotonde, at 8:30 pm

Day 2

After breakfast in La Rotonde, we will go to the spa for a full morning of 4 spa treatments to ensure our “Well Being.” After lunch, we will have time for a rest before our first cooking class with Chef Mikael Amisse, followed by dinner in La Rotonde where we will feast on our creations.

La Rotonde

Day 3

We will begin our day with a visit to the salt marshes and the charming medieval village of Guérande, home of some of the very best salt in the world. We will have lunch at a local creperie and enjoy the delicious local buckwheat crepes. After lunch, we will return to the hotel for a full afternoon of spa treatments (4 each day!) Dinner will be in La Rotonde, which offers spectacular views of the sea.

Day 4

After breakfast, Chef Mikael will take us on a visit to the markets in La Baule. There will be free time for shopping in La Baule and an early lunch at the Beach Restaurant, Le Ponton. After lunch, 4 more glorious spa treatments and then free time for a nap or a game of tennis at the Tennis Club before dinner at Le Rotonde.

Hotel Royal

Day 5

Our spa treatments today will begin after breakfast followed by lunch on the beach at Le Ponton.

Le Panton

After a walk or a nap, Chef Mikael will give us a second cooking class, sharing all of his secrets in his wonderful cookbook, La Table du Bien-Etre. Tonight, we will again feast on our own creations in the restaurant, La Rotonde.

Day 6

This morning we will visit the Eco-museum of Paquebots (Ocean Liners) in St.Nazaire where most all of the ships were and continue to be made. Entering the museum is like boarding your ship for a transatlantic cruise and “on board” the experience continues, complete with a drink in the very bar that was on the SS France which some of you may have sailed on in the 60’s! Lunch will be back at the beach restaurant, Le Ponton, followed by an afternoon at the spa. Our Farewell Gala Dinner will be held this evening at the restaurant in the Relais et Château Hotel, Castel Marie Louise.

Castel Marie-Louise

Day 7

After breakfast, we will enjoy our final morning in the spa followed by a farewell lunch at La Rotonde. We will return to the train station after lunch for a train which will get us back to Paris in time for dinner in the City of Light. Au Revoir.

 

Accommodations & Cost

Accommodations: The Royal-Thalasso Barrière Hotel is a combined hotel, spa and restaurant. All participants stay in the Hotel’s sea view rooms. Each includes a private bathroom.
Included in the cost: Six nights accommodations; all ground transportation; all meals including evening aperitifs and carefully selected regional wines; all cooking classes and spa treatments as described; and all sightseeing and private visits as described above.
Not Included in Cost: Train fare to and from La Baule; alcoholic beverages except as specified in the program.
Cost: $4,290. per person double occupancy, Single Supplement $600. Important note: Substantial changes in the value of the dollar may require changes in the price of the tour.
Deposit: $1,000 per person.

Register for this trip — check-out the general information section about Les Liaisons Délicieuses trips — see what other travelers have to say — check for when this trip is scheduled or discuss a custom trip based on this itinerary.

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