During my year off, I returned to France running in the Paris Marathon….one of those races that is on every runner’s bucket list.
To prepare for the race, of course I ran a lot for many months leading up to April 10. I also ate well and the perfect treat two days before the race was to attend a cooking class at the famous Cordon Bleu. For a half day I learned how to make more than 30 chocolate “macarons”. By the end of the day, there were only 14 left.
I highly recommend taking a course at Cordon Bleu.
I also highly recommend running the Paris Marathon. There were 40000 runners, and the atmosphere was like a big party. Fortunately, I finished the race and was not entirely sick afterwards.
After Paris, I travelled to the Loire Valley to see some chateaux. I stayed in the lovely Chateau des Tertres, near Amboise. In the Loire, I visited Clos de Luce where Leonardo da Vinci lived in his last 3 years of life. It has an interesting museum and the grounds and gardens are spectacular as many of da Vinci’s inventions have been replicated.
Other chateaux I visited:
Chateau de Villandry
Chateau de Chenonceau
Chateau Chaumont Sur Loire
Chateau de Nitray
One of the true highlights of the trip was returning to Riorges where I attended a French immersion school not only to improve my French but also to learn how to cook french food.
I have summarized my stay below, however, if you’d like a more comprehensive overview of what it was like, check out my post about taking French language and cooking classes and French immersion in general at Ecole des Ponts.
For 3 hours in the morning we had language classes and in the afternoon many of us gathered in the courtyard to do our homework. Our cooking class started at 4:30 and we chopped, diced, stirred and did everything to prepare that night’s meal.
This is an example of one night’s menu:
- Salade croustillante—Mesclun salad with carrots and smoked duck breast in a phyllo cup
- Pave de boeuf aux 3 sauces (Bordelaise, Graine de moutarde, Bernaise)–slices of beef with 3 different sauces. You wouldn’t believe how much butter was used!
- Tarte Tatin—–apple pie, my FAVOURITE!!!
- Tons of wine, as always
- 4 Cheeses