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.
If you’re interested in reading more about the Paris Marathon and many other races in France, check out this post, “Running In France: Exceptional Marathons And Races”.
I highly recommend taking a course at Cordon Bleu. Check out this post to find out more about what it’s like to take a short course at Le 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 afterward.
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