Friday, 26 April 2013

Cooking & Art classes in France

An experience of a lifetime!

I don't think it's very often that one is able to declare with certainty..."That was the best week of my life"!...  Facing a couple of raised eyebrows from the family I was sticking to my story after an unforgettable experience at La Creuzette.

La Creuzette is a beautiful 18thC Chateau sitting in a very large walled garden on the outskirts of Boussac.  Boussac,  is a small town in the middle of rural France - in the Creuse Department,  in the Limousin.  This is a beautiful, unspoilt rural area of France - about 4 hours from Paris by car, and two hours by train.

The owners Louis and Hardy have lived there for the past 12 years.  Originally from South Africa,  Louis a very well recognised artist,  who also lectured in Art in Cape Town and Hardy was in banking.  At the time they owned a small house near Boussac which they visited during holidays.  It was when they discovered that La Creuzette had come on the market,  that they decided to sell up in South Africa and move to France.

They arrived in Boussac in the middle of winter,  to a huge 'house' which had no heating.  The Chateau had been  a summer holiday destination for the previous family and heating was never installed.  Louis in particular, suffered in those first weeks,  while Hardy who is terribly practical worked on getting the heating going.  After a tricky start,  they tackled the renovation and soon the Chateau was open for business. 

Accommodation is sumptuous!  All the bedrooms are en suite and the beds are made up with exquisite Antique French sheets.  The rooms are serviced each day and nothing is spared to ensure 5star comfort!

Residential courses are on offer at La Creuzette,  offering art, cooking, French lifestyle, and so much more.   Louis and Hardy are the most generous of hosts and upon arrival,  one is made to feel so welcome.  Tradition dictates that Louis is responsible for the first dinner at La Creuzette.  

The cheese course and Louis' signature!

Louis and Hardy have, over the years collected the most exquisite tableware - china, crystal and French antique flatware.  Louis likes to present this first meal in a very formal and lavish way and the food is absolutely delicious too!

Entry into the formal dining room - note the candles!

Louis loves decorating the dinner table and every night is a different theme and colour scheme.

Food is a very important part of the La Creuzette experience.
Hardy is a very accomplished cook and the meals are nothing short of spectacular!  I enrolled in art courses for both of my stays with them and I believe that the cooking courses are even more wonderful!  


The food is healthy - using the freshest seasonal ingredients and served in abundance!

The art component of the La Creuzette experience is divine.

There is a wonderful studio  and everyone has their own station.  Louis adores opera and is very knowledgeable and while we sit and work on our paintings/drawings,  the music surrounds us, pealing out of the open windows.   It really is so uplifting!  

Louis in his studio

 Louis is a wonderful teacher and entertainer.  He often reduced us to helpless laughter.  He  shows enormous patience and understanding while supporting our various artistic endeavours.  

This building houses the Summer Kitchen where most of the meals are served. The studio is upstairs.

 In between cooking, eating and the art,  visits to local gardens, brocantes and villages are on the agenda.

Hardy teaching us about French cheeses

A magnificent garden nearby - Priory d' Orsan

Sunday is Brocante day!


There are also excursions to the nearby town of Aubusson where the "Aubusson" rugs originate from.  We were taken into the workshops where antique rugs are repaired.

The town of Aubusson

I know this has been a very long post but I honestly had to stop myself from writing more and adding more and more photos.  It is a trip of a lifetime and Louis and Hardy also offer tailor-made trips for special birthdays - from a couple of days to as long as one would like.  I believe there have been substantial decor and garden face lifts to La Creuzette of late and I cannot wait to see it all.  Happily I will be visiting Boussac in May and will most definitely pop in for a 'hello'  and a look!   Visit their website here

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