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“A very nice different weekend break.”

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The French House Party, Carcassonne
Ranked #1 of 1 Pexiora B&B and Inns
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A very nice different weekend break.”
Reviewed 22 September 2013 via mobile

We had a really good 2 days here ate really well and were lucky enough to have a good group of people on the course with us.
I would definitely recommend a 2 day visit here if doing the cooking course - any more then that... We'll my advise would be to be prepared to walk out a few sizes bigger as the food is just so great!

Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Private P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Lewes, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 22 September 2013

A fantastic rewarding and satisfying gift to myself.

It's everything it says it is on the website. I was met at the airport and chauffeur driven to and from the house. I didn't put my hand in my pocket at all, apart from buying a string of Rose Garlic in the famous 13th Century Market at Revel. And it is more than just a house - it's a grand villa, gated in its own grounds, with 8 spacious bedrooms, a billiards room, a dining room and large sitting room (with open fire place), a swimming pool, outside relaxing area and separate covered bbq and dining area, a ping pong table area and a tennis court.

Moira, the lady of the house, is there to greet you with an extremely warm welcome and puts everyone at ease. The atmosphere is very relaxing with tea, coffee, wine and water on tap throughout. My room on the ground floor was clean, modern and spacious with french doors looking out onto the garden, and everything worked as it should.

It truly is a fantastic French House Party - with charismatic intuitive creative chefs, Robert Abraham, a well known and award winning Chef de Region and Jean Marc Boyer, a flamboyant Michelin Star Chef with his own restaurant. Both chefs were kind, patient and fantastically creative and both managed very well and with ease despite not being fully fluent in English. I learned and experienced more than I expected to and was astounded at how fantastic everything that we cooked tasted. Personally I am a simple cook with no experience at all of baking cakes, making pastry or sauces from scratch. Amongst the phenomenal amount of dishes we not only learned how to cook them but how to present them artfully and respectfully. I now know how to make pasta, lobster ravioli, lobster bisque, macaroons, mille feuille, croissants, creme anglaise, ice cream, sorbet, granita, chocoate discs and to crack the meat out of a lobster, fillet a pigeon, skin and fillet a cod and a monk fish plus lots and lots more!

As a group on the Gourmet Explorer course we were only four people for the five days - an older retired couple (70's), myself (50) and a young 21 year old and we were joined on the Saturday for two days by a young couple on the Cuisine In Brief Weekend course. Despite our disparate ages we had fun in the kitchen and got hands on experience with most of the dishes. In the mornings we cooked our lunch and after a break, sat down at a beautifully laid table to a three course meal and in the afternoons we prepared our dinner. Our afternoon break was followed by delicious sparkling white Cremant and nibbles for our daily soiree on the terrace before another beautiful dining experience and a four course meal.

We had a trip out to an award winning restaurant in the walled city of Carcassonne, La Marquiere which was amazing on all fronts, great service, great food and great wine.

We also went to a Michelin star restaurant in Aragon, La Bergerie, but the service and cuisine didn't inspire me at all. Don't worry as we fed our comments back to Moira who was obviously disappointed on our behalf and may be considering another venue. And they may just have been having a bad night. Again it was still worth the experience and I very much enjoyed the evening because of the lovely people I was with.

We also had a trip to a Mielerie which was fascinating. I learned a lot about bees and how important they are. Don't be dismayed by the simplicity of this place, they have high tech cameras inside and outside the hives, and a large plasma screen as a great visual tool to accompany the talk. Normally you get to see the guy go out and open up a hive and show you inside etc. however it was a fierce wind that day which would have upset the bees so we weren't given that pleasure. I still thoroughly enjoyed the trip and came away with a pot of honey and some propolis powder (natural antibiotic powder made by the bees). After this we drove to Carcassonne and had some time to ourselves to walk around this amazing 3rd Century walled city before meeting up to dine at La Marquiere.

There are several bicycles available, and in one of the downtime periods between cooking lunch and dinner, I went off for a bike ride with my fellow 21 year old and 70 year old pals. Twas a brief but exhilerating ride to the nearby canal which is beautiful and picturesque.

It was not warm enough for me to swim but the pool is glorious and I am sure it is a welcome relief in the heat of the summer, and although I didn't play tennis or ping pong the others did. I preferred to read and relax in my downtime.

By the time I got home I was full of inspiration, knowledge and a desire to cook fabulous meals.

I would recommend the French House Party to anyone who likes cooking, no matter what your skill, it is a great experience, a great holiday and would make a fantastic gift. And as you can see it doesn't matter what age you are, whether you are on your own, a couple, a party of friends or a business group - everyone has a good time!

Room Tip: Rooms on the first floor our quieter.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Sara P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2013

As a long time admirer of Dean Friedman, The Languedoc region, food, wine, sunshine and holidays, that the combination of all of the above would make for a good long weekend was not a surprise - that the four days that I spent at Domaine St Raymond on the Dean Friedman songwriting seminar would be a life enhancing, even life changing experience was a joyous revelation. The house itself is spectacular - surrounded by sunflowers, with oodles of outdoor space by the clean alluring pool, to lounge, swing and eat lazy breakfasts lunch and dinners. Inside is a spacious dream home with a spectacular kitchen, beautiful, air conditioned rooms. The welcome from Moira, Bill and Regine immediately makes one feel at home. Such was the warm ambience and attention to detail that a group of people who had never met very shortly became fast friends. I attended this break primarily to benefit from the unmissable opportunity to learn songwriting from one of my favourite songwriters - what I hadn't bargained for was everything which came with such an experience, the extraordinary meals, where conversation flowed along with the wine from a local vineyard, the fascinating people I shared the experience with, Moira's warmth and conversation and attentiveness to the house guests.

The teaching of Dean was inspiring - laid back, wise, and empathetic, sneakily drawing out of people things they did not know were in them. With his encouragement and expert advice, help from Kevin, another guest, and the inspiration drawn from the surroundings and atmosphere (I'm sure the wine helped too) I somehow pulled a song off - I would never have achieved this on my own. Dean's concert outside on Saturday night with fairy lights in the trees and audience comprised of local fans and supporters was intimate and magical. That he agreed to duet with me the next day is testament to his goodwill, kindness and general willingness to be a jolly good sport - not only a musical genius but wonderfully and engaging company, as was Dean's wife Alison. Clemmie the dog added another extra special companion to the mix.

2 days after returning from Prexiora I am yet to come down to earth -and frankly, I don't intend to. I intend to expand on what I have learned about songwriting and myself, and will take the first available opportunity to return to Domaine St Raymond and soak in its magic. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank rhonalou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh
Level Contributor
20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2013

Myself and two friends booked in for the Cuisine in Brief Weekend Cooking course in May, It was fantastic!
Hostess Moira has paid such attention to detail in converting the building into a wonderfully comfortable 8 bedroom house in a gorgeous setting with pool! We were treated to an amazing lunch on arrival (with wine of course!) sitting out by the pool. Just the start of a truly lovely weekend. We visited a vineyard and the local market and had wonderful cooking session with chef Ramon. We were also looked after so well by housekeeper Regine and the wine and chat flowed. The house is beautiful and the furnishings too. We felt totally at home!

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Swift2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Farnham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2013 via mobile

A lovely room in this beautiful villa, fabulous food, every attention to detail, very comfortable. Moira is a lovely lady, so kind and thoughtful, with great help from Regine and Bill. I learnt a great deal from Sarah's course, she covers a lot of ground in such a short time and really helps you to think. She also made it fun, very enjoyable. There are lots of nice touches - visit to vineyard, visit to Carcassone, two restaurant visits, wine and soft drinks, euro adaptor and kettle in room. A particular highlight was the evening at Carcassonne, the food at the restaurant was delicious and La Cite at night is well worth a visit as it is floodlit and has a lovely atmosphere. Walk the ramparts during the day for views.

Stayed June 2013, travelled solo
Helpful?
3 Thank CharmianBrian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chesham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 June 2013

Just returned from a writing course at French House Party. The place is truly an oasis of calm and luxury. The food is worthy of any five star venue and the team could not be more helpful. A perfect place to get both inspiration and very well fed! I had a very pretty room with private patio. Nothing was too much trouble for Moira and Regine and I felt very much at home.
Our tutor for the week was Sarah Hymas , an inspirational teacher who offered advice, encouragement and really brought out the best in the group.
Carcassone at night was magical and worth visiting. I shall return one day.

Room Tip: Framboise was the downstairs room with private patio though there are others on the first floor with...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jane C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 June 2013

I spent an extremely enjoyable 5 days on a cookery course with three others. The house is stylish but relaxed and comfortable, really well equipped kitchen and also has a large swimminmg pool, tennis courts and even an eccentric jukebox. Moira and Regine are kindness itself, Moira even took us to a kitchen shop because we had admired some of her crockery! As for the chefs, they were amazing, I learnt how to do things I didn't think I was capable of! There were trips to a vineyard, a honey farm and to the ancient city of Carcasonne, which was spectacular, plus dinners out at well chosen restaurants.
I highly recommend the cookery course at the French House Party Experience, it is excellent value for money and really good fun!

Room Tip: All the rooms are individually designed and decorated. I had the Olive room which had a fantastic ba...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Anne P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The French House Party, Carcassonne

Property: The French House Party, Carcassonne
Address: Domaine St Raymond, 11150 Pexiora, France
Phone Number:
Region: France > Occitanie > Aude > Pexiora
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Pexiora
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The French House Party offers specialist holiday cooking or arts residential courses operated by the highest-calibre tutors at an eight-bedroom house with pool, tennis court and boules-pitch close to the Canal du Midi near spectacular Carcassonne - we're talking chauffeurs and chic, fizz and fine food, personal service and attention to detail. Individuals may join French House Party's regular summer arts courses including Creative Writing with the much-lauded Sarah Hymas and Dean Friedman's Songwriting course for aspiring songwriters and performers - an exclusive opportunity to learn from and jam with one of contemporary music's most original musical lyricists whose hit songs include "Lucky Stars" and "Lydia". The French House Party Gastro Academy is the only all-inclusive culinary vacation school of its kind and calibre in the region, with hands-on tuition from first-class French chefs during breaks of between 3 and 7 days. Other than flights costs, prices are absolutely all-inclusive. Tailor-made group celebrations, golf, wedding or corporate breaks are a speciality. ... more   less 

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