4 day “PANARY in Provence”

Course Description

Residential baking course – at a glance

  • 4 day residential course held in France
  • 5 nights’ accommodation
  • meals included, except for two dinners we take at local restaurants
  • £1085 per course participant
  • £600 per non-participant
  • £100 deposit per person required to secure places
  • No singles supplement

I have teamed up with a former PANARY student, Wilson Thorburn, who escaped with his wife Anna from their hectic London life to a calmer routine in Provence by buying a property with a 13-hectare vineyard. It is called Domaine l’Ancienne Ecole. With the wine making they have a summer business renting the gites on the property to holiday makers. We are offering residential baking courses every Spring. One will be displayed on the website Course Calendar, and if booked quickly another course will follow.

Residential baking course, Provence, France

The logo of Domaine l’Ancienne Ecole is the Californian poppy


The nearby village is Vinsobres, a pretty, historic, Provencal village with a 12th century temple and an early 18th century church perched on a hilltop.

The nearest town is Nyons, a market town which is famed for its olives and olive oil, as well as its colourful and lively weekly market.

The area has a superb climate (hot, dry summers with the occasional electric storm) and amazing scenery.

Course Content

The course structure will be mainly French breads and techniques, using flour from a nearby flour mill. We shall make savoury and sweet, light and dark, and sourdoughs too. Requests will be taken on the first day, giving the opportunity for students to shape their own programme.

They will also experience first hand the Panyol wood-fired ovens, sold by PANARY, with extra oven capacity provided by domestic electric ovens. A kitchen adjacent to the courtyard will be our dough and preparation room.

A very enjoyable week in Provence

I have just returned from a very enjoyable week in Provence at Domaine L’ Ancienne Ecole with a great group of people. I have learnt so much about bread making from Paul this week and finally understand what my husband is talking about with reference to sourdough breads in particular.

Paul is very flexible and gave us the opportunity to choose breads that we would like to make such as brioche, pain aux raisin and pain de Campagne, for example. During the week, we baked most of our bread in a wood-fired oven. The week included a visit to a fabulous local market and an afternoon in a local town. The course is based at an organic winery with lovely gites in a beautiful part of Provence owned by Anna and Wilson Thorburn who could not be more welcoming. Highly recommended!!

5 Star testimonialJane AldridgeBread baking student


Participants (particularly those with their own car) can spend as they wish the free time allocated to our excursions. For sight-seeing further afield there is the Roman theatre in Orange, or the famous Pont du Gard.

On our first evening we shall tour the vineyard and winery of our hosts, Wilson and Anna, and taste their wines.

Among the local villages and towns places to visit are many: markets, town bakers, a biscuit factory using local olives and almonds, olive oil mills, cheese makers, vineyards for wine tasting.

Course Fees

The cost is £1085 per person which we think is particularly good value for an all inclusive holiday with tuition. This includes:

  • 4 day breadmaking course
  • 5 nights’ accommodation
  • All meals (except for a couple of dinners in local restaurants when the course has its nights out)
  • A non-participating member of a couple pays £600 for accommodation and meals

NB. The course fee does not include travel, however the course mini-bus will make a group pick up and drop off at a nearby train station or airport for a designated train or flight, this information being given at booking confirmation time. (Transfers to and from other airports made by the course mini-bus will be chargeable).

About the Accommodation

There are three gites in Domaine l’Ancienne Ecole – Les Marronniers, Mont Ventoux, and Les Pre-Alpes. All overlook the vineyards and beyond to Mont Ventoux and share the large infinity pool (please note that depending upon the season the pool may not be in use).

Les Marronniers

Les Marronniers

Les Marronniers is a detached villa with one double bedroom with ensuite shower room and another double/twin with nearby bathroom. Separate WC’s are upstairs and downstairs. There is an open plan living/dining room with wood burning stove, a well equipped kitchen and a covered terrace.

During the bread course it is the communal gite where we meet daily for breakfast and lunches, and sometimes for the evening meal when we are not going out.

Mont Ventoux

Mont Ventoux

The downstairs of this recently finished gite is the work room and kitchen for the bread teaching sessions.

The Panyol wood fired bread oven is in the courtyard of the main house and we will be using this as well as electric ovens to bake our bread.

The occupants of Mont Ventoux have a shaded terrace outside, but use the communal gite (Les Marroniers) when they wish to relax in a sitting room. Upstairs there is a double room, and another twin bedroom. Bathroom is shared, with a WC on each floor.

Les Pré-Alpes

Les Pre-Alpes

Les Pré-Alpes is an apartment at the southern end of the main building that is completely private, featuring one double room with its own shower room and WC. It has a roof terrace, kitchen/living/dining room with wood burning stove and covered terrace.

For more information about the vineyard and gites visit http://www.domaine-lancienne-ecole.com


The nearest TGV stations are Avignon ( 1 hour) and Valence (1¼ hr). (St.Pancras to Avignon is about 6½ hours).
Nimes airport is the most convenient (1¼ hr), with Marseille (1½hr) and Lyon (2hr). Ryanair fly from Luton to Nimes.

Among over a dozen airlines flying to Marseilles, the biggest are British Airways, easyJet, and Ryanair. Flying to Lyon, amongst a dozen, British Airways, Flybe, and easyJet are the biggest airlines.

At the time of booking confirmation (6 months before the course date) we shall announce a particular time at an advised TGV station or airport that the course mini-bus will be visiting, enabling participants an opportunity on both arrival and departure day for a free pick up and drop off . Participants unable to use the named train or plane will have to make their own way.

Taxi fares:

Avignon TGV or Airport110
Marseille or Montpelier Airport200

These are one way, day-time fares for up to three people. Nights, Sundays, holidays and more than 3 people incur a supplement.

The nearest motorway is the A7-E15, joined at Bollene (33 kms)

Number of Participants & Booking Procedure

The maximum for the course is 6 participants. We can accommodate a maximum of 3 couples, and within the group we are welcoming partners who are non-participants, as well as being aware that a single participant will take a double room. Hence there is a limit to the number of non-bakers that we can accommodate. While the booking form gives couples who are both participants a chance to choose a room, final allocation of accommodation will depend on the mix of couples and singles.

How To Book

Please use the website calendar to make a provisional booking, a process that involves completing a booking form and sending a deposit of £100 to secure the booking. The balance is payable at a designated date that is 6 months before the course date. On that designated date PANARY sends confirmation of your place on the course, notice of the allocation of rooms, and the request that you make the full payment.

At that date, those who withdraw will have their deposit returned immediately, unless they wish to transfer that deposit to the next available course.

Cancellation Policy

We advise applicants to take out travel insurance to cover the costs of cancellation.

Late cancellation will incur a penalty fee as follows: cancellation between 4 and 2 months from the course date, forfeiture of 30% of course fee; cancellation within 2 months of the course date, forfeiture of 50% of course fee.

PANARY reserves the right to make a late cancellation of a scheduled course in exceptional circumstances; postponement to a new date will be announced, or prompt return of all money paid if requested.