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The Roannais, a starred territory

The Roannais, a starred territory


The Ecole des Trois Ponts has been established in the Roanne area for more than 30 years! In addition to learning the language, the school’s aim is to help students discover the French way of life, the know-how and villages of Roanne, not forgetting French gastronomy.

On this last point, the region is not to be outdone! Indeed, we are lucky enough to welcome several restaurants referenced by the Michelin Guide but especially starred ones!

The Restaurant Trois Gros*** is no longer a restaurant to be introduced, its influence is now worldwide. Historically based in Roanne, in front of the train station, the restaurant has moved to Ouches in the countryside only a few kilometers from the school. Several menus are to be discovered, evolving with the seasons. During your stay at the school, don’t hesitate to experience a 3 star meal.

In the heart of Ambierle, a village of character and winegrowers, Le Prieuré* and its star are located in front of the 15th century Benedictine priory, offering a view of the glazed tiles of the Abbey. If you pass by this restaurant, take advantage of this gourmet break to visit the beautiful village of Ambierle.

In March 2023, two new restaurants in Roanne received a star : the Château D’Origny* in Ouches and the Restaurant de la Loire* in Pouilly sous Charlieu. These two restaurants are accessible by taxi from the school. Little nuggets to discover during your stay!

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Learning French language and cooking in France

Learning French language and cooking in France

Learning French language and cooking in France

As a major part of the French language learning process, the daily use of new vocabulary or grammar is important.

Thus, we have implemented, as a part of our curriculum, a French cooking school inside our institution in the Villa Beaulieu.

In the heart of French cooking

As we are settled in one of the most iconic region of France for gastronomy, it was impossible not to include cooking lessons in French as a part of the French immersion experience. Riorges, near Roanne, where our school is based, is about an hour away from Lyon, considered by the French themselves as the heart of French culinary art.

Being able to follow French cooking lessons after French language lessons is probably one of the most exciting element in our cook travel program.

Following the footsteps of some of the greatest French chefs, this unique opportunity for our students turned out to be a central feature that is being much enjoyed.

Becoming a chef in France by learning French

The goal that we hope you will be able to achieve with those cooking lessons in French is not to turn anyone to a three star restaurant chef, but to learn some cooking techniques, and also have fun doing it while speaking French in a real situation. Those techniques are designed for people with any level of cooking skills. So don’t be afraid if you can’t even cook an egg, you will be surprised with what you can achieve during our French cooking courses.

Once you’ll be back home, not only you will impress your friends and your family with your improvements in French, but they will also be able to taste the food you are now able to prepare thanks to the cooking techniques you were taught in France.

Now get ready, put on your apron, sharpen your knives, as you will be now entering the French cooking lessons you’ve been waiting for.

If you want to know more about L’École des Trois Ponts and how you can immerse in the French language, here is your first step.

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Painting at the Ecole des 3 Ponts…it’s quite an art!

Painting at the Ecole des 3 Ponts…it’s quite an art!

Painting at the Ecole des 3’s quite an art!

You haven’t planned your summer vacation yet and are stuck for some ideas…..going to the the beach, yes, that would be fun it’s true, but not very original.
What to do? You’ve thought about it, but nothing is inspiring you. So, if you are truly short on ideas, we can suggest some for you.

Us : “What would you say to a trip to France ?

You : – To Paris? Burgundy? Down south?

Us : – Yes, those are all possibiltites, but first we would like to lead you to a little known spot, home to….the indomitable Gauls….well OK, not exactly, but you’ll see that it’s worth the detour….you could go to Roanne.

You : – To Rouen ? Didn’t Théodore Géricault live there, the one who painted The Raft of the Medusa?

Us : – Hmm no, Roanne, not Rouen, they are completely different and, actually, they aren’t even pronounced the same way.

You : – This is starting well ! “

And yes, we even need to be more precise. Not Roanne, but Riorges, a small town of about 35,000 residents, and it’s there that you could have a terrific vacation, because we have great plans for you!

You want:
To learn French in France and practice the language without having everyone respond to you in English (if the French want to speak English they go to England, the U.S., Australia or someplace else!)
To enjoy French cuisine while a cookery travel without having to prepare anything: no grocery shopping, no peeling vegetables, no cooking, no washing the dishes!
To walk, run, go bike riding, swim, go horse-back riding, read, go to the movies, rest, shop, visit, PAINT

…then you are in the right place!

And yes, it’s absolutely possible to take French courses in France combined with painting classes led by Agnès Berlingieri. This artist-painter has been based in Roanne for many years.  Agnès is very active; she paints, teaches classes, shows her work and participates in numerous projects. If you or your children would like to discover, reinforce or develop your painting talents, then please don’t hesitate, and then afterwards….you can go to Rouen!

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French people’s favorite dish is not very french… or is it?

French people’s favorite dish is not very french… or is it?

A beautiful dish full of couscous

For many years, in most polls that ask the French population about their favorite dish, one stands out among the others. The surprise is that this meal may not sound very French to most people: the famous couscous. This is not what you may have expected from your French cooking courses in France.

Nowadays,French cooking classes integrate many influences from all over the world, and former French colonial possessions play a big part in modern French cuisine. This cook travel will lead us to Africa.

Couscous is a Berber dish made with semolina, vegetables and meat. The Berbers are the oldest known North African populations. This geographical space also sees various populations, Arabs, Hebrews, Phoenicians, Ottomans… Throughout history, couscous has become a local dish shared by all Maghreb populations.

With the colonization of Algeria by France, a common history began and is still continuing. Since the 20th century, canteens of Algerian workers emigrating to France have been serving couscous.

Couscous will know its first rise in the 60s with the arrival of populations called “Pieds noirs”, arriving from Algeria after a long and deadly independence war. The term “Pieds noirs” (“black foot” in French referring to the black boots worn by Europeans coming to North Africa) is actually unsuitable for describing the diversity of these populations. There are Europeans, whose ancestors came from France, but also from Italy, Spain or Malta, to populate the Algerian land then conquered by France in the 19th century. There are also the Jews, whose connection to Algeria goes back as far back as the antiquity, and the most recent to the expulsion of Jews from the Iberian peninsula.

These are the ones who popularize couscous by opening restaurants where French metropolitans discover for the first time this strange semolina. This dish became quickly very popular and was adopted by France, as it combines generous rations. It brought a sense of conviviality and a whole Mediterranean world, almost exotic in the France of the 60s.

The other particularity of couscous is its nostalgic and familial side. It is undeniably linked to the image of the Maghreb mother or grandmother, whether Muslim, Jewish or “Pieds noirs”. Thus, it breaks the mental barriers built by humans. North Africa is indeed experiencing decolonization, particularly brutal in Algeria with memories wounded and still alive over several generations. However, couscous is a common element for all, which brings people of various backgrounds together, and even reconcile by its emotional dimension.

This dish can’t be limited to the Maghreb populations. Traditionally served in a common plate in which everyone picks food, couscous, by its very nature, opens to the world and brings a feeling of sharing.

The taste, the history and the generosity of this meal explains why it turned into French’s people favorite food.

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Seasonal fruit aspic and decorative plate garnish

Seasonal fruit aspic and decorative plate garnish

Seasonal fruit aspic and decorative plate garnish

A fine recipe from the 3 Ponts! And a bonus tip from our in-house Chef!

Historically, meat aspics were made before fruit- and vegetable-flavored aspics or jellies (UK) and gelatins (North America). By the Middle Ages at the latest, cooks had discovered that a thickened meat broth could be made into a jelly. (Wikipedia)

INGREDIENTS for 4 servings

3 or 4  different types of seasonal fruits

Juice of ½ lemon

60 g brown sugar

1 nob of butter

1 or 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon strawberry jam

1 tablespoon woodland fruit jam

1 tablespoon apricot jam

1 tablespoon rum

2 gelatin sheet


Here is one of the fantastic recipes you can discover and learn while a cook travel in France with us. Let’s start!

  1. Cut all the fruits in a small dice of 5 mm on each side.  Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice.
  2. In a sauté pan, make a clear caramel with the brown sugar.  Add the fruits to the pan, keeping the flame high enough to evaporate the fruit juices.  Add the strawberry jam.  When you reach the desired consistency, add the gelatin sheet (pre-moistened in cold water for 15 minutes).  Pull from the flame and add the rum.
  3. Fill molds with this mixture. Chill.
  4. Dilute the woodland fruit jam with a little water. Repeat this process with the apricot jam.
  5. On a plate, make some decorative swirls with the two jams.  Place the fruit aspic on top of the swirls. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Bonus tip from the chef

Honey and dried fruits can add an extra touch.  For the decoration, chocolate and vanilla dessert creams give a good result.

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Brasserie and bouchon lyonnais

Brasserie and bouchon lyonnais

Brasserie and bouchon lyonnais

Brasserie and bouchon lyonnais: the best places for typical French food.

The assertion that French cuisine is famous is an understatement. For decades, the excellency of French cooking has reached the pinnacle, thanks to gastronomy guides like the “Guide Michelin”.

French classes in France will certainly help you read those guides, and looking at the menus will make you salivate for hours.

Many cooks became worldwide stars thanks to their talent, ingenuity and spirit of avant-garde.

Still, in many French plates, most dishes are not inspired by this fancy cooking. Quite the opposite!

Traditional meals are at the very core of what French people eat, when they gather with friends or family.

If you want to experience this feeling of home cooking, during a cook travel, the best spots will be a good “brasserie” or a “bouchon lyonnais” if you are in the city of Lyon, not far away from Roanne.

Nothing very fancy and no ten words long dish on the menu. Things a pretty straightforward: a sausage is a sausage, a salad is a salad, a beef burgundy is just a beef burgundy.

Forget about those fancy restaurants where you will eat just three bites and empty your bank account at the same time.

In a brasserie, portions a generous, and greed is left at the doorstep.

And let’s not forget about the atmosphere, the noise of forks and knives clattering, the conversations of friends and working colleagues that just have an hour to have lunch… and that will finally stay at the table for much longer.

For a starter, what about a plate of “charcuterie”, with some ham, sausages and small pickles? And why not some smoked salmon?

Feeling hungry? We will certainly recommend an “andouillette”, or if you feel less adventurous, the classic “steak frites”.

All you need with this is a glass of wine. You don’t need to go fancy on it, the server will recommend a good red wine that will do the job.

For dessert, a thin crust apple pie or the fluffy “île flottante”.

Check out on the internet for the best spots and go for it, you will not regret it, and this will certainly give you some idea for your next French cooking lesson.

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Come and live the experience of taking a walk along the Loire river

Come and live the experience of taking a walk along the Loire river

Come and live the experience of taking a walk along the Loire river

There are so many different ways leading to the French language. Classic French lessons of course, French language immersion, adult courses in France, French cooking school.

When you stay in one of the most fascinating country, with some of the richest and profound history, and breathtaking landscapes, staying inside is just not an option.

From French language classroom to French landscapes

The region around Riorges and Roanneis home to some of the best walks you can find. An hour away from Lyon, we are located next to the bank of the Loire river, which is the longest stream of water in France.

There is no need to present one of the most famous river in Europe, that has become home to some iconic castles in France. Despite not being located near the world renowned “Châteaux de la Loire”, our region has some of the best and most relaxing walking paths you can imagine. This is also one of the cradles of French Culinary Art, to be discovered during a cook travel.

Don’t worry if you are reluctant to any sport activity, as those walks are adapted to anyone, even those of a certain age or with a physical condition. We make sure that it is pure moment of pleasure, with pauses that will let you enjoy the views that you will be unveiled before your eyes.

Walk your way in the French language immersion

Of course, those walks are not just for the satisfaction of your eyes and senses, but as a part of the French language immersion, you will be guided during those tours by a French speaking guide. We never miss an opportunity to improve speaking in French, listening to explanations in French, interacting in French with the local population that you may encounter is key part of those “promenade” in the French countryside, along the Loire or in small towns. The length of those little journeys is between 5 to 15 km.

So put on your best shoes, pick up some walking poles, and let’s go !

If you want to know more about L’École des Trois Ponts our French language Immersion School, here is your first step : contact us!

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The legendary French Riviera

The legendary French Riviera

The legendary French Riviera

There are places with evocative names whose attraction transcends borders. They evoke beauty, lifestyle and history. The ancient city of Nice is one of them. And the whole region known as the French, or “Côte d’Azur” in France.

Famous today for its beaches, its landscapes nestled between sea and mountains, its idyllic climate, the Riviera evokes thousands of tastes and smells. Fig trees, olive trees, mimosa, and lavender are sublimated by the song of cicadas and locusts. This festival of colours can be found on the plates with colourful and tasty specialities. But where does the myth of the French Riviera come from?

In the 19th century, the French Riviera was still just countryside and life was still tough for the locals. Yet rich foreigners stayed there in winter attracted by the exceptional Mediterranean climate. English, Russians, European aristocrats and bourgeois… they bought estates, had villas built and met for flamboyant receptions. Artists, literary figures and thinkers then come to the region to stay in their turn and find inspiration in this resourcing place. The small city of Nice, with 48,000 inhabitants in 1860, experienced an urban and economic boom comparable to the cities of the New World; it was a driving force for the region. It must be said that, formerly Italian, the attachment of Nice to France, following the Treaty of Turin between France and the King of Sardinia Victoire-Emmanuel 2, ceding the city is a godsend for Napoleon III who saw economic and diplomatic advantages in this development.

The Mediterranean city then became one of the favourite places of all the European nobility and bourgeoisie who were fleeing the harsher winters of Northern Europe, and it was with Nice that the term “Riviera” developed and became popular. A new architecture started there giving the city buildings that still today give it its international reputation.

However, it was not until the 20th century that the tourist city extended its period of activity over the summer. The legendary French Riviera built French cuisine notoriety all around the world, and some classical journeys became cook travel, to discover culinary art from France.

Thus in the 1920s, American artists, led by Francis Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, made Nice their summer holiday resort, truly creating the French Riviera as we know it today, and creating the stories of parties and lifestyles that literature and movies have turned into legends.

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