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Deal of the Week: Cooking in Aix en Provence (7/26/2002)

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Since our Travel-Expert-in-Residence, Rudy Maxa, is winding up his second week in France -- just killing himself touring the heart of Burgundy country while taping shows for his Europe series on public television -- he has another French deal for us that focuses on the beautiful city of Aix en Provence.

Aix, one of the world's prettiest cities, is filled with fountains and gorgeous buildings, courtesy of Louis XIV, who was determined to turn it into a home away from home. It's a favorite stopping point for visitors to Provence because of its market and great restaurants.

So, what's the deal? Cooking at Christmas time in Aix!

A company called Discover France has teamed up with Marc Heracle, an English-speaking chef who lives in a 16th century country house, and has put together a visit to Aix for the 5 days before Christmas. The trip includes daily cooking lessons with the chef, and tours of Aix and the surrounding area. You'll visit the markets with Marc and learn to prepare regional specialties, such as tapenade, a spread consisting of capers, black olives and anchovies puréed with olive oil.

You'll stay in style: 4 nights at a four-star hotel in Aix, and the chef will prepare Christmas Eve dinner on your last night there at his chateau.

How much? Just under $1,400 per person, based on double occupancy. That includes your accommodations, all your breakfasts and dinners, food for classes, and daily excursions. Your group will be limited to 10 people, though you can put together your own group of at least six people and duplicate this package at other times of the year.

Savvy Resources:

Learn more about the "Christmas in Aix" cooking excursion by calling Discover France at 800-960-2221, or by visiting http://www.discoverfrance.com.

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