FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION
Q. Do you offer half-day or one-day classes or market tours in Paris or Provence?
Unfortunately, Patricia’s her busy schedule does not allow time for her to do half-day or one-day classes or market tours in Paris or Provence.
Patricia's classes in Paris are daytime classes that run from Monday to Friday, classic classes in Provence run from Sunday dinner to Friday after lunch, and the Truffle class runs from Monday dinner to Friday to after lunch.
Q: Do you offer any discounts?
For classes in Paris and Provence in 2016, Food Lovers and Co. Inc. is pleased to offer a 10 percent discount under the following conditions:
Any student who has previously paid the full rate at any week-long Patricia Wells class is eligible. Any student attending a week-long Patricia Wells class for the first time as the spouse, partner or companion of a full-fare student is eligible as long as he or she registers at the same time and for the same class as the full-fare student and makes the identity evident when enrolling. In the case of three or more students attending together, only one of the companions is eligible for a discount. Anyone booking for a new class within 10 days of attending another class is eligible for a 10 percent discount on the new week. For a group of seven in Paris or eight in Provence, one free (unpaid) spot will be allowed for the organizing member of the group. The discounts may not be combined. This is a limited offer and may be modified or withdrawn at any timefor future enrollees. The discount will be applied at the time of the second or final payment, not for the initial deposit. It is essential to resolve any questions about a discount before making the final payment. While we have tried to make these rules clear, only Food Lovers and Co. Inc. can interpret them or approve any exceptions.
In 2017 the discount will be 5 percent and the same conditions apply.
Q. How do I add my name to a class waiting list?
To be placed on the waiting list email us here. Be sure to specify the dates of the class(es) you want to attend.
Q. What is the best way to get to Provence?
From Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport you can take the TGV (fast train) directly to Avignon-TGV; from there, you can rent a car and drive to Vaison-la-Romaine. Or, from Paris (center), take the TGV from Gare de Lyon to Avignon-TGV and rent a car. Car rentals are easiest at Avignon's new TGV station because all the major European rental companies have offices there. Alternatively, you can arrange with a driver to meet you and bring you to Vaison. We find Taxi Clerand a very reliable taxi company in Vaison-la-Romaine.
Click here for additional information on airports and trains in Provence.
Q. Will I need a car?
You will need to provide transportation for yourself to and from the classes. Either you can rent a car, make arrangements with Clerand for daily transportation, or share with another student. (For reasons of security and confidentiality we do not put students in touch with each other before the class.)
Q. Can't I walk?
The distance from Vaison's center to Chanteduc, Patricia and Walter's farmhouse, where the classes are held, but it is a very steep climb. Some students make the climb once or twice during their stay, but not daily.
Q. What should I wear?
Paris: While dress in class is informal, the class does include lunch in one of Paris's best restaurants. You'll want to feel comfortable (i.e. dressed for dining in Paris) while there.
Provence: Casual and comfortable, with appropriate dress for the restaurant meals. Be sure to bring a sweater or shawl for dining outdoors.
Q. What will the weather be like when I am there?
Provence: Most days are sunny and even in summer the nights are refreshingly cool. We have many meals outside whenever the weather allows, so please bring a sweater or light jacket. It does rain, of course, and we move all activities inside then. For the truffle class, we count on being favored with sunny days, but that's never a certainty. Even in Provence the winter weather can be cold and the wind biting.
Paris: A friend likes to say that the bad weather is Paris's best-kept secret. While it's rarely very hot or very cold, it's often cloudy and rainy so you should plan to bring a raincoat and an umbrella.
Q. Can you offer any advice on dialing long distance to France?
The following website has information about time differences and calling codes: www.countrycallingcodes.com/index.htm
Q. Is there anything about using cell phones that I should know?
There is a very good article from the New York Times, by David H. Freedman, that discusses cell phone usage overseas: You're the Boss: Staying Connected Overseas (Cheaply)
Q. Is there a minimum age requirement for students?
Patricia's classes are intended for adults.
Q. What level of cooking expertise is required?
The programs and menus are suitable for both beginners and experienced cooking enthusiasts.
Q. How much cooking is involved and what is the daily schedule?
In both Paris and Provence, the meals that we prepare together include some casual and easy dishes and others that are more elaborate and ambitious. Each class description includes some of the activities selected from previous weeks.
Q. If I add my name to the waiting list, what are the chances I will get in?
Cancellations happen but are completely unpredictable. The length of the waiting list is no indicator of your chances of actually getting into a class. Flexibility to travel on short notice is more important.
Q. What activities are available for my spouse/partner who is not participating in the classes?
The answer depends on the partner's interests. Some spouses go biking or golfing, some go fishing and others explore the Côtes-du-Rhône vineyards in the region. Others tour historical sites in Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, the Pont-du-Gard ... And others read, sit in the Vaison cafés, or stay by the pool at their hotel and (or so we're told) talk on their cell phones.
Q. Can my (non-participating) spouse or companion come to meals with the group?
By popular request Patricia also offers two “dining companion” spots in the Provence weeks, to be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. For a $500 fee, two students may bring a companion to dine with us at the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night dinners, the Wednesday morning wine-tasting and restaurant lunch, and the farewell lunch on Friday. (As always, a companion may join us for the Wednesday wine-tasting and the following lunch for a fee of $250, including transportation, and be our guests at the final Friday lunch.)
Q. What does lodging cost?
Provence: Recommended B and B's and hotels in the area are quite reasonably priced, between €60 and €200 per night at current rates. Please check each hotel or B and B website for prices as they do change seasonally. Also please note on their sites if the B and B you select accepts credit cards or payment only in cash. If in cash, that will mean euros, not dollars. See our list of preferred Provence accommodation.
Paris: As you know, in Paris the sky is the limit for hotels. But there are moderately priced hotels (in the €150 to €200 range) and close to the Rue Jacob studio. See our list of preferred Paris accommmodation.
Q. How can I determine the exchange rate between the dollar and the Euro?
Current market rates are available at www.xe.com. Over-the-counter rates of money changers are less advantageous.
Q. Will I be able to change my dollars or travelers checks into euros?
Don’t count on it. Travelers checks are just not welcome. No bank in Vaison will exchange dollars for euros now – the proliferation of counterfeit US bills around the world, as well as the weak value of the dollar, means that practically no bank or post office in small towns and villages will exchange money. The cash-only B and B's in Vaison will accept only euros; they will not accept dollars or any other currency.
In Paris, there are still plenty of money changers in the tourist districts.
Plan to use your bank card to get cash in euros. Before coming, be sure that you have a four-digit pin code for your card. Using your card assures you of the best exchange rate. And be sure to alert your bank that you will be traveling!
To repeat, no bank in Vaison offers an exchange service.
Q. When does the class begin?
Paris: Monday at 10:30 a.m. at the Rue Jacob studio.
Provence: Sunday at 7 p.m. at Chanteduc for Champagne and dinner.
Truffles: Monday at 7 p.m. at Chanteduc for Champagne and dinner.
Q. When does the class end?
Paris: after lunch on Friday.
Provence: after lunch on Friday.
Truffles: after lunch on Friday.
("After lunch" is obviously imprecise, but the lunches tend to be long, generally ending around 2:30 P.M.)
Q. What is the smoking policy?
Smoking is not permitted in either the Paris or the Provence classes.
Q. Are there Internet Cafes in Vaison-la-Romaine?
Yes. Wifi Internet access is available at several of the cafés in the center of town using your own computer as well as at the copy shop Vaison 2 Mil's on the Cours Taulignan.
Patricia Wells is committed to protecting your privacy. You can visit most pages on this site without giving us any information about yourself. But sometimes we do need information to provide the services that you request.
Credit Card Information:
In order to ensure your security and privacy we do not record or store your credit card number. While we recognize that this may cause a minor inconvenience to you on a re-order, we feel that your personal security takes precedence.
Patricia Wells does not sell or rent your personal information. Such information is kept secure and used only to communicate Patricia's special announcements to you. You can have your address eliminated from that distribution at any time. If you ever feel that you receive unwanted information because of a transfer of information by Patricia Wells please let us know urgently.
Q. What are the payment options?
Most of Patricia’s students prefer to use our secure online payment by credit or debit card. You can also pay by check or wire transfer. Please contact us for necessary information regarding checks or wire transfers.
Q. What is your student class transfer policy?
Terms and Conditions: – Transfer Policy. We understand that Patricia's classes are frequently scheduled more than a year in advance and circumstances may change, making it necessary for students to request a transfer to a future class. We will accommodate one class transfer to any available class with an opening. All transfers are subject to a $250 service charge per student.
Q. What is your cancellation policy?
Terms and Conditions: – Refund Policy. The class deposit is a commitment by Patricia Wells to hold your place in the class, and a commitment by you to participate. The deposit should be considered nonrefundable. If you present good and valid reasons we will consider a refund of the deposit if you cancel more than 120 days before the class begins and we are able to find another student to fill your place. All refunds are subject to a $150 service charge per student to cover bank fees and processing costs.
All refunds for cancellations that occur within 120 days of the class start date, both the deposit and the final payment, will be handled by your personal travel insurance. Travel insurance can be obtained by speaking with a local travel agent or by visiting one of the many travel insurance sites on the web. Websites that have been used for trip insurance information are:
We make this information available for your convenience. We have no financial interest in the web sites or the services they offer, and any contract you make is your right and responsibility.
In the event that “At Home with Patricia Wells” should cancel for any reason, other than "an act of God," or "force majeur," all fees, including deposits, will be fully refunded. The costs of any travel or housing arrangements you may have made will not be reimbursed by Patricia Wells.
Q. Can I bring my dog to class or to meals? How about my young children?
Dog lovers are welcome, but not your dogs. Kindly make arrangements to leave them at your hotel or apartment. The presence of children is discouraged because of the impact on the class. In an emergency, discuss with Walter or Patricia.