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About Us

Karen Stride grew up in Sydney Australia where she started cooking French cuisine in her mid teens, when her mother, Peggy, a wonderful cook, gave her a gift of "French Cooking"... many happy hours were spent together in the kitchen. 


Always creative she became an interior designer running her own successful company Rhythm & Hues Interiors for many years. When she visited the Paris trade fair, Maison & Objet, in September 2007 and then spent a week in Provence, she felt like she'd come home...


Following Peggy's death in 2010 Karen decided to spend a year in France, so beloved by them both. Her two daughters, by then, were in their twenties and were busy with their own lives and she could operate her interior design business remotely. She took about thirty lessons over three semesters at Frenchclass in Paddington to learn the basics of the language and some practical conversational French, before arriving in Avignon in June 2012, where she based herself whilst exploring France and savouring each region's cuisine and wine.


On a chance visit to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in April 2013, she saw the faded turquoise shutters on a charming village house that was for sale. It needed renovating and excited by the prospect of its transformation, she decided to buy it ... After five months La Maison des Cœurs

(the house of hearts) had become her home.


Karen has taken cooking classes in Paris, Provence and at Le Cordon Bleu in London. When she travelled to Morocco in 2012 for a short holiday she took a cooking class at the House of Fusion Marrakech where she met Edwina Golombek, another Australian, who since 2007, has operated this successful culinary school based in her riad in the medina. They soon became friends and when she visited Karen in Provence, seeing how truly passionate and conversant she was about the region and its markets, food and wine, she encouraged her to start her own culinary and tour business.

Gourmet Escapades was created!


In late 2014 whilst strolling through the village Karen discovered a 14th century apartment requiring total renovation. Situated in the historic centre of picturesque Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, L'Appartement des Anges (the apartment of angels) would be perfect for further accommodating her guests coming for a Gourmet Escapade.


Undertaking the design and working with the French artisans on these two projects proved to be very interesting indeed and have further improved her French, to say the least! You will enjoy your stay here in beautiful accommodation decorated with treasures Karen has enjoyed finding at the local Brocantes (antique markets).

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and what they say about us...


Ask us about our exciting... 

Meditation & Markets Escapade

 June 16-23 2019


"How can you go wrong with a week of sightseeing, a cooking class, markets, restaurants, vineyards, cultural experiences and more.

The ‘cherry on top’ was starting and ending our days with Marilyn’s meditation sessions whether it was held on a rooftop in St Rémy or a lavender field in the French countryside."  Jill 2018

"It truly was one of the best experiences of my lifetime, a little bit of my heart was left there - if you get a chance, try it!" Jennene 2018

At Sous le Soleil in Sydney celebrating Mum's 72nd birthday on May 15 2010 with Dad, sister Linda and brother Geoff.
We had no idea that this would be our last lunch together. Sadly she died seven weeks later.
When I looked back at the serendipity of this lunch and saw the lavender behind me I think that somehow Mum had known I'd be living in France one day and I feel comfort knowing that she too loved Provence and shopping in the market when she and Dad had visited Saint Rémy in 2001.
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