On Rue Tatin

March 23, 2011

Susan Loomis On Rue Tatin photos by Stacey Haines for Traditional Home

I didn’t know this before we moved, but coming to France means getting to meet the most interesting people. Last week I was introduced to Susan Loomis. Susan is an American chef that has lived and cooked in France for the last 15 years or so. Do you know her work? She’s published 9(!) beautiful books — a mix of cookbooks and memoirs.

Susan Loomis On Rue Tatin Susan Loomis On Rue Tatin

Susan’s home is actually a restored convent in the town center of Louviers (about an hour outside of Paris). It is an amazing home — and literally across the street from a cathedral! It looks like it’s straight out of a medieval movie set. And she opens it to visitors. For reals. She teaches cooking classes there and even hosts events called Lunches in the Country — you come to Susan’s house with a group of 10 or more and she’ll cook a meal for you and host it in her dining room. Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Traditional Home actually wrote up a wonderful feature all about Susan this month.

Susan Loomis On Rue Tatin Susan Loomis On Rue Tatin

I’m daydreaming of having my sisters, sister-in-laws, aunts and mothers come to France to take one of Susan’s classes. It would be fun to cook and learn and eat together in such a gorgeous setting.

P.S. — Just curious: What sorts of things do you like to do on vacations? Reading on the beach? Skydiving? Taking cooking classes?

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 christy March 23, 2011 at 5:28 am

Oh that sounds like an absolutely lovely vacation. I am bookmarking the idea for future use! So happy you’re having such wonderful experience in France Gabby!

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2 Melanie Nelson March 23, 2011 at 6:01 am

I took a cooking class from Susan a few years ago when she was at Disney World for the Food & Wine Festival. It was a lot of fun and I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to visit her cooking classes in France! How fun! I’m glad you’ve met her.

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3 Jill March 23, 2011 at 6:10 am

I actually HAVE read her book On Rue Tatin, I’ll never forget the part about her trying to buy a French stove/oven. I don’t know why, but the scenes stick out in my mind always. It would be such a treat to visit her for some cooking classes… my mom and I would have a blast with that!

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4 Connie March 23, 2011 at 7:32 am

So far, my husband and I have been on 3 years of summer vacations to various places in the continental U.S. and while on these trips we like combining touristy stops (like “1880′s Town” or the Spam Museum) with majestic things (like Mount Rushmore, etc.)…we also try to pair quiet activities like wine tastings or ceramics painting with active things like camping and hiking. I love taking on the task of planning our vacations and I try to start doing so about 6 months out. I am VERY excited, because 2 summers from now, we are planning (hoping?) to go to Spain! (Neither of us have ever traveled overseas before, and I speak spanish, so we are really looking forward to sharing that experience together.) Your advice has already been pretty helpful with regards to planning for an overseas adventure. So thanks!

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5 Starr March 23, 2011 at 8:26 am

Bizarre coincidence. I was looking at her website yesterday. I still have a tear out from a Cooking Light magazine that I used as a newly wed almost 10 years ago & have picked up her books at the library when I still lived in the States. I’m so jealous that you got to meet her!

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6 Sarah March 23, 2011 at 8:56 am

I’ve gotten to travel to a lot of places, but I’ve never been able to take a cooking class in an exotic location… It’s on my bucket list!! :)

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7 Jenn March 23, 2011 at 9:23 am

Can I join your family for the class? Just kidding….but that does sound absolutely divine!

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8 bdaiss March 23, 2011 at 9:39 am

Oh that looks so wonderful. This is the sort of thing I would absolutely do on vacation…but not my hubby. So I’ll join you and your sisters if you don’t mind!

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9 Amber March 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

I watched a documentary last night, The Kings Of Pastry, and thought of you and Ben Blair. It is fascinating but slow movie. It is film about the MOF’s of France.
Also, we traveled in South East Asia a bit and I can’t believing I am purging myself with this but we loved going to the theme parks in each country. We went a theme or water park in The Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Guam and Singapore. They were fascinating. Dream World in Thailand was my favorite.
Last note- you are amazing at responding to comments. You never cease to amaze Gabrielle!

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10 Amber March 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

Can you tell I am writing these comments on my phone!?!? They are grammatically a nightmare. Apologies.

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11 Anne @ Baking Me March 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

I would love to take a vacation that revolved around food! Cooking classes, wine tasting, cooking on the beach, reading cook books, shopping at local farmer’s markets, that would be my dream vacation.

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12 Caryn March 23, 2011 at 10:38 am

Oh that sounds wonderful! When my husband and I were in Bali last May I took a cooking class which was fabulous. I learned to make some incredible recipes and also learned some helpful tips about different spices and ingredients which I never knew. It is so fun! And I must add, I successfully made the meal again when we were back in the States and it made for a great dinner party with friends. (Although some ingredients were terribly difficult to find!)

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13 Jennelle March 23, 2011 at 10:44 am

I’m adding this to my ongoing ‘must do’ list. Unfortunately I am guilty of doing way too much unnecessary shopping while on vacation. Next time I’m in France I will have to visit Susan and I can’t forget to check out the St Ouen Flea Market too!

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14 Wendy from Wendys Hat March 23, 2011 at 10:54 am

WOW! What a dream!

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15 Maria Ortiz-Cintron March 23, 2011 at 11:15 am

Great Post! I LOVE the idea of taking a cooking class and having lunch at a local’s home! Thanks for introducing us to Susan, I’m going to look up her books – hadn’t heard of her before.

When I go on vacation I always try to take some sort of “tour” (trolley tour, bus tour, walking tour). Anything that will give me a bit of history on the area, the lay of the land, tips for best places to visit and eat, and these sorts of tours usually provide you with coupon books for free activities taking place in and around the area. I like taking the tour in addition to my pre-vacation research because it gives me a chance to chat up the locals and visitors alike to find out what they’re doing and what they recommend.

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16 amy March 23, 2011 at 11:54 am

that sounds amazing!

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17 Heather C. March 23, 2011 at 11:55 am

This sounds divine for all the senses! I like to walk through the cities/places we visit early in the mornings before the rest of our crew it up. It’s a private exploration before the chaos of vacationing begins.

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18 Cathy olmedillas March 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Looks wonderful. I spent two years of my childhood in Louviers!

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19 Natalie March 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm

That looks AMAZING. I wish I would have known about that when we were in Paris last year.
We ended up taking a cooking class from Anne — a local food blogger — and it was so much fun. We went to her house in Paris and cooked and talked until midnight (I’m sure we could have ended earlier, but we were having such a good time). It was a dinner party with us and her and her husband. Blogged about it here: http://thebobbypin.com/2010/09/cooking-class-in-paris/

It hooked me on taking cooking classes where I travel.

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20 Stitchfork March 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Reading and taking cooking classes would be ideal! You couldn’t budge me out the plane door! Happy to have found you!
xo Cathy

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21 Lisa March 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Funny, I just finished reading “On Rue Tatin” this past weekend. I really enjoyed it – I just wish there had been pictures of the home, though it looks like you have shared a couple. Taking a cooking class from her is now on my bucket list!

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22 Misty March 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Daydreaming of taking one of Susan’s cooking classes now! My favorite vacations are long and relaxing with lots of great food and sunshine.

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23 Ana Monteiro March 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I’d love to take one of those classes. It would make me feel like in Julie&Julia. That table and the food all look fantastic!

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24 Jacqueline Kearney March 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm

My favorite thing to do on vacation is wander. I enjoy riding in the car, stopping on a whim and exploring the environment. I like people watching and window shopping. I like taking photographs of my family. I like visiting museums and art galleries. I like stopping off for tea or having a drink in a pub with my husband. If I am at the beach, I must read a book. I can’t stand the heat and need the distraction. I also like to have a book with me for rainy days and sleepless nights. I’ve never attended a cooking class while on vacation, but I’m certain I would enjoy visiting Susan’s place.

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25 liz stanley March 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm

YES! let’s do it pretty pretty please

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26 nisreen March 23, 2011 at 7:54 pm

what a great idea! i participated in a thai cooking workshop while visiting koh samui two years back and it was a memorable experience. not only did i learn more about the culture and meet fellow travellers, i learnt a few authentic thai recipes that have now become a family favourite…

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27 Marci G March 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm

I’m in love with her giant salad bowl!

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28 Elizabeth March 24, 2011 at 12:07 am

Reading. Lying in the sun. And decidedly no cooking — I am married to a chef and used to be a pastry chef, myself. On vacation I imagine having someone do all the cooking for us –

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29 Claire March 24, 2011 at 4:28 am

Wow, this sounds amazing. I’ve been overseas a couple of times but haven’t done any cooking classes unfortunately. I’d love to though :) It’s high on my to do list. Doing one in France would be fantastic though!

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30 Stephanie Smirnov March 24, 2011 at 5:44 am

Beautiful pictures! Especially love the shot with the salad bowl — I’m guessing that’s caesar salad and that she rubbed the inside of the bowl with a garlic clove first before tossing the ingredients? I remember a girlfriend in college returning from her junior year abroad telling me the most important she learned from her French hostess was that salad-making trick.

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31 Kristen Duke Photography March 24, 2011 at 6:59 am

I LOVE to do cultural immersing things when I travel! That sounds like so much fun! Going to church when I travel is my favorite because I get to meet and interact with people of my faith all over and so enjoyable to me.

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32 Jennifer March 24, 2011 at 8:29 am

love! i am dying to go to france. i have never been to europe at all. if i were in europe, i would do walking tours with my guidebooks and savor everything.
in the states, i like to read on the beach and lay in a hammock as much as possible. though with 2 little ones, this is basically becoming impossible (for now)…

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33 Bri (like the cheese) March 24, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I wonder if we’re related. I’m a Loomis too (by marriage)!

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34 Di March 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Oh – I am so jealous! I’ve read her books and loved them! The photos are fantastic!
On holiday I love the eat in cafes and visit supermarkets…..visit art galleries, people watch….

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35 Erin March 24, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Susan Loomis is familiar to me–I’m a big foodie, though, so some names just stick. What an amazing house! My gosh. Is everything in France picture-perfect and from a daydream?

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36 Kathleen March 25, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I wondered if you would meet Susan. Yay! I read her “letters” on epicurious years ago and enjoyed them immensely. I even sprinkle my chocolate chip cookies with some kosher salt thanks to her. Your dream of having the womenfolk to Rue Tatin sound lovely.

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37 Zelpha June 22, 2011 at 6:53 am

I actually did a class with Susan a yr ago at On Rue Tatin a truly beautiful exsperience. Because Id read her books I simply had to go visit Louviers and see the town meet the people, wander thru the markets, see the amazing Cathedral and immerse myself in the smells and tastes of Normandy..A treasured memory..

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