Painting workshops in the south of France
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Workshops for 2009: June 1-13, June 9-21, June 18-30, Sept.21-Oct.3, Oct.1-13

You will arrive in the capital of the Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse, to initiate your journey. The "pink city" has a marvelous history as a dominant academic force in Europe -- with a student population second only to Paris -- and is a thriving, energetic cultural center. Its Vieux Quartier, hardly changed since the 18th century, is bubbling over with fountains and unforgettable restaurant fare, and the all-important cafés with their essential espresso and singular pastries provide an ideal setting in which to pause and warm up for the workshop. And speaking of "warmth," Toulouse's Mediterranean pace and southern friendliness complement the weather in June which is perfect for exploration of its environs.

While in Toulouse you will stay at a delightful hotel adjacent to the largest Romanesque basilica in Europe. The personalized guides that we compile, based on your individual tastes/interests, can make you quite independent. However, double occupancy is the general rule and most people seem to enjoy getting to know one another as they discover "la ville rose" together. We give very special attention to matching participants as may be apparent from a look at our application form (see RESERVATIONS).

Following your first full day in Toulouse, we'll drive through the French countryside to Cordes-sur-Ciel, "the pearl of the bastides," and you will realize why artists have always thrived in its amber glow. In fact, today the fortified town hosts a very prestigious community of artists. Cordes is in a spectactular location, on an grand hilltop, and seems to be reaching toward the sky like something out of a fairytale. A former haunt of Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre and infused with magical medieval history, its range of appeals serve as a perfect base for the workshop.

Painting sessions, both in the instructors' garden studios and the countryside, generally run three to four hours in the morning to take advantage of the early light. The workshops' occasional literary component, Paul Villain's thought-provoking poetry, can make time stand still. Following classes you may be inspired to have a picnic in a meadow or sample the fare in a local cafe. Excursions cater to participants' singular tastes, and adventures are well-planned but flexible.

Some of the unforgettable ventures include a visit to the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, in Albi (his birthplace), and some of the most magnificent gardens in all of Europe (including the world-renown Jardin des Paradis where we may be lucky enough to have a private lunch again prepared by a true celebrity of the botanical world, Eric Ossart, one of its genius creators, who traveled all the way from Morocco to serve us!). In addition, Pech Merle is arguably the most impressive "real thing" prehistoric cave that is open to the public in France. Nearby Musée Goya houses France's most important collection of Spanish art from classical to modern. The oldest vineyards in France stretch as far as the eye can see on both sides of the Tarn, and delightful natural wonders abound on easily accessible short walks.
Our country manor, home for most of your stay, graces a hilltop overlooking serene countryside. Its magisterial property features a private parkland and a pool with Roman steps which is enveloped by a lovely garden setting. The grand two-story family domicile, which ranks as the principal residence in the village, has a rich and eclectic art collection, a virtual museum. It's in that setting that you will be pampered with tasty breakfasts and savory dinners -- highlighting vegetarian cuisine -- each day. Meals can be enjoyed on the garden terrace, gently easing you into your plein air painting sessions and evening walks.

Our experience is that you will feel like part of a family by the time you leave for an additional taste of Toulouse, long before your departure from Europe. Details are always subject to change to allow for an organic experience overseas, but the one constant you can count on is the personal attention you will receive and our resolve to make this an experience of a lifetime for you.

Loving thoughts,
Sylvie and Richard, Your Workshop Facilitators

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Please read details under "WORKSHOP" before considering the specifics listed here.

The $3000.00 cost for each workshop includes:

  • All art instruction
  • All art materials
  • All "Entrance Fees" on excursions
  • All (11 nights) lodging (2 nights Toulouse, 9 nights Cordes)
  • Nine breakfasts and dinners (accounting for all such meals in Cordes)
  • Three very special lunches on excursions
  • All necessary ground transportation or $200 toward a car rental for designated drivers

Not included: Airfare and the few meals not noted above.

Special Notes: We recommend that participants consider taking out minimal insurance through CSA -- we can forward a brochure upon request -- only because the low cost seems to justify the overall protection it provides against so many contingencies.

A nonrefundable deposit is required for securing enrollment. The amount is determined by individual arrangement based on the date your application is accepted.

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