Castles and Gardens in the Loire Valley: Watercolor Painting Workshop with Carol Carter, June 11-18, 2024

Day 1: Arrival

We will pick you up at Saint Pierre de Corps train station early in the afternoon (TGVs ride from Paris Montparnasse station is about 1 hour).

After the check-in,  you will have time to rest in your comfortable bedroom, enjoy the swimming pool or explore some of the 20 acres of forest that belongs to the hotel before our Champagne reception and orientation meeting, followed by a gourmet dinner.

Day 2: Painting in the studio and in the garden

The first day will be a slow day for you to deal with jet lag.

In the morning, the teacher will give you the necessary basic advice to start the workshop in a group meeting, and start on your first painting.

In the afternoon, you will go on with the painting session on the hotel property that offers a variety of typical vignettes to paint.

Day 3: Painting at the hotel followed by Leonardo DaVinci's Mansion and Inventions

After our morning painting session at the hotel, we will visit the Clos Lucé, where Leonardo Da Vinci lived at the end of his life. We will visit his home, the picturesque mansion of Clos Lucé, where he developed many of his most visionary inventions.

Clos Lucé houses a museum and a park filled with prototypes of some of Da Vinci’s most imaginative creations, including the machine gun, helicopter and paddle boat.

You will also enjoy the new gallery that projects Leonardo’s paintings on the wall while playing classical music. An incredible relaxing experience!

Day 4: Painting at the hotel followed by International Garden Festival

After our morning paint session at the hotel, we will head towards Chaumont, the typical Cinderella type castle. In addition to being a very beautiful castle, Chaumont is famous for its international garden festival. Every year since 1992, the gardens of chateau Chaumont-sur-Loire play host to the annual ‘Festival des Jardins’, a garden festival with up to 30 themed gardens.

These gardens are created by different landscape architects, designers and artists around a theme, which changes every year. This brings the chateau surroundings to life with the color and fragrances of the many plants and flowers on display. You will discover the most incredible garden structures.

Day 5: Market in Amboise

Markets are part of everyday life in France, with almost every town and village having their local “marchés”.

A visit is not complete without a wander around the stalls sampling and taking in the atmosphere of French life. You will find fish, meat, bread, fruit & veg., cheese, flowers, clothing, kitchen supplies, furniture, jewelry, handbags, garden supplies, live birds…and just about everything you can think of.

After the market, we will have lunch in the charming town of Amboise. The small old town of Amboise is built at the foot of the bluff on which stands the Royal château. With its slate-roofed houses built of local white stone, its half timber houses and its Renaissance buildings, the cute historical center of Amboise will enchante you.

Afternoon: we will come back to our hotel for a painting session.

Day 6: Boat ride at the Romantic Castle of Chenonceau, built Over the River

Ou hotel offers many vignettes to paint: you can paint in the studio or comfortably seated at a garden table, under a tree. After our morning painting session at the hotel,  we will visit one of the gems of the Loire Castles: Chenonceau. This amazing castle was built on a bridge and the proximity of water is delightful.

We will start the visit by a boat ride on the Cher river, going under the arches of the Chateau and we will continue our visit by going inside the gardens and the Chateau itself.

The history of this place is incredibly rich, from the love intrigues under the reign of Henry II to the hospital it was turned into during WWII.

Day 7: Ending in style

You will have all day to finish up your paintings.

At the end of the day, we will do a “show and tell” to see everyone’s paintings.

We will then finish our week in castle land with a special farewell dinner in…..a castle!!

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast, we will drive you to Saint Pierre de Corps train station for you to catch a TGV to Paris (1 hour ride) or for an extended stay in the area to visit more castles.

About Carol Carter's Workshop in the Loire Valley

Come and paint in beautiful Loire Valley with Carol Carter.

“The intensity of color and use of negative space as foundational is a signature of my work”.

Carol will share her unique watercolor technique, painting from background to foreground, using dynamic and inventive color.

Morning: Painting in the studio or in the garden of the hotel

We will begin each day with a watercolor tutorial. In the studio or garden, Carol will share her watercolor technique while teaching site specific tutorials.

The workshop will provide templates, reference photos and materials information.

Painting workshop from 9 am to noon followed by conclusion and small critique till about 1pm.

Afternoon: Excursions to nearby villages with some sketching and photographing

In the afternoon, we will visit some villages, castles and gardens that will be the topic of our next day painting: time for photography and sketching.

Relax, enjoy, learn a new watercolor technique or two among the camaraderie of other artists while savoring gourmet food and French wines…..

  1. Learn how to paint loosely in watercolor— all the while keeping your subject representational.
  2. Learn the use of color, pigment saturation, water control, and brush size for manipulation of paint.
  3. Learn how to push color by exploring different and unusual color combination.
  4. Learn how to see “value”in your work to build darks and lights by adding complementary colors.
  5. Learn how to paint from a reference photo and paint from background to foreground.
  6. Learn how to create exciting compositions with dynamic and unusual perspective of imagery.

Carol Carter's Biography

Carol Carter is an internationally recognized artist whose career has spanned more than 35 years.

Carol has taught workshops for over 30 years, as well as in university. Her paintings have been in many national and international exhibitions, both juried and invitational. She has been featured in global publications including, International Arts Magazine, Art of Watercolour, Watercolor Artist, and L’Aquarelle Magazine.

In 2019 she was also honored with Master Signature Member status, American Women Artists and Master Signature Member status, Heartland Art Club.

Carol recently exhibited in “Making Their Mark: American Women Artists” at the Booth Western Art Museum.

She is the recent recipient of 2020 Snehil Lifetime Achievement Award, Snehilsrijan, India. She has exhibited her work in Europe, China, Hong Kong, USVI, Morocco and throughout the US.

Carol’s website:

More Samples of Carol's Art

Our 4-star hotel in the heart of the Loire Valley

Set in a 50 acre private park and surrounded by woods, this 17th-century mansion, located in the heart of the castles of the Loire Valley is now a 4 star hotel. 

You will enjoy  and a covered and heated swimming pool.

All of the rooms are individually decorated and have a private bath, flat-screen TV, a mini-bar free Wi-Fi internet access.

The hotel’s restaurant prepares traditional cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients for you to enjoy either in the veranda or in the traditional dining room with its fireplace.


The Trip is limited to 15 Participants

Sign up before Nov 30th and save $200!

Painters: US$ 3,390 pp for a shared room before Nov 30th (US$ 3,590 after 11/30/2023)

+ US$ 550 for a single room with ensuite bathroom

Non Painters are welcome to join. The price is the same. They will go on excursions with the group and share the meals.


– Saint Pierre de Corps train station pick-up and drop-off
– A welcome reception
– 7 nights at our hotel
– All breakfasts
– 3 lunches and 5 dinners incl. drinks
– All art classes
– The use of folding chairs
– Entrance fees to all sites on the tour
– A personal bilingual tour leader throughout the week


– Flight and train to/from France
– 4 lunches and 2 dinners
– Art Supplies (chairs provided)
– Tour leader(s) tipping

Cancelation Policy

If you cancel the trip:Cancellation Fee per Person
More than 120 days before departureThe $600 deposit is forfeited
(however $300 can be transferred to another trip with a departure date within 1 year of cancelation date)
61-120 days before departure50% of total cost forfeited
31-60 days before departure75% of total cost forfeited
0-30 days before departure100% of total cost forfeited
If French Escapade cancels You get a full refund

To reserve your spot, please complete the form below (one per person) and pay US$ 600 deposit.  After receiving your form, we will send you the information for the payment. Note that the deposit is not refundable but is transferrable. See our cancelation policy below.

You will be able to pay:

1- By check

2- Via ZELLE, free instant pay, offered by many major US banks

3- By bank transfer

4- By credit card

Reservation Form

French Escapade LLC | 2389 Blackpool Place | San Leandro, CA 94577 | 510-483-5713 |
California Seller of Travel Licence-CST #: 2091909-40
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