Travel Sketching in Watercolor in the Loire Valley, France, with Stephanie Bower, June 24-July 1, 2020

Day 1: Arrival

loire-introAlong the lush Loire River Valley, more than 1,000 chateaux bathe in their own beauty and stunning grandeur. Embark on this eight day painting holiday which takes you on a journey of discovery through some of the most prominent chateaux and gardens of this famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your paintings will be inspired by some of the grandest and most beautiful architectural structures in France like Chenonceau, Clos Luce and Amboise.


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 on Location

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: Discover Leonardo DaVinci's Mansion and Inventions

We will go to Amboise, where Leonardo Da Vinci lived at the end of his life. We will visit his home, the picturesque mansion of Clos Luce, where he developed many of his most visionary inventions.

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

loire-day-3-DaVinciThe museum’s basement also features a display explaining on how tech giant IBM brought some of his inventions to life. Food for thought.

You will have the opportunity to paint in the garden, inspired by the magic of the park and surrounded by centuries-old pines, Italian cypresses, yews, Madonna lilies, yellow irises, horned violets, European alders, cyclamen repandums, and of course, the famous Mona Lisa rose.

Day 4: Garden Festival at Chaumont Castle

loire-day4-aChaumont is a Cinderella type castle. But 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.

loire-day4-bThese 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

loire-day5-marketMarkets 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, jewellery, handbags, garden supplies, live birds…and just about everything you can think of.

Then, weather permitted, we may be able have a picnic by the Loire in the afternoon with the bottle of Vouvray, bread cheese and rillettes just bought on the market.

The whole afternoon is yours to paint the quaint houses in Amboise, the Loire river or the castle.

Day 6: Romantic Castle of Chenonceau, Built Over the River

loire-day6-chenonceauIn the morning, 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. 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.

Afternoon: Painting in the sprawling Renaissance gardens of the castle, which are sure to leave you breathless. You will be able to pick among many subjects to paint: the orderly French style squares, the views of the castle, the river plunging under the castle or the amazing vegetable patches.

Day 7: Wine Tasting

We are based in the centre of the world- heritage Loire Valley wine region, where some of the finest wines in France are produced. The wines drunk by the French Kings centuries ago. There are 69 Controlled Place of Origin (AOC) (Appellations d’Origine Contrôlées) wines in the Loire Valley.

We will visit a little family-owned winery.

We will come home early to give you time to finish up some paintings and do a little “vernissage” with all your art from the week followed by a special farewell dinner.

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.

Travel Sketching in Watercolor with Stephanie Bower, Loire Valley, June 24-July 1, 2020

Stephanie Bower’s website:

Stephanie Bower’s Blog:

Workshop Description:

“Imagine you are standing in front of an amazing chateau in the beautiful Loire Valley. Snapping a quick photo like everyone else isn’t enough–you want to somehow capture this experience. What do you do? SKETCH!

Sketching on-location is powerful. The process of drawing imprints what you see into your brain in such a way that years from now, the sounds of the people walking by, the scent of the rain, the feel of the warm air, and much more will all flood back when you look at your sketch. Urban Sketching is about capturing your experiences on paper, and more important, in your mind and heart. It’s a great way to learn and remember.

That said, sketching on-location can be challenging and overwhelming. Where do you start a sketch? How do you shrink the vast, busy scene in front of you onto your paper? How does perspective work? And where is that darn Vanishing Point? In this workshop, I combine my background in architecture and illustration, together with my many years of teaching, to demystify the world of on-location perspective sketching and painting. We’ll focus on quickly capturing buildings and spaces, and also include lessons on buildings, trees and water. I’ll show you a simple three step process to start your sketches, and also teach you how to finish them in watercolor—all with light and portable, sketching equipment. I’ll do lots of quick demos and provide hand’s-on guidance as you sketch and paint the beautiful scenes of the Loire Valley.

Perspective doesn’t have to be frightening or something you avoid! Once you know some basics and a simple process, your sketches will be faster, easier, and more believable–and it will change the way you see the world, as you’ll see perspective everywhere”!!!

Stephanie Bower’s Biography:

Honored with the 2013 and 2012 KRob architectural delineation award for Best Travel Sketch and the 2013 Gabriel Prize fellowship in Architecture, Seattle-based Stephanie Bower is a professional architectural illustrator, teacher, watercolor artist, and globetrotting sketcher.

Stephanie graduated in both Architecture and Interior Design and worked as a licensed Architect in New York City before gravitating to a career in architectural illustration. She has taught architectural sketching at the college level for over 25 years — in NYC at Parsons and in Seattle at the University of Washington and Cornish College of the Arts. Stephanie has taught workshops and demos around the world, including Italy, Australia, The Netherlands, Oxford UK and Mumbai, India. She has also been an instructor at the Urban Sketchers Symposiums in Brazil, Singapore, England, Chicago, Taiwan and Amsterdam 2019.

In 2013, Stephanie was honored with The Gabriel Prize, a fellowship awarded each year to one architect in the United States for study in France. This amazing fellowship allowed her three months of sketching and painting the buildings, fountains, and gardens in Paris and at Versailles and Château Vaux-le-Vicomte. She is thrilled to come back to France to lead a workshop sketching the gorgeous Loire Valley!!

Stephanie is the author of the fourth book in The Urban Sketching Handbook series, Understanding Perspective, co-author of the new Urban Sketching Art Pack, and has a new book on 101 Sketching Tips coming out in 2019. She also has two popular online courses on (formerly Craftsy), “Perspective for Sketchers” and “The Essentials of Sketching Architecture” and continues to happily spread the word about perspective to sketchers around the globe!

Dates & Rates
Perspective Sketching in Watercolor with Stephanie Bower-June 24-July 1, 2020

Dates:  June 24-July 1, 2020 Perspective Sketching in Watercolor Workshop with Stephanie – Max: 12 Participants

Sign up early and save $200!

Rates: $3,190 before Nov 30 ($3,390 after Nov 30)

+ $550 for single room

Non Painters (sharing a room with a painter) are welcome to join. They will get a $400 discount. 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
  • 2 lunches and 5 dinners including drinks
  • All art classes
  • The use of folding chairs
  • A personal bilingual tour leader throughout the week
  • Entrance fees to all sites on the tour


  • Flight and train to/from France
  • 5 lunches and 2 dinners
  • Optional activities (those not described in the itinerary)
  • Tour leader(s) tipping
How to Book

To Make Your Reservation for a French Escapade Tour please follow the steps below and review our Cancellation Policy:


Check Availability

Send us an e-mail to check availability. Include the dates of the workshop you are interested in (not just the destination since we do have several workshops at the same location) and the number of people you will be reserving a spot for.

Submit Registration Form and Send $600 Deposit

After receiving confirmation of availability, complete and submit the Reservation Form and send your $600 deposit 

3 methods of payment:

  • pay by check, (if you live in Canada, it needs to be a money order), payable to French Escapade LLC, 2389 Blackpool Place, San Leandro, CA 94577
  • pay by wire transfer (let us know and we will provide you with our account number)
  • pay by credit card using (3.5% convenience fees applies)

Receive Confirmation

We will send you a written confirmation of your reservation along with an information package for your trip (info about pick up and drop off, recommended insurance, name of a travel agent, what to bring, etc…). Do not make any travel arrangement before we tell you that the trip has a guaranteed departure.

Submit Remaining Balance

Your remaining balance is due 90 days prior to departure. Make sure to review below our cancelation policy in case you need to cancel the trip.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel the trip:Cancellation Fee per Person
More than 90 days before departureThe $600 deposit is forfeited
(however $500 can be transferred-only one time-to another trip with a departure date within 2 years of cancelation date)
61-90 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

Thank you for traveling with us!

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