Painting Tours in the South West of France
Painting Tours in the South West of France
Welcome to Red Brick territory also called the French Little Tuscany.
Southwest France is the hidden gem you have been dreaming of. You will love it for its natural beauty and its authenticity. Nested between Toulouse and the Massif Central mountain range, the Tarn area is a succession of rolling vineyards, picturesque dovecotes and fortified medieval towns on gentle hills. Away from the spoiled touristic areas, its purity is a delight for painters. The highlights of this tour will be to paint all the vignettes at the exquisite luxurious estate you will be staying at, the visit of Albi with its cathedral and Toulouse-Lautrec museum, the plein air painting locations in hilltop villages and vineyards, and walking on colorful markets in medieval towns.
We will pick you up at Toulouse Airport and drive you to our hotel.
You will have plenty of time to settle in your comfortable bedroom. You can decide to rest, enjoy the pool or take a walk around the estate which boasts a 10th century chapel and views of the most beautiful medieval hilltop village in the area, before our orientation meeting and welcome reception/ dinner where you will enjoy local food in this paradise of gastronomy that is the southwest of France.
The first day will be a slow day for you to deal with jet lag. After your first breakfast on the terrace, you will have
your first painting session with your instruction on location.
Whether in the studio or on the property, you will have plenty of vignettes and scenery to work on, on your first day, as a way to warm up your artistic skills: the 10th century chapel, the old tower, the garden, views of the nearby medieval hilltop village, etc…
The garden and the estate offers so many beautiful vignettes and sceneries to paint that we will spend two full days on location.
Finish the day by diving in the swimming pool.
The medieval village of Cordes was elected French people’s favorite Village in 2014.
Go back in time when strolling in this remarkable site that is like an eagle’s nest on a hilltop looking out onto the Cérou valley. The fortified town is circled by several medieval walls.
Today, it’s an arts-and-crafts city with artisans occupying many of the old houses on the narrow streets—blacksmiths, enamellers, graphic artists, weavers, engravers, sculptors, and painters.
Morning: Albi, the red city
Albi boasts an amazing 13th century medieval cathedral that has the largest and oldest collection of Renaissance frescoes in France, contemporary with the Sistine Chapel.
Lunch: Albi’s covered market is held in a place full of character, a ‘Baltard’ style pavilion, built in 1903.
This has been a lively place for more than a century and is a popular meeting place for all Albi residents and visitors. Twenty stalls display quality, traditional products. Perfect place for your lunch.
Afternoon: Museum of Toulouse-Lautrec in a 13th century Palace
We will visit the the prestigious Toulouse-Lautrec museum, of international reputation, located in the Berbie palace that was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. Built in the 13th century, the Berbie Palace is one of the oldest castles in France, older than the famous Popes Palace in Avignon.
The Toulouse-Lautrec museum houses the largest public collection in the world devoted to the famous Albi painter. The paintings, lithographs, and drawings, along with all the posters ever made by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, are outstanding illustrations of every facet of his versatile and innovative talent.
You will find many locations to paint in Albi: timbered houses, red brick bridge over the Tarn river, the amazing cathedral, the gardens of the Berbie Palace, etc… We will spend morning and early afternoon painting before visiting the museum.
We will take you to a medieval village listed one of the most beautiful villages in France.
The main plaza has kept its flavor from the XIIIth century with its half-timbered walls and arches.
Dovecote painting will be the theme of the day as we will be around an area where there are plenty.
At the end of the day, we will treat you for wine tasting at a nearby impressive Chateau (and its dovecote!). We are located in the Gaillac wine area which produces fine white, red and rose wines.
Today, we won’t be driving anywhere, giving you time to finish up your week paintings and get ready for the vernissage. You can paint in the studio or in the garden.
At the end of the day, while sipping wine and eating hors-d’oeuvres we will have a little vernissage to see what everyone has been painting during the week.
This will be followed by a gourmet farewell dinner.
After breakfast, it will be time to say goodbye hoping to see you again. We will drive you back to Toulouse airport around noon.
About the 2 Workshops:
“Join me for one week of sketching with watercolor in the beautiful South Western France. We’ll enjoy the free-flowing and colorful nature of watercolor at its best while sketching and having fun!
I’ll help you develop observation skills, color awareness, simple design principles and learn about light and shadows. We’ll investigate various techniques, sketching tools, and approaches to watercolor. Enjoy time with fellow artists, instruction and friendly critiques”.
Space is very limited (max 12 participants/workshop).
About Brenda Swenson:
Brenda Swenson is the artist author of two books, Keeping a Watercolor Sketchbook (Award of Excellence Finalist) and Steps to Success in Watercolor. Her paintings and sketches have been featured in numerous books (Splash 11, 12 & 14, Artistic Touch 4, Creative Freedom, Incite 2), and magazines (Watercolor Artist, Watercolor Magazine, Watercolor Highlights, Plein Air Magazine).
Brenda has achieved signature status in WW, NWWS, and SDWS. An active participant in the arts community she has served on the board of directors for the National Watercolor Society and Watercolor West.
About the Workshop
“Join me on this wonderful trip to the South West of France!
Having been there numerous times, I can say my love for this absolutely delightful region of France has stood the test of time. This will be my fifth time teaching for French Escapade.
Medieval villages, narrow streets, friendly people, charming villages, scrumptious food and wine, everything conjured up in the image of Southern France awaits when we go there in Sept 2020.
Please join us as we explore and paint outdoors while enjoying the joie de vivre the region has to offer. If you’re looking for a cozy, personalized therefore very special painting holiday organized by a tour operator who is completely bi-cultural and bilingual, this is it.
Since we will be a small group, I can also closely work with each one of you for a semi-private painting experience.
My teaching style consists of one hour demo once or twice a day followed by one-to-one support”.
About Keiko Tanabe
Mostly self-taught, Keiko embarked on a professional art career in 2005 and started exhibiting publicly. Since that year, her paintings have been juried into many exhibitions across Americas and in Asia and Europe. Her work has been purchased by private and corporate collectors from all around the world. She also had her paintings published in leading art magazines in the U.S., Europe and Japan.
Additionally, she self-publishes her art books and six books have been completed by 2014. She is also a sought-after workshop instructor. Since 2011, she has been invited to and completed successfully more than 200 workshops and numerous live demonstrations around the world. She has served as a juror in a number of art exhibitions including some major watercolor shows around the world such as the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, the International Watercolor Society, the Northwest Watercolor Society, the Utah Watercolor Society and the New Mexico Watercolor Society.
In 2015 she was named an official Ambassador for Winsor & Newton. In 2018, she was appointed to the advisory board of the American Watercolor Weekly.
Description of our Exquisite Historical Estate:
Set in the lush valley which overlooks the historic and picturesque hilltop village of Cordes-sur-Ciel in the heart of the beautiful Tarn region in the South-West of France, this estate is a stunning, large stone house nestled in landscaped gardens and meadows surrounded by over 150 acres of private hillside woodland.
The estate has an outdoor platform for painting classes with a breathtaking view of a hilltop medieval village but you can use it even just for watching the sun go down.
The owners of the estate support the growing ‘bio’ (organic) movement where possible and use vegetables from their very own kitchen garden whenever they can to prepare daily gourmet dinners.
This estate offers ten rooms for guests to stay in, all of them either en-suite or with dedicated private bathrooms.
Each room is different and varies in size, style and amenities. We will attribute them on a first come first serve basis.
There is also an outdoor swimming pool surrounded by mature shrubs and plants, furnished with Moroccan sun loungers. The grounds include a tennis court, a 10th century chapel and a dedicated studio. There are many lounge areas, indoor and outdoor. A real little paradise of quietness.
Sept 2-9 & Sept 10-17, 2020: Two Travel Sketching in Watercolor Workshops with Brenda Swenson – Max: 12 Participants/Workshop
Sept 18-25, 2020: Watercolor Painting Workshop with Keiko Tanabe – Max: 12 Participants
Sign up before Jan 31st and save $200!
Rates: The historical estate is a family property not a traditional hotel. Therefore all bedrooms have different sizes and amenities. That is why pricing varies with the rooms. First sign up will have the choice of the room.
Twin rooms with private bath:
The Pigeonnier Room: This room has 2 single beds with en-suite bathroom. It is located on the third floor and has wooden beam ceiling. Price: $3,390 per person by Jan 31st, ($3,590 after Jan 31st).
The Blue Room: It has one double bed and one single bed with en-suite bathroom. It is located on the third floor and has wooden beam ceiling. Price: $3,390 per person by Jan 31st, ($3,590 after Jan 31st).
The Courtyard Room: This twin room is bigger and has 2 single beds. It is located the main floor. Price: $3,590 per person by Jan 31st, ($3,790 after Jan 31st).
Single rooms with private bath:
The North Room: The room has one double bed with en-suite bathroom and is located on the main floor. Price: $3,990 by Jan 31st, ($4,190 after Jan 31st).
The Guest Room: The room has one double bed with en-suite bathroom and is located on the first floor. Price: $4,190 by Jan 31st, ($4,390 after Jan 31st).
The White Room: Deluxe apartment, with one bedroom with one double bed with en-suite bathroom, kitchenette, living room and terrace opening on the pool. Price: $4,390 by Jan 31st, ($4,590 after Jan 31st).
Single rooms with shared bath:
The Suite: It has 2 bedrooms, one with one double bed and a smaller one with a single bed. They both share a bathroom, a living room and a big outdoor terrace with view. It is located on the second floor. The room with the double bed is $4,190 by Jan 31st, ($4,390 after Jan 31st) and the room with the single bed is $3,990 by Jan 31st, ($4,190 after Jan 31st).
The Cottage: It has 2 bedrooms, one with one double bed and a smaller one with a single bed. They both share a bathroom, a living room, a kitchen and an outdoor terrace. The room with the double bed is $4,190 by Jan 31st, ($4,390 after Jan 31st) and the room with the single bed is $3,990 by Jan 31st, ($4,190 after Jan 31st).
Due to space limitation, non painters are welcome but will pay the same price as the painters (they will benefit from the same excursions and meals with the exclusions of the art classes).
To Make Your Reservation for a French Escapade Tour please follow the steps below and review our Cancellation Policy:
Send us an e-mail to check availability. Include the dates you are interested in and the number of people you will be reserving a spot for.
After receiving confirmation of availability, complete and submit the Reservation Form and send your $600 deposit check to:
French Escapade LLC
2389 Blackpool Place
San Leandro, CA 94577
If you live in the US:
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…).
Your remaining balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
|If you cancel the trip:||Cancellation Fee per Person|
|If French Escapade cancels||You get a full refund|
|More than 90 days before departure||The $600 deposit is forfeited
(however $500 can be either transferred once to another trip or refunded if replacement is found)
|61-90 days before departure||50% of total cost forfeited|
|31-60 days before departure||75% of total cost forfeited|
|0-30 days before departure||100% of total cost forfeited|