Painting Retreat (no instructor) in the South West of France, Sept 19-26, 2021

Painting Retreat (no instructions)

Paint or sketch, in the media of your choice, surrounded by other like-minded artists.

Artsy souls know the value of connecting with like-minded people to find inspiration and motivation for their painting.

This is why we are offering you the opportunity to paint beautiful French sceneries with other artists (no teacher).

We will drive you to the paintings sites, the tour leader will organize picnics, and stay with the group all day. The trip has the same format as the painting trip with instructors, the only difference being the absence of instruction. You will still be able to do some show and tell with the other artists and why not, share tips and techniques.

Day 1: Arrival

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 at 2:30pm 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.

Days 2 & 5: Painting on Location


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.

Day 3: Medieval Hilltop Village of Cordes

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.

Day 4: Albi and Toulouse-Lautrec Museum

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.

Day 6: Dovecote Country and Wine Tasting

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.

Day 7: Garden Painting

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.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast, it will be time to say goodbye hoping to see you again. We will drive you back to Toulouse airport around 11am.

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.

They are:

  • 4 single rooms
  • 3 twin rooms
  • 1 Suite with 2 rooms sharing a bathroom

Each room is different and varies in size, style and amenities. We will attribute them on a first come first serve basis.

Click here to see the description and price of each room.

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.

Dates & Rates

Dates:  Sept 19-26, 2021:  Max: 12 Participants

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.

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).

3 Twin rooms with private bath

The Blue Room

The Pigeonnier Room


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: $3,590 per person by Jan 31st, ($3,790 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: $3,590 per person by Jan 31st, ($3,790 after Jan 31st).


Courtyard Room

Courtyard Room


The Courtyard Room: This twin room is bigger and has one double bed that can be divided into 2 single beds. It is located the main floor and has an en-suite bathroom. Price: $3,690 per person by Jan 31st, ($3,890 after Jan 31st). If used a single room, there is a $600 supplement so $4,290 before Jan 31st).



3 Single rooms with en-suite bathroom

The North Room

The North Room

The North Room: The room has one double bed with en-suite bathroom and is located on the main floor. Price: $4,190 by Jan 31st ($4,390 after Jan 31st).

The South Room: Identical to the North Room. The room has one double bed with en-suite bathroom and is located on the main floor. Price: $4,190 by Jan 31st ($4,390 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 (superior room)

The white room has one bedroom with one double bed, an en-suite bathroom, a kitchenette, a living room (to share with the suite) and a terrace opening on the pool. It is located on the second floor. Price: $4,490 by Jan 31st, ($4,690 after Jan 31st).

White Room

Kitchenette in the white room

Living room for the white room and the suite

Suite with 2 bedrooms

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. In addition, it shares an additional living room with the apartment located on the same floor (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).

Room with Double Bed in the Suite

Room with Single Bed in the Suite

Living room for the suite only


  • Toulouse airport pick-up at 2:30pm and drop-off at 11am
  • A welcome reception
  • 7 nights at the estate
  • All breakfasts
  • 2 lunches and 5 dinners (including drinks at dinner)
  • A personal bilingual chauffeur/guide throughout the week
  • Entrance fees to all sites on the tour
  • The use of folding chairs and easels


  • Flight to/from Toulouse, France
  • 4 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
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