Join Belinda and Robyn Sweaney in the South of France! Relaxation, gourmet food and wine, expert art tuition from celebrated artist Robyn Sweaney. It will be a time for fun and celebration of life.
Staying in one of our beautifully appointed Villas either in town or a surrounding village. Numbers of guests dictate where we stay however you can rest assured all are beautifully appointed and in gorgeous surrounds.
7 nights with individualised art tuition and outings included while staying in a beautifully appointed luxurious villa.
€3400 per person in a tasteful double room with ensuite and you don't have to share!! All breakfasts, gourmet dinners and lunches with wine as set out in the itinerary!
In the 6th June departing the 13th June 2019.
Resident artist: Robyn Sweaney
Artist: Robyn Sweaney
Drawing + watercolour & gouache painting + concertina book making
This art program will be suitable for people of all levels of experience. It is designed to accommodate beginners to advanced women. Our aim is to work together but also cater for individual needs and or experience.
Robyn Sweaney will be the art facilitator and guide, sharing her many years of experience as an artist and teacher.
Over 10 days she will introduce you to various drawing & painting techniques that will help you develop your own visual language. These exercises are perfect for those who say they cannot draw or paint. We will use found & observed objects as well as the natural landscape, to inspire your artwork.
Program of art activities:
- Exploration of drawing materials, including graphite and ink
- Exploration of techniques including line, tone and mark making
- Painting techniques using watercolour and gouache
- Techniques that will help improve your observational skills
- Making a simple concertina book for drawings and paintings
- Drawing and painting outdoors
- Still life and interiors
As a consequence you will produce a series of sketches drawings and paintings, sometimes inspired by the ancient and spectacular scenery, sometimes triggered by observing Robyn’s practical demonstrations but always in a relaxed and non-judgemental atmosphere.
The itinerary could change slightly, adapting to the group's needs when necessary or perhaps responding to a particular desire expressed by an individual in the group at the time of booking.
We will also have the option of attending recitals, concerts and operas depending upon what is on offer. At times some events are not advertised and we become aware of them the week or two before the retreat commences so we will discuss this with you on the first day and provide options.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided each day as set out in the itinerary. You will have in your room regional and seasonal cheeses, fruit, crackers, red and white wine, still and sparkling waters. Luxury toiletries such as shampoos and conditioners, soaps and body lotions are also provided .
Arrival will take place over the course of the day so check in any time between 10 am and noon to settle into your luxurious double room with ensuite. Unpack and relax. Today you are free to wander around the Village and simply to spend time getting to know one another.
Lunch will be casual dining outside.
After lunch there will be a more detailed outline of the art programme by Robyn and the ancillary programme by Belinda for the rest of your stay. As at the time of booking you may have expressed a desire to see or do something in particular this is when we make some fine tuning to accomodate your wishes as best we can. We may take a stroll through the countryside at Collias for those who arrive early enough and finish with a visit to a vineyard and wine tasting.
In the evening you will enjoy a cocktails and dining at the villa and a quick introduction to materials and questions of mediums for you by Robyn .
Up early we will take a drive and then a walk, cameras and sketchbooks in hand. Where we will go will be discussed the night before however in all liklihood it will be either to Lussan or to La Roque-sur-Cèze.
La Roque-sur-Cèze is regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in France and was built on a rocky peak overlooking the River Cèze . Dominated by the remains of an old castle and its Romanesque chapel, the village with steep cobbled streets and blond stone Genoese houses has a truly gorgeous view of the waterfalls of Sautadet. Depending upon the weather and time we may take a closer look at the falls.
In the town you will appreciate the castle ruins, the Romanesque chapel, the medieval bridge over the river Cèze, and the picturesque sloping, paved alleyways between quaint stone houses in Genoese blues. The Charles-Martel Bridge is classified as a Historical Monument and was built between the XIIth and the XIVth century.
The village developed around the castle built in the 12th century and was for a long time the stronghold of the Bishop of Uzès. Its preserved nature and its calm environment ensure an agreeable time.
Lussan is about 20km North of Uzès and from behind its ramparts, a vast panorama opens onto the Cevennes, the mountains of Ardèche and the Mont Ventoux. Throughout its narrow streets, the city reveals several centuries of history, conflicts between Catholics and Protestants at the advent of silk production.
Luncheon at the Villa. Afternoon session will be sketching taking photographs and reviewing those taken earlier so that you can make a start on the visual diary in the comfort of the Villa.
ALTERNATIVE AFTERNOON OPTION : participation in preparation and cooking of some French dishes for dinner that night or simply relaxing in one of the many nooks either inside or outside the villa with a glass.
Dinner together with pre dinner drinks (of course!).
We will spend the early morning at Uzès as it is Market day in the Place aux Herbes. The plan will be to buy at least one item of fresh produce for setting up a still life in the afternoon. This will be part of your visual journal.
There will be time to visit Le Duché d'Uzès and also le Jardin Médiéval d'Uzès. This time of year is the equivalent of open gardens so the gardens will be at their best. You will see the beautiful pink limestone buildings and meander down the cobbled streets.
We will have a picnic in la vallée de l'Eure and then for those who wish to be more adventurous a hike for a few hours in the afternoon. You will be able to see the ruins of an amazing aquaduct from Roman times which was used to supply water to Nîmes. Otherwise the art programme continues.
You will head out to Pont du Gard today and visit the beautiful medeival village of Vers-pont-du-gard* before heading to the troglodyte Abbey of Saint Roman near Beaucaire. The Abbey was founded in the 5th century by hermits, then occupied until the 15th century by Benedictine monks, the Abbey of Saint Roman, perched on top of the Aiguille hill , is notable for being entirely carved out of the rock. The chapel holds the relics of Saint Roman, the cells, cisterns, cellars and open-air necropolis are unique to Western Europe. From the upper terrace, where you can still see the ruins of a castle built in the 16th century then dismantled in the 19th century, the view of Provence and the Rhône valley is spectacular!
Lunch out before heading back to the Villa. Art programme continues. Those who wish to venture somewhere else in the afternoon need only ask.
Day 5Full day at the Villa today spent working on still life set ups and interiors and for those who are not participating in the art programme we will go for a morning hike.The Collias Hermitage (11.5 km - 3 hours) - This shady walk will lead you to Notre-Dame de Laval Chapel. For the more athletic, it is possible to continue on a loop and descend to the Torte path, the former road to Nimes, which offers beautiful panoramic views.
Lunch at the Villa together and relaxation in the afternoon or continuing with Art. For those who wish we will visit a few vineyards in the local area for a wine tasting in the afternoon.
Light dinner at the villa.
Today we go to Nîmes.We will spend the entire day visiting the city of Nîmes. You can wander as you wish or tag along with Belinda and/or Robyn at various times. The Jardins de la Fontaine is an amazing example of a formal 18th century garden adorned with ornamental statues and graceful swans. In one corner is the Temple of Diana - a Roman ruin (which really has no basis for being called the Temple of Diana!) however it is interesting and Roman nonetheless.
Built around the Quais de la Fontaine which has its source in the Cévennes hills the gardens are very interesting. The fountain arises from underground for a few short kilometres before disappearing again. One can spend all day just in the garden as there are walking tracks that wind into the hill behind to Tour Magne where the effort to climb is rewarded by a panoramic view of Nîmes.
You can wander from the gardens and follow the river into the city and then when it disappears again head down to the old part of Nîmes. Be careful! Napoleon’s tea house is to be found in this area and it can be a trap. To sit outside watching the passing parade or inside in the ornate baroque style lovingly restored is a time thief.
The Maison Carée is one of the best preserved temples to be found anywhere in the territory of the former Roman Empire and is a short walk from the gardens. Nothing much to see on the inside. Lovely cafes however to sit and while away another hour or so watching the passing parade. Nîmes is a very pedestrian friendly city.
There are several very good places to eat for lunch and if you are so inclined Belinda will advise you and make the necessary reservations or you can simply take a risk and choose something that is appealing to you. The cafes surrounding the Maison Carree are great places to sit and take in the grandeur of this Roman Temple.
The amphitheater of Nîmes is one of the best preserved in all of Europe. It is situated in a lovely place with winding streets and great cafes abound. The Romans were in Nîmes from before 28BC and it’s amazing to consider that it was on the main road between Spain and Italy in Roman times.
The Musèe des Beaux-Arts houses a good collection of paintings from Renaissance to post Impressionism. It is a small collection and often contains amazing pieces on loan from the Louvre. It is housed in a beautiful building and the mosaic on the ground floor is in my opinion one of the most beautiful I have seen. It rivals those found in Tunisia. You will have of course Robyn with us to discuss certain aspects of certain paintings.
After an exhausting day we will have a light dinner together in the Villa.
A slow start today after the Big Day Out. Individual assistance with your art from Robyn if you wish or working alone.
Late morning to Uzès with a few stops en route, or, for those who wish to remain at home and continue with your art tuition.
Dinner is out tonight a surprise but we hope you will frock up !
Departure today you will have until noon to finalise your departure and exchange contact details. Our chauffeur will take you to either Marseilles, Nîmes or Avignon or if you have arranged with us prior to an alternative destination. We trust you will also be planning your next Art Escapade!
You will be staying in beautifully restored stone Mas in a tiny village a few kilometres North of Uzès in the South of France. Surrounded by the beautiful French countryside and in proximity to the famous villages of, La Roque-sur-Cèze and Lussan.
Each bedroom is a double with ensuite.
Quality linen and toiletries are provided for your comfort. We try to source locally and organically as we are keen to reduce our carbon footprint.
There are several areas for dining and also for sitting quietly or if you prefer for conversing.
Your room is stocked with fresh still and sparkling water and chocolates, French treats all of which are refreshed daily.
A choice of teas and coffee are available throughout the day.
The Villa is tastefully decorated in keeping with the understated nature of rural France yet without compromising your comfort.
As in keeping with our desire to make your stay as special as possible we are happy to accommodate your requests as much as possible.