Mary Padgett and Spanish Steps are combining the plein air experience with walking along the French Chemin Saint Jacques in the unspoiled region of historic Gascony in rural southwest France. This is the region of The Three Musketeers, castles, ancient “bastide” villages and far from tourist crowds. Here the countryside is lush with forests, orchards, vineyards and acres of wheat, vegetables, and sunflowers. The landscape and its culture offers us a welcoming ease and authenticity, an ideal environment to observe as artists and to enjoy as travelers.
More: "Is Gascony the Most Delicious Corner of France?" from The New York Times
Lodging • gourmet meals • guided sessions | Inclusive: €2900,00
Spend a week exploring pastoral France with guides who specialize in off-the-beaten path experiences. Follow the Via Podensis, the same French pilgrimage route that's been used since the Middle Ages to visit picturesque villages, some with the esteemed designation "Most Beautiful Village in France." We will stop in a Gallo-Roman villa to see its well-preserved mosaics, visit medieval abbeys, and two unusual museums. We’ll taste the region with visits to local producers who farm and prepare food as Gascons have since the Middle Ages.
€2900 per person (based on double occupancy) includes lodging, all breakfasts, and seven multi-course gourmet meals including wine, transportation within Gascony, daily guided painting sessions and walks. Limited single rooms are available, single supplement is €800.
We will stay at Les Bruhasses, an 18th century house, which was once a large estate that produced the very famous Armagnac. While it maintains it's pastoral charm, it's been recently renovated. Each room, along with its en suite bathroom, is quiet and very comfortable. Hélène and Jean are our very hospitable hosts, the sixth generation of local winemakers who are deeply connected to Gascon traditions.
It's close to the “Chemins de Saint Jacques de Compostelle," an ancient pilgrim route we will use for our day trips.
Mary will offer technical instruction and a supportive working environment. Non-artists are welcome.All portable art mediums, like pastel, watercolor, pen and ink, pencil, iPads, and cameras, and all levels of expertise are welcome.
There is van support for those who do not want extensive walking and for transporting art supplies. For those that would like extended walking, Judy and her expert guides from Spanish Steps will be available for additional walks and exploration along the Chemin Saint Jacques.
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