You will be introduced to a hidden part of France; a picturesque landscape of single-track lanes winding past vineyards, orchards and sunflower fields to ancient and beautiful Bastide villages - a touch of Tuscany à la France.
We are based in a tastefully renovated, 250 year-old pantiled farmhouse in this lovely, quiet, virtually undiscovered area of Aquitaine where, some 100 km south-east of Bordeaux, two huge and magnificent rivers meet, giving our "Department" its name - Le Lot-et-Garonne.
Enjoy the great food and wine the region has to offer and see for yourself why Lagruère was featured by the celebrated English chef, Rick Stein, in his BBC series, "A French Odyssey". Meet the charming and incredibly friendly local people. Observe at first hand the wonderful luminosity of color of this beautiful countryside. Extend your painting or photography experience in an informal, fun-filled atmosphere - with us, learning and pleasure go together!
Travel in air-conditioned comfort (we take our own fridge with us too). And, to make your luggage load a little lighter, we even provide our artist clients with use of a travel stool/seat, easel and parasol, and photographers with all the ancillary backup needed.
Relax and enjoy yourself in our pleasant garden, or take a swim and sunbathe in our private pool area (the pool is heated to provide all season enjoyment). Even though this is an activity holiday, we appreciate that you still need time to unwind.
Each evening it's customary to take an aperitif in the shade of our traditional and original 'galerie" and talk over the day's events. Incidentally, all drinks 'Chez Nous' are free and limitless (within reason!).
Your pleasure and comfort is our raison d'être. We want you to have a really good holiday, returning home with drawings, paintings or photographs you can be proud of... and happy memories that will last just as long.
Peter Evans worked as a professional photographer in the UK and, although having now 'eased down a gear' he is still the "photographer on-call" in southwest France for Associated Newspapers, London*. He has been 'behind a camera' since the age of 11.
His photographs have appeared in numerous 'Glossies', in English national and provincial newspapers, in various French publications and on calendars and postcards. His photographs of the Lot-et-Garonne are in demand and you will often see his images in tourist publications in France.
Pete (as he prefers to be called) has diverse photographic experience, knowledge and interests. At one end of the scale he has created portfolios for Miss Wales, Miss United Kingdom, Miss Europe and Miss World whilst, at the other, he has produced a 2 metre wide landscape photographed from a light aircraft using a view-camera and 7"x 5" sheet film.
He has also photographed Prince Charles (as an accredited photographer) and the actress Julie Christie (as a friend).
Although experienced in most types of film and darkroom techniques (working in both B&W and colour), Pete has been '100% digital' since 2003. He has also had experience shooting video for a TV production company.
After making sure that his guests have a good understanding of the basics, Pete also follows the doctrine of 'giving people their head' when it comes to taking photographs. "I cover an extensive list of topics during the week," he says, "but I prefer to give my guidance hands on, while we're actually out working in the field."
Pete firmly believes John Hedgecoe's adage that 'cameras don't make pictures, people do.' As a result, he discourages obsession with equipment and encourages visual awareness. "No-one can really define what makes a good photograph," he says, "what I try to impart is how to avoid making a bad one."
Peter Evans is a registered Professional User with Nikon Europe and a member of the Royal Photographic Society
Painting tuition by Jill Fellows. Jill has been an artist for many years; with a special interest in watercolour townscapes, she has exhibited and accepted commissions on a regular basis. Jill believes that every drawing and painting comes from within the artist; in other words, each individual has his or her own way of seeing and interpreting what lies before them.
A substantial number of topics is covered during each of Jill's painting and drawing weeks but, because there is no 'right' way for an artist to create an image on paper or canvas, Jill doesn't believe in giving dogmatic tuition. "In any case, group tuition is not a concept we follow here," she says, "We treat each client as an individual. I don't want to be stuck in a classroom lecturing my guests. I prefer to be out and about, helping them to express their own interpretation of this stunning environment from day one - Les Ets Botaniques Latour-Marliac, the nursery where Monet purchased the water-lilies for his garden at Giverny, for example; what better place for inspiration than that!"
Jill therefore uses real-time, practical, "hands-on" methods, being always available to offer encouragement, guidance, and advice with technique as and when needed. This, she believes, encourages individuality and freedom of expression in her guests and makes for a more enjoyable painting experience. "I love being out in the field working with other artists, no matter at what level they see themselves."
You will be staying "chez nous" in a tastefully renovated, 250 year old Gascon farmhouse set in over two acres of ground. The property is a listed building with some unusual and attractive architectural features.
Situated in a quiet agricultural area opposite the pretty ruined church of St. Juin and close to Le Canal Latéral, La Garonne river, and a unique nature reserve, yet within easy cycling distance of the nearest town. Guests have the benefit of four double bedrooms and five bathrooms and there is some 300 square meters of guest accommodation in total.
We offer our clients the following:
- 4 welcoming en-suite guest bedrooms (each between 17m2 and 20m2 excluding bathrooms)
- Ground floor shower room and w.c.
- Attractive, 40 sq. meter lounge & dining area with large traditional 'cheminée' and wood-burning stove. UK TV is provided.
- Original, pantiled 'galerie' (covered terrace) leading to patio, barbecue and external dining area
- 2,500 square meter garden with 'figure of eight' swimming pool
- The swimming pool has a decked sunbathing area, dining area, changing room, refrigerator, and warm water shower. It is equipped with lighting for late night swimming
- 6,000 square meters of woodland
- Pétanque court or 'boulodrome' (boules supplied)
- Cycles and fishing rods available for hire
- Free (and limitless within reason!) wine, coffee and tea
- Full board for seven nights (breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal)
- We have no modern separate "annexes" etc; all our rooms and facilities are under the same roof.
Non-participating partners are welcome and are eligible for a 30% discount.
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