A Culinary Vacation with Janet Fletcher

Dordogne, France:

Plein-Air Painting

June 1-13, 2013

Our painting holiday begins in Albi. Poised on the River Tarn, Albi is known both as the stronghold of the medieval heretical sect, the Cathars (or Albigensians) and as the birthplace of the 19th century painter, Toulouse Lautrec. Following our sejour in Albi, we’ll venture into the beautiful Périgord region of Southwest France. We’ll continue our painting, sketching and photography adventure, exploring a land inhabited since prehistoric times.

Tour highlights include 4 nights in historic Albi, birthplace of Toulouse Lautrec, an overnight in tiny St Cirq Lapopie perched atop a scenic mountain, Pech Merle, one of the greatest sites for prehistoric cave paintings. Plein-Air Painting Demonstrations on site and in Studio and more!

Visit Historic Albi • Farmers Markets in Medieval Towns • Plein-Air Painting • Prehistoric Cave Visit


Independent Arrival in Toulouse, France. Depart U.S.A. on overnight flight to any European gateway city. Catch a connecting flight to Toulouse where our private coach will pick you and fellow artists up at the appointed time.

June 1: Private Coach pick-up at Toulouse Airport for drive to Albi.

June 1 – 4: We’ll settle into our Albi hotel, a converted flour mill overlooking the River Tarn that offers a beautiful view of Albi from its dining terrace. Imminently paintable, Albi is one of the most famous of the area’s ‘Pink Towns’ so called because of its mostly brick, mostly pink, buildings. For the next few days, we’ll have time to sketch, paint and explore the city’s sites and sights, among them, the 11th century Vieux Pont (bridge) and St. Salvy cloister, the magnificent 13th century is St. Cecile Cathedral and the recently renovated Toulouse Lautrec museum which does much to place intocontext and perspective the artist’s life and achievements.

June 5: Today we’ll leave the Languedoc and travel into the Dordogne. Welcome Dinner at Petit Rousset – Our home, in the Dordogne, a 17th century farmhouse that provides many opportunities for painting, sketching & relaxing: in the garden, on the terrace, by the pool & the new art studio.

June 5-13: Our Dordogne Destinations: Our explorations of the villages described below will sometimes be on bustling Market Days. We’ll visit other villages as serene as stage sets, waiting for us to bring them to life.

Eymet – Our ‘hometown’ is a 40-minute stroll from Petit Rousset, past rows of grapevines and meadows of grazing cows. This bastide has a perfectly intact 13th century center square which bursts with activity on Market Day. Little streets radiating off the square are dotted with houses made of wattle and daub. As we explore, we’ll learn about the medieval conflicts that gave rise to the region’s bastides.

Midweek, and a highlight of our trip, we’ll pack our overnight bags for an overnight stay in St. Cirq Lapopie, a tiny village perched high atop a mountain. Our inn, at the top of the town, is in the heart of village. From St. Cirq Lapopie, it is a short drive to one of the most famous of all caves with prehistoric paintings – Pech Merle, which, of course, is on our itinerary, too!

Issigeac – Quiet every day but one each week, the day we visit, when it bursts at the seams with activity on Market Day. Off the main pedestrian streets brimming with farmers offering tastes of their products, find tiny ruelles and walkways with charming sites for a quick photograph or sketch.


Cadouin – A beautiful little town famous for its Abbey, founded in 1115. The Abbey grew wealthy through the donations of pilgrims who came to venerate a piece of cloth thought to be part of Christ’s burial shroud. It’s “A” list of pilgrims included Eleanor of Aquaitaine and her son Richard the Lionhearted. Although the cloth was found to be of 12th century Muslim origin, the Abbey and especially its cloister are the perfect place for painting, drawing and photography.

St Cirq Lapopie – A magical village, suspended on a cliff with a spectacular view overlooking the river. We’ll savor an overnight stay here, enjoying the village after all the day-trippers have departed. Nearby is the Grotte du Pech-Merle, one of the finest prehistoric painted caves still open to the public our visit here is aweinspiring.

Perigueux – The capital of the Dordogne, Perigueux boasts a museum of Gallo- Roman history designed by Jean Nouvel which sits atop the remains of a 1st century domus built when the city was called Vesunna. Not much survives the City’s pax romana. When the barbarians invaded, townspeople destroyed their own temples and basilicas for the stone they needed to build a defensive wall around themselves. During the Hundred Years War, Perigueux was a firm ally of France  against the English and during the Wars of Religion, Perigueux was a bastion of Catholicism. The city’s Cathedral of St. Front has been through a lot – built in the 6th century, it was replaced in the 11th century by a church that burnt to the ground almost immediately. Rebuilt by Greek architects, damaged during the Wars of Religion and carelessly renovated for centuries after that, all it took was a wrong headed 19th century medieval recreationist to completely rebuild, and in his mind, improve the church. It looks great – from a distance!

June 13 –After breakfast, depart forBordeaux airport.

Schedule subject to change without notice. Price: $3350 per person.

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