Welcome to the Loire Valley of France!
Trip for 2013
UNESCO has designated the Loire Valley a World Heritage Site (patrimoine mondial)for its cultivated natural beauty and the many chateaux and other monuments that grace it.
This is a trip for eight to twelve artists, amateur or professional, who like painting outdoors, and who want to do it in places that combine fascinating history, magnificent architecture, and charming landscape. The trip is also designed so that a non-painting spouse or companion can find plenty of interesting things to do and see.
Most of my instruction will pertain to painting in oil, though it can apply to acrylic painting as well. I’ll be available to offer as much or as little individual instruction and coaching as each participant wants.
Registration ends March 1st
$3000 per Person, Double Occupancy
($500 Single Supplement)
Monday, June 4 – Paris. We’ll be staying tonight, as well as the night of Wednesday, June 13, at l’Hôtel Saint Germain des Prés, half a block from the church St-Germain-des-Prés, the oldest church in Paris. We’ll be a block from the Musée Eugène Delacroix and within easy walking distance of the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, Sainte-Chapelle, Notre Dame de Paris, thequartier latin, and the Jardin du Luxembourg. We’ll have two afternoons and evenings in Paris. Enrollment in the trip includes entry fees for the Musée d’Orsay and for two smaller museums; I’ll poll participants for their preferences. During dinner we’ll begin to get to know each other and tell about our aims as we begin this adventure.
Tuesday, June 5 – In the morning we’ll take the TGV (train à grande vitesse) to Angers. We’ll stay Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the Hôtel Mercure Angers. Tuesday afternoon we’ll take a walk in the historic district of downtown Angers. I’ll do a brief painting demonstration near the chateau or the cathedral. Participants can choose either to paint or to continue to explore. In Angers we’ll have breakfast at the hotel and evening meals at l’Ambassade restaurant, a short walk from the hotel. We’ll dine in a small, quiet room. The very good, traditional cooking is characteristic of Anjou, the province of which Angers is the historic capital.
Wednesday, June 6 – After breakfast we’ll head in our rental vans to the vineyards and production facility of the Domaine de Pied Flon, outside the village of Martigné-Briand, half an hour south of Angers. We’ll paint here all day. Owners Franck and Cathérine Gourdon are pleased to promote interplays of visual art with the art of producing and enjoying wine. In the early evening, at the bistro ô Tono in Angers, our host Max will conduct a private tasting of several wines produced by Pied Flon. We’ll have our day’s paintings leaning against the walls, and we’ll talk about them. Dinner at l’Ambassade will follow.
Thursday, June 7 – In the morning we’ll drive along the Loire toward Chinon. We’ll stop at the small city of Saumur, dominated by a fairytale-like medieval castle. In three-and-a-half hours each of us will try to produce a painting. Then we’ll head on to Chinon, a medieval town on the river Vienne. Late in the afternoon we’ll explore its steep, narrow streets, its public squares, and the banks of the river. We’ll stay in Chinon for five nights, at the Hôtel Le Plantagenêt – old fashioned, dignified, and friendly. We’ll have breakfast at the hotel and evening meals nearby at La Bonne Table, another very good, traditional restaurant. From Chinon we’ll make day trips to three wonderful sites.
Friday, June 8 – After breakfast we’ll go to l’Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, just a few miles from Chinon. According to the DK Eyewitness Travel France guide, this set of hauntingly beautiful gothic buildings is “the largest and most remarkably intact medieval abbey in Europe.”
Saturday, June 9 – Today we’ll go to Chenonceau, a little over an hour from Chinon. This magnificent Renaissance chateau spans the river Cher. Its construction and subsequent improvements were directed by a series of strong women, two of them the wives of kings, one a king’s mistress, and one the wife of a farmer-general. The grounds are rich and varied: a long allée of sycamores; a small neo-classical stage in the woods, behind a circular maze of hedges; two formal gardens; majestic stone pilings and arches across the flowing river; many views of the delicately faceted chateau.
Sunday, June 10 – We’ll visit and paint at Azay-le-Rideau, another charming Renaissance chateau, about half an hour from Chinon.
Monday, June 11 – Today we’ll stay in Chinon. This area is home to an esteemed appellationof wine — Chinon. At the Couly-Dutheil winery I met with Catherine Gohier, who showed me the caves (dug into rocky cliffs) and the elegant salle de dégustation (tasting room), and assured me that morning was the best time to taste wine. So we’ll take part in a formal wine-tasting around eleven o’clock, and we’ll paint hard the rest of the day. Promising places to paint include the Couly-Dutheil vineyards behind the fortress at the top of the cliff, other high-up streets and footpaths, and the riverbank far below.
Tuesday, June 12 – This morning we return to Angers in time to spend most of the afternoon painting. There are many choices of scene: public gardens; any number of street scenes; a medieval chateau-fort; a soaring, mighty cathedral; lovely old churches; views from across the river. . . Before dinner, at the hotel, over apéritifs, we’ll look at the work we’ve done over the past few days and see in what ways our work has progressed, and talk about what we’ve done and what we’ve learned. Tonight’s dinner will be our last one as a whole group.
Wednesday, June 13 – We’ll take the TGV to Paris and spend the afternoon, evening, and night there.
Thursday, June 14 – We’ll take a shuttle to the Charles DeGaulle airport.
Jonathan Frost has studied and traveled in France, and speaks French. He has a BA in Philosophy from Dartmouth College and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. He has shown at the Viridian Gallery, the Visual Arts Gallery, the Art Directors’ Club, Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop, and the Embassy of the French Cultural Ministry in New York and at several galleries in New England. He has taught at the Maine College of Art; Round Top Center for the Arts in Damariscotta, Maine; and Maine Coast Artists (now the Center for Maine Contemporary Art) in Rockport. He also teaches privately. His children’s book Gowanus Dogsreceived the Marion Vannett Ridgway Memorial Honor Book Award and the National Council for Social Studies – Children’s Book Council Award. Since 2007 he has owned the Jonathan Frost Gallery and Frame Shop in Rockland, Maine.