Art Holiday Accommodation in SW France Details

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Saturday, 7 November 2015


Following on from my 'Politically Incorrect Pole' (scroll down to read), here's another example in the garden at La Petite Galerie.
Primitive man is considered a politically incorrect term.
However I don’t think the preferred synonym early man applies to my representation of the power of the thing given
French anthropologist Marcel Mauss identified this as reciprocity. It occurs when someone gives something to someone else, expecting a fair and tangible return. 
In colonial history primitive man almost always got the shitty end of the stick.

Friday, 23 October 2015



Just a quick note to say that we now offer 2 walking holidays on the St Jacques Route to Compostele.
Lynne and I have walked the Chemin de St Jacques for several stages in central France, and we’ve walked from where we live at La Petite Galerie in Mézin to the Pyrenees and then on into Spain.

The route is very well signposted - and you'll have your own guide.

Over the past few years we’ve had many requests from guests about walking on the St Jacques Route in SW France, and we now offer two fully inclusive group holidays. They are both, guided walks, with a back up vehicle in case of sore feet, knees, hips or even hangovers. A very important point to remember about group holidays is that they make the individual cost very attractive.

WALKING ON THE ST JACQUES ROUTE IN SW FRANCE - but remember the back up vehicle would be carrying your pack.

In St Jean Pied de Port near the Spanish border.

Here are details of the 2 Options

Option 1 covers the stages from Lectoure to Montreal. You’re driven to the start of the walk every day, and the minibus meets you at midday with a picnic lunch. At the end of the walk, you’re picked up and brought back to La Petite Galerie, where you spend the night. One day is set aside to visit some of the many other attractions in the area - including wine and Armagnac tastings.
Option 2 takes you on a walk from La Petite Galerie to St Jean Pied de Port in the foothills of the Pyrenees. We discuss the route with you before you arrive and pick out the best stages in SW France.

Both Option 1 and Option 2 are fully inclusive, and they both include airport pickup and return, all meals and accommodation, minibus back up and guides.
Hard work, this walking business
For more details and prices, please click here:

Sunday, 27 September 2015


As usual on Fridays, we have lunch at Le Bastard a beautiful hotel in Lectoure (yes, that's really its name, The Bastard, no kidding).

Just to prove that it's not all work and no play (nor all work and no eating) here we are getting a crit of our week's work from Jim

Could this be the last supper - on the banks of the Gelise in Poudenas? Well, perhaps until next time.
We hope to see you all again in Gascony one day.
Bon voyage!

Friday, 25 September 2015


'DARTAGNAN AND THE EIGHT MUSKETEERS' - A recently discovered work by
Alexandre Dumas - and expected to make a bigger splash than 'THE THREE MUSKETEERS'
Want to paint a picture? This is how we get started
Most people only have one boss - our group has TWO
Doing a Monet at the waterlily farm at Temple sur Lot

Team shot above the river port at Nerac

Monday, 21 September 2015


Mo and Linh getting ready to paint at the tiny village of Blaziert.
Barbara chose a quiet spot in this 'village fleurie'.
Everyone stopped working when Lynne arrived with our picnic lunch.
Here we are with Blaise de Monluc. He invented a fabulous cocktail called Pousse Rapiere.
We're at the Chateau de Monluc to learn how to drink this powerful apero.
Not sure whether this was before or after the tasting - probably after judging by the expressions on everyone's face.

Sunday, 20 September 2015


Jim and his team, Barbara, Linh and Mo at Auvillar - officially one of the most beautiful villages in France - on their way from Toulouse Airport to La Belle Gasconne in Gascony.

Here we are at Mezin's Sunday morning market helping Linh with a jewellery purchase.

And now down to brass tacks - this is the real reason we come back so often. Lunch at Le Vieux Pressoir.

Our leader doesn't mind a snack from time to time either. (Always washed down with a drop of red wine, of course)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


This is Pru. She's come to paint with me in SW France. This is day 1. We're on our way to do a watercolour in Fources. That's Andrew's reflection in the window. He took the picture and was determined not to be left out. 

'Look what I did today!'
This is Pru's first painting EVER. I was pleased with the result. 
And she looks quite pleased too.
This is day 2. By now you know that that's Pru.
She's just done a watercolour of the church at Arbusson.
And, once again, she's quite pleased, it seems.

Monday, 20 July 2015


Every year we take the camper van to a spot on the Tour de France route.
This year the plan was for Paul to join us in Massat where he has a property.
Well, as so often happens, the best laid plans of mice and men get screwed up, and the alternator (whatever that is) gave up the ghost.
Anyway, via complicated and convoluted arrangements, we got there eventually an all stayed at the Hotel Maxil in Massat. And the mountain came to Mahommed, meaning that the cyclists came right past the hotel beer garden, which was very convenient.
Too bad Paul, you'll just have to wait for your birthday pole (see previous blog entry), which is still in the camper van in the garage in Mézin.

Lynne waiting to fight the French kid for the samples thrown out by vehicles in the Tour de France caravan.

Despite a succession of late nights and hangovers, Paul insisted on some commando training in the Pyrenees.

Monday, 13 July 2015


I don't often get involved in sculpture - it's much too hard, it takes too long, and I keep hitting my hand with the hammer.
But Paul turns 40 in September and I thought it would be nice to give him something a bit different for his property, La Folie, near Massat in the Pyrenees. (And hopefully more memorable than 40 cans of VB or 40 pairs of underpants.) Hopefully a 2.5 meter high burial pole might just do the trick.
Some balls are still in the air at the moment, but I've sent him a pic and the details of the complicated logistics involved in getting it there - if he really wants it.
We're meeting him at Massat on Wednesday anyway to watch the Tour de France. Which means that if he does want it, we might be able to get it to him then. But I'll have to rope it to the roof of the camper van and then drive it up to La Folie on the Pyrenean version of the Kakoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. (We've been up there once before, but it was really scary in the camper van. Very steep, through narrow streets in tiny hameaus and with precipitious drops on all sides on every bend in the track. When we got back down last time, Lynne, summed things quite succinctly when she said, 'Fuck! I'm never doing that again!' But she might have to, depending on Paul's final decision).
So time will tell. What will happen to the pole? Will it be acceptable to all concerned? Will it get up the mountain? Will Lynne survive the climb? And will the termites like it as much as I do?
(If you find this kind of cliff hanger stuff interesting - come back soon to find out about the Tour de France - and what happened to the burial pole).
Here's the pole in our garden at La Petite Galerie with no one, as far as we know, buried anywhere near it. Not for the moment anyway.

Oh, and I nearly forgot: copying Aboriginal burial poles is considered to be politically incorrect in some circles. Hopefully this doesn't apply to my pole (soon to be Paul's if he decides to take it). Here's why. It's not a burial pole because no one will be buried with it. It was done in France - not in Australia. Not many people will see it in the Pyrenees (if that's where it winds up), so hopefully politically incorrect sensitivities will be less developed in la France profonde*, and therefore less likely to be disturbed. 
(* = the Boondocks)

Friday, 26 June 2015


The adventure's nearly over (i.e. the glass is now officially half empty).
Here we are about to head off for lunch at le Bastard in Lectoure.
Then it's on to Bleu de Lectoure and La Romieu.

A last team shot at the Mill, which was our home base while we were being shown around Gascony by Ray and Lynne.
So tomorrow it's early morning pick up and off to the airport at Toulouse.

"Bon Voyage," from Ray and Lynne. "We hope to see you all again one day."


This trip is a painting holiday, but just to emphasise that the painting component is more important than than the holiday part, here are some photos to prove the point. (Well, almost).

Nikki gets everyone off the mark in the bastide village of Vianne.
We just had to have our photo taken at this well known roadsign.

"If you paint or draw - or make any marks in your beautiful white border - I'll give you a hard smack on the wrist,"
Nikki and Alda hard at work under the trees at Fources.
Even hard working artists have to eat - here we are picnicking beside the river at Lavardac.

Thursday, 25 June 2015


The longest day has just passed, but our holiday rolls on.

Ray gives some advice with a rooftop and river composition exercise.
Lunchtime on the terrace at Sarlat le Canada.

A wonderful view over the river Domme
A quiet street in Sarlat.

Team photo at the Chateau Beynac.
Lunch in Sarlat
This is how we fund our trip - outside the church in Sarlat.
Castle in the air. Nikki on the ramparts at Chateau Beynac.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Painting in acrylic in the open air at Larressingle.

Team photo with Alexander Dumas's Three Musketeers
in Condom. 

On the vieux pont at Nerac.
Time for a breather outside Henri IV's Chateau in Nerac.

This is a real challenge - which buildings and which roofs should we start with?


This is the kind of thing we get up to on a typical day in Gascony
The photographs say it all.

It's straight to work. Nikki gives a demonstration of what to look for.

Hard at work in a quiet place in the shade.

There are views in all directions.

Painting en plein air.

Look what I did today.

Beautiful villages provide all kinds of subject matter.

Getting ready.

Discussing our compositions.

Then it's time for a picnic lunch.

After all that hard work, what about a wine tasting?
This Pousse Rapiere and pink bubbly makes life  worth living.
Then it's time to eat again. Here we all are at Le Continental in Condom for dinner.
So now you know what a typical day in Gascony is like.
It's really quite hard work.