See for yourself why we are returning for our 3rd visit to the beautiful Perigord Retreats in the Dordogne and Lot Rivers area of Southern France.
A family-owned art retreat, we will spend the day enjoying the sights and foods of the region. Instead of lugging around suitcases, we carry our cameras and journals as we sketch, collage and paint to create a wonderful art travel memory.
In the afternoons or evening we can be found at the Perigord studio as we share our memories of the day on the pages of our art travel journal.
We are a very small group. Advance reservations are highly recommended.
Bring a friend or a spouse...no art experience is required!
And, if you want a good read to prepare for Southern France, read Martin Walker's "Cave of Perigord"
Contact Darla directly at email@example.com or Periford Retreats
WHAT VILLAGES WILL WE VISIT ON OUR UPCOMING FRANCE ADVENTURE?
There are many possibilities...here are some of them and I will add more as we work though the possibilities:
A charming midieval city, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne is known for its abbey St Pierre, of which only the abbey remains today. It contains outstanding art works. The Chateau d'Estresse is a must-see. It was built on a terrace supported by a medieval retaining wall on the Dordogne river. It consists of buildings from the 14th-16th centuries and the restored Chateau is among the historical buildings of the city. While we will miss the strawberry festival in May, we can taste the jams.
This is the Cave of the Hundred Mammoths. Containing more than 250 cave paintings, drawings and etchings it dates back to the Upper Paleolithic Era and is the most extensive Perigord cave system. In 1979 it was made a UNESCO World Heritage site. The end of the cave has a display of drawings which include woolly rhinoceroses, mammoths, horses, bison and ibex on the ceiling.
FIGEAC AND CAPDENAC (combined same day)
Figeac dates back to the Middle Ages and many of the houses were build by the wealthy merchants. Visible are the "soleilhos" (open graneries) where the fruit was dried. At Place des Ecritures an exotic perfume is available. There is a large black granite slab covered with heiroglyphs in the village square. It represents the Rosetta Stone and this piece of the Egyption stele allwed Champollion to decipher the writing of the ancient Egyptians. The Champollion Museum is housed in his former home and presents writing objects and characters from all over the world. The museum has a acade with "1000 letters" of glass and copper which spills fragments of light on the exhibition hall floors.Figeac also hosts a historical market on Saturdays.
Capdenac is only 4kms from Figeac. reaching 110 meters above the Lot River, this was once the hill fort where Caesar fought his final battle against the Gauls. Today one can see the ramparts, keep and troglodytic fountains. This is touted as one of the most beautiful sites in France. Even the rooftops are of interest being made of 3 different materials; flat tiels, lauzes (stone slabs) and pantiles..
MOULIN A EAU de COUGNAGUET
This mill, listed as a Historic Monument, is undoubtedly the best known in Quercy, partly because it has been open to the public for so long, but principally thanks to its magnificent natural setting and to the very fine quality of the fortified building. Its history, intimately connected with that of the Cistercian monks of Les Alix, began in the 13th C. There are no less than four pairs of grindstones, which enabled 3 tons of flour to be milled per day. Mr. Faure shows visitors round and sets the mill working for each visit. He points out all the methods the monks used to prevent thieves/pillagers getting in and stealing the flour. Models make it easy to understand how the mill functioned.
WHERE WE STAY AT PERIGORD RETREATS
Learn how to record your travels with an art journal and enjoy plein aire sketching. Or, if you choose to rest and relax at the property, our studio at Perigord is available to us at any time. Our private family-owned villa in the countryside also offers an indoor pool. And, now a new jacuzzi has been installed for unwinding at the end of another beautiful day~ Wonderful gourmet meals will be prepared daily for our group.
For travel: There are several options.
Note: for some reason, there are 2 Gourdons in France...be sure you come to 46300 Gourdon in Southern France, Dordogne and Lot River area.
1) Fly into Paris and spend the night in Paris Austerlitz, then take a train to 46300 Gourdon (it takes about 5 hours) the next day
2) **** Fly into Paris, take the after lunch train to 46300 Gourdon and spend the night in Gourdon. Connect with fellow group members at breakfast and spend the morning investigating the town. After lunch we are picked up by our hosts, the Turners of Perigord Retreats.
3) Fly into Toulouse. This is the nearest airport (TLS is the airport code). Spend the day and night in Toulouse and then travel north to Gourdon by train.
4) Fly into Toulouse, catch the afternoon train to 46300 Gourdon, spend the night in Gourdon the day before we begin at Perigord Retreat. [This is what I recommend for those going through TLS]
Additionally, you may choose to add days on your own before or after our event to acclimate and discover more! [It might be best to add extra at the end so you are less exposed to "germs" you might share with our group at the start.]
So, both alternatives require taking a train into 46300 Gourdon. As the time nears we can coordinate travel plans (Darla is flying from DFW airport).
This note from Perigord Retreat:
"Some participants have found it easier to fly in to Toulouse a day or two early to get acclimatised to French time which leaves you ready and raring to go when you arrive at Perigord Retreats. On departure day, anyone flying back to the USA via Paris may find it easier to take the train from Gourdon, 5 minutes from Perigord Retreats. This is approximately a 5 hour train ride taking you through the countryside of France before arrival in central Paris. Some find this a nice alternative rather than taking an extra plane ride.The choice is yours. For anyone needing to travel on a different day, the train also travels to Toulouse, one hour 40 minutes with a shuttle service to the airport.
For reference, our transport is air conditioned minibus/people carriers and dependant on the number in the group, one or two vehicles may be used."
[Note from Darla: In the past my group flew into Paris then took the train to Gourdon. It is 5.5 hours but a lovely ride and you can buy food on the train if you wish. There is more than one Gourdon. The one to use is the Gourdon 46300 train station (directly south of Brive-Gaillarde). My group spent one night in Gourdon and strolled through Gourdon the next morning shopping,visiting the church, had a beer at a sidewalk cafe and lunch outside at our hotel. After lunch we were picked up by our Perigord hosts. Ask me for details.]
From Darla: Perigord is a lovely 5-acre property where Harrison tends the gardens with he and wife, Patel, watching over the chickens. Rows of lavender grow behind the studio. The Turners have 2 homes on the property with an indoor pool and plenty of room to relax. My husband, Gary, provides morning yoga for any interrested. Come and see why we are anxious to return!
What is included: The 10 days include your Gourdon pickup/return with the group, excursion transports, lodging and gourmet meals prepared for our group (with the exception of 2 lunches and 1 dinner) plus your workshop instruction from Darla.
Where we are visiting: I will posting sites as we work out our itinerary. Of course, our visit will include a visit to an ancient cave to see the remarkble pre-historic cave paintings!
The Nitty Gritty:
The rates include your workshop, transport from Gourdon and excursion transport, most entry to those locations that charge, lodging and chef-prepared meals. (It does not include your airfare or train travel costs).
Check with Perigord Retreats for rates. https://perigord-retreats.com/about/
The Perigord website video shows the property and a 3-D video of the villa rooms.
To register use the Perigord website. https://perigord-retreats.com/ Email me with any questions, or the Turner family at Perigord Art Holidays is very patient with questions, so feel free to ask!
I will be checking out airfare options. Let me know if you want that info! It's fun to fly together. Check your passport now to be sure it doesn't expire at least 2 months after travel is due to complete. Due to the pandemic there is a delay in passport renewal.
If you have never been to France and want to add more, talk to Darla about ideas for a longer holiday. For example, from Paris Giverney is only a day train trip from Paris to see Monet's garden. Versailles Palace is the same if you wish to see the opulance of the palace and grounds. Of course, the Louvre and many other world-class art museums are in Paris. The train from Paris is about 5.5 hours, so you will need accomodations in Gourdon for one night before the workshop/retreat begins the following day. It allows the perfect amount of time the next morning to visit the sites in Gourdon and have lunch before being picked up to begin our art adventure.