Awakening the Creative Spirit within
Experience the ART of
in a Medieval Castle in Southern France
May 27th – June 3rd, 2017
Schedule and Excursions
May 27th – Day 1, Saturday
You will probably arrive into Nimes in the afternoon, and we will transfer you to the Castle. Once there, you may settle in, relax, and enjoy the surroundings. We will have an official opening ceremony and Dinner at the Castle. (D)
May 28th Day – 2, Sunday
After breakfast you will have a chance to visit the local Sunday Farmer’s market and get acquainted with the nearby village. You may have Lunch/wine tasting in the village. Then we’ll go back to the castle for John’s opening presentation and you’ll get to set up your studio space. In the evening, we will walk to the village together for dinner. (B)
May 29th – Day 3, Monday
Adventurous day at the Castle – After breakfast, you will have an all-day session with John with plenty of breaks to take advantage of a walking meditation on the river behind the castle, have a massage or body work session, or just play by the heated pool Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner will all be provided for you at the castle today. (B,L,D)
May 30th – Day 4, Tuesday
Today is a day of exquisite excursions. After breakfast we will go to Pont du Gard – an ancient Aqueduct on the Gard river with amazing views. From there we will visit Chateauneuf-du-Pape for a lunch/wine tasting experience. This is one of the premiere wine growing districts of France. After lunch and wine-tasting, we are off to Avignon to visit the old city, the famous bridge, the main Papel square, a cathedral & garden and then to dinner before heading back to the Castle. On our day out, John will take the time to answer any questions, as he gives suggestion for en plein air & quick sketches. (B)
May 31st – Day 5, Wednesday
Exhilarating day at the Castle – Another wonderful day at the castle with John as he offers his sessions. In addition, you will have: personal time, an opportunity to walk along river to a nearby medieval village, have a massage or body work session or just play by the heated pool. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner will be provided and served at the Castle. (B,L,D)
June 1st – Day 6, Thursday
Are you ready for an amazing day after breakfast? Today we will explore Arles and visit the Van Gogh museum, the Arena, the Amphitheater, have lunch, and visit St.Paul de Mausole. After lunch we will go to St Remy de Provence, to visit Nostradamus’ home, the fountain, the Estrine Musee Interprete Van Gogh and have dinner there before heading back to Montjoie. On our day out, John will take the time to answer any questions, as he gives suggestion for en plein air & quick sketches. (B)
June 2nd – Day 7, Friday
Mystical day at the Castle – After breakfast there will be more fabulous sessions with John, and some intriguing possibilities throughout the day. We will then have our closing ceremony and our participants’ art exhibit before celebrating with a Medieval Feast Banquet which will be served with an authentic flair to replicate an actual medieval meal, including serving only foods that were available at that time. (B,L,D)
June 3rd – Day 8, Saturday
We will take you back to station at Chamborigaud or Nimes to get your train back to Montpellier or Paris.
We have some great excursions planned for this retreat. We have found that starting with a general schedule and then focusing in on specific outings as our time together unfolds creates a more powerful offering. Below are some of the areas we will be exploring together.
As you arrive into southern France, you are greeted by the amazing landscapes of rolling hills, majestic mountains, and medieval villages scattered throughout the region. After you settle in to your castle home, you will have time to relax, explore the area, sip some mineral water or wine and breathe in the magnificence of the countryside. You will stay at the castle for the next seven days, so get comfortable and enjoy the splendor. Please note…we know there are a multitude of ways that people wish to enjoy seeing a new place. Given all the individual desires, we do not give guided tours or walk around with an umbrella herding you to different places. We give you general information and support you in having an experience that works for you. If you wish to have a guided tour, we are happy to assist you in finding one that works at an additional cost. Here is a little information on these excursions:
Pont Du Gard
The Pont du Gard is a Roman monument built halfway through the 1st century AD. It is the principal construction in a 50
km long aqueduct that supplied the city of Nîmes, formerly known as Nemausus, with water. Built as a three-level aqueduct standing 50 m high, it allowed water to flow across the Gardon river..
In essence, the bridge is constructed out of soft yellow limestone blocks, taken from a nearby quarry that borders the river. The highest part of the structure is made out of breeze blocks joined together with mortar. It is topped by a device designed to bear the water channel, whose stone slabs are covered with calcium deposits.
In designing this three-storey bridge, which measures 360 m at its longest point along the top, the Roman architects and hydraulic engineers created a technical masterpiece that stands today as a work of art.
As a result of numerous scientific studies, we now know that an impressive volume of rock was needed to complete the construction. The figures are impressive: over 21,000 cubic metres of rock, weighing 50,400 tons!
Moreover, archaeologists also uncovered evidence of how well organized the project was. They found numbering on the stones, points of support for scaffolding, and evidence of the use of hoists.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. The village lies about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) to the east of the Rhône and 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) north of the town of Avignon. In the 2012 census the commune had a population of 2,179.
A ruined medieval castle sits above the village and dominates the landscape to the south. It was built in the 14th century for Pope John XXII, the second of the popes to reside in Avignon. None of the subsequent Avignon popes stayed in Châteauneuf but after the schism of 1378 the antipope Clement VII sought the security of the castle. With the departure of the popes the castle passed to the archbishop of Avignon, but it was too large and too expensive to maintain and was used as a source of stone for building work in the village. At the time of the Revolution the buildings were sold off and only the donjon was preserved. During the Second World War an attempt was made to demolish the donjon with dynamite but only the northern half was destroyed; the southern half remained intact.
Almost all the cultivable land is planted with grapevines. The commune is famous for the production of red wine classified as Châteauneuf-du-Pape Appellation d’origine contrôlée which is produced from grapes grown in the commune of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and in portions of four adjoining communes.
Avignon is a city in south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 90,194 inhabitants of the city (as of 2011), about 12,000 live in the ancient town centre enclosed by its medieval ramparts.
Between 1309 and 1377, during the Avignon Papacy, seven successive popes resided in Avignon and in 1348 Pope Clement VI bought the town from Joanna I of Naples. Papal control persisted until 1791 when, during the French Revolution, it became part of France. The town is now the capital of the Vaucluse department and one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts.
The historic centre, which includes the Palais des Papes, the cathedral, and the Pont d’Avignon, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The medieval monuments and the annual Festival d’Avignon have helped to make the town a major centre for tourism.
The commune has been awarded one flower by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom.
Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône
department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence.
A large part of the Camargue is located on the territory of the commune, making it the largest commune in Metropolitan France in terms of territory (though Maripasoula, French Guiana, is much larger). The city has a long history, and was of considerable importance in the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis. The Roman and Romanesque Monuments of Arles were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1981. The Dutch post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh lived in Arles from 1888 to 1889 and produced over 300 paintings and drawings during his time there. An international photography festival has been held in the city since 1970.
The Ligurians were in this area from about 800 BC. Later, Celtic influences have been discovered. The city became an important Phoenician trading port, before being taken by the Romans.
The Romans took the town in 123 BC and expanded it into an important city, with a canal link to the Mediterranean Sea being constructed in 104 BC. However, it struggled to escape the shadow of Massalia (Marseilles) further along the coast.
Its chance came when it sided with Julius Caesar against Pompey, providing military support. Massalia backed Pompey; when Caesar emerged victorious, Massalia was stripped of its possessions, which were transferred to Arelate as a reward. The town was formally established as a colony for veterans of the Roman legion Legio VI Ferrata, which had its base there. Its full title as a colony was Colonia Iulia Paterna Arelatensium Sextanorum, “the ancestral Julian colony of Arles of the soldiers of the Sixth.”
St. Remy du Provence
The village of St. Rémy is beautiful and picturesque, and the old Gallo-Roman interior is circled by the remnants of the circular 14th-century wall and the protective circle of buildings. Located on the plains at the northern edge of the Alpilles, 20 km south of Avignon, this is where Van Gogh painted Starry Night, Nostradamus was born and Dr Albert Schweitzer was prisoner.
The ancient center has splendid squares, fountains, Medieval buildings and cobblestone streets. Saint Remy is a busy, active village, with a good selection of restaurants and hotels for the traveller. The old town is full of shops of all kinds, especially for Provençal items. Among the shops in the old village are a few with some regional pottery, including some beautiful sunflower plates no doubt influenced by Van Gogh [who lived here].
The road between St. Rémy and the autoroute (at Cavaillon, 17 km to the east) is a scenic drive out of the past: the road is lined by plane trees that are lovely and give beautiful shade during the summer, yet menacing for the imprudent driver.
The most obvious remains of the 14th-century protective wall are the old portes, still in use today as the entrance ways into the ancient center of old Saint Remy. The old center is circled by a ring-road of boulevards, small enough that you can walk around the circumference in 20-30 minutes.
The ancient Porte du Trou (or Portail Trou de l’Orme) is on the northen edge of the old town. Entering here, you would walk down Rue Nostradamus, and find the Nostradamus fountain. At the opposite end of the old town, the Portail Saint-Paul gives entrance from the south, onto Rue de la Commune leading in to the main Place Pelissier where the town hall (mairie) is located. The dolphin fountain from the beginning of the 19th century is located in the shaded square in front of the Mairie. That lovely building is from the 16th century and is on the site of an old convent.
If anyone is interested in arriving 2 days earlier, we will arrange to stay in Nimes. We will explore Nimes, with the Arena/Amphitheatre, the gardens, the museums. We will also spend a day out in Aigues Mortes, see the Cathedral of Maguelone and its vineyards, St.Maries de la Mer and take a dip in the Mediterranean and see the flamingos and Camargue horses.
For the 2 days extension, it will be an additional $485 per person double occupancy, which will include all the internal transportation, accommodations, breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner, entrance to Cathedral of Maguelone and wine tasting, and entrance to Church of Notre Dame at St.Maries de la Mer. John will be joining us for the pre- visit yet not necessarily will be teaching. However , knowing John , we are sure he will be sharing his love for and vast knowledge of Art and ‘perspective’ as we visit these historic cities.
Let us know if you are interested!!