Pyrénées-Roussillon and Spain
We call it "Art Sans Frontiere". It means more than going abroad for new inspirations, it means expanding your horizons and perhaps discovering new styles and methods of painting. This is an unconventional art course and an inspirational tour. A week or two full of new impressions in the most scenic corner of Southern France.
Rightfully named "the Paradise of the Pyrenees" by Rudyard Kipling, Vernet-les-Bains offers superb views, normally a pleasant climate, clean air and beautiful colours. The medieval town (population 1,400) has many small alleys and old ochre coloured houses, shade effects, it has been elected a "ville arboretum" with trees from all corners of the world, and it is surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery which changes in colour every hour of the day. Your art instructor and tour leader is a well known artist, and you will be in the company of like-minded people from different countries.
We live in individual houses in Village Catalan, in an elevated position above Vernet-les-Bains, where there is time at leisure to enjoy the views from the private terrace. We consider good food important, and a varied menu of 3-course evening meals, prepared with care by Sébastien Figue at restaurant Les Temps de Cerises, are included.
Day to day programme
Arrival Perpignan Airport and transfer to Village Catalan, 1 hour. Welcome aperitif and information in the village club house, getting acquainted. Dinner and evening in Vernet-les-Bains.
Exploring the village Vernet-les-Bains at leisure, later you will be painting in the village and the surrounding area. In the afternoon we drive down to visit to the fortified medieval village Villefranche-de-Conflent (known as "mini-Carcassonne") and its fortress Fort Liberia. Dinner at 8 PM.
Actual instruction is about 3 hours a day, whereafter you have a wide choice of places to paint or draw. Weather permitting, instruction is in the open air, otherwise in the club house. After lunch you can choose to practice painting typical Catalan style architecture with the instructor, unless you prefer the colourful nature, take a hike in the mountains behind the village, or relax on the terrace with a glass of smooth local wine until you cannot resist putting the superb scenery on canvas or paper.
Dinner at 8 PM in Vernet-les-Bains.
Half-day excursion to Prades via St. Michel-de-Cuxa abbey. Market day in Prades until 1 PM; when the entire town centre is turned into a market - you will find fresh regional products, perhaps a few bargains, and plenty of Catalan atmosphere. Bring the scetchbook along. Return to Vernet for lunch and instruction in the afternoon. Dinner at 8 PM.
Instruction in the wilderness - the trails start at the village and after a short walk the scenery changes dramatically. Here you will discover panoramic views, shaded forest, rock formations, a gorge and if you walk for an hour, the two waterfalls Cascades St Vincent and Cacades des Anglais. Picnic lunch. Stay on and paint, or return to the village as you please. Evening meal at 8 PM.
Full day excursion to Ceret, where Picasso once lived. Visit the Musse d'Art Moderne. We then cross the Spanish border to Figueres to visit the Dali museum. Lunch in Spain. On the return journey we head out to the coast and visit Collioure, one of the pearls of the Mediterranean, made famous by artists such as Matisse, Dali and Picasso, the summer castle of the Kings of Mallorca, anchovies and the sweet Banyuls wine. Return to Vernet for another excellent, but perhaps rather late evening meal.
The last session of the course, if you came for one week, it is time to fine tune techniques and finish the week's works of art. Undoubtedly influenced and inspired by the many new impressions, and - depending on your inclination - you may be tempted to start a new style...! Lunch in the village. In the afternoon there will be an opportunity to exhibit your work in the club house, which is then open to the public. Evening meal in Vernet-les-Bains at 9 PM.
Morning at leisure. Saturday is another market day in Vernet. Transfer to Perpignan Airport for your return flight (Or stay at Village Catalan for a second week and develop your skills in these beautiful surroundings ).
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"Art Sans Frontiere" projects are organised by Association Les Amis du Roussillon and available when pre-booked only and subject to minimum 6 participants.
Or create your own group of 6-16 participants and ask us to handle the practical matters at any time.
F-66820 Vernet-les-Bains, France
Tel: 0468056571, Fax: 0468056574
International phone: +33468056871 , Fax: +33468056574
Web email - Website: www.VillageCatalan.com