Art Retreat in France: Unveiling Creative Wonders in St. Antonin-Noble Val

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If you've ever felt that nudge in your soul telling you to go on a retreat, then consider this your sign to do it – because I finally did, and it was beyond incredible.

In 2022, I decided to join a watercolor painting class, finally acting on a secret dream of mine of painting and traveling all over the world. Little did I know that this simple decision would set me on an exciting course of creativity and self-discovery.

As I dabbled with watercolor painting, something magical happened – I fell head over heels in love with it. It was like colors came alive under my brush, and I knew I wanted to seriously pursue this new passion.

One day, during class, my art professor dropped the bomb that she was retiring, BUT would be hosting an art retreat in the South of France the following summer. Cue the fireworks in my mind! I instantly knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I wasn't passing it up.

Fast forward to the enchanting French town of St. Antonin-Noble Val – where my art retreat unfolded like a dream. For seven glorious days, I immersed myself in a world of creativity, surrounded by a small group of fellow artists and kindred spirits.

My friends, I present to you… La Roane – one of the most magical places I've ever been had the privilege of experiencing.

Walking Trails. Cute Llamas. Beautiful poppy fields… 

Quaint gardens that look straight out of a Monet painting…

It. was. perfect.

And here's the icing on the cake – we had an in-house resident chef who cooked the most incredible (and inspiring) vegetarian meals every day.

Who knew beets and chickpeas could be so delicious?

Beets, chickpeas, sesame seed rice
Chickpea fritters, salad, hummus
Pasta salad
Wild grain rice, vegan sushi rolls, apple pie
Favorite meal: Timballo

From eating delicious food to painting in the studio and capturing the essence of the picturesque French landscapes "en plein air," I felt alive and inspired like never before. The retreat not only enriched my artistic skills but also blessed me with beautiful friendships and memories I will cherish forever. 

This experience left a mark on my artistic journey & healed me in ways I never thought possible. It sparked a hunger for growth, a desire to explore new techniques, and an unshakable determination to fearlessly follow my passion and continue exploring the world.

For the remainder of this blog, I'm sharing a few more incredible experiences that come when you embrace uncertainty and say "yes" to adventure.

Hiking to St. Antonin Noble-Val

During my art retreat in the South of France, one of the things we did was hike along one of the ancient pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela. The path led us through picturesque landscapes, eventually arriving at the most vibrant Sunday Market in St. Antonin Noble-Val.

St. Antonin Noble Val Market

The market was a bustling scene with diverse vendors offering high-quality items – from delectable food to exquisite jewelry, fashionable clothes, bees wax wrap (which I regret not purchasing there because I ended up buying it on Amazon anyway), and charming home accessories. It was a perfect blend of immersing ourselves in the town's culture and enjoying a day filled with artistic inspiration.

I like to collect jewelry & trinkets from places around the world, so I did purchase a few small items – dainty bracelets, a lovely necklace, amethyst earrings. The quality & prices were amazing.

But that wasn't all!

Once the market closed, we had a delightful surprise waiting for us – a lovely picnic courtesy of Enzo, the in-house resident chef, & amazing hosts, along the scenic Aveyron river. As we gathered by the tranquil waters, we shared a meal under the trees, relaxed, and took in the moment – feeling pure gratitude for this extraordinary experience.

Exploring Bruniquel and Montricoux

Oh, let me tell you about the incredible days we had exploring Bruniquel and Montricoux, France – two charming towns that stole my heart during the art retreat.

Bruniquel was like stepping into a time capsule – narrow cobbled streets, ancient buildings, not a human in sight – and the medieval vibes were unreal! Every twist and turn brought a new surprise, and the whole place just oozed artistic inspiration.

I couldn't help but soak in the rich history and charm, finding my "muse" in the picturesque architecture and the serene countryside that surrounded us.

And then came Montricoux – talk about charming. The journey there was an adventure in itself, with breathtaking French landscapes and poppy fields all around us. It was an artist's paradise.

We explored art, bought sweets from vendors, and had a cozy drink at a charming little cafe.

Speaking of art, I can't forget to mention the Musée Marcel-Lenoir in Montricoux! We had the privilege of visiting this gem of a museum, dedicated to the works of the talented artist Marcel-Lenoir. His paintings were awe-inspiring, and I found myself lost in the depths of each masterpiece. 

Besides this museum, what made Montricoux even more memorable was the light rain; while some might think it would dampen our spirits, I think it added a certain charm to the experience.

Alas, My Painting Journey

As I reminisce about my art retreat in the South of France, I can't help but feel grateful for the unforgettable experiences that enriched my artistic journey & self-discovery. From exploring the charming towns of Bruniquel and Montricoux to finding inspiration in the historical architecture and serene countryside, each moment left a lasting imprint on my heart.

I get to relive those breathtaking landscapes and artistic moments every time I look at photos/videos I captured throughout my journey.

Lastly, I couldn't resist capturing the essence of some of those picturesque scenes in a watercolor painting during the retreat – my humble attempt to bring nature’s beauty to life on canvas.

Poppy Fields, France 2023
Frio River, 2023

And just like that... my journey of art, adventure, and self-discovery continues beyond the art retreat; these paintings will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Hope you enjoyed & feel inspired to do something you've never done before.

If you have any questions or just want to say hi, I’m just a DM away. 

xo - Ivonne