Day 1 For Painting Tour in Rural France : Is it Winter or Spring?


I am back in France on my first 2010 tour. A painting tour in the foothills of the Alps with art teacher Niki Reynolds.

What a fun group it is! small (5 women) for a lot of fun and laughter. The tour is not only about oil painting even if it is the primary reason for them to join the tour but it is about enjoying each other’s company, French food, French culture and having a good time.

The weather hasn’t been the best it can be. That is the least I can say. It is quite chilly, about 13 degree Celsius (55F), which is usually the weather for March.

That doesn’t stop our guests from painting: if it is too cold outside for some of them, they are painting inside.

Most are beginner painters (Nancy, Anne and Judy) while Joan is an experienced outdoor painter. By the time the beginners finish to set up their easel and paint, Joan has almost finished one painting. Oh well, they found that rather amusing. Me too!!!

Niki is a great teacher. You can check her art on her site at

She is spending a lot of time helping the newbies. That is the beauty of being in a small group. You get plenty of personal help from the teacher.

On thhe first day, we had a professional chef preparing dinner for us. Not just any chef, but Jean Claude Poulet has been the chef for the Louis Vuiton family. What a treat.
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Jean Claude prepared  superb food for us. I didn’t take pictures of everything and I should have.  Below is a picture of him preparing the asparagus as hors d’oeuvres, then a picture of him with the bananas with cinnamon for dessert, a close-up of the banana and finally a picture of our group.

If you want to join one of our painting tours in 2011, make sure to check

Jackie Grandchamps
Jackie Grandchamps obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in Belgium, and then moved to the U.S. in 1995 to conduct cancer research at Stanford University in California. Her heart has always been in travel however, and she turned her passion into a full time job in 2003 when she launched her travel business, French Escapade offering an authentic travel experience to women.

She says, "I wanted to make my dream come true: sharing my love of traveling and giving people the opportunity to really experience a different culture. Instead of the traditional 'tourist' sightseeing trip to France, I wanted to immerse very small groups of women in the culture, let them meet locals, eat authentic cuisine and 'live' an authentic experience. That's how French Escapade was born.”
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