Lavender in Dordogne & Abbey Saint Avit 2024

lavande,dordogne, st avit senieurabbaye,atelier peinture, painting workshop

 Welcome to Painting Holidays with Adam Cope

in the Dordogne, South West France.

May 30 – 6 June 2024

vignette st avit abbey france

 A quality painting course amidst the lavendar in bloom. With a rustic old stone farm, ancient woods, a refreshing stream & meadows of wild flowers. Deep in the Dordogne countryside, with lots of good subjects to paint.

With a painting trip to the medieval abbey of St Avit Sénieur, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on the Camino de Saint Jacques.

unesco logo

This eight day artist’s retreat gives you time to focus on your painting. Tutor is Adam Cope, who lives & paints in the Dordogne.

Easy to get to, fly to Bergerac.

Early summer in the Dordogne is ‘Floraison’, flowering time, when the meadows bubble over in bloom. The grass is high and the painting is good. This happy time offers the painter a colourful & joyful palette.

Paint Lavender in Bloom

champs lavande,dordogne

A lavender farm nestled in ancient woods & romantic meadows of wild flowers. Cooled by a gently flowing stream. There’s even some ruined remains, that were once a medieval castle… So lots to paint!

painting roses garde, plein-air, painting course,dordogne

It’s not all lavender. There are roses chez-Christine too!

Trees, old barns, stone buildings, hills, skies, donkeys, tractors… Even easy stuff for beginners.

The Dordogne – deep, slow & gentle

The meadow at Cugnac, part of our painting venue.

It’s good for painters to be in nature & deep quietness. On this painting workshop, you can simply walk out from the studio, amble down the old path 100 hundred yards and find yourself in secret meadows of high grass & wild flowers. Old wild wood. Le Domaine de Cugnac is commited to ecology & preserving semi-wildness.

perigordienne ferme, foret,

The studio has a covered terrace, half inside & half outside. tables, easels, tea & coffee … et bien sûr, un canapé tout confort. Should it rain, we can paint inside.

charmiere,dordogne, artiste, tablau en huile,sud france, foret

‘Charmière’ par Adam Cope. Huile sur panneau.41x33cm

You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let’s give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend.

— Bob Ross
aquarelle, tillieul, arbre, peinture à l'eau

Expect nothing – if not the unexpected. This knowledge comes to me from far away. A knowing that is not mere knowledge, but rather a trust, a whisper, a song. It comes from the only teacher I’ve ever had: a tree.

Christian Bobin
In Praise of Nothing

A day painting in Saint Avit Sénieur

The village of St Avit is on top of a hill, surrounded by woods & working farms. Lots of charming vernacular architecture to paint. Built with the honey coloured local stone, which gives a warm mellow glow. A patchwork of pretty gardens. Everything that ‘the Warm South’ has to offer to a painting workshop.

  A little bit of history

The Abbey of Saint Avit Sénieur is on the St. James Pilgrim’s Path to Santiago de Compostela.

The eleventh century medieval abbey with its Romanesque architecture is now a UNESCO listed world heritage site.The patina of ages, thirteenth century frecoes, the echoes of olden times …

The founder was Saint Avitus (480-570 A.D.), a Visigoth warrior from the Dordogne. Myth has it that he was captured and made a slave in the court of Clovis (466-511 A.D.), King of the Francs. When Clovis converted to Christianity, his court followed, along with Avitis. He gradually gained the respect of his captors & was eventually freed & returned to his natal Périgord, where he took hermitage under the wild cliffs & remote valleys, for such was the nature of early Christian hermits such as Saint Jerome for example. Then came the stories of miracles, of healing, a Holy Well & visions of the Holy Citadel…

Later on, Avitus was canonized and his miraculous bones exhibited in the abbey, which then became an important stop on the pilgrims Camino Way to Santiago, Saint Jacques de Compostelle. The impressive heights of the Romanesque architecture is an expression the Medieval desire to reach to Heaven.

Inhabited since prehistoric times, the spring was sacred to the Celts. The monks of the abbey built a maze of terraces, vegetable gardens & old stone walls. With cliffs, paths & deep woodland, all within walking distance, there’s no need to get in a car to find something to paint. 

St. Avit is a gem in the heart of the Dordogne. I think you can still feel the quiet & calm here.

south Facede St Avit romanesque architecture sunny elevation

An Optional Day Trip to the Prehistoric Painted Caves

vezere valley prehistory river cliffs

Stay on an extra day & visit the prehistoric painted caves in the nearby Vézère valley. Pre-booking necessary, 3 people minimum. Adam has a long term relationship with Prehistoric art & will present & inform you. Otherwise you can chose to stay at St Avit for a day of untutored painting.