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I am so excited with the response I have received in just a few short weeks from the time of my initial email. To date, I have received requests for more information from 55 painters! Several have already placed a deposit I have received confirmation of our Paris hotel stay, placed the deposit for our stay at the Mill in S.W. France and booked my flight. If you would like the contact information of the travel agent scouting deals for our group please email me at artist@nikkisportraits.com . I can take a total of 11 artists, but no more. This will guarantee a very intimate tour of France that I am sure those going will enjoy!

This trip has been in my dreams seriously for a year and a bit now. The students of my 2011 Cafe Sketchbook Tour first inspired the idea. During one of our last classes together, we enjoyed a beautiful 

day plein air sketching on the patio deck of the Mercury Cafe in the Cathedral Area.


“Promotional Photo for Cafe Sketchbook Tour“ copyright 2010 N.Jacquin

One of the student exclaimed, “Wouldn’t this be fun to do in France! You should do this in France!” This student, a young mother had lived and worked in France as a young women. Another of the students seated at the table that day had traveled to France on several occasions. The table was abuzz with ideas and suggestions for this possible adventure.


“View from the Mercury Cafe“ in Regina, Saskatchewan ink and watercolour sketch copyright 2010 N.Jacquin

During the next year I dreamed, research and dreamed some more with considerable input, advice and encouragement from one of those students. Over the past years I have come to value our friendship as I have gotten to know her and her family as first portrait clients and then through several of my painting classes. This student proposed a very clear vision of shared accommodations in French style getes, cafes and walks along the Rue Cler.


The Mill, our base in S.W. France is a 13th century mill that has been converted to a gete. A gete is a converted barn or other such structure that houses several individuals in private rooms but has shared kitchen and living spaces. I began researching this trip through a travel agency in Regina, but as I saw the price going up and up and the proposed plan diverge greatly from this original vision I finally decided to return to my own research. I am sure you will agree this excursion is designed to deliver a very intimate creative experience. Only 11 artists, our hosts the Johnstone’s and I will be participating. There will be less time spent in travel and more time to paint the sites of rural southern France.

Our Hosts . . .

Our hosts in Gascony are Lynne and Ray Johnstone. From the time we arrive by train in Gascony until the time we are returned to the train to prepare for our departure, the Johnstones will be acting as our hosts, and guides. We will even get to enjoy a few morning classes lead by Ray! I invite you to get to know the Johnstones by visiting their web sites and Ray’s blogs before we go.

Website for Gite, Art Holidays, Mézin Gallery & B&B:


Ray’s Art Blog:


Ray’s Online Gallery:


Fun Links . . . As I have been researching this trip to France, I have come across few fun links that I would like to share with you. Hope you enjoy these and dream about the upcoming trip!

French Language Lessons . . .

Free Things to Do in Paris . . .

Panoramic Eiffel Tower View. . .

Site We Will Visit . . .

Video about Monet . . .