Plein Air France

Plein Air France Holidays

Exceptional plein air painting and walking holidays in the Loire Valley

Treat yourself to an exceptional week of painting or walking in and around the magical troglodyte village of Trôo. Perched above the river Loir in the northern Loire Valley, this remarkable village features unique cave houses dug into the hillside that provide stunning views over the village, river and valley.  This will be our base with van excursions to nearby picturesque locations.

Exquisite lodging in Trôo at Le Château de la Voûte

Stay in this beautiful “petit chateau de charme” with it’s manicured gardens, towers, troglodyte swimming pool, sauna, steam bath and gym in the old stables.  Studio space for painting indoors available.

The bedrooms are decorated with authentic period antiques, hardwood floors, and tastefully appointed en suite bathrooms.  Fabulous views from all rooms, including the ground floor dining rooms and salons where you can read, play the piano, or a game of chess in the library.  There are caves housing a game room and the swimming pool, and a double jacuzzi in a tower.

The entire chateau and grounds are ours for the week. An exquisite family-owned bijou of a chateau in an extraordinary cave village setting… it’s the best of both worlds.

Plein Air Painting

Spring 2018: May 26 – June 2

Fall 2018: September 8 – 15

Instructor: Tom Hughes

Taught in English

In this workshop, participants will be instructed/coached at each person’s individual skill and experience level, from outright beginner to experienced outdoor painter.  The fundamentals (proportion, values, color) will be explained and demonstrated as much and as individually as students desire, with finer points like aerial perspective, color harmony, use of mediums, thin vs. thick paint, washes, scumbles, ways to hold the brush, etc., addressed at any time.

This workshop is meant to be an intensive hands-on learning experience for those who desire it:  it’s a chance to build or reinforce skills and try new things without the pressure of having to make “finished” paintings that you have to sign.  Have you always wanted to make painterly pictures with big fat brushstrokes but couldn’t quite bring yourself to carry it through?  Would you like to be able to draw a bit better, make things look their proper sizes, but can’t always figure out why things don’t look quite right?  Maybe practice mixing colors from a limited palette?  We can do any of these things — the instructor is there to give you ideas, technical advice, moral support, demonstrations — whatever insight he has accrued from 22 years of full-time painting.

Plein Air Painting Instructor Tom Hughes

Tom Hughes has been a professional artist for 25 years.  He paints figures, portraits and landscapes in various media: oil, acrylic, watercolor and alkyd.  He has had solo exhibitions at galleries in San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, the New England states, and France.  In 2017, Hughes was invited to become a member of the Plein Air Painters of America.  His work has been featured in PleinAir magazine, American Artist Watercolor magazine and Fine Art Connoisseur. Winner for Best Landscape? in PleinAir magazine’s Oct-Nov 2017 PleinAir Salon Art Competition, Tom is one of the artists whose work is featured in a book about watercolor painting skills, Watercolor Painting by Tom Hoffmann, published in 2012 by Watson-Guptill.


Country Walks & Villages

Fall 2018: September 22- 29

Local Guide: Christine Goursat

Bi-lingual Guide

Join us in Trôo for a week of gorgeous morning walks on trails, towpaths, and country roads through the verdant valley of the Loir River and along it’s picturesque hillsides dotted with vineyards, caves, and castles.  Your afternoons are free to wander select villages of historic interest, fabulous gardens, and majestic monuments at your own pace.  Stay in the beautiful Château de la Voûte with breakfast and delicious home-cooked rustic dinners included.

Local Guide Christine Goursat

Christine Goursat has resided in Trôo since 1978 and is a member of the Randonneurs de la France hiking association.  She loves to explore the French countryside and has selected her favorite country walks with Holiday Director Kate Kilbourne for our daily excursions.  Christine speaks English and will be delighted to share her knowledge of the countryside and villages of the Loire Valley.

Must be capable of walking 3 hours on moderate terrain (including trails, footpaths, paved roads, and up and down steps)

Plein Air France Holidays Director Kate Kilbourne

Kate Kilbourne has owned the Cave Yuccas property since 2000. In 2005 she began restoring the cottage above the cave which she now rents out as a vacation home (see  Kate is an excellent bilingual guide to the local markets, chateaux, and vineyards, and she will do everything she can to make your week in this ancient troglodyte village a magically memorable holiday.

For detailed information on our holidays and to read testimonials from participants, visit our website at

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