Discover Provence with Linda and Mathieu

Welcome fellow artists and travelers!

Linda and I would like you to be our special guests for a unique travel experience in this place very special to our heart

My name is Mathieu Brousses, I have been hosting painting workshops in Provence and all over France for the past 8 years, let me tell you all about our all-inclusive Art Experience with the passionate instructor Linda Richichi

Here is a peak at our home-away-from-home for 10 unique days in Provence!

Downtown the small village of Graveson

address is : 5-7 avenue Frédéric Mistral – 13160 GRAVESON

(more important infos – phone numbers – at the bottom of this page)

Arrival day – Sunday, August 25!

Upon your arrival, Nicolas (our other driver) and I will personally pick you all up at 3 different locations : the Marseille MRS airport, the Airport Best Western Hotel and the hotel Cardinal in Aix-en-Provence on Sunday August 25.

MRS airport – pick up at 12:15 pm – (Maura, Allison, Anne Spivey, BJ, Jan, Kathy) –  Terminal 1 in front of the Starbucks

Best Western at the MRS Airport – pick up at 1 pm – (Julie, Karen, Susan, Vilma, Linda B. and Anne F.) – at the Hotel Lobby

Hotel Cardinal in Aix – pick up at 1:30 pm – (Carol, Mark, Linda R.) – at the Hotel

Make sure you have a small lunch before pick up as we will drive to our guest house right after pick up.

You will instantly feel at home in this very quiet and french atmosphere. We will then settle in with a local wine or cold drink. Our dear cook MoniK will be preparing the welcoming dinner. This first afternoon is all about settling down, resting after a long trip and getting to know each. As a group of passionate artists and remarquable people, your enthusiasm and your adventurous spirit are the best recipe for a unique and memorable Art Experience!

Now let me introduce you to our itinerary

The chronological order of the following itinerary is subject to change according to the weather, to the calendar of cultural and traditional events, to our specific desire and energy as a group and to the incredible diversity of beauties Provence has to offer. Please consider the following as a gourmet menu we will choose from!

Isle sur la Sorgue, water is poetry, water is life

This « island city » lies at the foot of the Vaucluse plateau in the plains of Comtat Venaissin. The river Sorgue surrounds the city as if to hug it. Walking along the canals you will notice how they run between the narrow ancient streets. Its colors are nature’s green and the bright reflection of the water shining from the several canals running through its center. Also, magnificent mansions have been converted into art galleries, in particular the famous Maison René Char.

There are little bridges to cross and great wheels to look at with mossy blades turning in the river. Antique lovers and art collectors will be gratified by the nearly 300 permanent antique dealers and second hand shops here. L’Isle sur la Sorgue hosts antiques’ fairs twice a year that have given a worldwide reputation to this small city. More than 500 antique dealers and second hand dealers gather here to show their treasures to customers from all over the world.

St Rémy de Provence – St Paul de Mausole & Vincent

The monastery St Paul de Mausole is best known for the fact that Vincent van Gogh stayed from May 1889 to May 1890. During this period he painted 140 oil paintings and more than 100 drawings. To name a few: «The Irises», «Starry Night», «Olive Orchard», and «Wheat field with Cypress».

A masterpiece of Provencal Romanesque art, the 11th -12th Century cloister backs onto the chapel, in pure Romanesque style. The garden is a gem of beauty and simplicity. The quintessence of picturesque.

Arles, a city with an exceptional heritage

The two-tiered Roman Amphitheatre (les Arènes) sits in the town center of Arles. It was used 2000 years ago for chariot races and gladiator battles; nowadays you can enjoy plays and summer concerts or bullfighting and bullraces. The site is most often called an Amphitheatre however we’re using the term Roman Arena, to reduce the confusion with the nearby Roman Theatre.

Arles is surrounded by an environment of exceptional beauty: the banks of the Rhône river, the arid plains of Crau, the Alpilles and the untamed land of Camargue. The lights and colors you will find here are the reasons a famous
Vincent made it its adoptive town…

Les Baux de Provence, just breathtaking!

One of my favorite and one of the most beautiful villages in France set atop a rocky outcrop crowned with a medieval ruined castle overlooking magnificent vineyards and olive tree groves to the south.

The monumental (click this link –>) « Carrières de Lumières » host extraordinary multimedia shows which are unique in the world. Like walking in a dream of lights nested in an ancient and mysterious temple. Shows are renewed every year! This year is about Egypt and the Pharaons.

Let’s not forget we also have an amazing guest house to get some well deserved rest

After a few days of touring Provence and its wonders we will welcome a nice and slow day at the guest house!

A « rest » day : Paint, read, take a stroll, snooze! It’s all up to you. Today, breakfast, lunch and dinner will be at the guest house.

2 rest days are planned during our trip, August 28 and 31

An easy day with a good book, a siesta, a swim? You call it

Fontaine de Vaucluse, emerald and mysterious water

The village of Fontaine de Vaucluse is squeezed into the sharp end of a narrow valley and takes its name from the beautiful and mysterious spring feeding the river Sorgue. This spring comes from deep underground – nobody knows how deep. In the 50s, Jacques Yves Cousteau came with a submersible to explore the depths but did not find the bottom. Since then a probe has made it to a sandy bed at a depth of 308 metres (1010 ft) but the spring itself comes from somewhere even deeper.

It is said that all the rainwater from the Luberon and other surrounding mountains comes out of this one source, making a catchment area of 1100 square km (425 sq. miles). For most of the year all you can see is a deep blue pool of water at the bottom of towering cliffs. But during spring or very heavy rainfall it lives up to its name, with water gushing out at 200m3 (52,000 gallons) every second – this is one of the largest springs in the world.

A day in a vineyard, Le Mas de la Dame

(or another beautiful vineyard near St Remy-de-Provence)

Mentioned in the predictions of Nostradamus, painted by Van Gogh and evoked by Simone de Beauvoir, Mas de la Dame has been producing wine and olive oil for four generations.
In 1993, Caroline Missoffe and Anne Poniatowski, the founder’s great-granddaughters, became winemakers and launched La Dame into the world.

Vines and olive trees have grown side by side in the Vallée des Baux since antiquity, as witnessed by the reconstruction of daily life from that era, made possible by the remains of Glanum, the ancient city discovered by archaeologists at St Rémy de Provence.

Oppède-Le-Vieux, perched and majestic

Oppede is one of the most authentic and preserved villages of the Luberon. Definitely one of my favorite!

Built on a rocky spur, in a rugged setting of forests, combes and rocks, it contemplates a landscape of vineyards, olive trees, oaks and always keeps an eye on the villages perched around…

The mineral gem is located on the northern flank of the Luberon and its old village is a perfect balance between ancient mansions, nature and light, a place between mysteries and history. A timeless village. From their overlooking position, the castle and collegiate church take you to a journey in the Middle Ages.

A very preserved village, only accessible from the compulsory parking lot of the Jardins de Sainte-Cécile. In these gardens you will find 80 species of trees, shrubs and plants of the Luberon. After walking through the streets of the old village, you will discover a spectacular ensemble: the Collégiale Notre Dame Dalidon and the ruins of the castle.

The street markets of Provence, a whirlwind of colors, tastes and fragrances!

One of the highlights of a trip to Provence is always going to be the rich array of open-air markets. These are held in every town and just about every village of Provence.

The market is the link between two of the France’s identifying traits – the glory of the countryside and the importance of food. The market embodies the deep-rooted French belief that the best food goes from field to plate in the shortest amount of time. The markets of Provence are an explosion of colours, scents and sounds, an invigorating experience even if you are not buying anything.

Markets are full of fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, meat and fish, olives, oil, honey, wine, everything for the perfect picnic, but also fabrics, soaps, crafts, clothes and gift items.

In Provence, markets take place in practically every village on a weekly basis, and more often in towns and cities. They are almost all in the morning from 7/8am to 1pm.

St Rémy Street Market is on Wednesday mornings
It is a 15mns ride and it is well worth it!

Avignon, A Medieval Town with a Youthful Attitude

Avignon is full of history and full of life. 

Capital of the Vaucluse and the Côtes du Rhône, seat of the popes and city of art and culture, theatre, cinema, museums, big stores and little shops, Avignon is a small city that has everything a big one has, and then some…

From medieval streets and houses to private mansions from the Renaissance, passing through all its old and enticing squares, some no bigger than a tiny lane…

Although Avignon is most often associated with its famous bridge, the greatest attraction of the city is undoubtedly the Papal Palace. Avignon was the seat of popes during the years 1309–1377. It was Clement V who moved the papacy from Rome to Provence: following him, a total of seven popes and two antipopes lived in Avignon.

Please meet your art instructor: Linda Richichi

She will help you capture the essence of those breathtaking places

Linda is offering online teaching before the trip! If you join us you will have the opportunity to be a part of this tutoring. When we are on site and we paint on a regular basis, there will be critiques by Linda.

Discover the art of Linda


A bit about me: Mathieu

your host, interpreter, guide, driver, jack-of-all-trades french friend!

I was born and raised in Arles, Provence. I studied biology and film making. After 10 years in Paris working for the movie industry and television networks I came back to Provence to enjoy life with my wife and son. I renovated and settled in a 200 years old house up in the hills of Aix en Provence. I know Provence and its people like the back of my hand. With Wendy Higbee Carando I co-founded the Provence Art Experience in 2015. Art is part of my everyday life. I will be doing everything so you have a memorable stay: a unique experience!

What I want the Provence Art Experience to be

A thoughtfully tailored adventure for a small group of passionate artists led by an attentive considerate guide-interpret-driver-friend through the beautiful and secret Provence.

One of my artist participant (whom I today call my friend) once told me
“You literally hand-carried us through Provence!”

The sentence stuck with me ever since.
Participants of Provence Art Experience painting workshops tell me I am a provider, a caretaker.
There is no secret about it. I love to meet people, I love to share with them the Provence I know and cherish.
I love to make sure everyone is comfortable.
Is your folding chair ok? Do you have enough shade? Would you like a bottle of water? Would you like some more wine?! Our mini-van is a bit high to step in? Let me put this little stool here!

A Provence Art Experience is nothing like a crowded tour bus.
Nobody will impatiently tap their wrist-watch to tell you to hurry and run because the bus is leaving.
You will not be an anonymous number in a crowd of 50 people. You will be my guests.
And – in my book – guests are always of honor.

You will be a part of an all-inclusive tailored private experience with the other artists and your instructor.
I want to keep it this way so we can get to know each other. You get to discover French Culture and “art de vivre” with someone born in Provence – in love with Provence – and eager to share it with you!

Sharing is really the main idea. The meals together are always heartwarming and special moments, breakfasts at the guest house with fresh croissants and anything you might like with it, lunches at small cafés in the most beautiful typical villages or gourmet dinners with our talented and friendly chef at the guest house or in a delicious restaurant.
We will discover the treasures of Provence, in the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne. On the small meandering back roads of this enchanting country we will visit old, typical villages and just enjoy the lights, colors and atmospheres.

I also make sure you get the rest you need because 9 days of immersion can be intense! You will have your alone time to replenish your energy so you get to do and see more.

Provence Art Experience is the way to discover Provence like no where else.

Ultimately the most appropriate persons to talk about the Provence Art Experience are the artists who experienced it:

You can read their enthusiasms and the extremely enthusiastic and sweet reviews they wrote on Facebook, they really are heartwarming for me:

The Experience is ALL INCLUSIVE

The pricing of our painting workshops – as you can easily compare with other offers – is more than reasonable for an all-inclusive private tailored journey in Provence.

We aim to offer you a memorable journey you will remember dearly – a unique artistic, cultural, gastronomic and immersive experience.

Your Provence Art Experience includes:
-your lodging in one of the carefully chosen beautiful guest houses we work with in Provence – Brittany or Loire Valley (check the itineraries)
-All your meals with beverages: breakfasts, lunches and gourmet dinners by our chef or in local restaurants!
-All airport transfers as well as everyday local transportation for the planned tours,
-The organization of the plein-air sessions and lessons by the artist instructor,
-The outdoor activities,
-The tickets for the latest events, art museums and must-sees on the itinerary
-My 24/7 attentive and considerate presence as your host, driver, interpret, guide and provider of all you might need!

It does not include:
-The airfare tickets
-Your travel and airfare ticket insurances

Due to the variability in the dollar/euro exchange rate in the past years and to secure the higher level of services we are proud to offer for your Provence Art Experience – we now base the price on the Euro.
Our main goal is to offer the same level of service and quality for the lodging, the meals, the transportation, the tickets for the must-sees and everything else we pay in Euros here in France.

Important infos :

My phone numbers :

+33 6 15 45 47 58

+33 6 37 04 00 93

The guest house address is :

5-7 avenue Frédéric Mistral – 13160 GRAVESONFRANCE

The closest hospital is the : 

CENTRE HOSPITALIER d’AVIGNON 

305A Rue Raoul Follereau, 84000 Avignon

+33 4 32 75 33 33 (for emergencies also)

http://www.ch-avignon.fr/

For extreme medical emergencies just dial 15 – the SAMU

Emergency Numbers in France

The European Emergency number is 112 (114 for hearing-assisted). 

Dial this number for any emergency service (ambulance, fire brigade, police) anywhere throughout Europe. Specially-trained operators will pick up the call, and in France are guaranteed to speak English and French. This number is free of charge and can be dialled from a fixed line or a mobile phone – even if the mobile phone is out of credit or locked. It exists alongside French national emergency numbers, which are:

  • 15: Medical help/SAMU
  • 17: Police/Police Nationale (Gendarmerie)
  • 18: Fire department & accidents/Sapeurs Pompiers
The European Emergency number is 112

In France, the SAMU is the national emergency organization. 

It has a 24-hour service and gives medical assistance for all medical emergencies. 

Its ambulances are manned by teams of trained personnel, and are equipped with emergency equipment for any cardiac or respiratory resuscitation.