By Maryanne Grebenstein —
For several years, I’ve had the pleasure of conducting a Classroom Abroad experience for calligraphers and book artists at Château de la Napoule in the south of France. It’s such a marvelous location that in my last blog post I shared some of the history of the château and photos of how beautiful it is.
These trips are so special to me that in this post I’d like to share a few of my thoughts and photos. The trips vary each time, but they all offer interesting instruction and unique adventures. (I’ve had some people who have never picked up a pen join us as much for the travel as for the calligraphy! And some participants have brought non-artists as traveling companions, too.) I look forward to them months in advance.
We usually start with several days at a different location (such as Paris, London or Cambridge UK) before heading to the south of France to the château. The group travels together from Boston and the first days of the trip give us a chance to get to know each other, adjust to the time change, recover from jet lag, and well, see some pretty incredible sites.
The starting location of the trip also exposes us to destinations and exhibits that prepare us (a.k.a. stoke our enthusiasm) for the Classroom Abroad portion. There’s so much to see and it’s a joy to experience history in this way; many of Europe’s attractions and magnificent museums honor its long and storied past.
(Does anyone want to set up an “ink bar” locally? I’d be a devoted customer!)
While at La Napoule there’s a special mystique to spending a week at a restored castle. It feels so … exotic. I love to walk the grounds and explore the gardens, and the air smells amazing.
We spend mornings in the studio, and then break for lunch – often one of our delightful ‘pot luck’ lunches where everyone brings a little something they have found at the neighboring market.
After lunch, students can continue their studio work independently.
Or, they can hop on the regional train that is directly across the street and visit one of the many beautiful neighboring towns along the French Riviera such as Cannes, Monaco, Nice, Antibes, and San Tropez – all very nearby! (That’s another amazing feature about La Napoule!)
Here are a few examples of work created during Classroom Abroad.
I’d love to know what you think of my photos! And if this kind of trip sounds amazing to you, there are still a few spots available for the 2016 Classroom Abroad, running October 1-12. Feel free to contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at 781-740-9000. You can also click here to download a packet of information. I promise you it will be a trip you’d never forget.
All photos by the author.