French Alps Vacation Workshop with Hazel Soan

May 15-19, 2023

You are invited to join Hazel Soan's vacation workshop in the beautiful French Alps. The medieval town of Annecy (pronounced un-see) will be our home for an exciting week of workshops and touring. Annecy is known as “the Venice of France" because of the small canals and streams that meander through town and the many charming bridges used to cross them.  We will paint the Alps, visit castles, taste local French wine, tour the lake by boat and more! We are looking forward to making art in good company. The average temperatures for that week in Annecy: high of 67-68°F (19-20°C) overnight low of 47-48F (8-9°C).  

Hazel trained at the Camberwell College of Arts and the Leicester College of Art. Hazel has exhibited worldwide and is remembered well as an Art expert on Channel 4’s popular daytime television programme Watercolour Challenge and for her two series’ of Splash of Colour, made by Anglia TV. Hazel is a bestselling author of numerous highly regarded art tutorial books. Hazel resides in London and is currently exhibiting at the M1 Fine Art Gallery in London. Check out Hazel Soan on Wikipedia.

Arrive Sunday May 14, 2023

Workshop participants who arrive early are invited to meet in the hotel lobby at 2:00 for a warm up sketch (optional). Hazel will not be teaching. This is just your chance to do a warm up painting before the first art class. All workshop participants and nonSketcher companions are invited to a welcome reception at 6pm. Below is our proposed itinerary.

Day 1--Paint by the Lake + take a boat tour of Lac d'Annecy

Monday May 15, 2023


After a delicious breakfast in our hotel, we will walk to the nearby Annecy Marina where Hazel will teach Workshop #1. After lunch we will take a leisurely 1.5 hour boat tour on Lac d'Annecy with lots of opportunities to relax and take pictures.  


Day 2--Paint Iconic Annecy + Tour the Palais de L'Isle

Tuesday May 16, 2023


Everywhere we look there is a story to tell in this charming medieval town that we will capture in our paintings during Workshop #2. After lunch we will take a tour of the iconic Palais de l'Île, often referred to as a "house in the shape of a galley". It was at one time a prison, a courthouse and an administrative centre that dates back to the 12th century.

Day 3--Paint old Annecy + Tour a Palace

Wednesday May 17, 2023

Today we will explore old Annecy with its many charming bridges that cross the Le Thiou River on our way to Workshop #3. In the afternoon we will take a panoramic bus to tour Chateau Montrottier, a fairytale palace built in the 13th and 14th centuries and nearby Gorges du Fier, with its 252m long footbridge, suspended 25m above the river.

Day 4--Paint an Alpine View during a full day excursion

Thursday May 18, 2023

Today we will travel by private coach to Chamonix (pronounced sha-muh-nee) where Hazel will teach Workshop #4. After lunch we will visit Saint-Gervais-les-Bains for sketching and picture taking. 

Day 5--Paint the Rooftops + Tour Château d'Annecy

Friday May 19, 2023

Today we will tour Château d'Annecy the residence of the Counts of Geneva in the 13th and 14th centuries. Here Hazel will teach Workshop #5. 

In the evening we will celebrate a wonderful week with a delicious farewell dinner (included).


Saturday May 20, 2023

It's time to say goodbye but you will never forget the friends you made or the skills you learned during this great week! Or extend your stay for a long relaxing holiday!  


Recommended Workshop Supply List

Click HERE.


Click HERE for answers to frequently asked questions.

For more information about this vacation package contact Brenda Murray

Tour Includes

  • A welcome reception
  • All art classes
  • Admission to the museums and sites mentioned
  • one round-trip ferry pass on Lac d'Annecy
  • panoramic bus trip to Montrottier and Gorges les Fier
  • Full-day excursion to Chamonix and Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
  • Farewell dinner

Tour Excludes

  • Flights to/from the area
  • Hotel
  • airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Meals (except those listed above)
  • Painting supplies
  • City taxes payable by guest at check out
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Porterage/luggage handling
  • Travel insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Items not explicitly specified in the inclusion list

Cost in USD

USD$1699. Workshop Participant

USD$699. NonWorkshop Participant (such as partner or travelling buddy)

NonWorkshop Participant tickets include the same attractions and meals as the Workshop Participants with the exception of the art classes.

To reserve your spot in this workshop a $500 nonrefundable deposit is required for Workshop Participants and a $300 nonrefundable deposit is required for nonWorkshop Participants 150 days prior to the start of the workshop. The remaining balance is due 120 days prior to the start of the workshop.

To make a deposit, please scroll to the bottom and click BOOK NOW.


How to Get There

By Air

Geneva-Cointrin International Airport is the closest international airport to Annecy. It is located 48 km away. There are train and bus connections to Annecy from the airport.

Shuttle/Train from the Airport to the Train Station

There is a free train/shuttle that takes you from Geneva-Cointrin Airport train station to the main Gare Cornavin Central Railway Station every 12 to 20 minutes. It is a 6 minute shuttle/train ride. You will get to this shuttle/train by walking through the airport shopping centre (5 mins). Tickets for this shuttle/train are free. The ticket machine for the free shuttle/train ticket is located at the luggage retrieval hall. This ticket must be used within 80 minutes of issuance. For more info about the free shuttle/train ticket click HERE.  

By Train

Take a train from the main Gare Cornavin Central Station to Annecy. This is a 90-120 minute train ride depending on time of day. The cost is about 23 euros one way.

Hotel Splendid is 5 blocks from the train station about a 9-minute walk or you could take a taxi.



Hazel and Brenda will be staying at the Splendid Hotel, 4 Quai Eustache Chappuis, 74000 Annecy, France. The room rate is $170-$210USD/night depending on room type with free cancellation up until one week before arrival. Breakfast is $20.95USD/day. Rooms can be booked online by clicking HERE.

If you are travelling alone and wish to share a room, please email and we will try to find a roommate for you among the participants. 

Workshop participants are not obliged to stay in this hotel. You are welcome to stay in another hotel or an Airbnb if you prefer.

Travel + Medical Insurance

Last minute cancellations for any reason are nonrefundable therefore protect your investment in this vacation by purchasing travel insurance. Click HERE for a list of US travel insurance providers. Some credit card companies may also offer travel insurance if you paid for your trip using that credit card.

Covid-19 Vaccinations

The instructor and tour manager are fully vaccinated against covid-19. This tour will be following all locally recommended protocols. Please check the covid protocols required for France by clicking HERE and check back close to the date of departure as the protocols may change. 

Your Tour Manager

Participants will be accompanied by Studio 56 owner, Brenda Murray. Brenda is a Canadian artist and arts advocate, the founder of Urban Sketchers Waterloo Region and a former Urban Sketchers Board member. A seasoned traveler, Brenda has traveled to Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea (lived there for 4 years), Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, UK, and the USA (35 states). Brenda will be on hand to assist the instructor and to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Learn more about Brenda HERE. 

For More Information

Email or call Brenda Murray at 519-572-1757.

How to Register for this Workshop

Registration is now closed. To add your name to the wait list email