Provence Hilltop Villages Workshop with Ian Fennelly

April 18-22, 2022

From our home base in Avignon we will visit and sketch some of the gorgeous hilltop villages of Provence, France: Gordes, Roussillon, Menerbes, Bonnieux, and of course, Aix-en-Provence. We will walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh and Cezanne, visit an abbey surrounded by lavender fields and check out the crumbling remains of the home of the Marquis de Sade. In April, the average daytime high-temperature is 18.6°C (65.5°F), and the average nighttime low-temperature is 8.9°C (48°F). Because this workshop will involve some walking up and down hill as we are exploring hilltop villages, a basic level of fitness is required (and sensible shoes). 

Arrive Sunday April 17, 2022

Welcome to Avignon! Workshop participants who arrive early are invited to meet in the hotel lobby at 2:00 for a warm up sketch (optional). All tour participants are invited to a welcome reception at 7pm. Meet in the lobby at 6:45.

Day 1 Avignon

Monday April 18, 2022

In the morning we will make our way through the winding streets in the historical centre of Avignon as we walk to the location of Workshop #1. After lunch we will enjoy the panoramic vista from the Jardin des Doms, we will visit the Palais des Papes and we will dance sur le pont d'Avignon! Bien sur!

Day 2 Gordes + Roussillon

Tuesday April 19, 2022

Today is our first excursion south to the gorgeous hilltop village of Gordes where we will explore the cobbled streets and Ian will teach Workshop #2. After a leisurely lunch we will visit nearby rosy Roussillon built atop deposits of ochre that was used to paint so many of the buildings here giving the town its redish hue.


Day 3 Aix-en-Provence

Wednesday April 20, 2022

Today we will spend the day in leafy Aix-en-provence, the "city of 1000 fountains". Here we will stroll Cours Mirabeau and see how many hot spring fountains we can spot on our way to where Ian will teach Workshop #3. After lunch we will follow the bronze medallions embedded in the sidewalks that will lead us to the studio of Cezanne. On the way home we will stop for a tour of a vineyard and a wine tasting.

Day 4 Menerbes + Bonnieux

Thursday April 21, 2022

Today we will visit Menerbes, the walled village on a hilltop in the Luberon mountains, the foothills of the French Alps where Ian will teach Workshop #4. In the afternoon we will visit the picturesque narrow streets of beautiful Bonnieux and, if there's time, Lacoste, the home of the Marquis de Sade.

Day 5 Saint-Rémy + Glanum

Friday April 22, 2022

On our final day we will visit nearby Saint-Rémy where Ian will teach Workshop #5. After lunch we will visit the Monastery of Saint-Paul de Mausole where Van Gogh stayed for one year after he cut off his ear. On the way home we will stop in at Glanum the Archeological site where can be found the ruins of a Gallic city steeped in Greek and Roman influences built in the 2nd century BC 

In the evening we will celebrate an amazing week with a farewell dinner (included).


Saturday April 23, 2022

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

For a complete workshop supply list, click HERE.


Click HERE for answers to frequently asked questions.

For more information about the workshops content contact Ian at

For more information about this vacation package contact Brenda Murray






Tour Includes

  • A welcome reception
  • All art classes
  • 4 full-day excursions via coach to: Gordes + Roussillon, Menerbes + Bonnieux, Aix-en-Provence and Saint-Rémy 
  • Admission to the the studio of Cezanne, the Monastery of Saint-Paul de Mausole, a wine tasting at a vineyard, and the Glanum Archeological site.
  • Farewell dinner

Tour Excludes

  • Flights to/from
  • connecting transportation to/from airport
  • Hotel
  • Meals (except those listed above)
  • Painting supplies
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Porterage/luggage handling
  • Travel insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Items not explicitly specified in the inclusion list

Cost in USD

$1599. USD Workshop Participant

$849. USD 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 is due 150 days before the start of the workshop. The remaining balance is due 120 days before the start of the workshop.

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

Please note that the date of this workshop is subject to change in light of the current covid-19 virus. We will be monitoring the situation closely in an effort to ensure everyone's safety.



The official hotel of this tour is the Mercure Avignon Centre Palais des Papes hotel, 1 rue Jean Vilar on Place de l'Horloge. This hotel is located right in the city center just steps from the Pont d'Avignon and the Palais des Papes. (Please note that there are 2 Mercure hotels close together. This one is on Place de l'Horloge). Cancellation policy is free of charge until D-30 prior to arrival.  A very reasonable group room rate has been negotiated that includes breakfast however the hotel has requested that we do not publish the room rate on our website. 

How to Make A Hotel Reservation

Before making a hotel reservation, the first step is to register for this workshop by clicking the BOOK NOW button below.

After you have registered for this workshop you can make a reservation at this hotel by emailing (RESERVATIONS.GROUPE.AVIGNON1@accor.comor calling (011-33-490-809-300) the Group Reservation Manager, Johann Philippon and requesting the group rate for Studio 56.

Workshop participants are not obliged to stay in this hotel. You are welcome to stay in another hotel or Airbnb if you prefer. However, if you are interested in staying in this hotel we advise you to book asap because the hotel will not hold rooms indefinitely and they have a generous D-30 cancellation policy.

Practical Tips

Participants will need to fly into either Paris or Marseille and take a train from there. If flying into Paris, the TGV train leaves from Gare de Lyon. If flying into Marseille, the train leaves from Vitrolles Marseille Airport. Trains can be booked either HERE or HERE.

Travel + Medical Insurance

Travel insurance is also highly recommended as it covers you in the event you must cancel your trip and it covers emergency medical services which may be significantly more expensive than expected when travelling in a foreign country. Please check with your insurance provider. Click HERE for a list of US insurance providers. Some credit card companies may also offer travel insurance if you paid for your trip with that card.

Covid-19 Vaccinations

The instructor and tour manager are fully vaccinated against covid-19 and it is mandatory that all participants are fully vaccinated against covid-19. You will not be allowed to enter the country without showing proof that you are fully vaccinated. This tour will be following all locally recommended protocols.

Your Tour Manager

Participants will be accompanied by Studio 56 owner, Brenda Murray. Brenda is an artist and arts advocate, the founder of Urban Sketchers Waterloo Region and a former Urban Sketchers Board member. A seasoned traveler, 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

To register for this exciting vacation workshop, please click the BOOK NOW button below to make a deposit.