Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Monet's palate


Cherry and apricot tart perfect with Creme Fraiche
‘Lunch first!’, ( 1) Monet would tell his guests when they visited him at Giverny. One of the great attractions of visiting Monet at home and studio in Giverny was the cuisine prepared by his cook Marguerite. The butler carried the steaming dishes from the kitchen to the dining table whilst Sylvain the chauffeur fetched the wine from the cellar.

Monet's house at Giverny

Monsieur Monet
Monet’s passion for great food and wine almost rivalled his love of painting and automobiles.
On the French Art School Tour we follow in the trail of the Impressionists and visit Monet’s garden and water lily ponds he famously painted at Giverny, and access the stunning house & studio.
I particularly love the magical view over the garden from an upstairs bedroom through the shuttered windows. Sighhhhh! World’s best bedroom view. Not to mention the collection of copper cooking pots in the kitchen.
Downstairs the striking salle a manger, or dining room has Monet styled yellow walls hung with Japanese prints and black and white floors.
As captured in the fabulous book ‘Mad Enchantment’ by Ross King;

‘Lunch chez Monet was a delightful but demanding gastronomical odyssey. Renoir used to seize upon the fish, fruits, and vegetables brought back from the market by his cook- not to eat but to paint, hid sinner having to wait until the painting was finished………..
“He eats like four,’ one amazed guest reported. “I promise you, that’s not just a manner of speaking. He’ll take four pieces of meat, four servings of vegetables, four glasses of liqueur.”

Monet shared his favourites including foi gras from Alsace, truffles from Perigord, mushrooms that he picked himself at dawn in a chestnut grove outside Giverny or bouillabaisse to a recipe provided by Cezanne. Apple brandy was served as a cleansing shot to aid digestion to the rich meals.

Although the lunches were a sought after invitation, guests hoped to tour Monet’s famed garden. As well as the nasturtium alley, the orchard and flower beds, in view of the house, Monet purchased a parcel of marshland on the other side of the road by the River Ru. He gained planning permission despite local resistance to divert part of the river stream to create a lily pond.

This gorgeous photo was taken by Judith Booth a guest on the last  Paris Limousin French Art School Tour

Locals thought Monet to be mad. Why grow flowers and plants you can’t eat?
Inspired by the new breed of waterlilies shown at Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889, Monet created a magical garden, with many varieties of water lilies thoughtfully leaving a peep hole in the stone wall for outsiders a view into his aquatic floral world.
Inspired by his Hokusai prints he created Japanese style bridges, another motif of his paintings we will enjoy in Paris at the Musee D’Orsay and L’Orangerie.

Monet's Garden

Luckily for us we too get to dine in Giverny like Monet did as we enjoy a languorous lunch in the village.
Like Monet, I find great produce and food inspirational and an uplifting experience as an artist. I enjoy creating hospitality that fills the heart as well as the stomach and the senses.
All set for lunch at L'Hirondelle! One of two charming French villas where we stay in the Limousin

So OF COURSE we have our own cook on French Art School Tour, Barossan Ned Hall, with us for the Limousin section of the French Art School who will be tantalising and satisfying our senses  daily. I am sure it will be a fight over whether we paint the produce from the markets or Ned gets to cook it!
We also have local French woman Anne Forget giving us a French cooking lesson to make Tartiflette with Roblochon cheese melting through crispy potatoes and thick cut bacon.

This sensuous intertwining of a love of pleasuring the palate and a love of enjoying the colours and self-expression of the artist’s palette is an intoxicating combination.
Guests on the last French Art School loved the experience of great food and art immersion. Equally they were keen to paint at every opportunity to capture the inspiration around them.
Poppies delight the eye on French Art School Tour
Monet spent time in the Creuse region of the Limousin, a natural and spectacular area of south western France painting 28 paintings by the River  Creuse.
The forests flank the river walk where Monet carried his canvases and painted no matter the weather.
Along Monet’s walk his letters about this period are printed into posts so he literally accompanies us on the path by the river sharing his experience of getting wet and cold in foul weather but having to persevere anyway. Don’t worry the weather will be beautiful spring weather! It’s so atmospheric and something special that not everyone knows about. Except us on the tour of course.
To find Monet’s walk, we walk along a path between fields of poppies at the back of a pretty village. Our lightweight back packs hold a baguette, a drink, our sketch books and a light fold away stool each so we can soak up the atmosphere where Monet once created his masterpieces.
A series of gift cards printed from art made on French Art School last year

If you salivate at the idea of an oozing camembert with a crusty baguette, as much as you fancy painting it, or you would like to know how to paint it, this tour has it all.
No need to be an experienced painter at all as with everything I do, I make art accessible for everyone.
Create paintings that can fit in your suitcase when dry and you will be able to get them home easily and safely.
Your paintings are the personal trophies of the tour you will enjoy for years to come.
 Nothing holds a memory, or a moment, like a painting that has captured or painted Impression of how you see things. Enjoy some easy techniques that will have you feeling proud of your masterpieces.

With our own atelier or painting studio I will provide you with lots of inspiring demos so you can understand how to do it yourself in your own way and feel proud of your own French Impressions.

Live in the Moment like an Impressionist!
Currently we have three places left on the French Art School tour and we are a month away from meeting in Paris and enjoying the trip of a lifetime.

Three places left on our tour! Here’s how to join in the fun!
The tour dates are June 14-27 meeting in Paris where we take in the Impressionist paintings collections and visit Giverny, home to Monet’s garden and studio, and a few other fab highlights.
After 3 days in Paris we have our own private driver, to collect us and take us to the Limousin in comfort via the Loire Valley and we visit two stunning chateaux with gardens to wow.

ü  The tour is 13 days and 12 nights
ü  Guests have their own room in Paris and the Limousin. Choose from two charming French villas - double story stone with French shutters and oak details,wifi.
ü  All breakfasts are included
ü  In the Limousin nearly all of the meals are included
ü  Aperitifs and wine supplied in the Limousin
ü  Private professional driver just for our group
ü  Private live in cook in the Limousin
ü  All art supplies, and painting tuition are included and provision of easels etc.
ü  A licensed professional driver is supplied.
ü  Entries to art museums and Giverny, plus lunch in a restaurant at Giverny
ü  Lunch at the Musee D’Orsay, Paris
ü  Comprehensive series of e-lessons supplied before and after the tour including background French artists information and step by step e-lessons
ü  Two French cooking lessons included
ü  Some free time included
Total land package $7850
includes French Art School Painting sessions art plus online bonus e-course that starts before you leave so you are already dreaming of France before you leave home!
Max of 10 guests.

M 0429 100 929 or email
or Nicole Sweeny M. 0429 100 929

I am already packing my bags!
Can’t wait.
A bientot! ( see you soon!)
Jacqueline Coates

Carpe Diem! Sieze the day!

Recommended Reading on Monet

(1) Mad Enchantment
Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies 
by Ross King
Published by Bloomsbury Circus
( this is such a  great book bringing Monet to life with charming details and observations which I have drawn on as the inspiration for this blog and his love of food. As a huge fan of Monet this one is  a great read)

Painting and the Modern Garden
Monet to Matisse
Royal Academy
( stunning visuals of garden paintings by the Impressionists)

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