André Derain, André Breton, Françoise, Sagan…
Always a source of inspiration to artists, let yourself fall to the call of creation.
A short course is all that’s needed, and your happy hands will be soon mastering all the “expertise” of the Lot Valley.
Sophie Talou loves calligraphy, which is why she teaches it to nostalgic lovers of fine writing, complete with sergent major pens, walnut stains and blotting paper as in times gone by, you’ll find “les pleins et les déliés“ of the English woman and the Note.
1 day (2 x 3hours) €45, 3 days €120.
Champollion Museum, The World of Scriptures at Figeac - Phone +33 5 65 50 31 08
Visit website www.musee-champollion.fr
At Laguiole, village of Aveyron diehards, life’s all about the shepher’s knife and the streets are sprinkled with cutlery works.
The Forge de Laguiole factory which was restyled by Philippe Starck is open to visitors and you can watch a knife being made in front of you from A to Z. The shop is worth a look as well. Forge de Laguiole - Route de l'Aubrac - 12210 Laguiole (Phone +33 5 65 48 43 34 ), www.forge-de-laguiole.com
The knife museum makes its forges roar as the steel blades are worked before you.
Musée du Couteau de Laguiole - Route d’Aubrac – ZA La Poujade - 12210 Laguiole – Phone +33 5 65 51 23 47
A must : Make your own personal knife at maître Honoré Durand, on Saturdays from 9am to 6:30pm. Prices start from €171
Phone +33 5 65 51 50 14 - www.layole.com
When you’re given a knife as a present, custom dictates that for the sake of friendship you should offer to give a coin.
A beautiful place, a renovated 17th century building with a magnificent structure in the shape of an upturned boat ‘s hull : the house of Chazaly is home to the Permanent Centre for Photography, which hosts exhibitions and get-togethers. And at the end of July, a weekend is dedicated to photography and nature, with walks and introduction courses.
At Fournels, Phone +33 4 66 31 67 97 - Visit www.centrephoto-fournels.fr
The pottery workshops are an excellent idea for the children in summer. It’s at Lacapelle-Biron, in a 14th century house at the museum dedicated to the works of Palissy, a Renaissance ceramist and of his followers.
Saint-Avit, 47150 Lacapelle-Biron - Phone +33 5 53 40 98 22
If you want to know everything about how to cut up the pig into pieces and how to prepare pâtés, sausages and other delicacies, you need to head to Quézac. In a week long cookery course at the farm, you’ll pick up a load of local recipes.
Ferme de Bedou 15600 Quézac – Phone +33 4 71 46 94 19 - www.bedou.com
Furniture painting and patinating, framing, china painting, modelling, binding, chair bottoming… Welcome to the château de Grenier for a course with professional craftmen and stay in one of the castle bedroom. At Saint-Léger.
For dates and prices call +33 5 53 79 59 06 - www.atelierblg.fr
ATELIER BRETON LE GRELLE
Château de Grenier 47160 Saint Léger
The building is already a piece of art in itself, so you can imagine what its art gallery is like : an incredible temple dedicated to contemporary European pottery. With the support of Nigel and Suzy Atkins creators of fine gold items but also of the community of the villages of Entraygues sur Truyère, this display gives you a free insight to the exhibitions of artists from all over the world. Weekend courses are organised there all year round. And a shop offers a tempting collection of pots, unique items and jewellery from the authors all of which can do some serious damage to your bank account.
So be warned !
Le Don du Fel, Le Fel – Phone +33 5 65 54 15 15
The Virebent factory at Puy-l’Evêque is one of the last three porcelain manufacturers in France. Founded in 1924, it has some quite unrivalled expertise, which enables it to use the three types of clay, earthenware, sandstone and porcelain. Some of its creations are even at the museum of decorative Arts in Paris. But when the business was about to close down in 1999, a young Parisian designer, Vincent Collin, took over the business. Today Virebent is in good health, producing tableware for top restaurants and is now developing its own range of tableware. Make sure you give the shop a visit!
Virebent factory - rue de l’usine, 46700 Puy L’Évèque - Phone +33 5 65 36 46 31
It’s at Montsalvy, a pretty Châtaigneraie village, well known for its Romanesque abbey church and its basket makers. Several times a year they organise basket making courses with at the end of July a huge ‘Basket festival’, where more than 80 basket makers come to show off their creations and their expertise. Basket makers Association, Phone +33 4 71 49 29 62
Visit the Montsalvy website
17th edition of the Fêtes des Paniers : Saturday 28th July 2012
Ania makes them with rosemary, with aniseed or even with lavender or with shea. No less than 11 perfumes formulated using old methods and with passion by Ania Canaux. 100% natural. A pure delight for our skin.
At Monflanquin, Phone +33 5 53 36 46 15
More details on www.saponaire.com
Explore the incredible Jardin des Nénuphars at Latour-Marliac. The one which inspired Monet for its famous Nymphéas. Of the 14 springs that it has, certain are hot water, but people come here because it’s so easy to chill out in this park : imagine 2.5 hectares of the most prestigious water lily nursery in the world (260 varieties of water lilies), a museum, an exotic greenhouse, a bamboo grove, a lake with a Japanese bridge, a restaurant too and you can also buy plants on site.
Contact +33 5 53 01 08 05 or more information on www.latour-marliac.com
Ceramists, potters, enamellers, engravers, cabinet makers… can all be found on the Craftmen’s roads and await you with the secret of their workshops.
In the Lot département, follow a route which stops in workshops and galleries. From Martel to Gramat through Le Vigan, Souillac, Prayssac, Saint Céré or Camburat, there are around 30 who open their door to share their passion.
Brochure available at the Chambre des Métiers – contact +33 5 65 35 13 55
And over in Lozère, The Association of Craftsmen at the Pont de Montvert (Montvert Bridge). www.metiersdartencevennes.org