One of the many positive aspects of setting up our painting holidays in France is the on-going research and exploration that we do to refine the itineraries for each of our holidays. We are very lucky to have some beautiful locations on our doorstep, but, what we often think will be the perfect location does not in fact work. Consequently we have to revisit our draft itinerary.

We have a lot of criteria that we have to take into consideration when we choose a location for our painting holidays in France, such as: where the sun will be at a given time of day. Is there enough space for the painters to sit without being disturbed. Will there be some shade to shelter from the sun. Most importantly the beauty of the scene itself. Then additionally if we have a mixed group of painters and non-painting friends or partners, is the location or a nearby location a suitable place of interest for the non-painters.

Recently we spent a day doing just that. What we thought was going to be the perfect medieval village just didn’t work at all. No place to sit to paint the view for a few hours, the sun was in completely the wrong place. But ‘c’est la vie’, we had a lovely morning followed by lunch and then onto the next location.

In the afternoon we went to explore another little village called Villeneuvette – the perfect scene in which to while away a few hours painting. Furthermore it is an interesting village for a wander round. With a choice of charming locations, from a sun dappled courtyard to the avenue of plane trees that leads up to the entrance to the village.

The village was built in the 17th century to house the workers from the royal cloth-making factory. This privately owned factory was developed to provide cloth for the crown, including uniforms for the army.

Above the large entrance door to the village the original inscription “MANUFACTURE ROYALE” was later rather crudely changed by the Republic to “HONNEUR AU TRAVAIL” – Honour in work.

The factory continued to manufacture cloth till 1955 when the the houses were sold and now belong to about 50 different families. In 1995 the village was classified as a “Zone de Protection du Patrimoine et du Paysage” in recognition of its originality and the importance of its heritage.

The village has been beautifully restored but unfortunatley the factory itself has fallen into disrepare. But, it seems like there is a project afoot to restore the old buildings to create additional housing.

So, we hope that we get the opportunity to share this beautiful location with you on one of our painting holidays in France, but in the mean time if you would like to have a go at painting one of the scenes, Simon has put together a tutorial for this purpose.