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Families, Friends, Solo Travelers Welcome



All Levels Welcome


Intimate Class


3,995 €
SEPTEMBER 2nd - 9th, 2023
Led by Master Painter Johanna Spinks

An experience unlike any other

At The Lady of the Chateau, we provide a unique experience that combines art and hospitality. With daily painting classes and beautiful candlelit meals, you can transport yourself to another era and enjoy the long-forgotten delights of a slower pace of life.

Learn from a master painter

Our painting  instructor Johanna Spinks will guide you through each step of your creative journey. From teaching classical techniques from edges, value, composition and color to setting up inspired french still lifes, landscape compositions, portraits and more, you’ll develop your art and connect with the chateau environment in a completely unique way. 

Unlock new perspectives

At The Lady of the Chateau, we believe in unlocking new perspectives. Step out of your daily life, meet a group of kindred spirits,  and explore a new culture, cuisine, and creative process with us.





Bringing a Non-Painting Partner? 

All 5 Ensuite Historic Bedrooms at Chateau de Puy Vidal are large enough to share. The beds range between queen to king sized. If you have a non-painting partner who would like to attend, they may share your room, and pay the food, wine, and chateau venue service price for the duration of their stay.

Book together as "Artist & Non-Painting Partner- Chateau Double Occupancy"

Interested in Shared Bedroom Rates?

If  you and another retreat participant you know would like to share a room, you may split the room fee and book together as "Artist & Artist- Chateau Double Occupancy".


If you would like to be paired with another retreat participant, please reach out to us. This option is subject to availability of participants open to sharing.


Join us at Puy Vidal for a summer like no other

Immersive Château Experience

Activities and entertainment, full use of all common salons and rooms, grounds, gardens, outdoor games, swimming pool, grill space, & more

Private Chateau Bedroom & Bathroom

Large Historic Bedroom with Queen or King size bed

Fresh, locally sourced home cooking

Breakfast buffet, light lunch, family sit down dinner, wine & beer, all-day coffee, tea, snacks

Ground Transportation

Pick up and drop off at train station in Angouleme.

Possible outings to local sites or events as available during your retreat week. 

Not Included:

Transportation to local village or city. If you would like freedom to explore the region at any time, we recommend renting a car. 


Train fare


Our Chateau Life Stays are the perfect opportunity to delight in the french countryside and soak in the dulcet days of summer. Enjoy Puy Vidal's gardens in full bloom, and relax into a home away from home. Join our family, sleep in one of the beautiful historic bedrooms, feast on fresh produce from the garden, enjoy a house cocktail by the english garden, sit down for home-cooked meals and connect with fellow chateau lovers during one of the most wonderful seasons in France. 

We offer 3 or 5-night experiences all summer. We have found that three nights is the ideal amount of time for guests to begin to let go of modern day anxieties and embrace the timeless lessons of countryside living. Five nights provides an even fuller experience into french life, chateau traditions, local attractions and enchanted evenings for those really looking to be immersed.  


These stays provide all the care and thoughtfulness of a retreat, guided and hosted by our family. These "Chateau Life" retreats allows us to share everything we love about living in France and living at Puy Vidal with a community. The all-inclusive pricing includes all meals, accommodation, activities and pick up and drop off at the train station. 

Dearest Artist,

The Lady of the Chateau offers such a special combination of history, beauty and sanctuary from the demands of the modern world. I am delighted to weave into this magical place a painting retreat with an itinerary that draws inspiration from the past.... from the Lady who would have lived in this chateau her lifestyle, her pursuits, her dreams.... We will immerse ourselves in a bygone era, painting, creating, conversing together, and of course dining on delicious chef cooked meals in candlelight! It will be a feast for all the senses.

Every morning we'll have a coffee circle in the courtyard for those that wish, to regroup from the day before and set the day’s intention. We will chat about a different aspect of the chateau to infuse each day with a deeper appreciation of the history that surrounds us in this special place.

My aim is for each student to do one sketch a day instructed. A three hour session in the morning from 9 to 12 . Lunch break. Then a three hour painting session in the afternoon finishing at 4.30 giving all artists  time to take a break and have free time to paint after that, uninstructed. There will be daily painting demonstrations. We will cover all aspects of painting from drawing, values, edges and composition to color. We will paint and sketch the landscape, castle, still life, florals, interiors and a life model.

I create in not only oils, but also watercolors with ink and conte/charcoal for sketching and I am happy to teach all three during this painting retreat. I use my watercolor sketchbook as a journal and highly recommend it for your trip. We will all work off the same set-ups but each artist can work in any of these three mediums. 

You can expect to leave with six different painting studies of six different set ups throughout the chateau. These will most likely not be finished paintings, but color studies, although if you wish to devote your week to the completion of just one or two finished works, I will be very happy to support you. 

Please join us at whatever level of art appreciation or art practice you have! We welcome all dreamers, romantics and history lovers. Art is for everyone, and I love welcoming beginners onto the journey. Much the same for advanced artists, I am excited to welcome you to this incredibly inspiring place where your creativity is released from the interruptions and demands of home and work, and you get to be free to dream and create. I can promise you a once in a lifetime creative adventure.


Johanna Spinks

Day 1

Une promenade dans le Jardin:

The Garden Promenade


A landscape day featuring a Garden View of the Labyrinth and the Chateau

Lesson focus:

"Paint your Greens"

Color of Greens demo

Day 2

Thé de l’après midi:

Afternoon Tea


A still life day featuring afternoon tea. Blue and white china, patisserie, teapot, teacups, strawberries

Lesson focus:

“The Value of Values”

Still life demo

Day 4

 La Toilette:

The Lady of The Chateau’s Boudoir


MODEL day.

Lady of the Chateau model getting ready for the day near a ‘vanity’ set up holding mirror, hair brush, perfume bottle...

Lesson focus:

 “Creating A Mood”.

Figure demo.

Day 3

Jour de Marché:

Market Day


A day trip to local village farmers market. Painting set ups of fruits, vegetables and flower stalls.

Lesson focus:

"“Color in Your Life -Color Theory"

demo on site

Lunch at farmers market

Cognac Distillery Tour

in the Afternoon

Day 5

Le Salon - Interets Créatifs:

Creative Interests


Interior Day.

Two chateau interior options will be chosen- the salon or smoking room,  reflecting the daily creative life of the Lord and Lady of the Manor.


Lesson focus:

“Nail The Drawing”, the importance of a good drawing start.


Day 6

Promenade des Amoureux:

Lovers’ Walk


Garden View of maze, cherub statues, gateway roses, a parasol, jackets, top hat, bonnet,  and books left  somewhere as if two lovers had just walked away. 

Lesson focus:

“Edges-Make Room for Them”.

Demo of roses in garden.

Evening bonus extra: Plaisirs du Soir: 

Evening Pleasures

A demo sketch of chateau lit up at night

whilst serving a signature Lady of the Chateau cocktail

Please reach out if you have any questions


Our rates are based on single occupancy private ensuite bedrooms and bathrooms.

However, there are discounted rates available if you are interested in bringing a non-painting partner and sharing your room, or sharing a bedroom with another artist, whether you know them or would like to paired with someone.

Immerse yourself in the enchantment of summer at Puy Vidal...

Where the luminous light casts its spell, inviting you to savor life and relish the timeless days.



9am - 10:30am Breakfast spread open in the Spode Room

11:30am - Visit the Farmers Market buy fresh produce

1:30pm - Return to Chateau 

 2pm - Eat a picnic lunch in the magnificent formal gardens under umbrellas

4pm - Rest and relax on the grounds

 7pm - Gather for aperitif hour at sunset

8pm - 3 course French Dinner in the Renaissance Dining Room

9:30pm - Classic Film Night in the Grand Salon

** activities will vary depending on weather, available local events, and inspiration!

Summertime is an enchanted season in this part of france- infinite days, hazy dappled light, and a sense of dreamy nostalgia, as if you've dropped back into childhood.


One Guest, Single Room  385 € per night

 Two Guests, Shared Room 525 € per night

For Three or more Guests

we offer our Toile de Jouy suite, see below

10% VAT Tax Not Included


JULY 26th-31st - 2 rooms left!

JULY 14th-17th

AUGUST 4th-7th

Available Dates

Delight in family style 

countryside cooking

Join us for 3 meals a day of fresh market produce cooked in delightful, classical ways that highlight the freshness and seasonality of french ingredients. Real cheese, real butter, tender meat, fresh greens, bright fruits and vegetables...the flavors jump off the plate.