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My Upcoming Trip To France

Margaret & Ken's home in Verquilleux.

Margaret & Ken’s home in Verquilleux.

Margaret and I working in her barn-turned-into-fabulous studio in Verquilleux.

Margaret and I working in her barn-turned-into-fabulous studio in Verquilleux.

Before I begin my France story, I want to say a few words about this blog. This is my very first blog and it has been an experience with a truly steep learning curve – and I am still learning. I wouldn’t have made it this far without my main techie, Carl, who also happens to be my husband. Thank you, honey! (I don’t really call him honey.)

I’ve resisted all social media involvement up to now (I tend to be a very private person and very introverted), but the thought of sending emails while on this trip to all the people who said, “Keep us posted!” was overwhelming. A blog seemed to be the answer. That meant getting on Facebook. And while I was on a roll, I beefed up my pathetic LinkedIn page and invited a slew of people to link in with me. Being so ‘out there’ causes me a bit of anxiety, but I guess I’ll get used to it. Got to hop on to today’s world or miss my ride on the merry-go-round.

For this blog, I created two static pages: ‘Home’ and ‘Exhibit: Ozolles, France.’ The Home page has a photo of me in my studio in North Adams MA, a couple of photos of my work, my artist statement, and my website address, in case you want to see more work. The Exhibit: Ozolles, France page (just click on those words and it will take you to that page), tells all about the Cultur’Café and how I came to exhibit there. Then there are these blog posts, which are in the left hand column and will be added to as I adventure on. At the bottom of the Home page and the Exhibit: Ozolles, France page there is a place to send me your comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Now, my France story. On August 18, 2013 I will be flying to Paris via Iceland. Sadly, I will only be in the airport in Iceland for an hour while switching planes. I’m putting Iceland on my travel list, though. Once in Paris, I will take a couple of trains to Le Creusot in Burgundy and my friends, Margaret and Ken, will pick me up and drive me to their home in Verquilleux – a tiny village next door to Ozolles (near Charolles, not too far from Macon, a short distance south of Dijon). I’ll be staying with them for about 2 weeks and my exhibit will open with a reception on Saturday, August 24. This post shows two photos taken on my visit to Verquilleux in 2010.

On September 2, I’ll take a train from there to Lyon, where I’ll spend 5 days taking in the sights and visiting museums and galleries and eating good food – Lyon is known for it’s restaurants. On September 7, I’ll take a train from Lyon to Toulon, and then a bus from Toulon to the small village of Bormes-les-Mimosas. British friends of Margaret and Ken, Mick and Nicky, own a house there with extensive gardens and they are renovating and reviving both. They have created a work-away program – something that is new to me, but from searching the internet I’ve discovered that it is an active program with lots of choices: For 20 hours of work I will be granted 7 nights free lodging. My good friend and fellow artist, Cathy, will be joining me there and we will stay until October 5, gardening, helping out wherever needed, and making art. We will probably do a few day trips, too, although we haven’t planned anything yet.

On October 5, Cathy and I will take a train to Nice. She will fly home, but I have found myself a lovely little studio apartment for 2 weeks and will spend that time getting to know my way around Nice and nearby towns in preparation for a week-long workshop that I will be teaching there from October 20-27. For the workshop, there are 15 of us, 9 students plus some partners, staying at an incredible villa: For more information on this workshop, see my website:

The workshop concludes on October 27. My husband, Carl, will have arrived in Nice on October 17, and will be there for the workshop adventure. After the workshop, he and I and one of my students, Karen, and her husband, Gerry, will be renting a car and making a loop from Nice through Provence and back to Nice, where Carl and I will fly home from on November 1. That part of the trip is still in the planning stages.

I intend to be blogging through this whole trip and including photos. At first this blog was my plan for keeping my family, friends, and students informed and, hopefully, entertained. Now it looks like the whole world will see and read if they wish. Yikes!! A little anxiety there. Hope I can keep up with this!! Ciao for now.

August 16th, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Hey Debi:
Just wanted to wish you well on your wonderful journey. The last few days before the actual moment are the toughest…the last minute packing, the stuff you think you forgot, the odds and ends, all of that could make a person nuts. But not you,I am sure!
So, enjoy yourself. Please say hello to Margaret for me. Can’t wait to read your news as you “blog
yourself” across France.
Love, Ellie

ghetta hirsch
August 5th, 2013 at 2:41 pm

It sounds exciting and I hope to be included in your blog!


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