Painting School, Countryside and Town

Castelnau de Montmiral over the valley from South
The Medieval town of Castelnau de Montmiral seen from the South, with the great Forest of Grésigne visible in the distance


Painting School

The Painting School is located on the second floor of an ancient building with thirteenth, fifteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth and nineteenth century components.  It is situated on the ramparts of Castelnau de Montmiral, a once fortified thirteenth century hilltop town classified as “un des plus beaux villages de France“.


The studio windows command panoramic views over richly varied landscape to blue distant hills. The charm of the countryside is enhanced by many features, the variety of flowers in meadow and hedgerow, the orange tiled roofs of the traditional farmhouses, the distinctive time honoured field shapes, the forest covered heights, the limestone outcrops with their juniper bushes, wild flowers and butterflies, fields of sunflower, lucerne, maize and millet; vineyards and lovingly tended allotments dotted around the landscape.


The town is charming too: the many styles of ancient buildings, the varied materials (limestone, oak timbers and ancient brick), the overhanging upper storeys, the balconies, the narrow streets trapping the sky, flowers everywhere, the locals sitting enjoying the shade, the esplanade with its scented limes and its boules players, the surrounding ramparts, the ancient gateway to the town (La Porte des Garrics), the central square (La Place des Arcades). At every turn there is something colourful, something curious or something well made to catch the sensitive eye.

The town is a trip back to simpler times of pale stone and rhythmic red-orange and brown rooftops, narrow cobblestone streets and wrought-iron railings that are art in their own right. Beyond the walls that surround Montmiral is a sea of farmland stretching out in every direction – a place full of rolling hills and vistas too numerous and varied to begin to describe. I only wish that I could have stayed indefinitely.  Clay Parten


Images of the town and the surrounding countryside

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