Le Hameau Imaginaire

Le Hameau Imaginaire is a delightful hill-top group of farmhouses and barns, converted into comfortable accommodation, with a dedicated classroom and a lovely salt water swimming pool with magnificent views. Our aim it to provide a home from home with fine market-sourced French food laid on. A wholesome base in which you will enjoy a creative and inspiring holiday.

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About Le Hameau Imaginaire

Le Hameau Imaginaire is a delightful hill-top group of farmhouses and barns, converted into comfortable accommodation, with a dedicated classroom and a lovely salt water swimming pool with magnificent views. Our aim it to provide a home from home with fine market-sourced French food laid on. A wholesome base in which you will enjoy a creative and inspiring holiday.

Located in the heart of the Gers, the land of d'Artagnan - Gascony is often known as the Tuscany of France, with rolling hills, a plethora of sunflowers, wonderful fortified hilltop villages and a multitude of vineyards, many producing the local nectar of the Gods, armagnac.

The least populated departement in France, we enjoy empty roads, (there are no motorways and almost no factories,) an almost total lack of mass-market commercialisation, and the feel of a people truly at one with their land.

The landscape is constantly changing as the harvest is brought in, fields are plowed and different crops are sown. The light is very special, changing dramatically from season to season, never completely grey and flat, but embracing and enveloping, quite literally caressing the landscape and the delicate hilltop villages.

This is an area of great natural beauty, unspoilt by mass consumerism, very much rooted in it's traditions and respect for it's inhabitants. Community life is still the norm here, with dozens of local markets selling provisions produced and sold directly by the farmers themselves, and a plethora of 'fetes de village' and 'bandas', many accompanied by local groups playing brass instruments. Our food is usually locally grown, with even the supermarkets selling a bountiful range of indigenous fare, and there is a great local pride in everything that makes Gascony 'Gascogne', indeed there is even a noun in French, 'Gasconade' which means boastfulness! It's understandable, there is a lot to be boastful of!

About Our Classes

Photography

Our photography classes are taught by Matthew Weinreb, an internationally renowned multi-award winning landscape and architectural photographer. Eight volumes of his work have been published to worldwide acclaim and he continues to win prizes for his imagery. With his own online photo library at www.imagefind.com Matthew is friendly and easy to talk to and full of knowledge and passion for photography. He is assisted periodically by Isabelle Souriment (a fluent English speaker and multiple photography award winner in her own right,) with whom he has shot a comprehensive photo library of the region for the French government. This imagery is being exhibited widely in France in 2009/10.

Whether you are a keen beginner or an advanced amateur, these classes are for you. if you have a decent digital camera, yet feel that you are not tapping into your full potential as a photographer, we will guide you and help you to find your direction. We will, naturally, spend most of our time photographing, but in order to improve your skills we will, with the help of projected imagery, (yours and others,) discuss composition and light, framing and cropping, colour balance and control. And of course, the magic art of 'capturing the moment'. We will help you to better understand what those multiple functions on your camera can (and can't) do for you, and we will show you the benefits of shooting in RAW (digital negative) format. During your visit we will, (unless you wish otherwise,) project selections of your imagery so that we can discuss them as a group and look for salient points to both praise and creatively criticise.

After your stay you will feel immeasurably more confident with your camera and far more able to imaginatively frame, crop, compose and control your imagery to create emotive and powerful compositions.

You will also have developed a love for South West France! (but that's a bonus!)

Other Courses

We plan to offer a variety of courses by specialists in a variety of subjects, and as these courses become available they will be listed in our course schedule.

Accomodation

Where you sleep:

We have a number of bedrooms available for visitors. The rooms are situated in the 'mas', a very comfortably converted 150 year old stone farmhouse (which has it's own dedicated living room/kitchen) We have four rooms available (with additional space if needed in Matthew's house) Two of the bedrooms can function as either double or twin bed rooms, another has two classical French beds and the fourth is a single mezzanine room overlooking the living area.

Where we eat:

We will generally eat together outside by the little stream flowing between the buildings and with a view over to La Sauvetat on the other side of the valley, but depending on where we are photographing we may have a picnic one day or eat in a local restaurant another.

Free Time

Our courses are pretty intensive, but we always leave a little time for you to do your own thing. So you can walk (and photograph) through the beautiful surrounding countryside, swim in the pool, read books from our extensive library (consisting of many photography, art and architecture books as well as novels,) play with my wonderful dog! Or just lie in the sun in a hammock, it's up to you.

Where we are

We are situated in the Lomagne, within the Gers, (dept. 32) an area known locally as 'the golden triangle' due to it's particular beauty. Between the ancient towns of Lectoure, Condom and Fleurance, and less than an hour and a half from Toulouse airport we are easily accessible by a plethora of flights from the UK and elsewhere in Europe. We operate a pick-up service from Toulouse and will be able to give you more info about this when you come to book.

Prices and Booking

Prices and Booking Our prices are all-inclusive, that means that you do not need to spend another penny once you arrive.

We thoroughly recommend that you take out travel insurance for both health and your belongings before traveling.

Contact

Please feel free to contact us directly by email mail@lehameauimaginaire.com
You can reach us by phone on +33 5 62 65 21 43

Our snail mail address is:
Le Hameau Imaginaire
La Tombe 32500
La Sauvetat
France

Looking forward to hearing from you...