Taking you to France

A glimpse into what it will be like to join us this October


Creative Retreat in the South of France

October 9 - 16, 2019

After my second year hosting this retreat, I can't even begin to describe in words how special it is to spend a week in La Cascade and the village of Durfort. 

It is so rich with experience from the calm and beautiful surroundings, delicious culinary creations by Nese our very dear chef and hostess, to endless inspiration accompanied by creativity, restful naps, adventures and long thoughtful conversations that sometimes extend well past dinner time. This truly is a French "Living" retreat as well as being a Creative Retreat.

I'm honored to be hosting this retreat for the 3rd time and looking forward to the opportunity to share this wonderful week with you in 2019. ~ Marisa

Join me for an inspired, 7 day creative painting retreat, in a beautifully restored 17th century house, nestled in a tiny French village, backing up to a mountain stream, where you will enjoy delicious fresh, artisan meals prepared daily by Nese, La Cascade's personal chef, to support time to create, paint, rest and explore surrounding villages, museums, markets, and the gorgeous landscape of the South of France. All levels of Artists/Creatives/Painters are welcome!


We will have a relaxed gathering on the evening of October 9, with light snacks and wine. And then we'll ease into our week together drawing inspiration from a region rich with beautiful surroundings. Cathar castles, medieval villages, one of a kind boutiques, await your exploration while the art studio awaits your creative expression.

Experience the idealic landscape of the Languedoc region of France and the unique cultural resources of its artists, past and present. We’ll be based at La Cascade, in the village of Durfort, one hour east of Toulouse.

The Workshops: After breakfast, there will be instructed Studio Time in the mornings, a combination of creative inspiration and painting, open studio in the afternoon and evening. We will have a few excursions planned but mostly our time together is about settling into the pace of French village life, and creating.

Promise me you aren't intimidated to come because you don't consider yourself an "artist". I can only hope to reassure you that this gathering is for all levels of creatives. A professional artist for 13 years, I am self taught. I know exactly what it's like to want to paint and not know where to begin - and I know the joy and fulfillment that come when we finally choose to honor our creative call. {and honoring it in the South of France, there's nothing better!}


La Cascade: Bedrooms are double occupancy (two twin beds) with shared bathrooms. You can choose from the Shared Room or Private Room option. The beautiful art studio is located on the third floor of the house and remains open so you can create whenever you feel inspired. Living room, dining room and a large outside terrace that goes down to the river are part of our home. The price of the workshop includes all of your meals except for one lunch or dinner out. If you have dietary restrictions, please let us know and the chef will be happy to accommodate you.

Workshop price $2,600 

  • Seven nights lodging at La Cascade-double occupancy - {If you are interested in single occupancy please get in touch to confirm price and space availability}
  • Guided excursions
  • All breakfasts, and most lunches and dinners with wine from the local region
  • Workshop instruction and many supplies

Not Included :

  • Drinks or meals off premises
  • Daily transportation off site {planning for shared rentals is an option}
  • Airfare

This is a small gathering, where you are already welcomed with open arms, and a promise that you will be completely cared for, beautifully fed {with some of the most delicious meals ever} creatively inspired, refreshed, and energized. Space is available on a first come first serve basis with room for a limited number of attendees.

Please email Marisa, [email protected] with any questions or requests or more details about the itinerary.

After you register you will also gain access to our community web site which will host several videos, including a suggested list of art supplies and our best travel tips to Europe which will be added as we get closer to our travel date.

See you in October 2019 in the South of France!

"Painting with Creative Thursday in the South of France A magical spot tucked away in the village of Durfort located in the Tarn between Revel, Haute-Garonne and the Tarn Soreze. Along the banks of the Sor, the local river that leads down behind Rue de Martineurs, the charming picturesque village holds several old houses cantilevered through the beautiful alleys crisscrossed by a central channel where water flows clear and abundant right under your feet. One old house in particular holds a third floor workshop where the magic materializes. Not an artist, but craving to experience the feel and smell of paint, the wide open fields and beautiful markets of the South of France I signed up after some hesitation. Once inside the studio, under Marisa’s gentle instruction and Nese’s local home cooking, the hesitation began to fall away. No, I have no experience painting but I was encouraged to try. It’s in the vibrant colors, the swirling lines, the wholehearted excitement (or embarrassment) of putting paint to canvas that the magic happens. It was in the trying. Marisa’s workshop gave us an opportunity to be creative, not only on Thursday, but for a full lovely, vibrant week."


Pricing Options



Register Here

3 Installments



Register Here

Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions, from art supplies, to travel, to special diet requests, I'm here for you, and I welcome the opportunity to host you in France.

Frequently Asked Questions

Toulouse - Blagnac Airport
You can also fly into Paris and take a train to Toulouse if you want to see Paris first, or on your way home!

Gare - Toulouse - Matabiau

You are responsible for your own transportation to La Cascade. We have recommendations on the best rental companies and planning for shared rentals may also be an option. You can rent cars easily from either the airport or the train station. The drive from the airport, just about 1 hour, is relaxing and beautiful. Be sure to choose a rental car with an onboard navigation system to make the drive as lovely as possible. If you are renting, let me know and we may be able to pair you up with another attendee if you'd like to share!

Once you register it is not refundable. Please, get Travel Insurance if there is any concern that you cannot attend. You may also replace your spot with someone you know, and if we do have a waitlist then we are happy to put the new attendee in touch with to work out arrangements to take over your spot. It is suggested that all attendees purchase travel insurance. Recommendations for insurance companies can also be provided

There will be a wait list should any of the attendees need to reschedule their plans.

Yes! This is open to all levels of painters and creatives.

Nese is the BEST chef and creates meals to honor all of your dietary restrictions. The food is thoughtfully prepared, light and healthful. Nese is extremely conscientious about planning the menu each day to support what we are working on, from activities to creativity, while also taking into account the weather. Not only is French cuisine fantastic, but Nese's approach is unforgettable. Truly some of the best meals I've ever had.

"Painting in the south of France was something I had only ever dreamed about before embarking on an adventure with Marisa this summer. Everything about the experience was more than I could have expected. From the village of Durfort to the little painting studio on the third floor of La Cascade, my creative energy grew in ways that I had not anticipated. As a photographer and mixed media artist I found inspiration at every turn and am still nurturing the experience while back in my studio in the US. Marisa carefully planned and executed a beautiful, relaxing and powerful experience that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for artistic adventure and friendship. Nese, the owner, chef and host at La Cascade provided fresh locally sourced meals, good conversation and a welcome, nurturing environment that allowed for time to relax, explore and engage in village life. The small size of the group allowed for new friendships to be formed and a camaraderie that you do not often find with these types of experiences. Also, traveling with my daughter enabled us to truly connect with one another in a better way and grow our loving mother/daughter relationship. —If you listen to the silence you can hear your heart talking and it is the connection to the spirit..this is where the wisdom comes from. - Nese (La Cascade)"


"After consulting with Marisa these last four years in working towards my own creative goals, as well as being a huge fan of her artwork, the response to the first email about an artist's workshop/retreat in the South of France was a no brainer. I had to go! An opportunity not to be missed for multiple reasons, a week with studio time under Marisa's instruction being a main one. I was pleased with the direction received by Marisa in developing my piece as the week progressed but also the support from the other artists. We were all there for different reasons yet all there to learn and create, with the best part being the dinners of fresh, local fare where each of us shared stories, laughed, noted words of wisdom as well as made new friends. With the local field trips for inspiration, a location in a place I never knew existed, learning from an artist that truly has "her way", if I had the chance to do it all again... I'm making my plans now! Needless to say, it was more than I could have asked for! Thank you Marisa for helping me find that creativity that lives within as well as for my ever growing collection of your amazing work! "


"I was searching for that trip-of-a-lifetime to celebrate my sister’s 50th birthday. We’d never been to an art retreat together and I wanted something spectacular! Of course, spectacular experiences come with spectacular price tags and France initially seemed like just a daydream. Marisa made it possible by offering an affordable payment plan and, looking back now, I know it was worth every penny…and then some!! Adopting the region’s slower pace of life, Marisa combined just the right amount of sightseeing, studio time, and free time to fully appreciate each activity. We were able to enjoy walks through Durfort, explore the surrounding villages, and enjoy some luxurious afternoon naps. We had delicious, freshly prepared food at each meal, accompanied by lovely wines for dinner. The falls just behind La Cascade soothed us to sleep each night, but the water was also indescribably delicious! It flows freely from a fountain in the village where everyone collects their drinking water. Although the studio was available 24 hours a day, there were convenient times designated to create together and observe painting demos. My favorites included learning the qualities of gouache along with Marisa’s approach to painting and the weekend market in the neighboring village of Revel…but, I can honestly say it was all très fabuleaux!! I “met” Marisa a little over 3 years ago by way of Periscope and one of her webinar business courses. Through online interaction alone, we developed a friendship. However, a deeper bond was formed during the time we spent together in person painting in the studio, sharing meals, and participating in long after-dinner conversations on the terrace. I also have a special place in my heart for the hostess and personal chef at La Cascade, Nese’, who does so much more than prepare lovely meals. As it turns out, driving through the French countryside from Toulouse to La Cascade in the village of Durfort was only the beginning of a beautiful week-long journey – it is a time my sister and I will cherish forever! This whole experience renewed my creative energy, influenced my approach to happy, healthy living, and produced forever friendships with some incredible, inspiring women. If you’re considering an international retreat, you should know by now that this is THE ONE! I intend to return someday myself. "


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