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Silk, Le Cordon Bleu and You
Discover Silk Painting and a Gourmet Experience at a Private Château on a Weekend Adventure with René Shoemaker

September 12-17 2024

Your Experience

Silk Works of Art

Discover the Magic of Silk!

  • Dive into silk dyeing & painting, unlocking creativity with expert one-on-one guidance.

  • Perfect for creative beginners or artists seeking vibrant expression.

  • Create wearable art you made yourself!

  • Forge lifetime memories with colour and iridescent textiles.

  • Be inspired by a relaxing stay in private Château in an authentic corner of Dordogne, France.


Relax, create, and flourish in our inspiring retreat. Perfect for unwinding and unleashing your artistic potential!

Authentic French Cuisine

  • Two Chefs trained at Le Cordon Bleu will prepare all your meals - and some extra goodies too!

  • Inspired by renowned gastronomic Perigord region & the day's instruction themes.

  • Open kitchen if you want to learn some skills from the best!

  • Champagne reception on evening of arrival!

  • House wines from small local producers, selected by a wine expert (included with meals).

  • Tea & coffee all day, plus snacks and aperitif too!

  • Other premium wines available for purchase from our cave.

Chefs at a Castle

Rooms may not be exactly as shown - we love decor!

Live the Château Life

  • Enjoy the Château common rooms and 15 ha of grounds during your 7-night stay.

  • Bedrooms are generously sized, with a small seating area.

  • Mix of en-suite and shared facilities - max 2 bedrooms share w.c. or shower.

  • Rooms are first-come, first-served by reservation date.

  • Double-occupancy with two single beds, or single-occupancy for a supplement.

  • Stay with a small group of like-minded people - limit of 10 guests.


Meet Your Hosts

Rene Shoemaker at Work

Meet René | Instructor

Hello, I'm René Shoemaker, your Silk Painting Maestro. Currently, I'm fortunate to call the picturesque landscapes of France my home, and I'm thrilled to invite you to our weekend retreat at a private chateau.

My journey in art began with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, where I honed my skills in painting on radiant silk. Even after retiring from my successful career as a university librarian, my passion for art continued to grow. I've had the privilege of showcasing my work in solo exhibitions and international shows including New York, San Francisco and Paris, using bold colors and negative space to capture the essence of landscapes, both urban and rural.


In 2020, I was honored with the Fiber Forward Focus Fellowship from AIR Serenbe in Georgia, USA, a recognition of my dedication to this craft.


I'm excited to share my expertise with art lovers of all levels during our retreat, where we'll delve into the world of silk dying & painting. Together, we'll explore the magic that happens between fibre and colour!

Chefs Laughing
Manor & Maker logo

Meet Valérie & Megan | Chefs

Let’s face it: French haute cuisine isn’t often associated with fun.

We started Sel Hospitalité because we wanted to bring the two together in a refreshing experience that reflects who we are. So, who are we?


We’re Megan & Val. We’re two Le Cordon Bleu Paris trained chefs hailing from Canada and Haiti, respectively. We’re serial hostesses with a passion for French cuisine - with flair.  


Our mission is simple: to bring people together through the art of cooking and the pleasure of savouring exceptional food. We strive to deliver all of the wonderful elements of fine dining  without the pretentious service that so often accompanies it. It simply wasn’t in our natures, so we decided to reimagine it our way.

Meet Sara & Stephen | Hosts

We are Sara & Stephen Cole, Canadians who dreamt of moving to France. We're excited to share our dream, our home, the Château de Saint-Germain-des-Prés. 

The tower of the château is from the 16th century, and features a broad spiral stone staircase. Built by a noble family nearly 500 years ago, the 'blazon' or crest of the family still shows on the tower.  

We created “Manor and Maker” to reflect the two sides of our adventure. One, to live as chateau owners with all the ups and downs and two, to pursue our passions as makers, creating art in all its forms. We invite others to come together, united by their passions, to share in this adventure.

We will be available on-site to ensure you have a comfortable stay.

Welcome to Manor & Maker.

Caring Hosts

Start Your Silk Painting Experience Today!


September 12-17 2024

€2,695 pp Double Occupancy

Single Supplement €500.00 (total €3,195)

What's Included

  • Six days & five nights accommodation at the Château

  • Expert one-on-one instruction by Rene

  • All supplies for creating your artworks

  • All meals on-site at the Château, prepared by Le Cordon Bleu-trained chefs

  • All house wines served with meals (locally sourced, selected by our wine expert)

  • All non-alcoholic beverages (coffee, tea, soft drinks, etc)

  • Optional instruction time with Chefs 

  • Access to the common areas of the Château and 15ha of grounds

  • Transportation from local train stations (Thiviers, Angouleme, Limoges) to and from the Château

  • Transportation to and from the local markets

What's Not Included

  • Transportation from your hometown to the pickup point, including airfare, train connections, or car rental

  • Baggage, accident, cancellation, nor travel insurance ('cancel for any reason' strongly recommended to protect your investment)

  • Passport and visa expenses

  • Personal expenses, such as store purchases, telephone calls

  • Meals and beverages not served at the Château

  • Other premium local-souced wines available for purchase from our cave

  • Alcoholic beverages in excess of 18% vol

  • Any extra tours or excursions off the property

  • and any other items not specifically noted as included


Frequently Asked Questions



I haven't painted with silk before. Is this retreat for me?

All levels of artistic skill are welcome at this art retreat. Whether you're a creative beginner or an experienced artist looking for a new medium, our program is designed to cater to your needs and help you grow as an artist. Don't hesitate to join us, as our supportive and inclusive environment is perfect for artists of all backgrounds and skill levels.



Where are you located & how do I get there?

We are in the town of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Dordogne, postal code 24160 (there are a couple of more places of that name in France!). Here's our guide on how to get to us. We offer pickups from Gare d'Angoulême. (may be scheduled with other guests' arrivals) or Thiviers Gare.  



Do I need to speak French?

No, your hosts can help you with all local needs. It's always nice to be able to say 'hello' (Bonjour!) and 'thank you' (Merci!) though, isn't it?​



Do I have to share a room?

While we offer a single supplement option for those seeking solitude, some guests find that sharing a room enhances the sense of community and creates wonderful opportunities for new friendships. Rest assured, we carefully match roommates based on preferences and interests, ensuring a harmonious and enjoyable co-living experience for all. Your comfort and connections are our top concern.



May I arrive earlier or stay later than the given dates?

Much as we love having guests, we aren't open as a B&B, so accommodation is only available on the listed dates. There is lots to explore in our area, if you wish to make your own plans to extend your holiday.



Can you accommodate my food sensitivity?

France is famous for its fine cuisine, fresh produce markets, delicious pastries and cheeses! Enjoy chef-prepared suppers all week; the taste of France is part of your immersive experience. Due to hospitality laws, we cannot offer restaurant style selections or service; unfortunately, severely restrictive diets and other food sensitivities can not be accommodated.



What if I get sick and can't come? (Cancellation Policy)

We strongly recommend 'cancel for any reason' travel insurance. We do not offer last-minute refunds for any reason, due to advance planning costs. Check out the terms & conditions for other timing. Travel insurance protects your investment, and helps alleviate disappointment if your plans have to change.



What will the weather be like?

Day time temperatures in September are around 22C (72F) with night time lows around 13C (55F). You can expect mostly sunny days, with average monthly precipitation of 25mm (1 in). Of course, these are averages, so weather could be warmer or cooler, rainier or sunnier during your stay. ​We recommend packing layers for this time of year, along with a light rain coat.

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