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Testimonials for Plein Air Holidays

I would highly recommend Plein Air Holidays to all people who enjoy painting of whatever standard. We were very well looked after by our host Kate Kilbourne in every aspect, not to mention her culinary skills when we had dinners in the Chateau. She and her three associates went to the market everyday to get us the local produce and fresh bakeries everyday.


Trôo was a very pleasant surprise discovery for me. It must be one of the most beautiful villages in France, with its lush greeneries and varieties of flowering plants. It is also unique in its elegantly-appointed cave dwellings occupied by a large artist community.


As an amateur painter who has started only in my senior age mostly in watercolour and had very few opportunities to do plein air paintings, the highly accomplished artist Tom Hughes was a great teacher and inspiration for me to develop my plein air oil painting skills. He was serious in trying to improve our painting abilities but made sure that we were there to enjoy ourselves. I enjoyed very much the company of Kate, Tom and the other painters.We all had a great time.


Thanks, Kate, your whole team and Tom.

Ed H.

Hong Kong


I did this workshop in France last May. It was wonderful. We worked hard, saw the countryside, laughed a lot and ate well. Tom Hughes is a terrific oil painter and tireless teacher. He has won several national awards the past year and is finally getting the recognition he deserves. I highly recommend this workshop!


Liz I.



The best part about the trip was... every part. When we weren't painting the gorgeous landscapes and/or beautiful architecture, we were either exploring the grounds of the chateau, eating delicious food or relaxing and chatting with the other participants and support staff. Definitely the most enjoyable solo-vacation I've ever taken. I look forward to participating in another trip with Plein Air Holidays, hopefully in a new country altogether!

Karl K.

San Francisco


This week was well organised with extremely friendly support staff around all the time.


We spent time in the most beautiful settings in France.


Since we booked we experienced good communication and it is a very well priced experience.


Thank you very much.

Linza & Jan B.


South Africa

This is a very rich experience of the beauty of the Loire Valley and good painting instruction. Tom Hughes is a fine teacher, addressing the needs of each student at his/her skill level. There is no substitute for 6 days of painting with good instruction and I can see the results in my art. Kate is an excellent host and chef and the Chateau Veloute is a treasure. What a wonderful way to paint and experience France! I highly recommend this program.

Anne B.


North Carolina

I would most definitely recommend Plein Air Holidays to anyone one who loves to paint, loves beauty and appreciates french culture and cuisine.


As a painter who would rather paint than eat, I totally appreciated the pace of our days. I felt there was plenty of time to paint, and started to look forward to our beautiful lunches where we discussed art, art history, and our individual thoughts about painting.


My French workshop experience was stellar! 

Victoria M.

Mill Valley


Plein Air France in Trôo was like living in an alternative universe filled with beauty, deliciousness, warmth, and inspiration. I was travelling for three months in Europe and was looking for a plein air painting workshop in France. After doing some research, I decided on this workshop. And I am so glad I did! It turned out to be one of the greatest highlights of my trip!


Tom is an incredible artist, teacher and all-around person. He is knowledgeable, approachable, and has a great sense of humor. I learned a ton from him over the week both about painting techniques as well as life as a professional artist. He was always there to answer questions and give you a hand but he ran the workshop in a way that allowed us come into our own as artists - and I really appreciated that.


Kate was the perfect guide, chef, and what I called "The Great Connector." I felt like I had made a new friend the second I met her. When we weren't painting, Kate helped bring the beautiful village of Trôo into the experience by introducing us to artists who lived there and by setting up time to meet them and tour their caves and see their artwork. She even organized a show at the end of the stage for all the villagers to come and see our work (which was optional).


The painting field trips to neighboring towns were also a highlight - gorgeous landscapes, castles, rivers, and towns. You couldn't go wrong in that area. Just about everything was paintable.


And when I didn't think it could get any better - there was the food! Kate made absolutely amazing French coursed meals and wine (much of it local). This added another element to the incredible week that I hadn't expected - a real taste of French cuisine and lifestyle. During the luxurious lunches we would connect with each other about art, travel, and life stories.


All in all, I would recommend this workshop to anyone who would like to have a truly memorable week filled with painting, French food and wine, 360 degree beauty, and a village full of wonderful, engaging people. It was truly an unforgettable, magical experience! Thank you Kate and Tom!!!

Colette H.

San Francisco


I really enjoyed my Plein Air France Holiday. It exceeded all my expectations.

Roger T.

San Francisco


I really don't see how it could be better! You and Tom helped me so much that I was surprised to be able to participate in most everything, except for a couple of naps. The very personal visits to your friends were extra special.


I will definetly recommend this workshop to anyone I see. I have already told my friends that it was so much more than just a fine workshop. In addition, it was a cultural and warm social experience, with gourmet dining, wine and cheese tasting, fitness training, and a final exposition!

Louise D.

San Luis Obispo


Both Tom & Kate were wonderful hosts for this course with no pressure, just to enjoy, and we all advanced in our own way. Some of us had more experience than others & there were some incredible results!


I hadn't painted for 30 years so was quite nervous, but I did my "thing" and it was a new start! One just has to jump in the sea, even though cold to start with, the body warms up and it does the mind a power of good!


Would definately do another course!

Anna W.



"Thank you for the superb week of painting, learning, travelling and, best of all, eating and drinking.


The addition of having Isabelle, the art historian, give us a short talk on the Barbizon School, and Christian show us his amazing cave and fantastic treasures was very much appreciated.


The vernisage was fun and the dinner at Le Cheval Blanc will be in my memories of the best for a very long time. What else can I rave about? Ah, the teacher was just right for the occasion, especially since he loves the area. Thanks, Tom Hugs, as he is locally known...


 All in all, it was a fairy tale experience with the caves and interesting Troglodyte neighbours.  Super super super. Thanks again."

Jinny S.



This week was well organised with extremely friendly support staff around all the time.


We spent time in the most beautiful settings in France.


Since we booked we experienced good communication and it is a very well priced experience.


Thank you very much.

Linza & Jan B.


South Africa

I will definitely recommend Plein Air France to my friends. It's a unique and exceptional experience. I didn't expect home made meals with locally sourced ingredients, but Kate has made dining at the chateau so delightful! The local wine, butter, cheese and baguette taste so good--and this is coming from someone who barely drinks wine and eats little diary products at home. It's a painting workshop with a gastronomic twist. And of course Tom is a great instructor and artist who truly meets each student on his/her level. He gave me pointers in drawing and value which I feel were exactly what I needed to improve my painting. Watching him demoing and painting is also a great way to learn from him. The quaint village of Troo are full of charming painting subjects, and the locals are so lovely and hospital. I also highly enjoyed our excursions to nearby painting locations, notably a large chateau and a French garden. All in all this is a wonderful experience and I'm glad I did it!

Maggie C.



A lovely way to focus on your painting, while enjoying the special things this region of the Loir et Cher has to offer.

Bella H.


United Kingdom

I would highly recommend Plein Air Holidays to everyone who wants an experience of painting in the authentic countryside of France. The area where the workshop is held is a place that seems to be untouched by time, one can easily imagine what life was like living there many years ago, and one feels a part of that instantly. The village of Troo where the workshop is based, is a lovely village with a breathtaking panorama.The people of Troo are so welcoming, often offering to show the inside of their houses, but they are also very discreet, the peace there is what is most appealing.


All in all,I felt like I lived in a film for a few days, really in another place and another time. Tom Hughes' instruction was very good. I gained confidence in my painting and appreciated his many tips and encouragement. He is a very accomplished painter but is very humble and easygoing at the same time. He recognizes his student's style and/or level of painting and respects it and tries to work with each student on their level. I enjoyed seeing his love of the French countryside and life and seeing him paint inspiration.Thankyou for this experience. Kate was a great organizer and hostess, she seems to be made for this. She is easygoing but on top of things at the same time and as someone said, "a great connector", which is true.

Carol M.

Loire Valley


"Yes! I would highly recommend Plein Air Holidays to my friends and other painters.


Tom's exceptional skill and encouragement as an instructor allowed me to improve my painting in just one short week. Kate's hospitality brought the group together in a warm (and delicious!) way. Her love for Troo and France is infectious.


The week was so well organized that I never worried about a thing expect painting and when to meet for the next incredible lunch.


The most surprising element was the people of Troo. They welcomed us into their village and their homes making this a truly unforgettable experience."

Karen W.

Victoria BC


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