Capturing Magic: Normandy, France


I am excited to announce that I will be teaching Travel – Art Journaling and Travel Photography in Normandy, France, May 27th through June 3rd with my co-host (friend and Norman-born professional tour guide), Anne Jambor.

This particular retreat was born from a wish spoken: that I could show people a country, a culture, the exquisite gems that exist beyond the “main tourist attractions” list. I myself have an insatiable urge to get off of the “Everyone sees…” list and see the stuff that most people DON’T see. Truly, I want you to see it both. I want to see the Eiffel Tower as much as anyone,  but then we also want to take you thrift store shopping and art supply shopping and color stalking in a famous city that’s full of charming little streets to get lost in. There are museums to see, but then there are long pauses at famous cafes to sip on espresso, work in our art journals, and people watch – as Parisians do.


We don’t want to stop with Paris. It’s not enough. Which is why we’re going to Normandy. I want you to be the lucky one who knows the local food of one specific region, how the concept of a country expands once you move outside of the city. I want you to be one who knows what it feels like to meander along the canals of a seaside village called “the Venice of France,”  photographing the enormous cliffs hanging over the ocean, painting the colorful architecture into your journal, one who knows the places that make you go, “How is this not over-run with tourists?!” Because those places exist. It’s just that most people never get there, especially Americans . For some, we might not know the language, and it’s intimidating. Or, we just might not know what’s out there. But Anne and I do. So we’ve planned a trip that we think, will be nothing short of mind blowing. You’ll see the main things, the famous things, and then you’ll see things that will fill your heart to swelling with awe of what else this country has to offer, just a few hours down the coast. And the whole time, we’ll be workshopping, art journaling and photo-documenting our travels, eating local delicacies and sinking into new friendships.

* You do not have to partake in the art journaling, or any of the activities, should you just want to enjoy the scenery and relax, but we’ll have some extra supplies on hand if you want to play with it and experiment during the week.


We’ve packed it with elements for every sense, while also including art and photography workshops, plus the ease of not having to deal with the language whatsoever (Anne is a native to Normandy, and I am a French teacher, so if you don’t want to deal with it, you’re good, and if you DO want to practice, I’ve got your back!). There will be a cozy cottage in the countryside with a communal room to make art, AND the twinkling lights of Paris. There will be a regional cooking class by a local Norman grandmother, AND exquisite pastries on sunny cafe terraces. There will be communing with nature:  raw, famous landscapes, local village scavenger walks and Monet’s lily-pad gardens. And, there will be fabulous people to journey with. We’ve kept the group small, intimate, and do-able for us guides, and the perfect size for friendships and laughter to guide the week.  I’m proud of the people that show up to my offerings, and no less excited to see who shows up for this adventure.


Below you’ll find more details and itinerary, and I DO hope you’ll be joining us. I’ve got goosebumps, myself, at the thought.





Arrive in Paris Saturday a.m., where a car service will pick you up at Charles de Gaulle Airport and whisk you directly to our gorgeous modern hotel in central Paris. The hotel is walking distance from the Eiffel Tower should you feel the need to lay on the grassy knoll in front of it and begin absorbing this city’s magic right away!

Over the weekend we will be visiting many of the most famous landmarks, especially those related to Art. We’ll also begin our art workshops by using these famous landmarks as the focal points to our explorations in sketching, photographing and documenting the experience, with a focus on balancing the magic we capture: landmark buildings, and intimate details. Lunch and dinners will be in local Parisian bistros with to-die-for food. Sightseeing can be great, but also exhausting, and this is not that kind of trip. We will balance our day by stopping at cafes, sharing delicate French pastries, sipping espressos.  This is a quintessential part of French life, and a perfect time to open our travel journals, or simply people watch – as is the Parisian way.

The intention is to absorb the magic, and the views, as well as the Parisian flavor of life that makes this city so famous.


The Best of Normandy at our fingertips


The remainder of our trip will be spent exploring Normandy, where picturesque villages await our cameras, journals and appetites. Our “home base” will be a typical Norman cottage “Bed & Breakfast,” where we will also have rented an extension to the cottage for communal meals and art-making time. All of our explorations will be with our own private transportation as a group. Highlights of our week include:

  • Tour of Giverny, home of Impressionist painter Claude Monet and nature-photography workshop on site.

  • Cruising the cobblestone streets of sea-side towns, dining on the freshest of seafood and shopping in antique + local shops. Photo scavenger hunts in some of France’s most charming villages.

  • Day trip to UNESCO World Heritage site Mont Saint Michel, calling pilgrims to its unique location since the 8th century

  • Visiting and photographing traditional French markets. Choosing fresh produce, cheese and bread for picnics by the sea, under a medieval abbey or wherever our hearts desire to stop. This is our tour, on our collective pace.  

  • Seeing the majestic white chalk cliffs of Etretat

  • A traditional Norman cuisine cooking class. Our guide will have all the ingredients ready for us – fresh from the morning market – with which to guide us in creating a dinner full of local pride.

  •  Lunches and dinners spread between authentic bistros characteristic to the region (think “moules frites,” flaky apple desserts and stunning wines) as well as served in our very own bed and breakfast by local Normandy cooks serving only local, “farm to table” style meals. 

  • Guided tour, sightseeing and history with local + professional tour guide Anne Jambor.

  • Travel-Art Journaling + Photography workshops paced and provided throughout the entirety of the trip with Jessica Leigh Brogan

  • Surprise Goodies and Pre-Trip Tips & Content (including how and what to pack; French basics for traveling; pre-trip travel journal preparation and more)



Heading Home

Saturday a.m. we will be leaving for Paris.  If you want to head back home Saturday afternoon, please make sure your flight isn’t booked until mid afternoon, so that we have time to drop you off on time.

For those of you who want to spend one last night in Paris,you will be dropped of at the hotel and will be left to enjoy your extended stay on your own.



  • All hotel accommodations (Paris hotel + Normandy Cottage B&B)

    Full breakfasts, bistro lunches and restaurant or B&B restaurant dinners each day. *Drinks are not included unless part of a set menu we partake in.

  • Private transportation from and to Charles de Gaulle / Orly airport to hotel and back

  • Private transport to/from all locations during the trip as a group

  • Guide and explorations led by local Norman-born professional tour guide, Ann Jambor

  • Daily Art inspiration, artistic prompts and exercises. Structured and informal instruction along the way with Jessica Leigh Brogan 

  • On-site cooking class 

  • Visits and admissions fees to all excursions and activities in Normandy
  • * Airfare is NOT included. Please make your own arrangements (we are happy to help with logistics) to arrive on Saturday May 27 at either of these airports)




Tuition Fee for attendance is $2500 double occupancy, $3000 single occupancy. If you wish to room with a specific student, please indicate their name on the form below.

A deposit (non refundable) of $500 must be included with this application in order to hold your space.

First payment 50% remaining total due on February 15. (either $1000 for Double or $1250 for Single)

Last payment remaining total due on March 15. ($1000 for Double or $1250 for Single)



60 days prior to workshop, full refund due less non-refundable deposit,

30-60 days prior to workshop, 50% refund of funds paid allowed, less non-refundable

deposit. Less than 30 days prior to workshop, no refund.

Hermine Travel recommends personal travel insurance to cover the possibility of unexpected cancellation.

If Hermine Travel cancels your session, you will receive a full refund. Hermine Travel assumes no liability for the cost of your airline flight or other expenses that you may incur. Hermine Travel recommends that each participant carry personal travel insurance to cover the cost of any unforeseen emergency, damage to, theft or loss of baggage, cancellation or sickness.

FYI: Facilities in France are NOT Handicap Accessible. All accommodations require that you be able to negotiate stairs, as well as walk 1-2 hours over the course of a day. Also, you must be able to carry, and handle your own luggage. We’ll be sending along tips on what and how to pack shortly after registration (sizes allowable on flight + master packing tips gleaned from experience).





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Room Occupancy

Have a question? Want to chat first? Don’t hesitate to email me (at ) with any questions or curiosities you have.

Coming Soon: What art supplies should I bring?

Coming Soon: What weather should I pack for?