Thinking about booking a music holiday?

Music Holidays in South West France

What do you look for when thinking of booking a music holiday?

Do we teach the instrument you play?

We are unique in that we offer a wide range of music holidays for guitar, mandolin, saxophone and even singing. we also cover many genres of music, rock , jazz, blues so  whatever instrument you love to play you are bound to find a  music holiday to suit you.

Tutors- are they good and experienced? Will you come away a better player?

You bet you will. All of our tutors  are experts in their fields and all committed enthusiastic teachers, Whatever level you are you can be sure that you will go home playing your instrument with re newed enthusiasm

 Venue? Is it a good holiday location and easy to get to?

We are based in South West France, surrounded by sunflowers and vines. A short drive from Cognac and with a micro brewery in the village – it doesn’t get much better!! And so easy to get to. All of the budget air lines fly into La Rochelle airport and then we come and pick you up so zero stress.

 Price, value for money.

We reckon we are the best value around. Check out our prices

£575 covers 20 hours of tuition,  accommodation, full board with french wine at meal times and transfer to and from the airport.

We have been running music workshop holidays here in south-west France for the last five years. Over that time we have always been striving to improve our set up and are proud to now be considered the premier music holiday venue in france.

We think that we have now got all the elements for a fantastic music holiday experience in place – tutors who are experts in their fields and all committed enthusiastic teachers, relaxed informal friendly set up and great food and wine. Accommodation, full board and 20 hours of tuition are all included in our great value music holidays.

If you want to go on holiday on your own it is ideal. You will be spending the day enjoying make music with other enthusiasts, and the lunch times and evenings are spent eating, drinking, chatting, and jamming late into the evening.

Check out our website and see why 50% people who come on a Creative Vacances Music Holiday come back for more.

à bientot

Django in July

Paul Vernon ChesterDjango Jazz Workshop 28th July – 3rd August 2013

Where better to learn the subtle art of Gypsy Jazz guitar than in its spiritual home of France?
Foremost acoustic guitarist Paul Vernon Chester will be running his Gypsy Jazz guitar course at Creative Vacances in July 2013 for those eager to develop their skills in this increasingly popular style.
Paul is in big demand as a performer and highly experienced teacher of the Django style with queues forming for his hugely successful workshops.
The week in France will be a unique and golden opportunity to learn, develop as a guitarist and gain a deeper insight into the music from a master of the style, in idyllic surroundings and with like-minded musicians, whatever your ability.
Book now to avoid disappointment!


Even more Creative!

We have built up a reputation over the years for being the Premier Music Holiday Venue in France but we are regularly asked by professionals to do even more creative workshops. After the huge success of our songwriting workshop this year we decided to extend our range of workshops so that Creative Vacances becomes truly Creative.

This year we have added an Abstract Art Workshop with Steve Powell 23-29 September and a Creative Writing Workshop 21-27 October with Stan Cullimore and Peter Joucla.


We are delighted to have on board Peter Joucla and Stan Cullimore who will be running a Creative Writing Workshop 21-27 October 2012

Stan Cullimore has had over 100 books published, some best sellers and many translated into other languages. He writes scripts for television including Basil brush and The Bopps as well as writing for a column for a national newspaper.

Peter Joucla is a well known theatre script writer and producer. His productions regularly receive rave reviews.


Steve Powell is a highly respected abstract artist from the south of England with works exhibited both in public and private galleries. If you are a fan of abstract painting or would like to try a different genre of painting this week is not to be missed.

We hope to extend the range of our creative workshops over the coming months.



Abstract Art Workshop at Creative Vacances

Steve Powell is an extremely respected abstract artist from the south of England. He has painting exhibited in many public and private galleries.

We are big fans and  have 2 of his oil paintings and 3 of his prints at homeSteve Powell

When the chance came to run a workshop with him  we couldn’t resist. The dates are 23-29 September 2012.

There are many workshops and holidays out there for watercolour and oil painting but very few for abstract art and especially with someone with a reputation like Steve Powell.

For more details



Second date added for Andy Scotts Saxophone workshop

After this years extremely successful Saxophone Workshop with Andy Scott we are already nearly fully booked for next years planned workshop 5-11 May 2013 and so we are delighted to announce that Andy will be running a second week with us in 2013.

The dates have been fixed for 31 March -6 April 2013– during the Easter holidays so that the teachers and students who can only come in the school holidays won’t be disappointed.

We already have a number of bookings for this second week. Places on both weeks are limited and are filling fast and  so if you would like to join us for either week  get in touch . We are only asking for a deposit of £50 at this stage to confirm your place with the deposit being due in November and the balance due 8 weeks before the workshop.

Saxophone Workshop dates announced for 2013

Andy Scotts’ Saxophone Workshop in 2012 was a huge success. The week was fully booked and we had the anticipation of a concert with a local French/English choir on the Thursday during the week.

Pauline Gordon had written a piece specially for the choir and saxophones which had its world premier at Fontenet as well as Andy playing his piece La Moreau for the first time in public – another world premier.

200 people attended the concert  and at the end the choir and saxophonists received a standing ovation. It was a fantastic evening.

The workshop for 2013 has now been scheduled for 5-11 May 2013.

The numbers are limited to 12 and if  we are over booked we have pencilled another date.

There will be a less formal concert with the choir at Fontenet and Andy has scheduled in one session a day for rehearsals to leave enough time to cover a wide range of material.

Due to popular demand Andy has also agreed to offer a half hour private lesson for each participant.


You will need to book early to secure your place of this fantastic week.

more workshops, more people, more space

Building on the great success of 2011 we have added more workshops for 2012. Check out the full list

To fit them all into the calendar we have started even earlier this year with our Saxophone Workshop with Andy Scott fully booked.

During the summer we eat on our wonderful south facing terrasse but we knew that if we were starting on April 1st it would be impossible to eat outside and so we would have to build a new dining room.

The only space that we had left in our complex of barns was the area where we stored all our tools and so last November we started a plan to create a new dining room/ second music room in this space.


Our first problem was what to do with everything that was currently in the room. By continually shifting the tools around we eventually installed  beams and laid  chip board  so that we had a first floor to put everything.

At last we had a clear space.

We knew we were on a very tight time line  and by the end of January we had punched through a double door way onto the existing terrasse.

Suddenly the weeks started to fly by and it was the end of February and we wtill didn’t have the walls dry lined.

Working 7 days a week we finally got the room completely finished 2 weeks before the start of the first workshop. It is large enough to seat 20 people and we were delighted when Andy Scott used the space as a second music room.

A great addition to the facilities here.




New for 2012 – Gypsy jazz workshop

We are delighted that Paul Vernon Chester has agreed to run a Gypsy Jazz Workshop for us 13-19 May.

Paul is considered one of the best gypsy jazz guitarists  in the UK and is also well known for his excellent workshops.

It is an irresistable opportunity  for anyone who loves to play  acoustic guitar to learn a very different style which is so suited  to France where it all began!

The workshop isn’t just for beginners, so if you are already a fan of the style and would like to improve, check out the page for more details


2 World premiers for the Saxophone concert

This years Saxophone workshop with Andy Scott looks as if its going to be fantastic. The week is already fully booked with lots of regulars and some new faces as well.
We try to ensure that the week is challenging and different to other saxophone workshops and so this year we have arranged to participate at a concert organised by a local french/english choir- La Chantonge- at Fontenet on 5 April.
The choir has been in existence since 2004 and members are English French and Dutch. Twice yearly they do a series of concerts singing a wide range of material – classical as well as modern in both french and english.
I approached the choir late last year to see if they would be interested in doing a concert with the saxophone group and they were immediately very keen. There were discussion about what music the choir and saxophone could do together when Pauline Gordon a regular at the workshops said that she would like to write a piece specially for a saxophone quartet and choir.
She asked me if I could find a poem in French about the local area that she could use for the text. Initially I thought she had asked the impossible, but after searching on the internet I came across a web site in french where people could upload their poems . The poets are all anonymous using a pseudonym. I stumbled upon a poem written by someone who has logged that they live in the next village. The poem is called Bonjour Le Fleuve and is about the River Charente. It contains a line “La vie est un cadeau” Life is a gift and Pauline and I loved this line and knew it would be ideal.

Pauline composed the piece and it is now being rehearsed by the choir. and I started the search for the poet. I tried contacting them through the web site with no response so went to the local paper who published a piece this week asking for the poet to come forward. I wonder if we will have any success. It would be wonderful if we could invite them to the concert.

Andy Scott will also be premiering his composition La Moreau. This is a piece that he has written for solo saxophone dedicating it to our little village. What a delight.

A compilation recording of the concert will appear on our facebook page.
For anyone looking for a fantastic week playing the saxophone and  interested in coming next year get in touch and we will put your name down and keep you informed of dates etc.

Snow in La Moreau

terraceno trafficIts said that the Charente Maritime is the second sunniest are in France – that may be true but at the moment the sun is shining on 10-15 centimetres of snow. Would look like the Alps if we had any hills!
This area usually benefits from a micro climate and so snow is very rare. For the last week the temperature has rarely got above -5° and the pool is frozen solid and our butternut squashes are having to be thawed before I can cook them.gites
The forecast is for a couple more weeks of sub zero temperatures. Just hope it warms up before our first workshop of the year – Andy Scotts Saxophone workshop- otherwise they will playing playing saxophone with their gloves on!.
la moreauBella has been practising carrying cognac under her chin just in case they get snowed in the music room.