Artists Retreats and Workshops in Sauveterre de bearn in the Pyrenees Atlantique region of South West France.
A Boste, or the Guard House is an ancient castle converted to a guest house or chambres d’hôtes in SW France set in a thousand year’s old village called Sauveterre de Béarn. It is run on a non profit basis of an association Be-Artz, and all income is reinvested in the buildings and art projects.
It has become the base for a society of artists called Be-artz led by local artists in the Béarn.
The aim of this society is to develop this building and another, an old ‘Ham Factory’ to be a place for artists and teachers to hold workshops and have retreats. A place to come and work in a beautiful and extraordinary environment, meet other artists, and experience French rural life. We want to develop the Ham Factory into a gallery and workshop space, to work with the village and local children and leave the building in perpetuity for artistic purposes.
Our model is Ballinglen Arts centre in Ireland , where from small beginnings there is now a centre, museum and gallery, artists in residence and workshop space.
Although this is a French Village and a ‘Bonjour’ is appreciated as you walk past people, English is spoken and understood by many, and it’s very friendly to foreigners. Sauveterre is also on the Camino, and you will come across backpacking pilgrims walking on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
As you approach ABoste and its tower at the entrance you will find a stone spiral staircase leading up to the top of the tower with its 360 degree view over the landscape. The skies and the landscape are spectacular.
The village is set on a cliff overlooking the river, the Gave d’Oleron, and the Pyrenees mountains. There is a terrace from which to view and a descent to the river.
The mountains are but a 30 min drive and the river is good for swimming in.
There is an island in the river which is accessed by a foot bridge and it’s a wild place and lovely walk around, about half a mile. There are other walks along the river and to chapels.
There are sun loungers and a bar by the river for those who want more of a holiday atmosphere, there are paddle boards and kayaks available.
There are three bakers in the village, an organic grocery, two pharmacies, a butcher and a gift shop. A restaurant and a couple of cafés. A 5 mins walk to a supermarket.
There are up to 4 rooms for artists on retreat, with a kitchen which can be used for meal preparation. This can be shared or done on an individual basis. There is studio space for 4 artists some individual some shared, and each room also has a desk or table and can be worked in. Most of the rooms have showers en suite, just one room has it’s bathroom across the corridor. We are working on the option of having meals catered.
For workshops there are 7 bedrooms available in ABoste and we rent additional accommodation from friends in the village. We have a 4 bedroom house and a two bedroom apartment available. Workshops and full residencies are catered.