Travel with world-renowned musicians to the Loire Valley 
June 3-11, 2019
Trip Status: CLOSED


Tour Cost: from $6175 per person, double occupancy
Activity Level:  excursions require 2 hours of walking at a slow pace
*Four-day add-on to Brittany is FULL.
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Our Loire Valley trip will provide chamber music lovers (and Manasse/Nakamatsu fans) eight days of bliss. Staying in the beautiful Château de Noirieux near Angers, Jon Nakamatsu and Jon Manasse, joined by cellist David Ying, will treat us to daily music sessions and at least one concert which will be open to the public at the château.

We will, however, do more than hear music! We will also:


  • See and catch the perfumes of the gardens of Villandry and Terra Botanica

  • Visit Château de Brissac and the Fontevrand Abbey

  • Tour the Château d’Angers and its tapestries

  • And last, but not least, indulge in wine and liqueur tastings!


The Château will be ours for the duration of the tour so feel free to make yourself at home! Rooms range from double to deluxe and are available on a first-come, first serve basis. Double rooms will win your heart with their unique charm and decor. Double rooms are included in the trip cost of $6175 with an option for a single supplement for an additional $960.


To make your stay extra special,  you have the option to upgrade to a deluxe room for an additional cost of $500 per person, double occupancy.  Deluxe rooms are spacious and peaceful with luxurious décor.


Activities are moderately paced with suggested alternatives for those who prefer a slower pace (alternative activities may incur slight additional costs). If you wish to opt out of any excursions, you may stay back at “our” château for the week and bask by the pool, play tennis, bike or try your luck at puzzling your way through the labyrinth (no help from your cell phone!).

Château de Noirieux, our home for the week

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The veranda at Château de Noirieux​




From Jon & Jon

“We are thrilled to be a part of this amazing journey to the Loire Valley! And what a special privilege to have David Ying of the renowned Ying Quartet join us for the adventure. We’ll enjoy more than a week full of music, open rehearsals, discussions, Q&As, performances—all from the comfort of the incredible Château de Noirieux. This is a unique opportunity for us to make and hear music in the most intimate environment and to share this joy with you in a way not possible during the normal concert season. We hope you will join us for all the delights of this truly extraordinary experience. See you next summer in France!”



This add-on is FULL

From the Chateau Noirieux, we will drive to Quimper in Brittany. The Gradlon Hotel there will be our base, from which we’ll do daily explorations. Tour books recommend a two-week period in which to explore Brittany; we have but three and a half days, so it will be a short visit, highlighted with Bretagne landscape, beauty, life, and culture.


One day will be devoted to acquainting ourselves with the town of Quimper, where we’ll visit the Faience pottery producers, old town, its Celtic heritage, and its museums of art and cathedrals. Each day, we’ll drive in a different direction to explore a region: the southern coast, the westernmost point of France and one other point. We will have a structured but more or less free four days: heading toward new, perhaps mysterious destinations; happening upon restaurants, markets, and festivals and hopefully just having a good time learning something new–Brittany is new for Artful Journeys. We also might pick up some Celtic language by the by.


We will stay at Hotel Gradlon right in the town center of Quimper. The price of the add-on is $1450, which includes accommodation, all meals, entry fees, and transportation, including the return flight to Paris.


Please note that this Brittany visit trip will be limited to six people due to vehicle size. Excursions and entry fees, ground transportation in France, teachers’ and admin fees are not included. Airfare and personal purchases are not included. Travel insurance is strongly advised.


The mediaeval town of Quimper

The Odet River in Quimper



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Jon Nakamatsu
Pianist & Instructor

American pianist Jon Nakamatsu continues to draw unanimous praise as a true aristocrat of the keyboard, whose playing combines elegance, clarity, and electrifying power. A native of California, Mr. Nakamatsu came to international attention in 1997 when he was named Gold Medalist of the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the only American to have achieved this distinction since 1981. Mr. Nakamatsu has performed widely in North and South America, Europe, and the Far East, collaborating with such conductors as James Conlon, Marek Janowski, Raymond Leppard, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Osmo Vänskä and Hans Vonk. He also performed at a White House concert hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Nakamatsu studied privately with Marina Derryberry and has worked with Karl Ulrich Schnabel, son of the great pianist Artur Schnabel. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in German Studies and a master's degree in Education.

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Jon Manasse
Clarinetist & Instructor

Among the most distinguished classical artists of his generation, clarinetist Jon Manasse is internationally recognized for his inspiring artistry, uniquely glorious sound and charismatic performing style.

Recent season highlights include return performances with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and debuts with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, The Chappaqua Orchestra, Montana’s Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Oregon’s Rogue Valley Symphony. With pianist Jon Nakamatsu, he continues to tour throughout the United States as half of the acclaimed Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo. The Duo’s activities include the world premiere performances of Paquito D’Rivera’s The Cape Cod Concerto with Symphony Silicon Valley, conducted by Leslie B. Dunner.

Joan Hill
Owner, Host, & Director

Years ago, it was suggested to Joan that she might offer an art program, and she jumped at the chance of a lifetime. Bringing together all of her life's passions, the development and administration of Artful Journeys is an exhilarating process for Joan.


Joan was born and raised in the apple country of the Hudson River Valley in New York; her father was a gentle, very tolerant, educated land surveyor, and her mother was the efficient business administrator and home engineer. The youngest of four children, Joan was encouraged to pursue anything she wanted, but also to do her best. Sometimes that was very difficult, especially succeeding three very accomplished siblings.



From $6175 per person double occupancy
  • Not included are personal purchases and pampering.

  • $960 single supplement. 

  • The add-on trip to Brittany is not included and is an additional $1450 per person. Brittany trip is limited to six people and is now FULL.

  • NOTE: A deposit of $500 is required upon registration to secure a place in this workshop.

  • Airfare is not included to enable travelers to use their “travel points,” upgrade flight arrangements, or to extend their trip.

  • Travel insurance is strongly encouraged. Please see the Travel Insurance Form.



This journey is CLOSED.
For details or questions, please click here to contact Joan Hill.