La Bonne Etoile Artists Retreat was specifically developed to assist artists and writers who would benefit from an experience in another culture, along with a time of seclusion and solitude. But through the years it has developed into more....a community of friends. La Bonne Etoile Blog has been designed to expand the richness of that community by continuing the quest to create and recreate together.
La Bonne Etoile workshops are ALL-INCLUSIVE, starting and ending with hospitality shuttles to and from any Paris airport. Our workshop instructors are well known for quality, patient instruction for all levels of students. contact for full information. Be sure to visit the individual websites of the artists, you will find links to La Bonne Etoile workshop information there as well.

France, and even some things not so French!


Kathryn Rose Nichols is a print designer and professional photographer who visited La Bonne Etoile for the first time in June 2010 for Margaret Dyer’s workshop. She has returned to La Bonne Etoile in August 2011 as staff for the Lyn Diefenbach workshop. In addition, Kathryn will be heading up changes in the website and blog. What better way to help others learn to blog than to share the next three weeks with everyone. We are delighted to have Kathryn with us, we know you will enjoy getting to know her too….Kippy & Jerome

See Kathryn’s artwork at

Upon my arrival to France, Kippy and I were famished. She picked me up from the airport, and our first order of business was food. We stopped at a place called Buffalo Grill, which I believe to be the French take on American steak houses. They even had paper American Indian head dresses for the kids… The food was horrible. (Ha! If that’s not enough to get your attention, I don’t know what is! Keep reading Kippy…)

Any one who has been to La Bonne Etoile, and France, knows that the dining is a wonderful experience. From the setting of the table to desert, it’s always a unique and beautiful experience. So a word of advise when visiting France… avoid ordering American type food, i.e. Buffalo Grill! We declared to never eat French gone American again… it is strictly traditional fare from here on out. Well, except for our italian lunch in Paris that was divine, but I’ll get to that later.

After getting myself rested up, it was off to Paris to take care of some business, get a haircut and tool around the city. 36 hours in Paris… ah! I could spend years exploring this city. Jerome and Kippy’s Paris apartment is a dream come true. The back window looks over the Basilica Val de Grace, where we watched the sunset and sipped wine.


On Saturday, after our Italian lunch (I’m still getting to that), we went to Montmartre which is the highest point in Paris. It was quite the adventure getting there! The perspective from this point of the city was refreshing… when visiting Paris it’s easy to get lost “in the trenches”, but going up to Montmartre allows you to look down upon this beautiful city’s landmarks. Montmartre was once covered by wheat fields and wind mills. I would have liked to seen it then… One of these windmills became famously known as The Moulin Rouge (or Red Windmill).


Okay, and back to our italian lunch. We found a great little pizzeria/ristorante close to Fontaine Saint-Michel, called l’isolotto. It was divine! Now, I am not a tomato eater… Kippy ordered the bruschetta which had tomatoes and olives on it. I ate it and loved it. We also shared the house pizza. Kippy and Jerome are convinced that I just haven’t had good tomatoes before. Perhaps. Either way, my palate is opening up even more since I’ve been here. I even ate a whole cherry tomato straight from the garden last night!

Today, we cleaned up the studio and I made flower arrangements for the guest rooms at La Bonne Etoile. Our instructor Lyn, arrives any minute now. I took a peek at a book of her artwork that is up in the studio… unbelievable! I am so excited about the week to come.

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