Latitude Cultural Center

La Toulzanie (Lot)   France


1 workshop the week of June 17-23


Rob O'Brien Rob O'Brien
Facilitator: Rob O'Brien has conducted 2 watercolor workshops at Latitude. Vermont watercolorist Rob has won many prizes for his work. He is a laid-back teacher who, past participants say, is a terrific teacher! You can see his work at his website:

Participants will paint every morning  (except  the free day,Wednesday, and Sunday when we go to the nearby market --of course there's no law against bringing paints along!) at nearby sites. In the past, these have included the village  of Cenévières (with its Michelin-starred castle) and La Toulzanie (the headquarters of Latitude).  Rob will offer gentle instruction.

For all levels of  previouis accomplishment--from the rank beginner to  the very experienced!

2 workshops, June 23-30 (plus a mini-course (June 28-29)


photo of E. Barbara

        Phillips Afternoons( mainly). Instructors:E. Barbara Phillips,  Professor Emerita of Sociology & Urban Studies, San Francisco State University,  and local historians, artisans, producers, castle-owners.

Discover culinary/social history of  Quercy in southwest France (emphasis: the Department of Lot; Cahors remains its capital) via visits/discussions with farmers and artisans who continue to produce gastronomic specialities in  traditional ways. "Cazelles" (shepherds'  drystone huts), "pigeonniers" (dovecotes) & other Quercynois architectural gems will  be pointed out. Guided tours of a Renaissance (and earlier) castle and the beautiful, artsy medieval village of St. Cirq Lapopie . Special visit to the 25,000 (at least) year-old cave paintings in nearby Pech-Merle (not a facsimile; rated 3 stars by Michelin).  Explore connections between food, family life, & national identity.

Notes: (1) The Lot is a leading producer of foie gras in the world. But, no "gavage" (the forced feeding of geese or ducks) is included here. If you wish to see this practice, we can arrange a visit to a duck farm.  (2) The Lot is also a big truffle producer, but the truffle markets are held locally in winter. Chef/bistro owner Todd Kniess of the Bistro Liaison in Berkeley will  host another truffle-hunting trip in Winter, 2013 if you wish to enjoy this "black gold" treasure and see how they are hunted. In summer, alas, the truffle hunts are over and so are the local truffle markets. There is a nearby truffle museum, however, and a trip there can be easily arranged.

Typical schedule: 

Arrive at Latitude between 4-6 p.m. Welcome Dinner in the mill at 8 p.m.

Sun a.m.

Buy or just enjoy/experience local produce at nearby market (Limogne). After lunch:, talk about food & national identity. Free evening.


Visit the 25,000 year-old cave paintings at Pech-Merle (not a facsimile!). Free afternoon after lunch. Dinner at 7 and conference  (in French) in the hangar at 9:15.


Guided tour, the Michelin-starred Chateau of Cenévières. Lunch. Free afternoon. Dinner at 8.


Free day--visit Conques, or Rocamadour and  the Gouffre de Padirac, or Albi and Cordes-sur-Ciel or just plop down at Latitude


Visit a goat farm and see how goat cheese is made; walking tour of  a medieval  town. Dinner at 8 pm


Visit St. Cirq Lapopie, a nearby,  preserved medieval village, or local architectural gems (pigeonniers, cazelles, bread ovens.) Dinner at 8 pm


An exploration of the psyche in paleolithic caves, and the cave in the psyche

Doug and Adrienne

                      Amundsen Facilitator: Adrienne Amundsen.  Adrienne is a psychologist in private practice and a traveller (e.g., Afghanistan) from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a poet and experienced workshop leader, particularly of rituals. Together with her husband, Doug Coffee (an attorney and impassioned historian), she offered a course in 2005 at Latitude which focused on paleolithic art and the  history of nearby caves. In 2012, the course will emphasize the nature of creativity. Participants will explore the nature of early humans, the emergence of art, various theories about the creation of cave art, the practice of shamanism, and the neuropsychological aspects of altered states. (She has taught versions of this course in Australia and the U.S.)

Participants will visit several caves and enjoy what she calls " the beautiful countryside around La Toulzanie." There will be opportunities for participants to work in a leisurely manner on their own creative projects, particularly writing.  CEU's for psychologists and MFT's are available.

Photo (at left) depicts Adrienne and Doug in the Lot when they co-taught a course in 2005.

     Mini-course: June 28-29

Creative Loitering in the Lot--a photography workshop

Workshop Facilitator: Jeff Berner.
    Jeff, an American based in Paris and California, is a Photo of Jeff Berner, workshop leader lifetime fine art and editorial photographer. He has authored a dozen books (including The Nikon Touch Photography Guide, and The Foolproof Guide to Taking Pictures), Jeff Berner  (at right) will be teaming up with a small group of  beginning and advanced amateur photographers for a two-day playful and intensive “Creative Loitering in the Lot” photography workshop.

    He will be more or less leading participants around a legendary area which will also be totally new to him, too! Thus,  Jeff will bring the same “beginner's eyes” that you will! Jeff says,"So we can all team up discovering the area. We will be mostly walking, with no checklist!"

    The spirit of this little safari is this: “Forget your camera and take the best pictures of your life!” Jeff considers using a camera is simply being a living mirror, In other words, you are not “taking” pictures; you are receiving them---reflecting the life around you.

    Nowadays, digital cameras are so intelligent that we can now let them do most of the “thinking.” Jeff says that due to this new technology, "we are free to do all of the feeling and adventuring. Forget your camera and remember life!"

    Jeff has led annual "Awakening Vision" photography workshops in Big Sur, California (at Esalen Institute-- for a decade); in Paris; around Sienna, in Tuscany;  in Marin County, California, and on The Big Island in Hawaii, since 1988. He is dedicated to inspiring you to have "Aha!" photographic experiences all day long.

    Because his atelier is based in Montmartre (for almost a decade)on the Butte above greater Paris, Jeff speaks French and English fluently. He adds,” thus we can talk with one another and quite freely with the locals.”

    Each evening, after dinner, the best work of the day will be projected, and we'll talk about the day's adventures. Jeff's critiques mostly ignore photographic "mistakes" and focus fully on what participants have done right each day.
 Let's go SEE what and who we will discover!

IF you'd like to communicate directly with Jeff, here's his e-dresse:

Equipment needed
  1.   a digital camera
  2.    a battery charger and
  3.   an extra battery for the camera

Please note: For non-locals (those not within a 50 mile radius and who do not need lodging), this mini-course will cost 1/3rd of the price of the week-long courses. (Locals enjoy a special  --and much lower-- rate.) Meals, lodging, instruction are included. And the banquet is on Friday night—in the 14th century mill!


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