Archive for category Special Events

Peaceful pursuits in the alps

We invite you to enjoy some peaceful pursuits in the Alps in seasons other than winter.


Water colours with Susanna Lyell 16th – 23rd September 2012

Lady Susanna Lyell who owns the lovely Maison du Chateau in Burgundy has a wonderful gift for taking a group with varied abilities and opening their eyes to their beautiful surroundings.  She has inspired beginners to experienced artists and helped them create paintings of which they are proud.

The price of £750 includes the art course (tutor, Susanna Lyell) , accommodation, breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner with table wines. There is a £100 supplement for a single person.

Please download and complete the Summer Course Booking Form if you would like to come.

shapeimage_1-1Flutes de Soleil – an inspirational week of flute playing… 15th – 21st July 2012

Following on from last summer’s success, Louise Burnet and Andrea Kuypers, our two expert tutors, will be leading another week of workshops, masterclasses, ensembles and concerts. They have been asked to bring the group and perform two open air concerts in local beauty spots.

For six wonderful days, the course will encourage and inspire developing flautists in a relaxed environment with the emphasis on success through enjoyment.

For more information about the course and tutors, see

The price of £625 includes the flute course (tutors, Louise Burnet and Andrea Kuypers), accommodation, breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner with table wines. There is a £100 supplement for a single person.

Please download and complete the Summer Course Booking Form if you would like to come.

mushroomsforwebFungi foraging and nature walks and the enjoyment of eating nature’s produce. 8th – 15th September 2012

As we mushroom forage, Peter will open our eyes to all sorts of other fascinating details in the surrounding nature. He is an experienced nature photographer and will offer help. We will then be using fungi in tasty recipes.

Peter Creed has been leading forays for plants and fungi for over 25 years for wildlife charities and organisations. He has had many of his photographs published in magazines and books and has also written guides on orchids and fungi. He is co-author (for the European Commission) of a coffee-table guide to some of Europe’s best wildlife sites, entitled Natura 2000 – protecting Europe’s biodiversity.

The price of £750 includes the foraging, accommodation, breakfast, picnics and dinner with table wines. There is a £100 supplement for a single person.

Please download and complete the Summer Course Booking Form if you would like to come.

If you would have any questions or know someone who might like to come, too, please let us know.

Contact us:

01235 833 643 or +44 1235 833 643

A’bientot Max and Veroni

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Susanna Lyell

Susanna Lyell has painted all her life.  Born in 1945 she spent her childhood in Wales, Richmond-on-Thames, and the Isle of Wight.  She has always been fascinated by the changing light on land, buildings, and sea and the subtle light of interiors.

From 1963 to 1966 she studied at the Frobel Institute of Education – with Painting and Drawing as her special subject.

She taught in South London for 8 years before she and her husband Nicholas moved to their small farm in Hertfordshire, where they brought up their family.

In 1987 Susanna helped set up the Gorhambury Art Group near St Albans, and from 1992 onwards she has arranged painting holiday groups. The light on houses, chateaux, abbeys, churches, archways, and hill top ruins have inspired Susanna’s work.

All her teaching and own work is based on the importance of close observation of landscape, interiors, life and still life. But the individual response to this observation and the individual interpretation, Susanna views as essential. Her teaching is individually based and is enthusiastic and encouraging. She gives group talks and demonstrations on Colour, Technique, Drawing, Perspective, Composition, all with a clear but light touch and always well illustrated from works by the great Masters, through the early and mid 20th Century to contemporary painters and print makers.

Susanna is a true water colourist, closely observing colour, tone and light. She often works on thick rough paper, building up layered washes and delighting in unexpected and unplanned combinations of colour, textures and shapes. This, alongside her natural ability to observe and draw, her relaxed approach to oil and acrylic painting; her use of mixed media; her good strong charcoal drawing and her enthusiasm for experimentation and print making, all helpher to encourage both beginners and established painters alike.

For those who wish to move towards abstraction, Susanna is interested in identifying and simplifying of shapes and tones to help with this process and to help her pupils produce very pleasing work.

Inspired by landscape and buildings from Cornwall to Scotland; Ireland, France and Spain, she also has painted in India and China, where bright colours and majestic buildings are an inspiration.

Over the last ten years, Susanna has exhibited regularly in London and Hertfordshire.

Exhibitions include:

1996 Mall Galleries, London

1998 Indar Pasricha Gallery, London

2001 Mall Galleries, London

2001 Albemarle Gallery, London

2002/3 Serge Hill, Hertfordshire

2005 Pro Patrimonio, Rumanian Embassy, London

2006 ‘Eight of Herts’ Group, Hertfordshire

2011 St Albans International Organ Festival Art Exhibition

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Flute course

International Flute Course

15th – 21st July 2012

La Ferme du Soleil, Chinaillon, Le Grand Bornand, Haute-Savoie, France


Join us for another inspirational week of flute playing…

Following last year’s success and set in France’s magical Haute-Savoie, our two expert tutors, Louise Burnet and Andrea Kuypers, will be leading a week of workshops, masterclasses, ensembles and concerts.

We welcome flautists from age 13 through to adult. Applicants should be minimum Grade 3 standard through to Diploma.

The course will encourage and inspire developing flautists in a relaxed environment where the emphasis is based on success through enjoyment.

It won’t all be work… there will be plenty of time to relax by the pool and enjoy the spectacular alpine scenery.

For more information look at the special website:

Click here for the link to the website

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Special Occasions and Conferences

Since we started la Ferme du Soleil in 1998, much has been done to make it more comfortable without losing its traditional charm and simplicity.

All but one room now have their own bathrooms and there is WiFi and satellite as well as log fires.

Many of our guests have used their time at La Ferme du Soleil for special occasions such as their 21st, 50th or 60th birthdays and special wedding anniversaries.

They have also held relaxed conferences with sporting activities allowing relaxed and sometimes competitive discussions.

We offer something unique where people can come together in a relaxed, homely atmosphere and be looked after with great attention to detail according to your individual needs, in a fairy-tale environment. We can tailor-make your holiday to make it more fitting for the particular occasion, either by adjusting the menu or by helping you with some special events:-


Don’t use the lifts, but set off with Jean Francois, our guide, from La Ferme in the dark with skins on your skis, a lamp on your head and breakfast on your back. As you climb to the top of virgin peaks, you can watch the dawn breaking and the bouquetin [picture] breakfasting on moss as the sun rises. Breakfast on the top of the Aiguille Vert (you deserve every crumb of your pain-au-chocolate), admire the wonderful birds of prey riding on the thermals and then ski back on virgin snow. .


This is the most health giving  sport I have ever tried…far better exercise than downhill skiing. You can feel the the oxygen go right to the depth of your lungs! Feels like every muscle has been used and although you are exhausted on your return at 10 am and need a little siesta, you feel on top of the world later!! [Link to the page on Mountain Guides]

DOORSTEP PARAPENTING (Paragliding to the English).

3 minutes away from the the Ferme is the Lachat chair lift, which whisks you up to the top and a sensational view. Renee (the guy with the mustache) from the Passagers du Vent paragliding centre will pilot you on a tandem flight, riding on some of the best thermals in France.

On landing, we can organise a snow picnic appropriate for the occasion for you…simple or sophisticated alpine fayre.

Originally I believed that this must be a sport for the young and not for the faint hearted, but I thought I must try it so I could recommend it to my guests or steer them away. I found it to be the most beautiful, exhilarating way to see the Alps!! You don’t just plop down, you ride on the thermals. It’s the nearest thing to being a bird… there are birds riding on the thermals beside you…In fact I’ve met a man who rescues depressed birds of prey from zoos and they ride on the thermals while he is parapenting!

People of every age have loved parapenting.  Mel did it for her 21st. Edward Reily Collins brought all his Antique Roadshow friends to have a relaxing 60th birthday celebration.  They planned skiing, raqueting and bird-watching.  But once they had tried parapenting, he couldn’t keep them on the ground.

A perfect gift for Granny: flight and Champagne picnic for all the family to share as she glides down.  Perfect for honeymooners, too. Take off on two different tandems. It is far more than an adrenaline sport – it is a truly magnificent way to see the Alps. Of course, if you get hooked you can do a 5 days course and learn to fly solo The parapenting school in Grand Bornand is one of the places that give courses. [Link to the Passagers du Vente site].

BUILD AN ICE TABLE for you and create a celebratory environment with fur rugs, candles and celebratory food

CREATE AN ALPINE PICNIC and transport it to a secluded or specially scenic spot for you

Some ideas for special gifts at la Ferme

A breakfast outing with our guide on skis with skins. I gave this to my nephew for his 21st present and this is what he said! and this is him at the top of Aigulle verte

A flight on a parapente with or without a picnic as you land.

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