Abound: A Joie de Vivre Journey in the French Countryside

With Ginny Smith and Brenda Hudson

MAY 8 – MAY 13, 2016
(with optional Parisian add-on trip: May 13-16)


Experience the beauty and inspiration of the French countryside in springtime!  Exquisite gardens, bursting with color… fresh produce and aromatic baked goods… village life that beckons us to slow down… sights that inspired great art.

“I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.”

-Vincent Van Gogh

France Retreat

Click here to view brochure

Share in all that rural France has to offer in this unique curated tour with Ginny Smith (Ginny’s Fine Fabrics) and Brenda Hudson (Voiced Life). On our Joie de Vivre Journey, you will stay in a private luxury manor house, where our group will be the only guests. Set in a three-acre park, there is plenty of space for shared activity, as well as privacy, both in the house and on the grounds.

Our home base is ideally situated for exploring cultural and historical landmarks, including Chateau de Versailles, Chartres Cathedral, Monet’s garden at Giverny, and Auvers-sur-Ois, where Van Gogh lived (and painted) the last months of his life.

We offer flexible options for daily excursions, allowing you to customize your adventure according to your interests. In addition, we offer two high-quality handcrafting opportunities so you can take a part of France back home with you. Create an authentic Parisian scarf with Ginny to wear with style, and stitch your own beautiful leather-bound journal with Brenda. With our daily journaling sessions you can pen the perfect, personalized souvenir of your time in France!

Your Abound Joie de Vivre Journey offers:

  • Day trips to Chateau de Versailles, Chartres, Giverny, and Auvers-sur-Ois
  • Free time to explore and relax as you choose
  • Quality handcrafting experiences: leather journals and silk scarves
  • Daily journaling sessions, led by Brenda Hudson, PhD, certified journal facilitator

Costs for Abound: A Joie de Vivre Journey: 

$3,995 per person for double occupancy
$4,495 for single occupancy
$4,995 per person for a shared royal suite

Included in the cost are:

  • Five nights’ accommodation in luxury private home, checking in Sunday, May 8 after 4:30pm; check out is Friday, May 13, by 11am.
  • Meals include: welcoming dinner on Sunday evening and celebratory dinner on Thursday evening; all breakfasts; lunch and dinner most days, depending on your options to explore independently
  • Chartered transportation for day trips
  • High-quality leather and all other materials and instruction needed to bind your own journal
  • High-quality silk fabric and instruction needed to sew your own scarf

Airfare not included. Optional chartered transportation from Paris airports to accommodation and back can be arranged.

To register for this trip, fill out the registration form or:

Call: (507) 285-9134
Email: retreat@voicedlife.com

Optional 3-day trip to Paris, May 13-16 may be added based on demand. Please indicate interest via registration form.



About Ginny Smith, Ginny’s Fine Fabrics

Ginny is the owner of Ginny’s Fine Fabrics in Rochester. For nearly 40 years, Ginny has been providing customers with fine fabrics and service to those seeking fashion on their own terms. Ginny has a keen sense of fashion and a wealth of couture know-how, so that each customer’s style and fashion dreams can be realized. Ginny has visited France many times and is excited to share her love of all things French.

For more information, click here.



About Brenda Hudson, PhD, Voiced Life

Brenda is a teacher, creative writer, and certified journal facilitator. She leads writing workshops where participants create unique books of themselves and their experiences using journaling and book arts techniques. Brenda offers a variety of adult and youth workshops through Voiced Life and is also a frequent teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

For more information, click here.

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