Welcome to MANZAC D'EN BAS, traditional luxury self-catering holiday "gites" set in the truly spectacular, peaceful and relaxing countryside of the Ariège in South West France
Three rural, self catering holiday gites/cottages with large saltwater swimming pool and panoramic views of the Pyrenees.
L'ÉCURIE - self-catering accommodation for 4 - 5 people
Self-catering gite accommodation in rural SW France with stunning views of the Pyrenees.
LE LOGEMENT - Self-catering accommodation for 4 - 6 people
A self catering holiday gite in the Ariege of south west France
LA GRANGE - self-catering accommodation for 4 - 8 people
Holiday gite rental with stunning views of the Pyrenees
Discover the Ariege, The Pyrenees and South West France
Discover the Ariege, The Pyrenees and South West France
Art Courses & Painting Holidays / Retreats in South West France
Professionally Tutored Photography Holidays in the Ariege of SW France
Comments from people who have stayed at Manzac d'en Bas in the Ariege
Booking, deposits, terms etc
Travel options to Manzac Gites in the Ariege, Midi Pyrenees, SW France
Giles and Louise Nevill
Local weather conditions from Meteo France and the BBC
Manzac d'en bas avec vues des Pyrénées à vous couper le souffle.
L' ÉCURIE - Hébergement meublé pour 4/5 personnes
Maison de charme avec les vues magnifiques sur les Pyrénées
LE LOGEMENT - Hébergement meublé pour 6 / 7 personnes
Maison de caractère située dans la campagne preservée de l'Ariège et qui donne sur la chaine des Pyrénées
LA GRANGE - Hébergement meublé pour 8 - 10 personnes
L'ancienne étable avec deux loggias spacieuses qui donnent sur la campagne et les Pyrénées
Gilles et Louise Nevill


You have come to www.manzac.com, a website for three traditional, luxury self-catering holiday "gites" in the truly spectacular, peaceful and relaxing countryside of the Ariege in SW France.

Click here to return to the Home Page for more information on this special holiday location in SW France

The detailed programme of art holidays at Manzac d'en Bas for 2015 is at the bottom of this page - please scroll down and have a look!

But In Summary ....

5th - 12th June -                       TOM BENJAMIN :                 Oils                                                     Spaces Available

14th - 21st June -                      CAROLE MASSEY :               Watercolours and Pastels                       Spaces Available

23rd - 30th June -                      MIKE WILLDRIDGE :            Sketching and Watercolours                    Spaces Available

25th August - 1st September -     VARVARA NEIMAN :            Watercolours and Pastels                        Spaces Available

3rd - 10th September -               JACKIE DEVEREUX  :           Drawing and Watercolours                       Spaces available

13th - 20th September -             SORAYA FRENCH  :              Acrylics                                                FULL

22nd - 29th September -             RITA MITCHELL (Private painting holiday)                                       FULL

1st - 8th October -                     ANN SWAN :                         Botanical Art with Coloured Pencils         Spaces available 

Painting on Location ;  Bordes Sur Arize, Daumazan and Sabarat

The peacefulness and beauty of the surrounding countryside and the flexibility of the accommodation make Manzac the ideal location for specialist courses in any number of activities - painting, photography, writing, language courses, yoga retreats, walking and golfing holidays etc etc.

Painting Demo of view from Manzac d'en Bas

We would be delighted to welcome anyone who wishes to use Manzac D'en Bas as a location for a specialist course either as a tutor wishing to bring a party of students / clients or as a participant. Please contact us on 00335 61 60 71 17 or by e-mail for further information and our pricing structure for specialist courses.

Click here to contact us by e-mail

Specialist activity holidays can take place any time outside the high season, ie during May, June, September and October which are often the best times to visit Manzac d’en Bas and the Ariege, as invariably, the weather is cooler and the countryside is at it’s most beautiful. Holidays can start and finish on any day of the week, thus enabling participants to take advantage of cheaper mid week flights.

Due to the spacious nature of the accommodation and facilities, course participants are most welcome to bring their husbands / wives / partners with them who can then enjoy a relaxing holiday at Manzac with everything that it and the surrounding area has to offer.


To improve the facilities that are available to our artists here at Manzac d'en Bas, we have built a new studio which has been extremely well received by those artists who have used it thus far - it is 50m2, light, spacious and the design is such that it remains cool when it is hot outside and has spectacular views towards the Pyrenees across the rolling countryside in front of Manzac.  This is a valuable new asset as it provides, both a place for artists to paint when the weather isn't suitable for painting en pleine air, but also a place in which the art group and keep all their equipment without having to clear it away every evening.

Testimonials for Painting Courses held at Manzac d'en Bas

“We have been planning this trip for over a year and the reality has far surpassed whatever I could imagine! - Much more fun, much better painting, superb food and wine. Great company and conversation. I felt completely at home!” - the course tutor

"The best painting holiday we have been on by far" - Colin

“Thank you so much for a lovely holiday – you’ve looked after us so well, we’ve been able to concentrate on the painting which was so much appreciated. Wonderful place to relax and unwind.” - Sue

“The painting holiday has surpassed all expectation. The food delicious, the wine flowed and the laughter wonderful. I look forward to another time spent with you and your lovely family.” - Gill

"It could have been just another painting week but this one was special." - Geraldine

“Our painting holiday was super and set in such a delightful place. With many thanks to Giles and Louise for being perfect hosts.” - Valerie

"Thank you for all your energy, good spirits, creativity, hospitality, nurturing and support - lovely time with lovely people!" - Annette

"A true get-away-from-it-all and emersion in La France profonde" - Jane

"Difficult to know where to start when describing it as it was all of such a high standard. Giles and Louise are the perfect hosts making everyone welcome and at ease from the moment of arrival. The standard of accommodation and food were faultless and the location in this little known part of France is just delightful." - Colin

"This has to be one of the most relaxing places anywhere. Giles and Louise ... cannot do enough for their guests, definitely going that "one step more" to offer the ultimate service." - Frank

We are really pleased to announce that according to our Tripadvisor entry, Manzac d'en Bas is currently No. 1 in the "Speciality Lodging" category (ie. not a hotel or B&B) in the Midi Pyrenees Region and the Ariège Department of SW France.  In addition, in 2013, we were very pleased to be presented with a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence

We are obviously delighted about this and thank you very much indeed to everyone who has taken the time to give us such kind and generous reviews.

Click here to visit TRIP ADVISOR - a website for traveller reviews and opinions. Read what our guests have said about staying at Manzac d'en Bas

Pre-dinner drinks and a Buffet lunch in the garden


Here is the list of the painting holiday courses which are currently scheduled for 2015. They represent a selection which we hope will provide something for everyone - different media and different subject specialities.

If you are interested in attending one (or more) of these courses, please contact us for much more information, including prices, on 00335 61 60 71 17 or via e-mail on manzacgites@yahoo.com

Click here to contact us by e-mail


The price per person per week for the Manzac aspects of the holiday (less two visits to local restaurants which are payable at the time) - ie. accommodation, food, drink and transport, is €740. If you share a room, then each person will benefit from a 10% discount - a rate of €665 per week. 

The tutors fees normally vary between £200 and £300 depending on the tutor - please contact us to confirm individual tutors' rates.

Click here for access to a Currency Converter



Friday 5th - Friday 12th June 2015

To be included

Click here to visit Tom's website

Click here to contact Tom by e-mail

CAROLE MASSEY - Watercolours and Pastels

SUNDAY 14th - SUNDAY 21st JUNE 2015

Carole studied art at St Albans and Leicester before following a successful career as a commercial artist running her own design business.

She returned to her first love of painting initially gaining a reputation as a portrait painter. Her subjects have included members of the royal family and show business personalities, including Rolf Harris, the celebrated painter and TV star. Amongst several TV appearances Carole debuted with Rolf on the BBC’s ‘The Big Event’ which featured a giant reproduction of Constable’s "The Hay Wain."

Today Carole is a professional artist, popular tutor and demonstrator whose work is in private collections in Europe, the USA and the Far East. She is an accomplished all rounder working in watercolour, water soluble pencils, acrylics, pastel, water based oils and mixed media.

As a best-selling author she has published teaching books on "Figures in Watercolour", "Water Soluble Pencils" and "Flowers in Acrylics", each in several languages (see publications page on her website). She is a professional associate of the SAA and is a regular contributor to their "Paint" magazine in addition to being invited to run workshops at the SAA’s exhibition in London.

Carole leads many courses in the UK at Flatford Mill, Suffolk for the Field Studies Council, Earnley Concourse, Sussex and at Watershed Studios, Essex. In 2010 she won an award in the “Artist of the Year Competition” organised by the Artists & Illustrators magazine.

As well as returning to Manzac, she will be leading painting holidays in Brittany where she now lives.

For much more information on Carole and some examples of her work, please visit her website - www.carolemassey.com

Click here to visit Carole's website

Click here to contact Carole by e-mail

MIKE WILLDRIDGE - Watercolours

TUESDAY 23rd - TUESDAY 30th JUNE 2015

Mike Willdridge is a practising artist and former teacher. He trained at Ravensbourne College of Art and worked as a Graphic Designer before joining the Army. He left the Army in 1989 to teach and was Head of Art at both Sutton Valence School, Kent and recently at Shebbear College, Devon.

He and his wife, Sue have been running Devon Art Courses for eleven years and Mike has been involved with adult teaching for over twenty years.

Mike has exhibited in London, Kent and Devon. He is an enthusiastic and experienced teacher with a loyal following.

Mike has taken groups to Paris, Venice, Gozo and Ireland and has been a visiting tutor in Italy and France.

Click here to visit Mike's website

Click here to contact Mike by e-mail

VARVARA NEIMAN - Watercolours and Pastels


Varvara Neiman obtained her MA in Fine Art from the Saint Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts in 1996.  She moved to the UK in 1999 and achieved her second higher education degree in teaching from Buckinghamshire University in 2006. She has been teaching for the Bucks Adult Education Authority and East Berkshire College for the last eleven years, is a Friend of the Union of Fine Artists in Saint Petersburg and a member of the Buckinghamshire Art Society.

Varvara started teaching adult education classes in art in 2000.  Her weekday one-year education courses include Portraiture, Life Drawing and Watercolour.  Varvara also teaches a range of art courses during Easter and Summer Schools as well as on some weekends and she was Artist in Residence at Missenden Abbey in 2006 and 2009.  Her students have been nominated for national medal awards by City & Guilds three times.

She has considerable experience in teaching in the “plein aire” environment in England, Russia and France.

Varvara exhibits regularly in the UK and internationally, and her works appear in many private collections.  She has recently opened her own private studio in High Wycombe.

Click here to visit Varvara's website

Click here to contact Varvara by e-mail

JACKIE DEVEREUX - Sketching and Watercolours


Enjoy developing your own visual and painting language alongside Jackie Devereux, a professional artist specializing in watercolour, whose own work reflects her feelings for a given subject through her unique contemporary interpretations. For over twenty years she has lived in the Languedoc region of Southern France, which has greatly influenced her use of colour and space. A qualified adult tutor, Jackie has run painting courses and holidays throughout the UK and on the Continent for many years, and will she expertly guide you, encouraging your own individual style to emerge. Jackie will be working with you and will also occasionally conduct practical mini-workshops plus a smattering of lively demonstrations, but the main objective is for everyone to paint and gain confidence individually at their own pace.

In this beautiful setting we shall aim to work `en plein aire` as much as possible, and develop ideas from our own observations and sketches, discovering and enjoying the area as we go

Jackie`s passion for mark-making on any level is what fires her imagination, and she sees running courses such as this as a fabulous way forward for all concerned, including herself, by sharing this most creative of activities with like-minded people.

More of Jackie`s work can be seen by visiting her website - www.watercolour-online.co.uk

See also her newly published book, `A Private View……..an Artist`s World` which is also featured on her website.

Click here to visit Jackie's website

Click her to contact Jackie by e-mail



International Artist and Author, Soraya works in watercolours, oils, pastels, acrylics and mixed media with a variety of subject matters such as musicians, café scenes and african market scenes amongst others. Many of her subjects are travel based including people in everyday life situations. Light and colour are the two important elements in her paintings together with semi abstract passages with a sense of ambiguity.

Soraya has received a number of prestigious art awards for her paintings in recent years and many of her paintings can be found in private and public collections both at home and abroad.

She is a regular contributor to The Artist Magazine. The success of her two art books published by Harper Collins has brought her international recognition with a wide following. She is a demonstrator for the US based art company "GOLDEN Artist Colours"  and the "Caran D’Ache" Company. Soraya is also sponsered by St Cuthberts Mill who kindly provide her with watercolour paper annually. she also tutors and demonstrates her painting techniques to art groups and societies worldwide.

She is an elected member of the Society of Women Artists and The Society of Floral Painters, and is currently the President of the Andover Art Society.

Soraya’s Studio is at the prestigious "Project Workshops" in Quarley Hampshire, where she works with her husband Tim, who is Director of their Art Gallery and  Workshops.

Click here to visit Soraya's website

Click here to contact Soraya by e-mail

ANN SWAN - Botanical Art with Coloured Pencils


Ann works primarily in graphite and coloured pencil and is well known for her exquisitely fine detail, vibrant colours and strong contemporary style.  She champions the underdog in the plant world, drawing our attention to Brussels sprouts or beetroots feeling they are just as beautiful as the iris or tulip.  She is passionate about coloured pencils believing they are easy to master, forgiving and accessible so that even a complete beginner can quite quickly produce work of quality. 

She began to exhibit in 1990 and now shows her work worldwide. Exhibitions include The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in 1994 and the Hunt Institute's 8th International Exhibition in Pittsburgh USA. Ann is a regular exhibitor with the Society of Botanical Artists and until recently exhibited annually at the Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows.  She is also a member of the RHS Picture Committee.  Her work is represented in the prestigious Shirley Sherwood Collection and features in many private collections around the world.

Click here to visit Ann's website

Click here to contact Ann by e-mail



Painting on Location - Bordes sur Arize, Daumazan and Sabarat

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