Write Your Own Moveable Feast

By Margo Hammond –

Chateau des Sablons

Have you led a globetrotting life but never taken the time to record all your great travel stories? Do you dream about being a travel writer – paid to discover out-of-the-way restaurants and exotic locales?  Would you like to learn how to write lively text and captions to go with all those photographs you have taken on your vacations so you can relive those trips over and over again? Do you want to write down your travel adventures so that your children and grandchildren can know the wonders you have seen?

This spring from May 3-6, I am hosting a travel-writing workshop at the Chateau des Sablons in France’s Loire Valley that will inspire you to write down your wayfaring experiences – for pleasure and maybe even profit.

France has a long history of inspiring English-speaking travel writing – from Ernest Hemingway’s account of Paris in the 1920s to Julia Child’s descriptions of memorable French meals to Adam Gopnik’s essay on the difference between the Café de Flore and the Deux Magots. Studying the examples of these masters of the genre, students at my four-day Every Life Is A Moveable Feast workshop can choose to kick-start their own travel memoirs, craft a travel essay and prepare it for submission or simply write down some great travel stories for family and friends.

As you learn the ingredients of a good travel story and how to pitch a travel editor, you’ll find plenty of travel experiences to write about right at your doorstep. The 18th century Chateau des Sablon, where you will be staying, is located on the edge of Bourgueil, a charming market town in France’s Loire Valley, one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. Within walking distance of the chateau is the Café de la Promenade, an open-air restaurant where the chef invites you down into his “cave” to choose the wine for your table. A short drive away are some of the region’s most famous castles and – less known to the general public – some of the country’s finest vineyards. Pieces written in class can be contributed to a commemorative book compiled especially for the workshop.

The fee for the four-day workshop includes three nights of accommodations at the chateau, a welcome drink, breakfast each morning, two group lunches, a group dinner and three morning class sessions, held in the chateau’s airy, glass-enclosed orangerie.

(Margo Hammond, former book editor at the St. Petersburg Times, teaches a monthly art-inspired memoir writing class at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. Her recent travel piece, published in the Washington Post, offered a “Midnight in Paris” tour of the French capital in the 1920s, inspired by Woody Allen’s movie. To sign up for her May 3-6 travel-writing workshop in the Loire Valley, go to www.historicrentals.com.)

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