My Chateau Orquevaux Residency
Monday, July 16, 2018
By Gizara Arts
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I just returned from France after a two week painting residency in a Chateau built in the 1700's that sits atop a hill, overlooking the village of Orquevaux on 40 green acres of fertile land. Take a look at this beauty: This residency was the most soul quenching and artistically nourishing experience of my life. To be surrounded by 9 other artists, to have no other obligations but to create- it felt like I had died and gone to heaven. As you know very well, being an artistic person means spending countless hours alone- as we fine tune our chosen passions. I found my bliss there and hope to be a part of the community one day soon.

 The Chateau Orquevaux is three hours east of Paris. You can arrive by train in the city of Chaumont, just 30 minutes away or drive from Paris- which is what I did. Up until recently, the Village of Orquevaux was dying- and in a sad decline like so many of the small villages in France. Once a busy village that had a bustling iron factory, the village has been crumbling for over 100 years. And today, as the villager's kids grow up and move away to the cities of Dijon, or Champagne, there seems to be little hope for the tiny town. But, I am happy to say this village now has a sweet secret, and some interesting things are blossoming there...

Along comes Ziggy Attias: About Ziggy. His father had purchased the property years before and not done anything with it. Two years ago Ziggy was gifted the property from his father, in the hopes that it stays in the family and is passed along to the following generations. Originally from Long Island, Ziggy was born in Israel but raised in the New York area. In the 1980's Ziggy created amazing objects d'art. More recently he was a successful businessman, and owned two successful restaurants in the Hamptons. Walking away from that busy and demanding life, Ziggy now has a new dream- of turning the Chateau and Village of Orquevaux into a cultural and artistic center. 

The Chateau, sitting on a hill above the town had fallen into disrepair over the years. But now Ziggy is literally breathing new life into the Chateau and the once forgotten village. He is much beloved by the residents who are seeing their buildings restored and their village come to life. The Chateau has a rich and extensive history: Chateau Lineage and housed the writings of the French Philosopher Diderot for many years: Diderot at the Chateau. It was taken over by the Nazis during WW2- and the studio doors still have the names of offices written on them when it served as their headquarters. A chilling reminder of a bad chapter in the chateau's history.

Ziggy has already purchased more properties in the village of Orquevaux- a 5-minute walk from the Chateaux. He has plans to build within the beauty of the existing buildings a museum, a performance center, multiple artist's studios and a sculpture park on the grounds of the Chateau. His dream is to continually foster artists from all over the world, and to make this quaint village into a rich cultural destination. For now, there is a small fee to attend the residency: Residency Cost. But reduced fees and scholarships are also available. The fees he collects are going to the cost of repairing and restoring the Chateau and the properties in the village. His dream is to make this residency a non-profit organization and grant scholarships to artists. With his passion is to support the arts, a true philanthropist, Ziggy is a unique man with a huge heart and spectacular vision!

Apply today: Residency Application- Tell them that Lisa sent you!







The Chateau Orquevaux Grounds

The Chateau Orquevaux Grounds

My Studio and Paintings

Thirteen paintings in fourteen days. What I could do if I had no responsibilities other then creating art!

Leave a comment:
Lisa Gizara - Hi Denise,

Yes, the Orquevaux it was one of the highlights of my artistic career! The beauty of the place, the tiny village, and the camaraderie of all of the artists- of all sorts of levels- was wonderful! Enjoy! I would suggest that you ship all of your supplies at least one month before you arrive, or buy everything once there. Paris has amazing art shops and there is a small art store only 20 minutes away from the Chateau.

Best- Lisa
Denise - Hi Lisa,
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and valuable info about your residency! I am invited to attend in Dec. 2020 and I am very excited! Hearing from you about your experience is very helpful and appreciated. Sounds like your trip was amazing! Thanks again for sharing:)
Lisa Gizara - The experience was so uplifting. Zigi and the staff are top notch and the vibe is very chill! Enjoy! No need to drive there- you can have materials shipped from Paris or buy locally.

Best- Lisa
Clare Haxby - Dear Lisa,
I am going in March 202 , so excited as just heard and loved reading your blog, it brings it alive before I'm even there, thanks so much for sharing your story and work!
I'm thinking of driving there from the UK so I can take all my materials with me.
Lisa Gizara - Hi Kate,

Happy to talk to you about it anytime next week- it was HEAVEN to be there!

Kate - Hi Lisa... just got an invitation to attend one of this year’s sessions...
I’m thrilled. I appreciate your words... can’t wait.

Lisa Gizara - Yes, it is a wonderful place! So glad that you applied!

Cheers- Lisa
Lisa Gizara - It was a wonderful time for me Jean- and I''m sure you will be as enchanted as I. I would suggest that you mail your art supplies ahead of time or take them in a suitcase on the plane. I ordered mine from Le Geant and they NEVER arrived!

Let me knowhow it goes- Happy Holidays!

jean Cauthen - Hello Lisa,
Delighted to read this! I was just granted a residency for September 2019 and had no idea of Ziggy's background and plans for this community!

Love your work! Jean
Libby Gibbs - Applied! Thanks for beautiful blog, made it even more dreamy