Welcome to Chateau d'Aix 2024

Please make yourself at home on our website and learn all about the renowned summer courses in the idyllic region of Quercy in Southwest France. Chateau d'Aix is an ancient chateau dating from the 12th century, and here in July and August you will find world-class teaching, inspiring music and theatre, glorious food and entertainment, all age groups and nationalities, and a large swimming pool. Participants return year after year. Please read on, or you can scroll through the menu at the top of the page. 

Booking is now open for July/August 2024.


Music at Chateau d'Aix

The piano summer school was founded in 1991 by pianist Paul Roberts and arts journalist Jenny Gilbert. Over the years they have maintained and developed their original vision: to nurture the highest standards of music-making in idyllic surroundings, bringing together teachers and pianists of international reputation with conservatoire students from around the globe. Amateur pianists are offered the same opportunities, a quality of teaching and insight they would rarely find elsewhere.

It is the combination of amateur and aspiring professional, and the wide mix of ages, nationalities and life experience, that give the summer school its unique musical and social ambience.  Binding the whole enterprise is a commitment to hospitality. The food, wine and spirit of enjoyment combine with the intensity of the music-making to create a life-enhancing week.


Theatre at Chateau d'Aix

Summer 2024 sees the inauguration of a bold new venture in cross-arts collaboration to run alongside the piano course 9-16 August, Course 3. Five actors will participate in intensive workshops and rehearsals, culminating in a public performance at the end of the week. The project will be led by experienced actors and directors and will include satellite classes on mask work, acting and pure movement. By observing and discussing each other's work, pianists and actors will have a unique opportunity to enrich their understanding of the art of performance. 

Further information can be found on the Theatre page. Full details of all courses, dates, and how to apply can be found here.

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Music at Chateau d'Aix

22 July - 16 August 

  • Master classes for advanced students
  • Workshops and individual teaching for amateurs
  • Emphasis on the psychology of performance and how to communicate music without fear
  • Ample opportunities for practising 
  • No upper age limit, and a lower age limit of 18
  • Observers and partners welcome
  • 50% discount for partners not participating in class (see fees)

The courses at Chateau d’Aix are open to full-time piano students and proficient amateurs. Each class takes 12 participants. Highly skilled amateurs may put themselves forward for the Advanced Class.

Teaching is conducted principally through master classes. Advanced pianists will be familiar with this format, but for amateurs it should be stressed how supportive the classes are, and how enlightening it can be to listen to others. Participants develop considerably in skill and confidence during the course. This transformation in enabled by the unique ambience of Music at Chateau d’Aix: the inspiring and sympathetic teaching, the setting, the mix of ages and nationalities and the conviviality of mealtimes.


Pianos and Practising

There are two grands in the main teaching/recital room and one grand in the second teaching room. These can be booked for practice out of class hours (7-10am, 2-4pm and after dinner). We have 4 further practice rooms with uprights, and six digitals with weighted keyboards that are perfect for private practice at any time of day or night with headphones.

Advanced Class Repertoire 2024

Advanced pianists are invited to bring any large-scale works, 18th to 20th century (or indeed beyond). In addition there will be an emphasis on Spanish music - Albeniz, Falla, Granados - and French repertoire influenced by Spain. 

Intermediate Class Repertoire 2024

The requirement is at least two pieces by any composer that can be comfortably performed in front of others, as well as work in progress. There is no set standard for this class, but most participants are at least AB Grade 8.

The set work for 2024 is any piece or pieces from Bach's French Suites. Intermediate participants will find pieces from Suites nos. 1 and 5 especially rewarding. 

Course Dates and Tutors

  • Course 1 Monday 22 July to Monday 29 July - PIANO

    Paul Roberts, Charles Owen, Janneke Brits

  • Course 2  Tuesday 30 July to Tuesday 6 August - PIANO

    Paul Roberts, Martin Sturfalt, James Kreiling

  • Course 3  Friday 9 August to Friday 16 August -  PIANO & THEATRE

    Paul Roberts, Maria Razumovskaya, Diane Baxter, André Golbert

    For Theatre Tutors see Theatre page

Theatre at Chateau d'Aix

A Play in a Week: 9-16 August 

A Play in a Week is a unique opportunity for emerging actors to broaden their skills. The project will be led by a team with long experience of directing, acting and teaching in the world of European theatre (see below) and will include satellite classes on mask work, acting and pure movement. 

The course is open to trainee actors, professional actors and those returning to the profession.

Five actors will participate.

The week will involve intensive rehearsals of a play, culminating in a performance on the final day.

Rehearsals will replicate the conditions of repertory theatre in which plays are learnt and rehearsed ready for public performance in a very short time.

In addition there will be a daily class for actors and pianists to observe each other's work, to explore the common ground between music and theatre, between acting and performing music.

Theatre Tutors

The course will be led by Wendy Allnutt, Grace Andrews, Florence Roberts and Oliver Bennett - full details can be found on the Theatre page.

Theatre Audtions

Applicants should provide a full cv, detailing training and experience. This can be uploaded onto the booking form in pdf format or sent with a covering letter via email: Theatre.Chateau.Daix@gmail.com

The first series of auditions will be via Zoom in April. Full details of the audition requirements will be sent on application, along with details of the play to be performed.

A typical day

Each day is centred on intensive piano workshops and theatre rehearsals (on Course 3) interspersed with practising, relaxation and meals en plein air. The morning begins at 8am with breakfast on the terrace. Classes will run simultaneously from 9am but timetabling will allow classes in which pianists and actors can be together to explore the common psychology and skills of performance.

Lunch is served outside. Afternoons are free for relaxation or swimming in the secluded pool below the terrace and classes begin again at 4pm. The evening entertainment begins at 7pm with drinks from the bar, followed by a concert and dinner. Each course ends with student performances in the afternoon, followed by the play (Course 3), dinner and a final cabaret. 


We always anticipate a rapid take-up of places, so applicants should give alternative dates and room preferences if at all possible. We will do our best to accommodate first preferences but this will not always be possible. Flexibility is the key to not being disappointed! 

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prices in GB pounds (and euros) are per person

Please note that the prices below, while reflecting the relative comfort and privacy of each room, cover the whole course and not just accommodation (see Fees, right-hand column of this page)

  • Marie Antoinette double bed, ensuite bathroom      £2700 (3120€)
  • La Reinedouble bed, ensuite bathroom                   £2700 (3120€)
  • Chambre d’Or* double bed, shared bathroom          £2250 (2600€)
  • Chambre Blanchedouble bed, shared bathroom   £2250 (2600€)
  • Chambre Biblio twin, shared bathroom                      £1950 (2250€)​​​​​​ 
  • Maison du parc single bed, shared bathroom            £1950 (2250€)
  • Chambre Écrivain twin beds, shared bathroom         £1850 (2135€)
  • Cartier-Bresson single bed, shared bathroom            £1750 (2020€)
  • Parc mezzaninedouble bed, shared bathroom        £1750 (2020€)
  • Chambre de la tourdouble bed, shared bathroom £1750 (2020€)
  • Chambre Zébra single bed, shared bathroom            £1400 (1620€)
  • Chambre Bleue dormitory, 3 beds                                £1150 (1330€)
  • Douve Attic dormitory, 5 beds                                       £1150 (1330€)

* Double rooms marked with an asterisk can be booked as single occupancy at no extra charge

La tour and Zébra have compromised privacy - one room leads off the other, but both are fully private when the door is closed. These rooms are best suited to friends applying together. Zébra is small.




  • All prices are per person
  • We accept only GB pounds and Euros
  • See Booking Form for deposit and payment
  • 50% discount for non-participating partners 
  • 10% discount for observers taking a private room
  • Student scholarships available 
  • Deposit will be returned if booking is cancelled before 1 April 

Fees include full accommodation, all meals, refreshments, tuition at every level, and concerts. Table wine from the neighbouring vineyard is served gratis with the evening meal. 

A limited number of scholarships are available for student pianists and actors: see booking form

Partners not participating in the courses are welcome to attend all classes and concerts. Or they may choose to relax in the chateau grounds and beside the pool, or spend the day exploring the beautiful Lot region: its wild hillsides, valleys of sunflowers and lavender, and the vineyards of the famous black Cahors wine.


The only extras are for the bar, our local minibus to and from the airport, and one optional outing in the course of the week: the vineyard holds a weekly fête serving its own wine and regional dishes.  

Terms & Conditions 

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  • Days 1 and 8 are for arrival and departure
  • The most convenient airport for Chateau d’Aix is Toulouse Blagnac. Those coming by train will arrive at the railway station Toulouse Matabiau. Either way we organise a minibus direct from the airport with a pick up at the station
  • The journey by road from Toulouse to Chateau d’Aix takes 90 minutes. The cost depends on the number of people sharing the minibus bus but in the past this has been around 40€ per head - compared to local taxis which cost around 250€. However, with the huge rise in fuel prices this year we cannot guarantee the low price, but we envisage in the region of 50€
  • The bus will depart Toulouse airport no later than 5.30pm on the arrival day. There will be a pick up at the railway station (Toulouse Matabiau) at 5pm. Those arriving on morning or midday flights should plan to spend a few hours in the old city centre and join the bus at the railway station 
  • Those travelling from outside Europe should fly to Toulouse via London, Paris, Frankfurt or Amsterdam. Those travelling from the UK can also fly into Bergerac (only 60 minutes drive to Chateau d’Aix) where they may hire a car or arrange their own taxi
  • Those coming by car should not arrive at the chateau before 5pm
  • Refreshments will be served on arrival from 5pm, followed by dinner at 8pm. Classes begin the next morning
  • The return bus will depart at 9 in the morning on day 8. So please do not book flights or trains that depart Toulouse before midday