2016 Mini-Conference in Peyresq, France

July 23 – July 27, IAPP Mini-Conference in Peyresq, France


          After the Chalon-sur-Saone festivities, IAPP will host a Mini-Conference in Peyresq, France.  IAPP has hosted 2 conferences (1999 & 2008) in this village and both were extremely successful.  The conference is scheduled for July 23 to July 27.  The cost of housing includes 3 meals per day with wine and use of the conference center.  The mini-conference is open to IAPP members as well as non-members.  The Registration Fee for all Conference attendees is $35, except for guests accompanying a paid attendee.  No Refunds.

          If you haven’t attended any of the previous conferences in Peyresq, the following essay will give you a glimpse of its beauty.


           There is nothing but unspoiled beauty as you twist your way from St. Andres-les-Alpes through the remote areas of the Haute-Alpes-de-Provence.  The narrow winding road that passes through an untouched,  majestic setting offers a stunning panorama. Then suddenly, clinging precariously to the distant mountainside, surrounded by pine forests, rocky cliffs and snow-capped crests, the tiny village of Peyresq appears.

          Founded in 1232 this rocky hamlet served as a frontier post between France and Savoy for nearly five centuries. In 1860, the Treaty of Turin incorporated permanently the county of Nice into France and Peyresq ceased to be the watchtower of Provence. The population of 231 soon declined and most buildings fell into major disrepair.

          In 1952, Georges Lambeau, director of the Academie des Beaux-Arts at Namur, discovered the derelict village, inhabited by just four people. He fell in love with it and had a vision – to restore it to its original beauty and use it for a humanist center. In 1953, the mountain road was repaved and the refurbishing of the decrepit dwellings began. For thirty years, bands of Belgian art students worked to lift the village out of its ruins. To underline the humanist character of the project, each house was named after an artist or scholar: Mistral, Newton, Alain, Darwin, and Leonardo da Vinci. Today art, science and cultural seminars, retreats and small conferences are held there year round.

          The village center is dominated by a 13th century church.  A tolling bell at six o’clock is answered by distant tinkles from somewhere beyond. Suddenly, the hillside is alive with a thousand sheep completing their evening descent to a nearby refuge for the night.

          The Leonardo da Vinci Center is well-equipped with modern technology and is perfect for conferences. The guest rooms are no-frills, yet lack nothing. The meals are communal with local cuisine prepared by excellent chefs. Hiking trails abound, side trips to Entrevaux, Colmars and various river gorges are within easy driving distance.

          In the 1990’s IAPP member, Denis Tremblay, met Mady Smets in Montreal.  Mady was a co-founder of Peyresq Foyer d’Humanisme.  She told him about the Peyresq facility and Denis thought it was ideal for an IAPP  conference. The IAPP held their first conference there in 1999 and then returned in 2008.  Each one was well attended. Four productive days were spent, not just photographing, but listening, talking, laughing, learning and sharing. New friendships were made and old friendships strengthened. Best of all, Peyresq is a land out of time – free from traffic and worries of the world amid the unbroken scenery that surrounds you. And sleep is never a problem in the rarefied air of this magical “stony place”.