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The Writers' Retreat

FRANCE: Parthenay, Poitou-Charante

Time out at The Monastery...
Where better to tap into your higher self and get your creative juices flowing than staying at this charming 12th century Monastery deep in rural France? This is your opportunity to stay a while at a very special place, built in 1157 on an already ancient sacred site, by the Duke of Burgundy, Uncle of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Ladies retreats are currently available from June to September.

This delightful rural monastery has been a hospital of The Knights Templar and is on the Pilgrim Route. Maybe this is the time and place for you to come on your personal pilgrimage? The energy here is very powerful, it is built on ley-lines and there is an energy vortex that even people who are not sensitive can sense. There have been numerous Angel sightings and there are strong connections to both Mary Magdalene and Mother Mary. Your host is passionate about bringing in the energies of the Divine Feminine and the new paradigm. She feels that for too long things have been out of balance and at the heart of all her work is the energy of unconditional love that emanates from here.


It is her purpose to enable this lovely energy to ripple out far and wide from The Monastery through the works the visitors create during their stay at this peaceful place along with the uplifting sense of wellbeing and purpose they take home with them. She will be onsite to help you to shine brightly; you need you and the world needs you. While the Monastery lends itself perfectly to any meditative or creative pursuit, it is particularly suited to historical and spiritual creations; including past life reframing, in this peaceful, safe and secure environment. Musicians and songwriters are welcome to use her guitar or electronic piano keyboard. There is even a games room with a full size snooker table. The guest sitting/meditation room has TV and DVD player and is where you will find a number of spiritual books, crystals, angel cards and assorted meditation CD's. The retreats are self catering; providing you with the time, space and flexibility you need to create your finest work, beginning with you. Spend some quality time getting to know your true self.


On site there is a purpose built copper meditation pyramid, scaled on the Great Pyramid of Giza – sitting in here will really get your creative energy flowing! The host is helpful accommodating and flexible; offering a range of options. She is happy to guide meditations, give healing or massage sessions and you are invited to join your hosts for a meal on their “banqueting gallery”. All these are available with notice for a donation towards further renovation of the chapel and installing a permanent Labyrinth. She is happy to take you to the supermarket once a week and there is a daily fresh bread and croissant delivery. The maximum group size is 4 to ensure everyone has their own room, desk and the peace and tranquillity they require. However should you wish to book the cottage and the apartment for a group of 3 in each, with couples sharing the double beds, this can be arranged subject to availability. Or, if you want to be totally by yourself, you may rent the whole cottage or apartment. It is also possible to have bunk beds in the single bedrooms for a small additional charge. Long term and group rentals are offered.


Helen Grinder is a former UK High School Teacher of many years experience. She now works as a Healer, Complementary Therapist, Light-worker, Reiki Teacher, Well-being Specialist, Labyrinth Healing Facilitator, Women’s Empowerment Coach, Writer and Intuitive. She is honoured to be of service helping people to find that diamond, that may have been hidden in the dirt, and see their light shine brightly forever. She writes Well-being, Self-Help books and articles. Her daily readings are enjoyed by many in the large on-line Spiritual Development group that she manages. She regularly holds workshops teaching Reiki, Well-being, Inner Child, Past Life and Ancestral Healing; and is happy to hold these workshops for guests during their stay, by prior arrangement. Helen and her “team” will be on-site for support, guidance, encouragement. As an experienced Women’s Empowerment Coach she can help you to step into your power. This is the perfect place to carry out the deep mindset work to finally remove the blockages that have been holding you back from achieving your full potential. This is your time, the time is now; do it before it is too late, tomorrow is not guaranteed. Do not die with your song still inside you and your story untold.


Your Host and Retreat Operator:  Helen Grinder.

Region:  This part of Western France is one of the mildest areas in the country and is the sunniest part of France outside the Mediterranean coastal plain. The region is one of gently undulating hills and the fields of sunflowers are a wonderful sight in the summer. The northern departments of Deux-Sèvres and Vienne make up the historic Poitou region, of which The Monastery is very much a part, centred on the ancient city of Poitiers. When Eleanor of Aquitaine had to flee from her palace in Poitiers she was given refuge at this monastery and the Plantagenet family spent much time in this area. Locally there are many fine examples of Romanesque architecture and the significant Basilica Notre-Dame de Pitié is walking distance from The Monastery. The whole region is largely rural, and even the regional capital Poitiers has less than 100,000 inhabitants. Guests wishing to fully explore this historic region would need to rent a car as, being a rural area, it is not best served with public transport. The host is happy to provide tourist information if required. It is most likely that you will simply choose to stay and experience the bliss of The Monastery; where you can relax, work to your own timetable and enjoy local country walks or sitting by the lake when the fancy takes you. Bicycling along the lanes is most enjoyable as is doing absolutely nothing! The choice is yours.

Location:  The Monastery is 2 miles from the sleepy village of La Chapelle Saint Laurent where there is a small supermarket, bar/restaurant and essential shops. The small, chic town of Bressuire is 8m and the medieval walled town of Parthenay is 14m.

Closest airport:  Poitiers 46 miles , La Rochelle 80m & Nantes 90m. Paris Charles De Gaulle is 273 miles, however here is high speed train direct from terminal 2 to Poitiers and your host can arrange collection from Poitiers.

Tourism information:  Office of Tourism Parthenay


Studio Name Description Weekly Rates
The Cottage Self contained 2 bedroom cottage: 1 double bedroom and 1 single bedroom, shower room and living/kitchen area. WIFI. Outdoor furniture, BBQ. Access to communal guest sitting room, games room and other facilities in the main monastery building. £105 per night. £700
Otter Room Double bedroom in The Cottage. Shared facilities as above. £60 per night £400
Rabbit Room Single bedroom in The Cottage. Shared facilities as above. £45 per night £300
Monastery Apartment Self contained 2 bedroom apartment: 1 double bedroom and 1 single bedroom, kitchen and breakfast room, shower room. WIFI. Outdoor furniture, BBQ. Access to communal guest sitting room, games room and other facilities in the main monastery building. £105 per night £700
Courtyard Room / Meadow Room COURTYARD ROOM: Double bedroom in Monastery Apartment, shared facilities as above £60 per night. MEADOW ROOM: Single bedroom in Monastery Apartment, shared facilities as above £45 per night. £400 / £300


  • Wireless
  • Printer
  • Phone
  • TV/DVD

Payment terms:  25% deposit, in £/GBP, required to guarantee your reservation. Payment made by Paypal or Bank Transfer. Balance due not less than 6 wks before the retreat begins. Any currency exchange costs and payment charges are the responsibility of the payer. Printing and some evening meals are available for a small charge, with notice.

Cancellation policy:  If written cancellation is received at least 42 days prior to arrival, deposit will be refunded less £40 administrative fee. Cancellations under 42 days are non-refundable therefore; trip cancellation insurance is strongly advised.

A sampling of memories from our residents

S. Basol I had a wonderful time at this unique place. It was beyond my expectation to discover, the day my book was published, that the road to Compostela was so nearby. The work I did was so deep, meaningful and helpful. I love everything about this place and the hosts. I am looking forward to returning.

The Writers' Retreat
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