French Muse Experience
Meet and connect with local artists, farmers, winemakers, fly trufflers, cheesemakers, bread bakers, brocanteurs, raconteurs and petanque players.
The French Muse Experience original retreat is a truly bespoke week-long retreat, carefully crafted to let you connect with Provence in all its beauty; the landscape; the colourful texture of the regions; Provençal meals to swoon you to the next mouthful; visits with the creatives and artists who call Provence home and to our famous flea markets (brocantes), where history is unrolled through linen, pottery, paint, nail, wood with abundant creative style.
We take great pride in creating retreats that are very personal, immersive, transformative creative experiences. Our priority is to create experiences where you can relax, and find sustenance of every kind—physical, emotional, and creative, so that you be inspired anew, and connect—with others, yourself, and the French countryside.
Every day lived in Provence is a day of beauty, filled with tantalising flavours and enduring inspiration – why not let us share it with you in 2019!
The French Muse Experience is the antithesis to tour operators who offer a 'cookie cutter' style itinerary, rushing you from one place to the next, without a seconds thought to the very art of living, the 'Joie de Vivre' that is a quintessential part of Provençal life.
To live here is to slow down, to breathe deeply, to drink in the beauty of the landscape, and taste the sunshine.
Our retreats are entirely bespoke, immersive & creative travel experiences.
We plan and tailor each unique Muse retreat to the desires & interests of the group attending. No retreat is the same, we strive to make each experience incredibly personal and keep the numbers limited for that reason.
If you are a painter, a photographer; an artist; a cook; a writer; a dreamer; a collector; a seeker... with a lean towards old beauty and stories layered in history join us!
Provence is a sanctuary from fast paced life, a place where food is to be savoured, company enjoyed and the soul nurtured - sounds good right?
We want to help you create an experience which will help you connect and be refreshed by the Provençal light, the warmth of the local people and their fruitful creativity.
Each retreat is different and depending on the season and your interests we will bring you to our favourite villages including Lacoste, Bonnieux, Apt, Lourmarin, Saignon, Eygalieres, and Menerbes... and to towns incl Avignon, Aix en Provence, Isle sur la Sorgue, Villeneuve Les Avignon, Arles, St Remy de Provence, Cassis, and Marseille.
"We all have a natural tendency to be creative, even if we don’t see ourselves being creative people.... Creating is a really healthy and restorative thing to do, and it can take you out of the day-to-day running around while allowing you to have a gentle, nurturing space. It’s about pace and focus. Taking the time to do something you enjoy is what’s giving you that lasting feeling of nourishment.” Organisational psychologist and life coach Leisha McGrath
As every retreat is tailored to our guests interests we offer several bespoke creative workshops as part of your week-long experience including:
- An introduction to natural indigo dying
- Private cookery classes
- Sustainable fashion & accessory workshops
Upcoming French Muse experience dates for 2018-2019:
2nd -9th April 2019,
SOLD OUT Retreats
9th -16th October 2018, Gordes Provence
7th - 14th May 2019, Gordes, Provence.
10th -17th September 2019, Gordes, Provence.
Note: We choose to run our retreats Tuesday- Tuesday to give you enough time to recover from jet lag and be in your absolute best form to hit the French flea markets at the weekend.
Alternatively if you have three friends and want me to plan a tailor made French Muse experience retreat for you – just let me know when you would like to come, send us a date, if we are free we will do it!
That is the advantage I have to offer… I live here and anytime is a good time to be a French Muse!.
Where you will be staying
Your home away from home will be in a recently restored village home, in the hilltop village of Lacoste in the Luberon, one of the small villages which inspired Peter Mayle in his book, A Year in Provence.
Within walking distance of the castle of the Marquis de Sade, the rooms and terraces offer breathtaking views of the mountains of the Vaucluse and the valley that sweeps down towards nearby famous villages Bonnieux and Goult.
*For larger / bespoke groups accommodation may change to Gordes.
Glorious French food
To experience Provence is to taste the sunshine and understand the meaning of ‘Terroir’!
It is not enough that you will be visually stimulated by everything we show you in Provence – we want to explode your taste buds with foodie experiences on all levels.
When you come on the French Muse Experience, all your meals are included; a traditional French breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We include a perfect mix of our favourite classic French restaurants, luxury picnics and charming foodie gatherings planned in makers homes & ateliers, and wonderful home cooked meals at the bastide. We’ve even been known to host cheese & champagne pyjama parties at the end of a long exciting day out!.
A week full of inspiring activities
We are so excited to share what we feel is a very unique and personal itinerary.
How better to discover the heritage, history and heart of Provence than to spend a morning exploring the French flea market.
We can’t wait to introduce you to our favourite artists including potters, textile artists, collectors, printmakers, photographers, sculptors and painters; who will generously open up their beautiful homes, ateliers and personal collections.
With many years experience in French antiquing, The French Muse opens its little black books of private antiques dealers and creates exclusive antique textile and brocante sales outside of the flea market circuit.
….and plenty of time in between to become inspired anew & connect—with others, yourself, and the world around you.
Everything you need to know
….about our gatherings
The full price for a one week French Muse experience is 3,500 euro.
The cost of our one week retreat is inclusive of everything, except your travel to and from France and any shopping you may choose to do.
When you sign up for your French Muse experience week, a non-refundable €500 euro deposit will hold your booking for this particular date.
The remaining 3000 Euro payment can be made in one or two installments.
If you wish to pay in two installments, we request that the first installment is paid six months prior to retreat and remaining installment paid 3 months prior to retreat.
Payment is accepted either by International bank transfer. If you wish to pay via credit card i.e. PayPal then there is a 3.5% Convenience Fee applied.
P.s. If you plan on travelling with a room-mate, then please simply let us know when you book your retreat.
On registration for The French Muse experience you will receive an initial email confirmation note. Two months prior to the retreat we will send you further details and a questionnaire that will help us further create a week that will fit with your interests and passions.
How many people can we accommodate at our retreats?
Our retreats are limited currently to a maximum of 6 guests and may include a visiting artist or speaker depending on the specific retreat and/or workshop.
Your home away from home will be in a recently restored villagehome in the hilltop village of Lacoste in the Luberon, one of the small villages which inspired Peter Mayle in his book, A Year in Provence. The French Muse home is within walking distance of the castle of the Marquis de Sade, the rooms are all ensuite.
Two rooms have twin beds if you wish to share a bedroom (please get in touch to know double occupancy rate).
Single occupancy means you will have a bedroom to yourself with a shared bathroom.
Our cancellation Policy
If for some reason you must cancel your trip to France for The French Muse Experience, please remember that a full refund (deposit is non-refundable) can only be provided if notice of cancellation is provided six months before retreat date. After this date, if you cancel your place, you will forfeit your payment.
Please don’t hesistate to ask us anything if you are unclear about our booking and cancellation policies.
We must request that you approve your travel plans with us in advance of booking any tickets (flight or train). We are very open to helping you find the easiest route to our retreat but it is essential that we know your planned arrival and departure times before booking. This is simply so that we can ensure all of our guests arrive in time for us to make a general airport transfer from Marseille airport on the afternoon of the arrivals day.
Return airport transfers are made the following Tuesday morning, to Marseille airport.
What to pack?
Provence is very relaxed, combined with often hot weather mean that comfort is an absolute.
Here are top recommendations to pack in your suitcase:
A swimsuit, your accommodation has a pool and it can be so lovely to take a dip after a day in the sun!
We would recommend bringing a scarf and/or cardigan for when the sun sets and we are eating outside.
A rain jacket.
An oversized tote bag or backpack for storing your brocante and market finds.
Think cotton. Dress for comfort and to stay cool.
Walking shoes for days spent treasure truffling at brocantes and exploring the perched villages of Provence.
Sunglasses and a hat
People do smart casual for dinner in restaurants but in general the atmosphere is very relaxed
Don’t hesistate to ask if you are concerned about what to bring!
P.S. If you’ve forgotten to bring any of these essentials in your suitcase, don’t worry, we will be bringing you to local markets where we can source affordable French versions!
P.P.S. Don’t forget to leave plenty of room for all the French gems you are going to want to bring home!