The French Retreat
Offering an alternative approach to luxury travel, this charming Maison de Maitre is located among the vineyards and sunflower fields of South Charente, about 75 minutes’ drive from Bordeaux. This idyllic area of rural France is the perfect backdrop for a peaceful break, and the retreat offers all manner of ways to nourish your wellbeing, from yoga and massage to life coaching and relationship counselling. A holiday here is the very definition of recharging your batteries!
The traditional Maison de Maitre and a number of converted barns make up this retreat. Filled with antiques and brocante pieces sourced from local markets, the ambience is rustic and cosy, setting guests at their ease and giving them a true taste of French country living. The lavender-filled walled courtyard is a delightful sun-trap in which to while away an hour or two, while in the warmer months, guests can dine in the shade of the lime tree – believed to have healing properties. Beautiful countryside surrounds the retreat, ideal for inspiring the mind and calming the soul.
With four bedrooms in the main house and six in the converted barns, The French Retreat offers a combination of twin, deluxe twin and double rooms. Each high-spec room has its own ensuite bathroom and is decorated in a mix of traditional and contemporary styles with antique furniture. Cotton bed linen, soap and towels are provided as is free Wi-Fi access.
A retreat centre rather than a hotel, The French Retreat does nevertheless provide excellent meals for its guests, consisting of traditional French fare and the occasional Thai or Middle Eastern dish. Continental breakfasts and fresh, often organic produce from the local market are regular fixtures on the menu, while special diets can be accommodated with advance notice. Breakfast is served at 8 am, lunch at 1 pm and dinner at 8 pm, although these times may be changed to fit in with course schedules. There are also restaurants in the local area serving traditional regional dishes if you feel like branching out.
Pool and Activities
The large, south-facing salt water pool provides a wonderfully invigorating start to the morning, while the loungers on the wooden deck could easily tempt you to stay there all day! A children’s play area and table tennis table are also at your disposal. However, the main attraction of The French Retreat is its courses, all tailored to nourishing your wellbeing. It’s up to you what kind to choose and how involved you want to get. Maybe you just want some space to enjoy the local countryside and be alone with your thoughts, or perhaps you want to take a yoga class, have a couple of massages or even experience a full on life coaching course. The choice is yours. Beyond the retreat, you can enjoy vineyards, wooded heathlands and Romanesque churches and castles, as well as beautiful walks and mountain bike trails, kayaking and river swimming. Top tip – bring your own towel for the pool, as these are not provided at the retreat.
Being a rural location, comfortable footwear is recommended while the dress code at local restaurants is informal and relaxed. Warm clothes are recommended for evenings as the clear skies mean it can get chilly, even if it has been hot during the day.
The French Retreat is the perfect spot for a restorative break in an idyllic rustic setting.
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