Time To Travel To The ‘Hidden Jewel’ Of France
With Covid travel restrictions now eased, ‘Ireland Writing Retreat’ is delighted to announce some of the colourful highlights of our upcoming mid-March event in one of the most beautiful regions in France - Languedoc, an hour from the Mediterranean Sea and from Spain.
Aside from complimentary wine tastings and delectable lunches in some of the finest restaurants, participants will also take part in creative writing workshops in intriguing and historic locations.
One such workshop will take place in an ancient stone fortress in a majestic setting in the shadow of Canigou, the sacred mountain of the local Catalan people. Amid pure air and unspoiled nature, writers are sure to find inspiration in a calm and serene atmosphere steeped in history.
To encourage the Muse to visit, participants will feast on an open-air picnic of local foods and wines, relax during a special meditation session and enjoy leisurely walks on winding pathways through bucolic countryside offering panoramic vistas.
Fascinating excursions will also take place during the week-long retreat. One will bring participants to one of the most unique places in France, simply known as ‘The Organs,’ a moonscape of fairy chimneys and organ-like sculptures. Reflecting fragile, ephemeral beauty, these intricate geological formations are the result of rain scouring cliffs of sand and clay over centuries of time.
Another excursion will be to the ruins of the 13th century Castell d'Évol to learn about the checkered history of a monumental building high on a hillside and once owned by 10th century nobles.
Of course, participants - as they fully deserve - will stay in one of the most elegant boutique hotels in all of Languedoc, the Spanish Colonial-style Villa Lafabregue, (see photo below) complete with outdoor swimming pool and a fragrant botanical garden filled with exotic herbs and aromatic flowers.
Villa Lafabregue is within a five-minute walk of the charming town of Prades which offers exceptional panoramic views over the stunning Pyrenees.
Boasting a rich and colorful heritage in both Baroque and Romanesque architecture and centuries-old traditions, with half-timbered houses dating back to the 15th century, Prades hosts picturesque open-air markets every Tuesday and Saturday morning. Here, local producers proudly display their fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, cheeses and wines.
In the afternoons, participants will relax at outdoor cafe tables, pastis in hand, maybe a slice of Basque cake or Pyrénées Croustade with myrtle berries, a sweet pie of puff pastry, with traditional music as a soft backdrop.
For many retreat participants, wandering through the meandering cobble-stone streets of Eus will be a highlight of the week. Considered one of the sunniest places in France, this fortified village on a granite hilltop is built on an ancient site and is home to artists and artisans alike. Spring means peaches and many people come to see the trees in full bloom with the craggy Canigou summit as a magnificent snowy spectacle.
To cap off what we believe will be a memorable trip, all participants to this writing retreat will receive course certificates, as well as a special surprise gift unique to the region.
So, pack your bags and join us for a wonderful week in March. After all the social restrictions you’ve endured over the last two years, it’s time to be kind to yourself and enjoy a well-earned holiday with a difference.
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