GERS, SOUTH WEST FRANCE
Medieval chateau oozing modern luxury in an idyllic countryside setting.
From €8,000 per week
Up to 24
IN A NUTSHELL
Nestled among the rolling hills and surrounded by the sunflower fields of the Gers in south west France, Puissentut offers the perfect antidote to busy, city life, with its beautiful environment, fresh air, peace and space. The ideal setting for those who want to get away from it all, this lovingly-restored 14th century chateau accommodates up to 24 people in luxury, en-suite rooms with rain showers. There are plenty of options for retreat activities, including a large, light and airy studio, a covered outdoor barn and three treatment rooms. This retreat venue in France has already hosted successful cycling, cooking, detox, writing, music, fitness, wellbeing and sleep retreats, and caring breaks for those recovering from serious illness. There’s space to relax in the flower-filled garden, around the saltwater swimming pool, at the juice bar or in one of the comfy lounges. Puissentut is easy to reach too, just a short drive from Toulouse international airport.
INDOOR RETREAT SPACES
A 10m by 13m studio with a wooden floor and heating is available for activities such as yoga, meditation and workouts. There's room for 20 people in the studio, with plenty of space between everyone. Props - including yoga mats, blankets, blocks, straps, bolsters, zafus and eye bags - are also offered. Three treatment rooms can be used for individual yoga spaces, meetings or massage.
OUTDOOR RETREAT SPACES
The outdoor covered barn is ideal for fitness and dance, and - with additional carpeting down to cover the concrete floor - yoga and Pilates. Down a grassy path, you'll find the pigeonnier (dovecote) which is a lovely place for meditation, a closing ceremony or just some simple peace and quiet. It's also a nice spot for a massage, reflexology or a similar treatment as it's tucked away from the rest of the house. The firepit can be put down there in the evenings for extra cosiness.
The private colourful gardens, the lawns and verdant grounds are all yours for gentle walking/being in nature, and there is plenty of scope for longer walks if you want to stride out.
The Main House sleeps up to 20 in ten double or twin en-suite bedrooms, while The Cottage sleeps up to four people in two twin (or one double and one twin) bedroom, with a shared bathroom. Three rooms can be made into singles, on request, and of eight doubles, seven can be converted to doubles. Ten of the bedrooms have private bathrooms. The bedrooms are free from WiFi, and two bedrooms are wheelchair-friendly.
Sleep in comfortable beds and Egyptian cotton bedding, in spacious bedrooms that are furnished with natural materials - teak wood, textiles, leather, glass and steel - to complement Puissentut's ancient limestone walls and oak beams. Pared-back, Scandinavian design is matched with choice, original pieces from the 1970s and vintage treasures picked up at local flea markets. Vibrant textiles add colour, comfort and warmth.
You can sunbathe and socialise on the sun terrace and around the swimming pool and juice bar - temperatures are very pleasant from April until October. The unheated pool is 10 by 4 metres, so it's fine for relaxed swimming and cooling down on a hot summer's day, but it's not suitable for serious swimmers who want to notch up some lengths.
There are two lounges, both of which have WiFi. The upstairs lounge has a library, music system and TV with satellite, Netflix and DVDs. The downstairs lounge has a cosy, open fire, making it the perfect place to curl up with a book, or your thoughts. In winter, the large fireplaces add a generous glow and warmth. Boules, table tennis and darts can by played in the covered barn.
The chateau is perfect for any kind of retreat, but especially one devoted to wellbeing, yoga, meditation or mindfulness.
Angela is a therapeutic counsellor and Core Energetic therapist with a passion for yoga, meditation and nature, while Dirk-Karel (DK) has an interest in Zen Buddhism, macrobiotic cooking and permaculture.
Walks - the nearby charming village of Monfort is about 35 minutes away, and has a restaurant, bakery, a grocer's and a post office. The nearest market towns are a 15-minute drive away. More serious hikers might like to stride out across the hills. You could even borrow the venue's dog Bobby for some canine companionship.
Chefs who are experienced in cooking for people recovering from illness and for optimal health are available if you need them. Each chef blends, in their own way, Western and Eastern philosophies of health, nutrition and wellbeing, and enjoy adding a light, modern taste to the traditional regional flavours and delicacies.
Food is organic, local and seasonal. Veg comes from the chateau's permaculture vegetable garden, while other ingredients are bought from local suppliers, where possible. Seeds, beans, grains, chickpeas and lentils grown on the doorstep all appear in dishes. All styles of eating can be served, including omnivore, vegetarian and vegan options. Allergies and food intolerances are catered for.
For meals, choose from one long table or up to three individual tables, depending on group size, and you can eat inside or out. The courtyard makes for a lovely al fresco eating spot. The juice bar can serve fruit juices, smoothies and vegetable juices. The hosts stress their guests must be comfortable, and so are happy to provide wine, coffee, bread and cheese if you would like it.
The hosts and owners are keen to minimise their negative footprint on the environment by purchasing as little packaging as they can, and they reduce waste and recycle as much as they can. They make their own compost to enrich the garden, where different plants have been planted deliberately to attract a variety of bees. Chemical use is kept to a minimum, both inside the house and in the garden. Where chemicals have to be used, environmentally-friendly options are chosen.
Passionate and committed hosts, stylish interiors with comfy beds and delicious food, and the walks in nature, with picturesque views across the fields and woodland of the Gascony countryside.
The Less Than Ordinary
There's not much culture around - just peace and quiet.
Agen or Toulouse (Matabiau)
Lieu dit Puissentut
32 120 Homps