Rejuvenating New Year Retreat

Invitation to a Celebrate the Start of the New Year retreat in the south of France

Do you usually feel physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted by the end of the year?

Dates: 30 December 2023- 3 Jan 2024

If you are, you are not the only one.

The last couple of years certainly haven’t been easy. Since 2021, despite the still raging pandemic, I have hosted a New Year retreat here in my house in the south of France, sticking strictly to COVID safety regulations, bien sur. Despite all the difficulties, it was one of my best retreats ever, so now I do it annually. If you feel a bit overwhelmed, frustrated, disturbed, even depressed… why not join me this year for a unique New Year celebration in the south of France?

This year, celebrate le Reveillon du St Sylvestre (31st December) in the south of France!

You know, it might well be time for a physical, mental and spiritual reboot. Nothing too strenuous, mind you, it will be the end-of-the-year holidays after all, but it won’t do any harm to have a look at your hopes for the next year.

First, you will have the opportunity to fully recharge your batteries.

A new year approaches…

I am not very good at making New Year’s resolutions. Actually, I am not that bad at making them, but I am awful at keeping them. By the time I get to February, they have long since disappeared in my rear-view mirror. This year, I can’t even be bothered to make any. Why make the effort? Who knows what is going to happen tomorrow, next week or next month, never mind next year.

Even so, I don’t want to spend another year suspended in time, so I have decided to create a vision for next year.

It is time to get a grip on next year so that you will be in control and in charge of your future.


This retreat is for you if

  • You usually feel physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted by the end of the year
  • You are looking for an affordable escape from the always escalating demands of everyday life
  • You want to detox from the excesses of the Christmas season and are looking for a healthy alternative to celebrating the start of a new year
  • You want easy access via an international airport, served by low-cost airlines, less than 2 hour’s drive from the retreat
  • You are yearning for a safe haven in one of the most beautiful parts of France, secluded but not isolated, a place where you can rest and sleep undisturbed for as long as you need to
  • You want to focus on what is really important to you – the last 3 years may well have changed your perception of what is important to you and what is not
  • You need to clarify how you want to live your life: what your priorities are now, how you want to spend your time and with whom you want to spend it
  • You want to decide what you want to achieve – which of your previous objectives you still want to work towards, which old objectives you want to discard and which new objectives you want to establish
  • You need motivation and inspiration to take action – if you feel as if you are stuck in a downward spiral, this retreat will empower you to take control of where your life is going again.
  • It keeps you aligned with your values and empowering beliefs, so that you can create the purposeful, meaningful and fulfilling life you want to live, especially when the going gets tough.

During this retreat you will:

  • Have the rare opportunity to rest, relax and recharge your batteries before the next year starts with all its demands, deadlines and difficulties
  • Enjoy the fresh air, clean water and scrumptious, wholesome, home-cooked food typical of this region that nourishes both your body and your mind
  • Have 24-hour access to hot teas, coffee & infusions
  • Have the choice to walk sections of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (weather permitting) and reflect on your past and future following in the footsteps of thousands of pilgrims who have done the same these last 800 years (weather permitting)
  • Support the local community’s flagging post-pandemic economy by eating one meal in a nearby bistro/restaurant (cost not included)

This retreat combines walking meditation and writing meditation (as well as frequent trips outside to give carrots to the horses and lots of discussions in front of the wood burner sipping hot chocolate) to enable you to create a vision to empower you to handle, with a fair amount of confidence, whatever 2024 throws at you.

If you want to get away for the New Year celebrations, and you think it would be fun to create a vision of the long, happy, healthy and fulfilling life, full of purpose and meaning, that you have always dreamed of living, then a 5-day New Year retreat here in the unspoilt south of France might be just what you have been looking for.

Say YES to this “Celebrate the start of the new year in the South of France Adventure!

What makes this retreat so special?

The opportunity to walk part of the possibly life-changing Camino de Santiago de Compostella (Way of St James) and follow in the footsteps of pilgrims who have passed this way for a thousand years on their way to Santiago de Compostella in Spain.  This is the walking meditation part of the retreat (transport included.)

Why choose this retreat? Because it offers you:

  • an affordable escape from the always escalating demands of everyday life,
  • easy access via 5 international airports, served by low-cost airlines, less than 2 hour’s drive from the retreat
  • a safe haven in one of the most beautiful parts of France, secluded but not isolated, a place where you can rest and sleep undisturbed for as long as you need to
  • fresh air, clean water and scrumptious home-cooked and mostly home-grown food to nourish both your body and your mind
  • the opportunity to make the changes you want to make so that you can live a more joyful, creative and meaningful life… a life more in alignment with your unique talents, values and ideals

Imagine…being in a cosy, comfortable, lovingly restored 200-year-old French farmhouse in the heart of the countryside in southwest France, log fire burning, delicious wholesome soup simmering on the stove in the kitchen… and you, curled up by the fire with a cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate or a glass of wine, and your favourite book…

Contact me asap because I only have so many rooms and some of them have been taken already. A simple inquiry will put you under no obligation.

The Program

Each full day consists of three planned-but-may-change-subject-to-weather-conditions sessions:

  • An inspiring Walking Meditation – walk a short (or longer if you want!) through the vines or part of the Camino de Santiago de Compostella.
  • Two Writing Meditations enabling you to create your own motivating and inspiring vision. 

All activities are optional. If you would rather curl up in front of the fire with a good book, you are ever so welcome. We’ll make sure you have enough drinks and nibbles to keep you going.

The Venue

My house, deep in the heart of Gascony, 90 minutes’ drive southeast of Bordeaux, is located on several acres of lush, green meadows and is surrounded by vineyards, woods, orchards and sunflower fields. Secluded but not isolated, this 200-year-old half-timbered farmhouse is 3km from a typical (and busy!) local village.

In only a few other places you will find all the ingredients of a perfect holiday combined with such abundance as in Gascony: fabulous food, outstanding wine, generous people and the breathtaking beauty of mountains, rivers, lakes and medieval villages perched here-and-there on hilltops.

By coming on a retreat here, you will be contributing to the well-being of the local community: I believe in sustainable tourism. I believe that we have a sacred duty to preserve the land for future generations, so I do everything I can to make as small a footprint on the land as possible, including limiting the number of guests I receive per year.

The Food

While you are finding out how to make the changes you want to make in your life, you will be indulging in the best food that our region has to offer: freshly baked, crunchy French bread, wildflower-flavoured honey, jam made from the fruit grown in our orchard…

This is a celebration of the wonderful variety of fresh local produce available from our garden as well as from the local weekly fresh food markets. This region is known for its abundant gourmet cuisine and we would not dream of depriving our guests of the pleasure and benefits that can be had.

One of the meals (either on the 31st or 1st) we’ll have at a local restaurant, to support the flagging local economy post-COVID. The cost of this meal is not included.

Your Hosts

Your retreat hosts are three opinionated Friesian mares, a magnificent Barzoï , three impish cats and Dr Margaretha Montagu, a medical doctor with many years of experience in treating stress-related diseases. Margaretha is also a medical hypnotherapist, an occasional writer of self-help books and the presenter of the popular Connect with Horses ™ retreats. All her books are horse-inspired, subtly French-flavoured and hopefully life-enriching. Margaretha is a certified NLP practitioner, medical hypnotherapist and certified equine-assisted personal development coach.

What is included in this retreat:
  • Comfortable accommodation in an 18th-century, half-timbered, authentic Landaise farmhouse in single or twin bedrooms with shared bathrooms.
  • A welcoming dinner on the first day and a celebration brunch on the last day of the retreat – our retreats start at 18h00 on the day of arrival to 11h00 on the day of departure.
  • Delicious brunches and scrumptious dinners featuring the irresistible food of our region on all other days – except for lunch on the 31st or 1st, which we will have in a local restaurant, at extra cost.
  • Transport to and from Nogaro, to/from the Camino walk.
What is NOT included:
  • Transport costs to the retreat centre’s closest village, Nogaro. We offer a free transfer to/from the retreat centre to Nogaro.
  • Personal Health Insurance and/or Travel Insurance (we highly recommend insurance cover in case you need to cancel)

To make 100% sure you benefit from this retreat, there is still MORE.

Additional Extras (extra cost):

  • You will be able to subscribe to the Journal Yourself Stress-free online mini-retreat, offering continuing support after the retreat to help you implement the changes you have decided to make,
  • To facilitate transport arrangements, or to explore the region, you are welcome to arrive a day early – we also offer additional BandB accommodation on a day-to-day basis, but only to our retreat guests,
  • Non-participating partners are very welcome, there is a lot for them to discover and do in the immediate vicinity (reduced fee.)
  • the option to add one or more profoundly relaxing massages (subject to availability, additional fee)

The cost of the 5-day retreat is 899€ pp in a single private room. A double room is 1799€ per room. Please contact us for information about longer retreats.

So seize this exceptional opportunity to spend a few nights here NOW…a warm welcome awaits you amidst the Armagnac, Saint Mont and Madiran vineyards in the southwest of France.

Ready to make a reservation? To pay your deposit and secure your booking, please contact us with the dates of the week that suits you at welcome2gascony(at) to inquire about availability.

Deposit: To confirm your booking, a 25% deposit is required. Balance of payment is due at least 30 days prior to the start of your holiday. Please note: As our deposits are not refundable and our cancellation policy is firm, we strongly recommend the purchase of adequate travel insurance.  Any cancellation received in writing up to 30 days before the holiday starts will result in a loss of 50% of the holiday price. Any cancellation made in writing less than 30 days before the holiday starts, or once the holiday has started, will result in a total loss of funds. Depending on availability, you can choose to transfer your booking to another date without incurring any additional fees. We reserve the right to cancel the retreat (if we do so your deposit will be refunded in full) if the minimum number of 2 bookings is not reached.

Please read our terms and conditions. If you are in the midst of a life trauma or serious emotional upheaval that might require individual support beyond our scheduled meetings, the retreat format may not be a good match for you at this time. Should you have any questions about this, please contact us.

Only a limited number of participants will be able to attend the Self-discovery Self-awareness retreat this year!

Imagine how different your life will be in a year’s time if you decide to change your life by attending this retreat.

Privacy notice: We take your privacy seriously. Your details are not passed on or sold to any third parties whatsoever and we promise to only use your details to contact you directly ourselves.