Soulful Steps: Hiking the Camino de Santiago for Mind, Body, and Spiritual Renewal
Are you going through a major Life Transition? Are you embarking on a new career, moving to a new city or country, getting married or divorced, experiencing the loss of a loved one, facing a health crisis, retiring, becoming an empty nester, caring for ageing parents, starting a business, facing financial hardship, reevaluating life goals after a significant event?
In 5 days, reconnect with your authentic self, with your present, past and your future, and with nature while walking the Camino de Santiago in the south of France
Lost Your Way?
Embark on a Journey of Self-discovery…
…and let Nature be your Compass
Walking the Camino de Santiago can literally change your life – you can find solutions to problems, answers to questions and clarity on the way forward – just as thousands of hikers have before you, for the last 800 years.
Hundreds of thousands (over 200,000 in 2022) of people from all walks of life make their way to Santiago de Compostela via one of the pilgrims’ routes each year.
For most, it is an unforgettable and life-enhancing experience.
It takes at least 6 weeks to walk the Camino all the way to Santiago de Compostela – maybe you can’t take that much time out right now.
Could you spare 5-days? On this unique walking retreat in the sun-blessed southwest of France, you can walk a section of the Camino, and still get most of the physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits.
Everything will be taken care of for you.
You will sleep in the same bed each night, you do not have to carry a heavy backpack with you, and you will eat healthy, home-grown and homemade food – all you have to do is concentrate on experiencing everything that walking the Camino has to offer.
You will also learn more about walking and writing meditation as a stress management strategy and will have the opportunity to taste some of the region’s excellent wines.
On Monday, Day 1, you arrive in the sun-blessed south of France in time for dinner, walk the Camino on days 2, 3, and 4 and leave after breakfast on Day 5. At the end of at least two of your walks, you will have the opportunity to visit a local wine seller, where you can sample some of the best wines the region has to offer.
The easiest way to get here is to fly to Toulouse, take the train to Auch, and visit the glorious cathedral with its exceptional hand-carved choir – the Camino de Santiago goes through Auch and many walkers stop at this famous cathedral. You can check your luggage into temporary storage at the station. When you have had a scrumptious lunch at one of the sidewalk bistros on the square in front of the cathedral, you take the bus to Nogaro, where you’ll be picked up and transferred to the retreat. The bus station is right next to the train station.
The most effortless way to get here is to rent a car, or take a taxi and the most entertaining and cheapest way to get here is by getting a lift from the carpooling site, BlaBlaCar(dot)fr.
A warm welcome awaits you at this 200-year-old authentic Landaise farmhouse amidst the Armagnac and Cotes de Gascogne vineyards in the sun-blessed southwest of France!
Retreats start on Saturdays at 18h00 and end on Wednesdays at 11h00.
I booked the 5-day Camino retreat with a friend, to escape city life and reset. It totally exceeded my expectations. Margaretha is the perfect host. Her house is so peaceful and welcoming. We had lovely food, great conversations and loved being around all the animals. The walking part is great itinerary taking you through some breathtakingly beautiful scenery while also leaving a bit of time to relax at the end of the day. It’s a chance to really get into nature while also exploring some of the local towns which all have their charm. I cannot recommend this retreat highly enough, and I will be going back! Nikki S. More reviews
Coming to a Camino de Santiago walking retreat here in this unspoiled and mostly undiscovered region in the southwest of France will enable you to get away from the hustle, bustle, and never-ending demands of everyday life, and allow you to recharge your batteries, reconnect with nature, unwind and declutter your mind, and increase your physical fitness.
You can even combine this retreat with the Detox Your Body, Detox Your Mind with Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss retreat if you want to lose a bit of weight!
The easy camaraderie between walkers, the breathtaking scenery, the mood-lifting effect of following in the footsteps of walkers who have walked the Camino these last 800 years, sleeping along the way in an ancient French farmhouse, and sampling the excellent food and wine of the region makes this retreat unforgettable.
Day 1: Arrive after 18h00, in time for a scrumptious welcome dinner
Day 2: On the first day, guests walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostella from EAUZE to MANCIET. This section is about 12 km (6 miles) long and takes about 2,5 – 3 hours to walk. The walk meanders through woods, vineyards, meadows, orchards and sunflower fields from the Roman and cathedral city of Eauze towards Manciet, a small market town with a beautifully preserved lavoir.
Day 3: On the second day, guests walk from MANCIET to NOGARO. The route continues past an ancient church that once belonged to the Order of the Knights of Malta and an 18th-century milestone with a Maltese cross to Nogaro or Nogarium, which means ‘a place planted with walnut trees.’ This small town was established in the 11th century and has a fine Romanesque church. The walk takes about 2,5-3 hours to walk and is about 10km (5 miles.)
Day 4: The third day’s walk is from NOGARO to AIRE SUR ADOUR. The full walk is (28 km 17,4 miles) but guests can opt for a shorter walk (18 km – 11.1 miles) if they prefer. The shorter walk takes 2-4 hours to walk, the longer walk 5-8 hours. The walk is fairly flat: Nogaro is at 100m above sea level and Aire is at 80m above sea level. The path passes by several ancient farmhouses, along the vineyards towards Lanne-Soubiran and onwards towards Barcellone-du-Gers, a small town adjacent to Aire. From Barcellone the scenery changes, The vineyards give way to trees: oaks, pines and chestnuts until one finally arrives in the beautiful town of Aire-sur-Adour, on the mighty Adour river. Participants who hike to Aire-sur-Adour take the bus back from Aire to Nogaro at the end of the walk.
Day 5: Leave after brunch, before 11h.
Distances are approximate. The program is not set in stone and may be altered according to circumstances ex. inclement weather.
This is the perfect option for single travellers, couples, and small groups
- Who are touring the region and would like to spend a day or two of their holiday walking the Camino
- Who would like to walk a short distance of the Camino before committing to a longer walk
- Of writers, authors, novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, essayists, poets, composers and songwriters in need of inspiration
We look forward to welcoming you here!
Our food is simple but delicious and we aim to give your digestive tract as much of a rest as the rest of you while feeding your body as well and as generously as your mind.
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.
In the morning we serve you a scrumptious brunch buffet, consisting of cereal, fruit, bread, confiture, honey, milk, yoghurt, typical cheeses and patés of the region. Tea and coffee are available from early, and throughout the day. You can also make sandwiches and take some fruit/yoghurt with you, to eat during your walk.
Dinner is served early and consists of a homemade soup (hot/cold depending on the season,) a healthy and hearty main course, often vegetarian and often heavily influenced by the cuisine of our Spanish neighbours, followed by something sweet, if required. Only water is served at the table.
Dinner on day 4 we have at a local restaurant to help regenerate the local economy post-COVID. The cost of this meal is not included – usually 15-30 euros, depending on your choices.
We cater for most diets (Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Nut-allergy-friendly, Low fat, Sugar conscious, Dairy-free) if you have any intolerances, allergies or dislike some ingredient or food, please let me know during your booking, at the latest two weeks before your arrival.
Dr M Montagu
After working for 20 years as a medical doctor in a variety of specialities including psychiatry and general practice, I came to the conclusion that many diseases have their roots in my patients’ inability to handle stress effectively. Instead of treating stress-related illnesses, I decided to look at practical ways that my patients can use to prevent stress from ruining their health. I studied a number of alternative therapies including hypnotherapy and NLP, and eventually combined my education and experience to create the transformational virtual and residential retreats that I host in the south of France.
Dr M Montagu MBChB MRCGP MedHypDip NLP Master Cert Prof Life Coach Cert Counseling CertEAGALA Cert
The venue, deep in the heart of Gascony, less than two hours’ drive south-east of Bordeaux, between 2 small towns called Eauze and Nogaro, 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 farmhouse is only 3km from a typical local town with all amenities.
Further afield, you’ll find vineyards, sunflower fields, more woods, more sunflower fields, medieval villages, bottomless lakes, orchards, and of course, the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
The authentic Landaise farmhouse, some 200 years old and lovingly restored, is set on two levels, with two bedrooms on the ground floor and one on the first floor with glorious views of the surrounding woods, meadows, vineyards and sunflower fields. Some of the bedrooms on the ground floor have doors directly onto a patio and into the garden. Each has a small seating area. There are several seating spots in the garden.
The heart of the house is the kitchen-sitting room, delightfully cool in the summer, and extended by a shaded patio into the garden and snug and warm in the winter, heated by a Godin wood burner.
The downstairs bedrooms have two comfortable beds and a view of the garden, woods, meadows, and the horses’ paddocks. Fresh towels and linens, an iron and ironing board (used only very rarely!) and a hairdryer are provided.
There is ample, safe, off-road parking.
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 on hilltops.
The climate in the summer months resembles that of the Mediterranean coast with long, sunny days and balmy evenings when it is possible to sit out comfortably into the early morning hours.
This part of France is protected from the harsh Atlantic winds in winter by the heavily forested department to the west of it, the Landes. It is sheltered from snow in winter by the Pyrenées and it enjoys mild and early springs, beginning at the end of March. The long, lazy summers, continue well into October and finally often end with an “été Indien” (warm autumn) before the onset of winter in late November.
Drenched for nearly 9 months of the year in sunshine, Gascony is excellent for outdoor recreational activities and almost year-round al-fresco dining. While good weather cannot be guaranteed, during the summer months, it is often very hot during the day and temperatures reach into the high 20s °C, with spring and autumn temperatures hovering in the low to mid-20s °C.
Mid-summer is very hot and dry, the temperatures often exceed 30°C. The annual rainfall varies from more than 900 mm in the southwest of the department to less than 700 mm in the northeast. Even the weather conspires to make this the ultimate place to relax!
How to get here (flights, airport transfers, buses, trains)
The most convenient way to travel here, depending on where you are coming from, is by air. Several of the low-cost airlines fly to airports close to us. Our closest airports are Bordeaux Airport and Toulouse Airport – both just under 2 hours away (by car.)
The easiest access using public transport is via Toulouse airport, then a train to Auch and then a bus to Nogaro – takes about 3-4 hours and costs about 20-30 euros (train and bus.)
We highly recommend renting a car on your arrival at a local airport or train station, especially if you intend to stay with us a couple of days before or after a retreat as the region has much to offer a discerning tourist.
From Toulouse airport, there is a train to Auch (50 min from us by car.) Airport shuttles and trams connect the airports and train station. From the train station, there is a bus service to Nogaro. In addition, there is now an excellent carpooling website in France that several of our guests have used successfully. It is called Blablacar and one could possibly get a lift, sometimes all the way to Nogaro from the airport for less than 20 euros. We pick up our guests from Nogaro at no additional cost.
What’s Included In This Package
- 4 nights accommodation in an authentic half-timbered landaise farmhouse
- Wholesome brunches, delicious dinners (except dinner on day 4) Option at brunch to make sandwiches to have during the walk
- 3 unforgettable days walking the Camino de Santiago
- Introduction to Walking and Writing Meditation
- Meraki Morning Program
- Transport to and from the starting and end points of the Camino on each walking day
What’s Not Included In This Package
- Transport costs to local airports (flights)
- Transport from local airports to local train stations (ex. Auch) to Nogaro or Aire-sur-Adour
- Personal Health Insurance and/or Travel Insurance (we highly recommend insurance cover in case you need to cancel)
- Additional activities not included in the itinerary
- Option to add a massage at the end of the walk (subject to availability)
- Extra day/night bed-and-breakfast at the start of the retreat (starts at €119)
- Dinner on days 4 ~ we have this meal at restaurants nearby to support local small business owners (15-30 euro, depending on your choices)
- Alcoholic beverages
- It is important to me that the holidays I offer do as little damage to the environment as possible, while at the same time contributing to the local community’s economy. I feel more like the custodian than the owner of this property – I feel very privileged to live here. As its custodian, my intention is to look after it to the very best of my ability and to preserve it for generations to come. In the meantime, I share the exceptional natural beauty, the rich cultural heritage and the nurturing tranquillity of my house with my guests without harming the natural environment and helping environmentally-aware local producers at the same time. Recommendations for guests:
- Turn off your lights when you leave your room
- Turn off your computer when not in use. Conserve energy by using your computer’s “sleep mode” instead of a screensaver.
- Unplug unused electronics (even your mobile phone)
- Conserve water. Take a shower rather than a bath and take shorter showers – using less hot water means using less energy
- Recycle paper, plastic and glass – separately
- Buy organic food – chemicals used in modern agriculture pollute the water supply, and require energy to produce.
- Use cloth/paper/reusable bags/a basket when shopping instead of plastic or paper bags.
- Buy minimally packaged goods
- Buy produce that is in season
- Always ask before you take pictures
- Support the local community economically by buying what you need, whenever possible, directly from the producer: often from a neighbour, a small local business or a market.
The cost of this 5-day 4-night retreat, starting on Saturdays, including accommodation, brunch and dinner (option to make sandwiches at brunch for later), walking meditation instruction, transport to and from each day’s walk, pick-up and drop-off at start and end of the retreat, is :
- in a private room €899
- in a double room (2 people travelling together) €I799
So seize this exceptional opportunity to spend a few nights with us NOW…to help you make your trip a special one, please let us know you are coming by making a reservation. A warm welcome awaits you amidst the Armagnac, Saint Mont and Cotes de Gascogne vineyards in the sun-blessed 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)gmail.com to inquire about availability.
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To confirm your booking, a 25% deposit is required. The balance of payment is due at least 14 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 holiday (if we do so your deposit is refunded in full).
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