Romancing the Ordinary in the French Riviera

Our fully inclusive “unique and different” retreat style experience

We invite groups of no more than six guests to join us on a wonderful sensory journey in a stunningly beautiful part of the world where pressing the “pause button” and emptying your mind of daily stresses comes easy. Unplug from digital overload and linger in the delightful sensory experiences we have created for you which seek to reacquaint one intimately with the beauty of life and nature as may be experienced through your five senses. Bask in the happy environment that is our home, meditate in forests, mountain tops and caves and observe time standing still in medieval villages and seashores as we mindfully share with you, the pleasures that may be achieved by seeking the ordinary in every day life to find something extraordinary that you can hold in a space of your mind forever.

Retreat Features and Activities

BurnoutDigital DetoxMeditationMen OnlyMindfulnessNatureRecuperationSpiritual AwarenessWalking / HikingWomen Only

Directions and Travel

Our nearest airport is Nice International, which is conveniently located only half an hour away from our Villa. We include privately chauffeured pick up and return service for all of our guests subject to prior discussion and agreement on timings.

Flights from the UK are frequent and depending on the time of year are reasonably priced from Luton, Gatwick, Leeds/Bradford, Birmingham, Manchester, Standsted and Bristol. We are happy to assist guests with their arrangements should they experience any difficulty locating or booking a flight.

Surrounded by pine forests, our elegant air conditioned villa contains four double and one twin tastefully decorated bedrooms (two en-suite and two with balconies overlooking the pool). Two lounge areas with piano and vintage gramophone serve to create a 1930’s vibe place to relax, read or socialise.
Our medieval style banqueting table is where we host our special last evenings’ “Dinner of Decadence” served on delicate white china and outside under a passion flower covered terrace sits our white marbled dining table – a lovely place to take breakfast and dine on warm evenings.
Delightful landscaped gardens, private pool, a beautifully hand constructed “Moment in Time” meditation and exercise area, fire pit, art studio and outdoor hot forest facing shower compliment the outdoor area.

Our Villa “Bastide Les Pins” – French Riviera

Your retreat would comprise elements of the following depending upon the date you choose.

Daily Yoga -Tai Chi - Qigong in beautiful locations by the sea, in the forests and mountains

Guided nature inspired meditations in our dedicated Moment in Time Circle

A relaxing and healing sound bath to soothe and caresses the mind, body and spirit

Enchanting walks and memorable picnics in special places

Sensory experiences at perfumeries, open markets, vineyards and olive mills

Outings to medieval hilltop villages where time stands still, mesmerising waterfalls and thought provoking coastal locations

Engage with Mother Earth in the magical caves at Grotte de Baume

Classy, elegant and healthy food

Shiatsu, sports and relaxation massages upon request

Please read our website reviews.

Your Retreat Itinerary

You do not need to spend one penny more when you join one of our retreats because we include:

• 3 meals per day (except one evening on 7 night retreats when there is an option to eat at our local favourite French restaurant)
• 24 hour tea and coffee making facilities
• All soft drinks
• Wine with evening meal
• All experiences as described in your package
• Private door to door transport for all escorted excursions
• Privately chauffeured transfers to and from Nice Airport (subject to agreed timings)

Use of:

• communal fridge for personal drinks
• art studio and materials
• private outdoor pool
• outdoor hot forest facing shower (an amazing experience)
• sun loungers and outdoor towels (available for each guest at all times)
• a selection of cycles
• luxury towel robe
• hairdryers and straighteners

What Is Included?

We are personally committed to healthy eating and subscribe to the Nordic philosophy of “lagom” which means “just the right amount”. In practise this means we don’t restrict anything in our diets but neither do we eat anything in excess. Nordic people follow this concept which is one of the reasons why they are often so healthy. We have applied this thinking to our retreat food.

Every dish we serve for you is prepared in-house and we can tell you what ingredients are in it and where they came from. We pride ourselves on the quality of ingredients that we use and as we are located in the South of France, are able to source much of our food from local fresh food markets.

With prior notice we can cater for certain dietary requirements such as vegetarians, dairy and gluten free diets.

Our Food

We are located on the outskirts of Grasse in the village of St Jacques which is surrounded by beautiful oak and pine forests, lavender and jasmine fields. Grasse, the renowned perfume capital of the world is located at 1,500 ft above sea level and is carved into a series of terraces below which the land of olive groves reaches out towards Cannes and the Mediterranean sea whilst behind us the majestic mountains of the lower Alps soar into blue azure skies.

Mountain top villages located at 2,000 ft above sea level offer uninterrupted views towards St Tropez and Italy and across the sea to Corsica that are breath taking. Fresh unpolluted mountain air, wide open spaces and delightful aromas wafting on the breeze make this a very special place to spend a week of your time.

Our Location

Romancing the Ordinary is an innovative holiday experience inspired and created by Helen Bell (an ex lawyer) and Leslie Mueller (an ex architect) who met through a mutual love of sailing, adventure and nature. They also discovered that they shared an appreciation of the minutiae and ordinary things in life and their joint motto became “seek pleasure in the ordinary to discover the extraordinary”.

Helen and Les now share their world in this delightful little corner of France and invite you to accompany them on an extraordinary journey of rediscovering and treasuring your amazing senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch.

Their concept featured at the UK Luxury Travel Fair 2018 where Helen guest spoke alongside celebrity speakers on the topic of “How to Choose a Retreat” .

Your Hosts

We hope that you have enjoyed reading through our information and feel inspired to join us for a week of Romancing the Ordinary. We live in a highly pressured and digitally controlled world that is not always good for our health and well being. It’s easy to forget what is important in life, what makes us smile and what we should be grateful for and so taking time out to press the “pause button” is also about being kind to yourself.

The only thing we would ask you to bring with you is an open mind and heart along with a willingness to have fun, enjoy laughter and romance the ordinary.

Romance yourself because you are extraordinary and you deserve it!

In Summary

We seek to welcome people with disabilities and have one ground floor double bedroom with an en-suite facility, which has an accessible shower and sunken bath. We also have a temporary ramp leading to the room thereby enabling easy access from the terrace outside. Access to the swimming pool is also quite straight forward using the built in steps. We would however mention that the nature of our retreat activities could restrict an individual’s ability to participate in some of the experiences that we offer.

We recognise the impact that our business may have on the environment if we don’t take care and so we: • aspire to being a paperless business • recycle and up-cycle • collect and use rainwater • utilise low energy lamps and all lighting is on timed switches • compost all organic waste • have a plastics policy which means that we don’t use disposable plastic cups or straws • shop where possible at local markets and supermarkets that allow us to purchase unpackaged items • light our home with our own branded soy candles made from sustainable beans and our garden contains bird feeding stations, a shallow pond where frogs lay their eggs, bug and bee log pile habitats and we allow the squirrels feed undisturbed on our walnut tree.

Prices range from £650 for a 4 night weekend retreat and from £975 for a 7 night week per person depending on your choice of room and facilities. Dates for 2019: 22 - 26 Feb (4 night weekend retreat includes Mimosa Festival) 1 – 5 March (4 night weekend retreat includes Fete du Citron) 18 – 23 April (5 nights Easter retreat) 8 - 15 May (includes the Grasse Rose Festival) 22 – 29 May (7 nights) 31 May to 7 June (7 nights) 18 - 25 September (7 nights) 5 - 12 October (7 nights) Room sharing is an option and can reduce cost. Please enquire if you are interested in other dates and refer to our website for information about what else we do.
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