With winter slowly ebbing into spring, the temperatures are rising and blue skies are starting to overtake the drab grey skies. So with a busy new season ahead I am really looking forward to welcoming all our guests, both old and new faces to the Vallee de la Ceze.
This year I will be helping to manage and look after guests at a new Property in Cornillon – Maison Panoramique. This stunning property is owned by John & Liz, who I have had the pleasure to get to know these last few years. They have now decided to let others enjoy and stay in their unique Property overlooking Cornillon. So starting this year you will be able to rent out Maison Panoramique and I will be on hand, on-site making sure your stay is both seamless, enjoyable aswell as the perosnal touch with tips and advice on what to do during your stay.
The Maison sleeps upto 8 people, with 4 bedrooms with kingsize beds. The large private pool and garden offer amazing views of Cornillon and the valley below making for a spectacular vista.
For booking and further info – https://www.maisonpanoramique.com/
Kathleen Stavert is a Yoga teacher and actress originally from Québec, Canada. She has lived and worked all over the world and is currently calling Montréal her home. For further info about her you can check out her Facebook page HERE or her website HERE.
“Do your practice and all is coming”
-K. Pattabhi Jois
Do your practice and all is coming. A famous quote by one of the most celebrated yogis. Pattabhi Jois is one of the guys that brought yoga to the western world. Heard of Ashtanga yoga? Yeah, that’s him.
I often think about this quote. When I first heard it, it struck a chord and it stayed with me. I mulled it around in my mind for a while. Then I explored the meaning in my body by, well, practicing. I believe the essence of this quote is trust. Trust in your practice…or trust that if the practice of yoga comes to you gently like a summer breeze or boldly like a flying brick there’s not much ‘thinking about it’ that is required of you. Trust that if you go searching for a yoga practice the right teacher, studio, community will find you and welcome you like one of their own and there’s not much else you need to do. You may protest, you may be dragged by the hair into a studio kicking and screaming or be totally put off by a type of yoga swearing never to practice again. And surprise, surprise you find yourself seeking more: you discover a pose you like, a teacher who says just the right thing. You find the right place to practice and something inside you shifts, however small, it keeps you hungry for more.
Do your practice and all is coming. Not much else is required of you but the discipline, the intention of carving out time for yourself. You start to discover that somedays you need a full hour and other days when you’re able to only fit in 10 minutes the magic still happens. The magic of life that keeps on going. The magic of life’s curveballs, challenges, frustrations, beauty, joy. It’s nothing extraordinary but day in, day out, as you just simply practice your yoga you soften into the body you carry, the sharp edges and chips that you hold begin to melt and you find the space inside you to just simply be. You begin to trust the momentum of the day as you move with more ease. You trust your breath will keep you calm when people or things get out of hand. You begin to notice nothing is too big for you to handle, and when things do appear to be too big, you simply get back on your mat and practice yoga. Some days will be more magical than others but it’s all there, always and everything is coming, always.
A regular yoga practice can be hard to create and sometimes it’s a matter of a condensed yoga experience in the right environment. I can’t guarantee to answer all your questions about yoga but I can help you throughout your personal inquiry. A yoga retreat is really a wonderful way to connect with like-minded individuals, explore uncertain areas of your own practice and learn something new about yourself. This area of France is totally conducive to finding your own yoga, getting back into a practice or taking your exploration further. Not to mention the food, the pool and the quiet!
Simon Krieger is the owner & manager at Maison Broche et Clos Neuf. He is also the co-owner and manager at The Lavender Lads, a company that supports and sells the Lavender products produced locally in the Vallee de la Ceze. You can follow his Instagram Here & Facebook Here.
Holidays are important. The pace of life is always increasing, work is always there in the backround due to the developments in technology & it is vital that everyone has the chance to take a breather, de-compress & be able to enjoy some time off work. I have been running Maison Broche et Clos Neuf for nearly 3 years and I finally feel like I have found my style as a “host” and holiday organiser.
Over the course of any given year we have hundreds of guests who come and stay with us. They range from infants just starting out in life to golden oldies who have seen & experienced plenty during their lifetimes. Time off away from work & the normal routine is precious – we are afforded only a few days a year where we can get away from it all and go explore areas that we want. These experiences can shape our childhood, broaden our horizons as adults or be subject of family discussions for years to come. They can mould friendships & solidify relationships…… Our memories & experiences during these times can help us get through tough times, generate laughs during family meals & be the subject of “remember when” conversations with friends & families.
My role in this whole situation is as host & facilitator. Everyone has a different idea of the perfect holiday. Some guests like to lounge around the pool all day, while others will be on the road at dawn racing from one museum or culutural event to the other. Its my role to access what the guest wants and to tailor my service or advice accordingly. This may sound easy on the surface but its actually not straight-forward and more nuanced. Most guests don’t know everything our area has to offer. They will not have tried all activities you can do and its upto me to explain and discuss what they can do during their stay. Sometimes a gentle nudge is needed when they are unsure about a particular activity that they would possibly enjoy… This skill & ability to judge guests expectations can only be learnt by having hundreds of these conversations, by actively trying to get them to explore and do certain activities they normally wouldn’t do or just by leaving them alone.
I love what I do. During the season I live on-site and see all my guests daily. That is one of the aspects I like most about the job. Im a people-person, I like having chats, meeting new guests or welcoming repeat guests back. I like having an “Apertif” with my guests and chatting about anything that comes up. I love bringing the kids out with me for my walks with Bono, letting them play with him and going for swims. I invest my time in talking and socialising with my guests, I am there on arrival, explaining everything and there when they leave to go home or their next destination. I care about the quality of their stay and want them to have the best holiday possible and I feel that the only way I can do that is by being there or closeby and willing to help out anyway I can.
To summarise, holidays are not just about the accommodation or the area. They are about the reception you receive when you arrive, the advice your are given and the contact you have during your stay. This is my philosophy, the Maison Broche et Clos Neuf style of holiday home rentals & group activities. We offer a friendly face, time for a chat & laughs in the evening….. Over 50% of our bookings come from repeat guests, so we must be doing something right. I look forward to seeing all your friendly smiling faces!
Kathleen Stavert is a Yoga teacher and actress originally from Québec, Canada. She has lived and worked all over the world and is currently calling Montréal her home. For further info about her you can check out her Facebook page HERE.
Scrolling through the internet and your social media accounts you probably have at some point stumbled upon a Buzzfeed or Mind Body Green list of 10 things happy people do everyday or Top 5 daily routines to happiness or something of the sort. Surely one of these routines was exercise, or a daily habit of moving the body, whether it be through running, swimming, walking, yoga. The truth of the matter is that happiness exists, yes, and we can work our way to a state of happiness and contentment but it is impossible to feel happy all the freakin’ time and when we aren’t happy we feel like a failure, or that we haven’t done enough to make ourselves happy. Where have we gone wrong? We ask ourselves. Well what about rejigging that list a little and calling it The List of things I can do to be PRESENT (wherein happiness may be a result). So in the search for more presence and
connection to the moment, the right now, yes exercise, moving your body, yoga (!!) can top that list. One of the best ways to instill this practice is to do it in the morning in a space that feels comfortable and conducive to present moment awareness. The mind and body are not yet corrupted by daily information, experiences and interactions. Besides shedding the cobwebs of slumber, getting your circulation going and helping you wake up in a gentle way, a morning yoga practice improves focus, regulates your breath which leads to a calmer more balanced nervous system helping you move through the rest of your day with ease and probably a greater sense of happiness.
Our morning yoga practice at Maison Broche yoga retreat provides you with the space to reconnect. I will guide you through an energizing yoga practice where the challenging poses and sequences will be welcome and not a chore. The sequence will be a slow and steady build-up to a peak pose relating to a theme for that day. Sometimes we may move faster than other days and some days we will take it slow so you have a chance to really experience the pose and the flow… and don’t worry we will have plenty of time for a nice long svasana. You will come out feeling more spacious and light and perhaps even sustain a feeling of happiness all the way into our restorative evening practice.
The important thing to note is that after our revitalizing morning practice there will be an abundance of coffee, tea and freshly prepared food waiting for you just downstairs.
This blog post is written by Luke Gibbons, co-founder of the Cualann Clinic, Bray Ireland & instructor @ Maison Broche et Clos Neuf. Cualann Clinic is a musculoskeletal injury clinic, based in Shoreline Leisure, Bray, Co. Wicklow. We specialise in the diagnosis, rehabilitation & treatment of musculoskeletal injury.
Pilates is a whole body physical exercise system that in essence is designed to improve strength, flexilbity, posture and increase mental awareness. It was first developed in early twentieth century by Joeseph Pilates. He originally called the exercise workout method as ’’ controlology’’, which refers to exercising using only controlled and focused movements.
There is a strong emphasis on using the so called core musculature or ‘’powerhouse’’(as it was called in classical pilates, referring to the low back, stomach and buttock muscles) during the exercise. This is combined with correct alignment, breathing, concentration and movement flow to create a very efficient and beneficial exercise system.
Modern clinical pilates differs from classical pilates, in that it incorporates evidence based knowledge and concepts from exercise science and medicine into the discipline. This is done with the aim of increasing the safety and benefit that can be got from pilates for the participant. For example, in classical pilates, the spinal position is always flat and rigid, clinical pilates will try to perform all exercises from a neutral spine (not too flat or rounded) and when extra stability is needed for more demanding exercises, a gentle ‘’flatback’’ (not forced or rigid) spinal position is then used. Clinical pilates is also individualised and takes into account a person’s individual posture and muscular balance. Through a specific exercise regime, the aim is to restore a muscular balance and in turn, help restore a “more” neutral posture.
“More” is an important word to use, as depending on age and subsequent skeletal changes which occur through a person’s lifetime, not everyone will achieve have perfect neutral after a few months of pilates but it should help build strength, flexibility, confidence and awareness in one’s body and help greatly in the maintenance of a healthy back, body and mind.
There is no specific mind training or forms of meditation as there is in yoga. There is no doubt that the concentration required for the proper performance of the movements, combined with the 3d breathing pattern (inhale the lower, outer and back parts of the lungs and ribcage) used will aid in improving focus, relaxation and the level of concentration required during movement naturally improves your body awareness.
For example, good co–ordination and focus are essential when you have to keep the pelvis, ribcage, shoulder head and neck in correct alignment (which varies in different movements) while breathing correctly , ensuring the correct the stabilising muscle are activated and this all occurs while trying to perform the actual movement! This aligns to pilates original philosophy which is…. how you perform the movement is more important than the movement itself.
It has some good evidence that is also more effective in the short term management of back versus standard physio exercises and care. Personally, I have to be of great benefit in the long term management of own back and it has given much more confidence and awareness of my own alignment and movement, as well been of great benefit to in aiding the rehabilitation of my patients.
Improvements muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, better posture, breathing patterns, mental focus and body awareness which gained from pilates are an excellent adjunct to nearly anyone’s fitness regime/sport. It is an exercise system that can used up by nearly anyone (unless acutely injured or suffering from a severe chronic injury) due to its low impactive and restorative qualities.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years. We carried on our tradition of sending out our homemade Christmas cards to previous guests, to those that sent us messages thank you for the kind words & we are delighted that you liked the cards! So here we are at the start of another season where we will be welcoming guests from all over Europe & beyond with blue skies, smiling faces and plenty of tips on what to do in the area!
I would like to add that we now have a YouTube channel where I will be posting regularly throughout the year. All videos are filmed & edited by me, so please be kind! My aim is to give guests a better idea of what the houses look like & what awaits them when they book. I will also be doing some videos on activities to do in the area. You can subscribe to the channel HERE. Our latest video showcases the Cascades du Sautadet –
We officially open on the 01.04.2017, one week before the Easter Holidays start. We have 3 exciting group holidays organised that we will launch over the next few weeks. Kathleen will be doing a 8 day Yoga Retreat at the end of April. The package will include accommodation, food, lessons & much more. The emphasis wil be on Yoga, Meditation, wellness & healthy eating. Luke will be doing 2 groups in May that we like to call Pilates, Stretch & Smile. He combines Pilates, Movement, Stretching & Meditation to offer a diverse class structure throughout the holiday. Keep an eye on our Events page HERE for more info & booking.
As you can see we have plenty of plans & ideas in the pipeline and we always try to come up with interesting new ideas! We look forward to welcoming the guests who have already booked and for those still looking, you can find all info on this site & if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me! 🙂
I have released a new video on YouTube featuring our newest member of Staff, the already legendary Bono. Check out the video below:
The Ceze river is located only a few imiutes walk from our holiday homes. As you can see there are loads of amazing swimming spots that you can enjoy with your dog or pet. The cool water offers great relief during the long hot summer days and is a great way to play with your doggy.
See you all soon
Its Christmas 2015 and we finally make the decision to take the plunge and add another member to our family. Losing a dog is always difficult and its normal for there to be a gap and wait before you commit to restarting the whole journey again. It took us nearly 2 years and after much discussion and planning we found the ideal Pup that fitted our needs and wants. We picked up our little scamp in February 2016 and the process of house training and schooling began.
Bono is a Labrador & Appenzeller mix. After a couple of weeks in Cologne we made the journey down to Cornillon for the first time just before the Easter. He was incredibly well behaved and we took plenty of breaks and stops to ensure he could relieve himself and have a walkabout. Once we arrived he settled down very quickly and after a few days he had become very happy in his new kingdom. I say kingdom because where we live and the surrounding area is a paradise for dogs. Our garden is large and fenced so he has plenty of space & areas he can explore. We can let him out without having to worry if he will run off since everything is fenced and escape proof.
What does animal & Dog friendly accommodation mean?
We are a animal friendly business and love being able to offer animal owners the joy & pleasure of bringing their loved ones with them. Our dedicated page explaining what animal friendly means HERE. We are surrounded by Wine fields and are located in the famous “Cotes du Rhone” wine growing region in the South of France. This means we have miles and miles of fields that we can walk and are easily accesible for humans aswell as dogs. Criss-crossing these fields allows you to walk to nearby vaillages without having to cross a road or see any traffic. The Google map below will give you a good idea about our location and the surrounding area.
What will the holiday be like??
I often get asked about what the area has to offer and what kind of activities can be done. The simple and short answer is LOTS. We have tried to condense all this info on our dedicated pages… Goudargues HERE, Cornillon HERE, Restaurants & Wine HERE, Activities HERE, Outdoor Sports HERE and Art & Culture HERE. We love to pass on our own personal knowledge so if you have any specific questions, please send us an email. Most of these activities can be done with your dog by your side. The Ceze river is only 1km down the road and is a great place to go swimming with your dog. Below is a short video from this Summer that will give you an idea of the swimming spots you can go to with your dog.
If you have any specific questions you can always reach us via email or telephone. To check availability or to book click HERE. Don’t forget to Like our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram or subscribe to our YouTube channel. See you all soon! 🙂
The Tour de France, cyclings most prestigious annual race is held every year througout France. With 21 day long segments (or stages) over a 23 day period the races covers over 3,500km! With around 200 cyclists in around 20 teams many nations are represented. The 2016 Tour de France was held 2 July 2016 – 24 July 2016. Every year the Tour has stages that are very close to our location. This year we had 3 stages that were within a comfortable commute distance (by car or bike): Stage 12 – Montpellier to Mont Ventoux, Stage 13 – Bourg-Saint-Andéol / La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc & Stage 14 – Montélimar / Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux.
I have gone to see the Tour de France many times over the last few weeks and its is always worth checking out and soaking up the atmosphere. This year I decided to go to Stage 13 – Bourg-Saint-Andéol / La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc which happened to be a Individual Time-Trial, something I had never seen.
The Tour de France is always well organised. There is always good accurate information about how to travel there and where to watch the action. Millions of people each year watch the Tour live and the organisers do a great job ensuring that everyone can enjoy the day. Stage 13 was a great location for the individual time trial. The course followed the Gorges of the Ardeche into Vallon Pont d’Arc with the finish being in the newly opened Caverne Pont d’Arc. This is a stunningly beautiful area with steep valley and cliffs overlooking the Ardeche river.
Whether you are a cycling enthusiast or just have a fleeting interest in sport, going to see this race is well worth it. The presentation of the route for the 2017 Tour de France, will be in Paris on October 18, 2016.
So its a Saturday, you wake up and look out the window. Blue skies & it looks like its going to be another gorgeous day, now the big question… what are you going to do today?
Coffee (or tea) & breakfast, but in Pont Saint Esprit!
During my stay here it didnt take long for me & Simon to develop a routine that allowed us to get plenty of work done & also allowed us to explore and enjoy the area. Saturday morning was our market day (actually one of many) and we always hopped into the car and drove straight to Pont st Esprit for coffee & breakfast.
There are many ways that you can drive to Pont st Esprit from Maison Broche. There is the direct & quickest route over Bagnols sur Ceze or the backroad/scenic route over the valley which just happens to go past one of the nicest Monasteries in the Grad region. The Chartreuse de Valbonne is open to the public and is a perfect spot for a little stroll & a glass of wine. Yes, they also produce wine…… Im getting way ahead of myself! Below is the route to Pont st Esprit and back.
The first port of call upon arrival in Pont st Esprit is a good croissant & cup of coffee. Our standard coffee of choice is a “Grand Creme”, which is a espresso with hot milk. Cappucinos, Lattes, Macchiatos are pretty much non-existant here. Our favourite Cafe is Le Concorde, 14 Place de la Republique. Its full of locals either having there caffeine fix or having a cheeky glass of Rose or Red. The Cafe is also recommended on Tripadvisor, follow the link here.
After our coffee & croissant fix we are ready to hit the market. The Pont st Esprit market is full of bustling stalls with the stall holders offering little tasters and calling out their special offers. Everything you associate with french culture & more is on offer, primarily local and seasonal delights. From cheese, hams, sausage, wine, olives, spices, lavender products, fish & meat. There is also plenty of fresh produce – fruit, vegetables, plants & honey. Fashion & style are also available with plenty of clothes, jewellery & shoes.
There is so much to see and taste, everyone wants to tell you about their products & its very easy to find inspiration for the upcoming meals. Th plant stalls have a great range of local species and the stall holders are a brillant source of advice and information. A little local tip: always buy your fruit, veg, spices & olives in the Arabian part of the market. Its alot cheaper (when I say alot about 50%!!!) and the quality is just as good. And 2 other local tips: if you are looking for something specific, walk through the market once before you buy anything. Its probable that several stalls will have the item you are looking for. Keep an eye on the price, there can be shocking differences for the same item in a market. Also keep an eye on the weight or quantity as these can also range widely. For beer lovers who are looking for a good local beer, Pont st Esprit has a Microbrewery stall selling 6 different types of beer & ale. The Microbrewery St. Sauveur is definetly worth a look.. very tasty 😉
So, what can you do after your Market visit on a sunny day?
From the hustling market to Nature. Discover the days gone by, in the calm and relaxing Chartreuse de Valbonne!
We took the scenic route home from Pont st Esprit which brings us past the old Cartusian Order Monastery Valbonne. The small road winds its way up the valley and is surrounded by large Oak forest. The Monastery itself is located in a small Valley surrounded by Vinyards & forest. The Name “Valbonne”, means good/nice Valley, aptly named I feel 🙂
Chartreuse de ValbonneThe Cartusian Order founded the Monastery in 1204. After several wars, robberies & attacks the Monastery was nearly completely destroyed. The Monastery as we know it today was rebuilt in 1633. The Monastery is a listed building and is a protected cultural & historical monument. Since 1901 is it no longer a active Monastery. After many changes in ownership it is now owned by the A.S.V.M.T., the “Association Secours Victimes Maladies Tropicales”, who have looked after the Monastery since 1929. They are a non-profit Protestant Organisation.
So that was a little background….for more info click on the link which will bring you to their official webiste here.
We were pretty much the only visitors in the Monastery and had the whole place to ourselves. This allowed us to have a chilled out stroll through the large gardens, the church & the old living quaters of the monks. Its hard not to imagine and think about the hundreds if not thousands of people who lived here and called it their home. It is beautiful but I couldnt shake off the nagging feeling of how strict and regemented their lives were here. The cold walls & corridors that seem to go on for ages, the little food doors used only to give praying monks food as not to disturb their prayers, their cells (sounds almost like prison not heaven) & the feeling of isolation. Outside the monastery you are surrounded by thick forest for as far as the eye can see. The people living here chose that life and I respect them for that, but I could never live in such isolation and would not have the discipline needed.
Long corridors criss cross the Monastery
… and a look through a window into the large Monastery gardens.
The colouful towers, all tiled offer a interesting contrast to the grey walls & structures within the Monastery.
Admission costs €5 per person to get access into the Monastery & really is money well spent. They also have a Vinyard and produce a selection of reds and rose. Wine tasting & sales can be done on-site.
The Vallée de la Cèze has alot of hidden gems that you can see & do during your stay. For a comprehensive list of activities and things to do in the area follow the link here.