Circle of Misse

What People Are Saying About Us


It's difficult to share all of the amazing things that people have said about their time with us, but perhaps this is one effective way. Here is a selection of recent comments from the C-of-M Visitors Book:

  • Kim, Vicky, Emma and Bev - Food & Wine Weekend - September 2013

  • Rachel & Michael - Food & Wine Weekend - October 2013

  • Jane - A Writer Begins - September 2012

  • Terry - A Writer Prepares - May 2012

  • Carl & Karin, Kristina & Gustav - Wine & Food Weekend - November 2012

  • Deborah - A Writer Progresses - June 2013

  • Ed - Writer's Retreat - July 2012

  • Christine, Bob, Tracy & Dave - A Cook Begins & Prepares - October 2013

  • Erina - Writer's Retreat - June 2013

  • Julie - A Writer Progresses - October 2012

On The Blogs

Living writing and good food in France - Version original (Français) Seeking perfection could be said to be a defect. That is certainly true, because let's face that nothing is perfect, not even the Earth, exquisitely beautiful but imperfectly round. Nevertheless, I still tend to find this absolute. So I jump from one country to another, from one beach to another or from one restaurant to another, as long as my perfect to me is not filled.

A post by Elizabeth Landry who stayed with us in October 2013. We are delighted to hear that her first novel launches at the end of January 2014

Elizabeth - Chronicles of a Stewardess

Circle of Missé - This writer progresses… Last month I spent a wet but hugely inspirational week at Circle of Missé in the Loire Valley in France, on their "A Writer Progresses" course. Despite the almost incessant rain it was a sublime place to immerse myself in the beginnings of my editing process, tutored and encouraged by the author, Carol Topolski and Circle of Missé’s inestimable host, Wayne Milstead.
Circle of Missé is a writing and cookery school like no other. A cosy, creaky old house bristling with character and swaddled in the aromas of its rural setting, and of the always-on fresh coffee, local wines and provisions and, of course, the magnificent feasts-in-preparation. I slept in a bed more comfortable than my own, in a room that fell so silent at night that all I could hear was the cry of an owl. In the mornings, Carol taught and tutored, and in the afternoons we wrote, with support and insight, where we sought it, from Wayne… Read More >>

A post by Julie Lawford who neatly sums up the writing life and atmosphere at Misse. Sorry about the rain :)

Julie - A Writer's Notepad

Le Writing Life The farmhouse is almost ridiculously beautiful, redecorated by Aaron and Wayne in what I’ve called French country cottage chic with a seriously camp twist. (There’s a feather boa hanging rakishly from the curtain rail in the living room that looks like an old Shirley Bassey cast-off) … The house is set up to be as sociable or as reclusive as you need to be – breakfast pastries and coffee are laid out in the morning, lunch is served in an adorable shoeboxed-sized wooden crate with a lid and we come together in the bordello-red dining room for dinner in the evenings.
Though my primary interest this week has been the writing, the food, prepared by Wayne and Aaron with help from a couple of friends, has been spectacular, embodying Virginia Woolf’s motto that “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Perhaps she should have added “one cannot write well if one has not dined well”, as there seems to be a strong link between our creative output and the glorious food that’s been put in front of us. A couple of friendly ex-pats help out with cooking and transport duties. There’s Richard, a Liverpuddlian ex-homicide detective who now makes flat breads to die for and grows the tastiest apples I’ve eaten since leaving New Zealand; and Jeanette, a Canadian painter with pre-Raphaelite tresses and cheekbones out of a Rossetti portrait, who wafts in noiselessly, conjuring up roast chickens and cakes without so much as breaking a sweat, and then drives away after dinner in her little blue Renault… Read More >>

Excerpt from a blog post by John Forde who retreated at Misse last autumn. We highly recommend the entire post.

John - From the Choirboy Motel

Spring is springing … Whilst in France, I spent a week at this magical place, the Circle of Misse, on a fiction writing “boot camp” course… In the context of A Room of One’s Own – I discovered that maybe I can write, a bit. The course, hosts and setting were fabulous; Aaron and Wayne run writing, painting and cookery courses at their beautiful house in the Loire valley and I whole heartedly recommend the Circle of Misse experience for anyone interested in those disciplines… Read More >>

Cleo - The Gender Blog

Circle of Missé! Circle of Missé was a surprise! We didn't know about this place before coming to France. It's not just a retreat and it's not just a school. It's both and more. It's a creative holiday where people come to express themselves as writers, chefs or artists.
Writing was intense and challenging, but there was ALWAYS time to eat. It was what came between the dashes - the aside from our writing - that was in some way connected with the main course.
If this story could be told through punctuation, the Circle of Missé would be an exclamation mark! Read More >>

Auntie M - France Encore

Short Story - First Flight I have just finished a week long course on short story writing at the Circle of Misse.
It was a fantastic experience, which I intend to write about in another post, when I get my breath back.
I wrote some of my first short stories there, and received a very positive feedback from my fellow course members.
Here is one I wrote…

Helen - haddockinthekitchen

Writing bootcamp at the Circle of Missé The tone of the whole week was warm, safe and nurturing. Being a newbie writer, I was anxious about sharing my work - I’m a commercial fiction animal, not literary – but I was encouraged and supported to do so and was pleased to receive genuine, positive and helpful comments.
We had plenty of time in the afternoons to write; some worked on short stories, others on their novels. Help, advice, and listening support was available at all times during the week and participants had the chance of three more structured (or not!) one-to-one sessions with Annie to discuss their work.
Complementing the work were sessions on wine-tasting, local sightseeing, a writing day away in Chinon and gourmet lunches and dinners, masterminded by Aaron Tighe, resident chef. Read more >>

Alison - Alison Morton's Roma Nova

Strange, familiar … So, there I am, on the Circle of Misse website, reading my poem and talking about it. Wayne’s done a great job with this podcast. I don’t sound half as mad as I thought I would. Read more >>

Meryl Pugh - Furtive11

On Writing

I'm writing to say how much I enjoyed my 2012 Misse experience. It's keeping me going until the next time, I know that sounds dramatic. A couple of friends have asked me why? Why Misse? My reply is always the same – Contentment.

Margaret - 2012 (Perth, WA)

Thank you so much for (yet another!) fantastic week. It is such an inspiring environment at Missé, full of warmth, encouragement and warm-cooked comfortable goodness. Thanks so much for opening your home to this remarkable experience, and allowing me the opportunity to both focus on writing and let go with my imagination. It's always an honor.

Kathryn - Oct 2011 (Amsterdam)

This was my third time at Missé and once again it was incredibly productive. There must be something in the air or the water, or even the wine, but each time I go there I am able to concentrate on the work in hand in a way I am never able to do surrounded by the mundane realities of home. A guided retreat was everything it said and more. Excellent, tailored support from Wayne pushing me to keep writing but helping when I was stuck and excellent food and wine provided by Aaron to sustain me and help relax at the end of the day. As always, I didn’t want to leave and I’m sure I will be back.

Bridget - Oct 2011 (London)

If this is what retreats are like, could I have three a year? Everything was perfect and both of you make the place what it is (not forgetting Echalote). A wonderful find. You haven't seen the last of me.

Kavita October 2011 (London, UK)

More Writing Testimonials

On Food & Wine

This has been an absolutely amazing experience. Many thanks for your fascinating hospitality, wonderful food and wine. It has been both instructive and inspiring. And the setting is like something out of a movie.

Karin (Stockholm, Sweden)

We are happy to have learned that the best spice of all is "time". And thanks to our time here, we can raise the food we cook at home to a new level.

Carl - November 2012 (Stockholm, Sweden)

Thanks for a brilliant weekend, excellent teaching, fantastic food & great company.

Anna - July 2012 (Langeais, France)

This was the perfect present for my 40th birthday! I knew I was going to taste good wines, but I didn't expect to find such a high level of "haut cuisine"!! I loved the laid back relaxed way Aaron shared his great knowledge of the wines and the region. Real inspiration from people that do what they love in their life.

Giacomo - April 2012 (London, UK)

More Food & Wine Testimonials

On Painting

It's only about thirty years since I last picked up a brush to paint, and I'd never touched oils before, thinking them the prerogative of the professional artist. Presented with a little artist's palette and brushes I was not sure where or how to start, but Janette's calm and encouraging manner and quiet instruction soon had me tackling the canvas as if I'd been born knowing what to do. I was smitten, and simply loved having Janette coax out that little nuggett of artistic talent which had been so long hidden away.

The garden at Misse was the most peaceful and charming place to while away an afternoon being creative, and Aaron and Wayne are most hospitable and lovely hosts. If you need to escape the fast lane and switch off here's the place to do it.

Jane Duncan - April 2010 (Amersham, UK)

On Being

A truly divine couple of days of writing, painting and eating. Cant wait to return.

Elissa Gray - September 2010 (London, UK)