Circle of Misse

Writing Retreats

On This Page: You are at a place… | Practicalities | Retreats in Pictures | Print

Writing craft, a morning session in the library
Kirstan working in part of the Misse garden

You’re at a place with your work where you are not looking for mentoring or feedback. You have a solid plan and just need the space and time away to write. Come write in a warm, supportive and inspiring environment where someone else looks after you in style.

Who Attends?  Experienced published and non-published writers who are self-directed and motivated and have a solid plan to fill the week working on an existing project or starting a new one. Writers seeking mentoring and substantial help with their manuscripts should take a look at our A Writer Progresses courses. They offer a truly unique mentoring experience, which has helped numerous writers make substantial progress on their projects.

What do I need to have written beforehand?  There is no course component attached to retreats. You will not be sharing work in any sort of structured setting, so it is up to you to judge if you think you’re at the stage where your project will benefit from a week of independent writing time. Writers on retreat often use their time to write a chapter or two of a work-in-progress, revise an existing draft or chapters, put the finishing touches on a manuscript prior to publication, start and get stuck into a new project, or use it as a reflective time to brainstorm and plan new work.

‘You've got this hosting thing spot on. A rare combination of catering for our physical needs but also having the sensitivity to detect what each individual needs. Most importantly, I always felt that you actually love what you do. And, probably, the proof of all this was that I found it very easy to write a lot during the week. So, thanks again, and I'll be back for sure.’

- Terry (London, UK)

Do I need to be interested in or want to write in a particular genre or format?  No. Retreats are open to all writers working in all forms and genres.

How does it work? We provide a conducive workspace, a comfortable room with a writing desk, all your meals, encouragement and informal chit-chat when you want to be social. Besides that we stay out of your way and let you get down to work. You set your own goals and work independently.

Misse is peaceful and calm, but not monastic. The house gently buzzes with creative activity and the unobtrusive murmur of home life and the aroma of seasonal ingredients cooking in the kitchen. There will other fellow writers busily and quietly working on their own writing.

Situated within its own garden in the middle of working farms next to an ancient church on the Normandy to Santiago de Compestela Pilgrims route, it is rural, quiet and chilled out with ample space to spread out, nice country walks and stunning scenery. In keeping with its' rural charm our village has no shops or cafes, but you’ll find everything you need here at the house. If you do need something from town we can sort that out as well. We always do a trip to our local farmer’s market on Friday if you want a head-clearing break.

What’s it like?  You’ll likely be here with a handful of other writers. You will have your own room with a comfy bed, writing desk and wardrobe. There are also opportunities to write in the library, lounge and outside. We focus on making things as conducive as possible to writing. We stay out of the way during the day so you can write, we have an ‘always on’ coffee and tea making station with other beverages and snacks available to you at all hours and we present breakfast continental style each morning for you to take at your leisure. Lunch can be taken in the dining room, the garden or delivered to where you are writing, should you choose to continue working.

‘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 …’

Excerpts from Le Writing Life, a blog post from John Forde who retreated at Misse last autumn.
We highly recommend you read the entire post.

We get together as a group for dinner and celebrate the accomplishments of the day over some excellent wine and food. If you are particularly "in the zone" we can arrange for an individual "working dinner". Just let us know.

But what if I get stuck? All retreats include an optional free hour of coaching from one of our writers-in-residence to help you get stuck in and stay on course, if you’d like the extra support, feedback and encouragement. If not, that’s fine too, we’ll stay out of your way and let you get down to it.


Length:  7 nights/8 days (Sunday to Sunday)

Schedule:  Breakfast is available each day from 08:00. Lunch 13:30. Cocktail(Mocktail) hour 19:00. Dinner 20:00.

Travel Details:  Free pick-up and drop-off at Poitiers Airport or Poiters Centre Rail Station (coordinated with the Ryanair London Stansted Flight) as follows:
Pick-up Poitiers Airport 10:00 (flight FR8474 London-Poitiers arrives 9:45)
Pick-up Poitiers Centre Rail Station circa 10:30
Drop-off Poitiers Airport circa 9:00 (flight FR8475 Poitiers-London departs 10:15)
Drop-off Poitiers Centre rail station 9:30
For retreats only we can sometimes offer an afternoon pick-up/drop-off from Tours airport and both Tours train stations (St. Pierre des Corps and Tours Centre) for those unable to make the early Sunday morning connection required for the Poitiers pick-up. Please let us know if that applies to you and we can discuss possible pick-up times.
PLEASE NOTE: Poitiers is our only pick-up/drop-off city for A Writer Prepares, A Writer Begins and A Writer Progresses.
You can also make your own way via train to Thouars (our local rail station) or drive to Misse (we will provide directions and discuss arrival and departure times).

Accommodation:  All writers on retreat stay at the main Misse House in one of the writers rooms. All have comfy double beds, wardrobes and writing desks and share a bathroom.

Meals & Drinks:  Breakfast, lunch & dinner each day, including wine & cocktails. Coffee, tea, juices, soft drinks and snacks available all the time.

Cost: £545  (includes EVERYTHING except travel to France). To secure a place a deposit of £165 is due at the time of booking; the balance is due 45 days before the retreat begins.

Available Dates: Please check the 2013 Writing Calendar for availability and booking.

Other Arrival\Departure Days

Can I arrive late and/or leave early:  Yes, provided you arrange your own transport directly to Misse (or our local rail station Thouars). The standard retreat price is based upon using our established group transport that we operate every Sunday. If you need to arrive or leave on any other day we can only provide transport to Misse from our local rail station Thouars (we can provide directions on which trains to take). Or we can pre-book a private car service from Tours or Poitiers to Misse at an additional cost of £50 each way (this is less than 50% of the rate that you will be quoted at a taxi rank). Retreats are sold in 7-night increments, arriving late or leaving early does not alter the price.

Can I start and end my 7 night retreat on a day other than Sunday:  Yes, based on availability. The rate for 7 night retreats that do not run Sunday to Sunday is £795 (includes Tours or Poitiers pick-up). The higher cost is due to the hire of a private car service to provide your individual pick-up and drop-off and the fact that you will occupy a room during two different retreat periods thus taking it off offer for someone else who may want to retreat during one of the weeks you split in half. We understand that sometimes schedules are tight and inflexible, so we offer this option so you don’t have to completely miss out. As retreats are sold only in 7-night increments late arrival and/or early departure does not alter the price of the retreat. Due to logistics and scheduling we cannot always offer non-standard retreats. Please inquire and we’ll check the dates for you.

Retreats in Pictures

  • Writers on retreat wrapping up the week with lunch al frescoWriters on retreat wrapping up the week with lunch al fresco
  • A writer's room at MisséA writer's room at Missé
  • Revising a chapter in spring sunshineRevising a chapter in spring sunshine
  • Writers enjoying a Missé \Writers enjoying a Missé "box" lunch
  • Afternoon sunshine in the Missé loungeAfternoon sunshine in the Missé lounge
  • A dramatic autumnal afternoonA dramatic autumnal afternoon