19-28 May 2020

please note: at the suggestion of past participants, this retreat has been extended from 7 to 10 days.


Mindful Memoir at Château Marcoux

This ten-day memoir writing retreat is housed in the magnificent Château Marcoux, an ancient hilltop fortress tastefully transformed into a modern manor house with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the French countryside.

Daily memoir writing workshops fill the mornings, while afternoons are kept free for writing and reflection. Optional yoga and meditation sessions provide a beautiful balance to a day of sitting and concentrating, and occasional outings to nearby villages and markets are offered as well. Evenings are enjoyed on the terrace with discussions over wine and candlelight, casual readings, and a meal in the picturesque neighbouring village of Lauzerte. 

A variety of accommodation options, from luxury private suites to shared twin rooms, makes it possible for these extraordinary retreats to be enjoyed by people on a range of budgets. A work-exchange discount is now also available.

Delicious and nourishing meals are prepared on site using fresh produce from local markets. Vegetarian options are available, and limited special diet modifications can be arranged.

This intimate workshop is limited to 7 participants and each individual’s work will receive extensive personal attention.

Couples are welcome, and spouses may opt out of the writing workshops.


Alison heard the stories within each of us and then did what all great mentors do: she asked questions, guiding us to discover for ourselves what really mattered in the stories. I marvelled at her ability to listen so intently, integrate so swiftly, and question so perceptively. Elevated by the earthly beauty of Marcoux and nourished by the graceful hosting and artful cooking of Clara, the Mindful Memoir retreat was truly inspiring. To quote one of the participants as we explored the streets of a nearby village on our way to a happy dinner, “We are so lucky!”.
— Robert Kraft
The very thought of going to a writing workshop frightened me, but the beautiful photos of Marcoux lured me in — and they do not even do it justice! A week filled with learning, laughter and the company of eight wonderful women was an absolute delight. Morning workshops, creative afternoons, luscious dinners with interesting conversations followed by sleep in luxurious surroundings made this week quite unforgettable.
Thank you, Clara and Alison. I will be back.
— Greta S.


Château Marcoux offers a variety of beautiful accommodation options accessible to people on a range of budgets. Participants are free to choose from shared bedrooms/facilities, private rooms, and luxurious private suites.


Main House - Deluxe Master Bedroom Suite (king-sized bed, private bathroom)

The large master bedroom, complete with its own writing desk and comfy sofa, is a haven for any writer or artist. The room has glorious white-washed eves in the ceiling, a beautiful open fireplace and the best views in the house. With a king-sized bed and an ensuite bathroom with shower and jacuzzi, it is a heavenly space in which to relax and create in solitude.


Main House - Elegant Private Bedroom (QueeN Bed, private bathroom)  

This bedroom is spacious and gorgeous. The regional brickwork of the meter-thick walls contrasts with delicate eaves in the ceiling and an antique armoire. This room has an ensuite bathroom with both shower and bath. It overlooks the 'hot garden' and the patio, the surrounding valley, and often offers a direct line of sight to the moon.

pigeonnier upstairs.jpg
pigeonnier terrace.jpg

THE PIGEONNIER - LUXURY OUTBUILDING (QUEEN-sized bed, private bathroom)

This is a stunning, almost sacred, space. A two-storey house with a private terrace complete with writing tables, it is the perfect option for a person or couple desiring extra privacy. There is a full bathroom (with tub/shower) and a sitting area downstairs, and a breathtaking bedroom upstairs with lofted ceilings and views of the valley and over the pool.

small private.jpeg

Annexe - Private House (DOUBLE bed with private  bathroom)

This small suite has a double bed and an ensuite bathroom with shower. Set slightly away from the house, this tucked-away space is ideal for one person, though probably not large enough for a couple. Views over the valley and the garden.

Main House - Private Room (two twin beds TOGETHER, PRIVATE VANITY, shared bathroom)

A lovely budget option with privacy. This cosy bedroom has a spacious bed, a private sink and shared bathroom facilities. The toilet room is directly beside the room and the shower is downstairs. *

Main House - Twin Room (double-occupancy with sink/vanity, shared bathroom)

A gorgeous budget option. This shared bedroom has 2 twin beds, a private sink and shared bathroom facilities. The toilet room is just down the hall and the shared bathroom with shower is downstairs. *

* A work-exchange discount is now available for someone willing to provide light help in the kitchen over breakfast and dinner.

The beauty of this hilltop retreat lies in the kinds of vistas it provides: in a physical sense, of course, the beauty and timelessness of the house itself; the fields, forests, hills, and farms in the valley below; the stars in the night sky; but also a kind of interior space that opens up within oneself as a result both of the gentle hospitality Clara offers, and of the sensitive and illuminating guidance Alison provides in the writing workshops.
— H.L Meakin
french countryside.jpg
The countryside with its green rolling hills, ancient stone farm buildings, and fields of happy cows was the epitome of pastoral. Chateau Marcoux, positioned on top of a hill overlooking it all, was exquisite. The food was fresh, wholesome, and lovingly prepared by Clara. It tasted like French heaven!
Alison Wearing is one of the best listeners I have ever met. Her ability to listen to a piece being read, remember its flow and details, and then make constructive commentary is truly exceptional. She has refined and honed her skill as a kind, compassionate, constructive critic to a point so fine it reminds me of the tip of a newly sharpened pencil ready to write a poem.
— Deborah Penner


Pricing is in EUROS (€).
Includes accommodation, meals, daily workshops, outings, use of all château facilities and associated fees.
Does NOT include flight or transportation to Marcoux from Paris/Toulouse (see travel details below).

1800€  Twin Room (double-occupancy bedroom w/sink and shared bathroom); price is per person  * work-exchange discount: 1200€

2000€  Private Single Room (private bedroom with sink, shared bathroom facilities) * work-exchange discount: 1400€

2850€  Annexe (private outbuilding with ensuite bathroom w/shower)

3250€ Elegant Private Bedroom (queen-sized bed, private ensuite bathroom w/shower and bathtub)

3400€ Deluxe Master Bedroom (king-sized bed, private ensuite bathroom w/shower and jacuzzi, view over valley, writing desk, sofa)

3500€ The Pigeonnier (deluxe outbuilding, queen-sized bed, private ensuite bathroom w/shower and bathtub, private terrace)

*please note: this retreat has been extended from 7 to 10 days. prices have not increased since 2019, but have simply been adjusted pro rata.


Couples are welcome. A modest additional fee of 450€ needs to be added to the cost of the room for an accompanying partner/spouse NOT participating in the workshop. If BOTH parties are interested in taking the workshop, the additional cost becomes 850€.


Travel Details

The nearest international airport is in the city of TOULOUSE, but flying FROM USA/CANADA to PARIS and travelling from there by train to AGEN is just as simple. From Agen, you may either request a pickup, rent a car at the train station (recommended if you plan to explore a bit while at Marcoux), or take a taxi. Marcoux is an easy and lovely 25-minute drive from Agen.

living workshop.jpg
This was my first writing workshop and Alison created a safe container to hold the participants and their stories. I felt witnessed and respected as I stood in my vulnerability, sharing hidden life experiences that were brought to the light through my writing. Alison balanced honouring my story with practical guidance that allowed me to transform my writing from words on a page to something readers can be part of.
I leave Marcoux feeling liberated, free to write from my heart.
— Katharina Reed
Melissa Laughing.jpg
The setting, the food, the care and comfort, the overall feeling of peace — all of this made Château Marcoux feel like home after only a few days. In the writing workshops, it was safe to be vulnerable and to share our stories and obstacles. Alison’s comments and leadership, her examples, analogies, suggestions and questions were all thought-provoking, kind, caring and helpful. And then there were the moments of raucous laughter.
I only wished the retreat could have gone on for another week!
— Judy McAdam
clara pie.jpg
The Mindful Memoir retreat offered a week of so many enriching experiences. The setting was idyllic, the food plentiful and delicious, and our host was generous and attentive. The writing portion of the retreat helped us explore in depth the various projects we were working on and Alison gave us excellent feedback and ideas to help us develop our stories. My time at Château Marcoux was a profoundly moving experience.
— Astrid Russell
cup & view.jpg
candlelight at Marcoux.jpg

Sometimes we need a break from our lives

in order to write about them.