Summer Workshops: Don’t forget your fur coat, diamonds and high heels!

Summer retreats are very popular here in the south of France and with good reason: The sun rises early and it is not fully dark until after ten o’clock in the evening. The days are long, warm and sun-drenched…

Most of our guests remember to bring the essentials on a mindfulness meditation retreat at Les Sources Sacrées: a sunhat, sunglasses, suntan lotion, a swimming costume etc. I thought of a few more that no-one can do without on a summer retreat :

  1. Full evening dress as most retreats insist on evening wear for dinner. For the ladies, this means a full-length black evening gown with a tiara and a full-length fur coat for those chilly evenings. The gentlemen will need to wear black tie at least, although tails and a top hat would actually be even more appropriate.
  2. Another essential for the ladies is high heels. One really can not afford to let standards slip just because one is going somewhere to relax. So don’t forget to pack those Jimmy Choos and Louboutin pumps. kpi
  3. Talking about tiaras, you will also need ALL your jewellery. Retreats can be pretty dull places, so a bit of sparkle would not come amiss. All the other guests will be wearing the full complement, so it obviously won’t do to look half-dressed. kom
  4. Not to mention full-combat makeup – concealer, foundation, blush, translucent powder, mascara, eyeshadow (various colours), eyeliner and lipstick (various colours). Take every stick and brush (powder brush, blush brush, eyeliner brush, eyeshadow brush etc.) that you think you might need. Take some extras because you don’t know where in deepest darkest rural France you are going to end up. There may not be a suitable shop within reach to supply you with the specifics you may need to look your best during the rigorous challenges that you may have to face during your summer retreat. rty
  5. Also essential is your favourite coffee/expresso machine. It may be a bit difficult to get it through customs, but really, you will just have to insist. A Nespresso machine is not that big and will easily fit into one of the five suitcases you are taking with you. Take a few dozen capsules of different flavours. You are definitely going to need multiple caffeine shots  a day to keep up with the frenetic pace at the retreat. kiu
  6. All retreat guests must take their own alarm clocks, in fact, take several. You do not want to lose track of time while you are on retreat. You can set your alarm clock to make sure you wake before the sun comes up and then again to make sure you are not late for breakfast and…well, an alarm clock will come in handy several times during the day. If it is battery-operated, take several batteries. (see point 3) lko
  7. Bring everything you need to ensure that you are able to stay cool, calm and collected during the retreat, even if it is just on the surface. Remember to pack all prescription medication/herbal remedies. Bring loads of whatever it is you pop to stay calm – most retreats have hectic schedules.
  8. Another essential is enough food to last you for the duration of the retreat, just in case you are expected to eat all sorts of exotic dishes. You never know what you are going to have to eat, especially in a country as foreign as France. You will be taking five suitcases, a vanity case, a hat box and all the rest – there will be more than enough space for food as well. If not, you could always take a cool box as well…
  9. You also need to take all your work papers/paraphernalia. It really won’t do to lose contact with the office. Or at least, take enough work with you to keep you busy during the retreat. Make sure you leave contact details for everyone who may need to get hold of you, 24/7. kiup
  10. It is also important that you bring some music to listen to. Silence can become so oppressive and it will also help you block out those annoying sounds of nature like birdsong, babbling brooks and neighing horses. Especially if you like heavy rock/loud rap music, take your favourite tunes. Don’t bother to take earphones, take speakers instead.

PS. Don’t forget to have a full manicure and pedicure BEFORE you come to the retreat, one does want to arrive looking one’s best, I think, and waiting to have the works until you get to the retreat of your choice really would create the wrong impression.


If you took any of the above seriously, you very badly and very urgently need to go on a mindfulness meditation retreat at Les Sources Sacrées. Write to us as soon as possible on welcome2gascony[at], we will fit you in at the first available opportunity.

In the meantime, if you would like to escape on a virtual visit to the sun-blessed south of France for 10 magical minutes where you can quickly recharge your batteries and come back bursting with supreme self-confidence, and for early-bird discounts and last-minute special offers, available only to mailing list subscribers, and notification of new life-enhancing blog posts, notification of new book/course releases, subscribe to my mailing list by CLICKING HERE. You will receive my 10 Simple Steps to Instant Self-Confidence Guide immediately – straight from the horse’s mouth!


Summer Retreat Essentials



25 Replies to “Summer Workshops: Don’t forget your fur coat, diamonds and high heels!”

  1. Thank goodness I finished reading the article because at the first 3 things the retreat was sounding more like a combat for me whose idea of retreat is lounging lazily and reading a good book. Very humourously written. I enjoyed this and agree with you that some people take life a little too seriously.

  2. Margaretha, you made me laugh SO hard!! Thanks God I don’t have any of the things you listed (well, a cellular might be considered alarm clock but I’m most of the time out of battery…), but the full-combat makeup had me on the floor lol! How can any woman wake up earlier for that??

    Thanks for sharing with us, it is good to know a close place to rest as I am in Spain 🙂

  3. Margaretha, I was reading it in earnest when you started in with full dress and a tiara. But really are there people who actually go to retreats with their whole wardrobe? Point 9 may actually not be far from the truth. There are people who go on vacation and cannot unplug from their work. How do you handle them? Great post. Thank you for sharing at Sweet Inspiration.

    1. A good sense of humour can get you out of many a sticky situation, I have found!
      I have left my e-mail, so I’ll be notified of the next Sweet Inspiration.
      Have a good week, Mary.

      1. Margaretha, you are my featured post at tomorrow’s Sweet Inspiration link party. Come by tomorrow and grab your feature button. Thank you for sharing this post with us and giving me so many laughs

  4. Haha – love it! It’s fine, as I never go anywhere without my tiara. I just need to sort out the excess baggage payment on my computer, tv and treadmill, and I’ll be on my way!

  5. I’m so glad that this was meant to be tongue in cheek! After the first 3 I began to wonder how to leave a positive comment. Fortunately by #4 I caught on. Thanks for sharing your humor.

  6. You nearly had me! I was reading thinking oh my goodness this is an upmarket retreat! I wish I lived closer I would definitely visit.

    1. I wrote this post because I think people sometimes take life (and retreats!) too seriously. After all, a retreat is also a holiday – it should be fun too!

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