Introducing Susie Wetton, owner of Domaine Du Pignoulet, a magnificent Pilates Retreat venue.
Pilates Retreats have never been more popular as our clients seek to escape and fully immerse themselves in their Pilates practice. Susie is a highly experienced Pilates teacher who has decided to follow her dream and, with her husband James, create the most idyllic Retreat space in France.
If you have ever considered running your own retreat Susie and James would like to invite you to come and visit Le Pignoulet for yourself. On September 29/30th & 1st October they are looking forward to welcoming you at Le Pignoulet to understand what’s on offer. They will look after you free of charge and just ask that you pay for your transport to Le Pignoulet. For full details click here
What inspire you to take on the exciting project of running a retreat venue?
James and I bought Le Pignoulet from James’ parents who had owned the house since 2000. We have been letting the house out over the summer months for years & always get the feedback that the house is wonderful, idyllic, peaceful and magical. We (Kim = Yoga) ran two retreats here last Autumn with our clients from home. It made me realise how special Pignoulet is as a retreat venue. James and I decided that we had a chance to make our dream come true to come and live and work in France again. We met in France working in Ski resorts nearly 30 years ago and we both have a long term love of France and its people, but most especially our little corner of Gascony which we have been visiting with our friends and family over the last 18 years. As Jo knows I have been teaching Pilates for the last 15 years, I had my own studio in Bedford which I have sadly had to leave behind. I am so excited to be able to host Pilates retreats here in France, & to share its culture, food and wine, but most especially the magic that is Le Pignoulet.
What makes a successful retreat?
I think there are many aspects that make a successful retreat - the venue, of course, is critical. Our new studio is a restored barn with a beautiful (yet rustic) wide floor boards it looks out over the garden and is elevated… it is simply magical! Your practise comes with not only a beautiful backdrop of the gardens, but the sound of birdsong and tree frogs singing. This winter our project is to enclose the other end of the barn which will become an indoor studio heated by a wood burner so that our retreats can run 365 days a year. We have comfy hotel quality beds in every room, plus either a sofa or chairs in every bedroom and there are 5 bathrooms with constant hot water (v Important!) Its not just what’s ‘here’ physically that counts - on a Retreat there is a feeling of being nurtured, of being able to switch off the clock, of being able to explore your practise with a teacher whom you trust. Of being able to truly “RELAX” - indeed many of my clients fell asleep on their mats (with blankets) at the end of the session enjoying the feeling of not needing to move on to the next commitment.
The calm and the quiet of Le Pignoulet and its surroundings contribute hugely to a feeling of escape and well-being and I think both those aspects are really important to give your clients the full opportunity to truly “retreat”. We are fully equipped with mats, bands, small balls, rugs, and other props so no need to bring these.
Food is also important and we will cater for any dietary considerations amongst your group. We cater fully for you and your group all snacks, afternoon tea and three meals a day are provided (with wine - when in France!) When possible all meals are eaten outside in our covered eating area.
There is always a real feeling of community amongst the group, and the teacher is critical in this. Many retreats run with teachers who have no previous knowledge of their clients, it is a magical feeling to be amongst friends and of course a teacher whom the clients know and trust already.
There is plenty of space to escape at Le Pignoulet, we have a swimming pool, and huge enclosed garden, two large salons and of course the bedrooms to escape to. Not only that we are surrounded by stunning farmland and views of the Pyrenees mountains on clear days.
Susie has now run several Retreats at Le Pignoulet and you can read her blog for more insights into creating a wonderful Retreat experience. Click here to read more..
What things should you consider when offering a retreat?
How many nights would suit your group? How many classes per day or hours do you want to teach. Also consider the seasons, do you want to be able to swim and relax by the pool, or would log fires and winter walks be better. Do you want time to explore the region’s culture, do you just want a weekend away. As a teacher - do you have enough clients to run 2 or even 3 retreats back-to-back to enhance your revenue? Do you want the retreat to have a specific dietary theme? Would you like to join up with another teacher so that you have time to relax too?
Feel free to get in touch and chat through with Susie and James the opportunity of running your own retreat in their beautiful corner of Gascony or to book onto the weekend at the end of September and see for yourself this magnificent Retreat venue.