After a good few years of leading a cosmopolitan lifestyle, you might start to realise that inevitably, there’s an urge to soul-search a bit and seek some respite in the form of say, a yoga retreat across the globe. And where the likes of Mexico or Bali might spring to mind, we’ve recently discovered that actually, the journey to enriching your inner wellbeing doesn’t have to be as far as you think. In fact, one nearby destination we escape to offers numerous opportunities to relax surrounded by the mountains, the countryside or even the sea – and it doesn’t take multiple airport stops to get there. Have a read of five peaceful nature spots in France that promise to bring out the inner yogi in all of us!
Yoga retreats in France
5 yoga holidays to relax and recharge
Luxyoga, Cote D’Azur
Located in the Côte d’Azur region, Luxyoga is a yoga retreat at the top of its class: as well as being taught by world-renowned instructors, here you’ll have the chance to experience cooking classes, as well as be spoiled for the delectable cuisine on offer, where only local products bought freshly from the market are used every day. For accommodation, you can have your own private villa and relax right by the poolside. And when it comes to yoga, the choice is yours between Vinyasa, Bikram Hot Yoga and even Forest Yoga. After every session, you will be served ayurvedic juices and if you wish, you can also treat yourself to an aromatherapy o healing massage – of course, with the view of the Mediterranean right in front of you. If you’re looking to soak up the charming atmosphere of the south of France and practice your Shavasana within a forest setting, Luxyoga is for you.
If you’re searching to tick off more of your mindful boxes Yobaba Lounge is the retreat to consider. Situated in the Pyrenees, Yobaba Lounge is surrounded by the crystal clear waters of Lac de Montbel, meaning you can add long visually impressive walks or swimming to your list of activities.
In true detox style, a typical yoga and meditation day consists of silence until 10am with meals only in between 11am and 7pm in order to follow the 16:8 d eating schedule. Every meal is plant-based and nutritious, and the rustic chateau is welcoming and cosy, making it an easy job to focus on breathing, mindfulness, and self-love.
Chaya is the next French retreat on our list, but whilst its based in France, there’s a less pinned down concept to this retreats location: you can also find Chaya yoga retreats wandering from Ibiza to Bali to India. Their locations always change moving from one beautiful chateau to the other. What stays, though is a blissful atmosphere and wholesome food made from healthy and nourishing ingredients.
On these retreats, you’re there for seven days straight, with the aim of gaining both clarity and distance from the every day routine. Each morning and every evening will be met with yoga practice, seeking specifically to develop inner strength, an open heart and a sense of grounding. In between these sessions, there’s also several other activities such as massages, breathing workshops or lessons on nutritious foods, so you come back to the city with a bank full of knowledge as well as a greater sense of peace.
You won’t experience the stereotypical yoga holidays with Adventure Yogi, that’s for sure – so this one is for those looking for a more unorthodox yoga practice.
With the aim of every retreat acting as a kind of therapy and self-transformation, the Adventure Yogi retreat specialises in creating the eclectic mix of relaxation, adventure and a big energy boost. And by ‘big energy boost’, we mean adrenaline rush: situated in the French Alps, you can start off your day with a ski, a snowboard, or a dynamic morning class to heat everyone up. There’s equal emphasis here on all three activities but what remains is the snow-topped slopes you’re practicing on, all with the aim to just let go, enjoy the mountains’ atmosphere and go “off-piste” with your yoga activities.
To wind down, Adventure Yogi also has more relaxing yoga flows during the day and the chance to relax in the sauna, meditate or have a glass of local wine at the fireplace in the evenings. Besides all these activities (perfect for beginners and intermediates),sustainability and vegetarian food is at the heart of Adventure Yogi, where guests are also asked to come by train instead of by car.
Little French Retreat, Montesquieu
Imagine a cosy country home in the middle of the beautiful Gascogne region, with nothing than tranquility surrounding you. Say hello to the Little French Retreat. In this intimate setting, only six guests are there at any one time, promising you the sense of refuge you might be seeking from a busy lifestyle. Here, you can practice Sivananda and Yin Yoga, accompanied of course, with relaxing massages and homemade dishes.
At the Little French Retreat, guests are given focus and one-to-one attention, with the aim of learning to let go daily stress in order to enjoy new experiences and learn to deal with daily stress they encounter in their typical lifestyles.
(Photo credit: Felix Kruck)