september 20 to 26, 2020
Cost: $3600 - $4500
Slow Down, Switch off your phone, lay down your schedule, let go of your daily routine. Picture yourself in absolute life changing heaven exploring a medieval village in rural france. come escape, relax and paint with us!
We imagined the most delicious 7 days EVER and we're inviting you to come with us. In an ancient land of beautiful villages, deep history, and sweeping vistas join artists Mati McDonough and Faith Evans-Sills on the magical journey of a lifetime. Join us in Chalabre, a medieval village in the foothills of the mediteranean Pyrenees in the very south of France - a region of stunning beauty and fascinating history. We’ll take over our own private Chateau, world renowned for hosting vegan wellness retreats since 2013, especially their sensational food and warm welcome. This is a 7 day/6 night escape full of quiet relaxation surrounded by history, exploring as a group in castles and winding medieval streets, reconnecting to yourself, eating healthy food that is equally delicious and of course delighting in workshops bursting with creativity and inspiration gathered on location as we journey in this historic and ancient land.
If you’ve been longing for a week to re-connect with yourself and your inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Consider this your gentle entry point, right along with us. Its all here for you: all the color, creative inspiration, exquisite meals, option for massage onsite, morning movement in our private roof top yoga shala, painting in our garden studio space with huge glass doors that open onto our private garden labyryth, exploring ancient castles, churches & towns, swimming in the local river, visiting ancient cave paintings.
This will be a time to nurture the whole self, to slow down and soak in the environment with all of your senses. Mati & Faith will lead you through workshops on capturing inspiration with watercolor paint, providing you with the opportunity to meet the projects wherever you are in your art practice.
Inspiration Gathering with Watercolor Painting will be our jumping off point as we delight each of our senses together.....with fresh, delicious gourmet vegan food, historic exploration through castles, beautiful towns and winding roads, enjoying the outdoors with local swimming holes, an optional visit to local ancient cave paintings, gentle morning yoga movement, and so much more.
Consider this your invitation to join us on the dream retreat of a lifetime in Chalabre, France, september 20 to 26, 2020.
(If you paid a deposit only at registration, your balance is due by April 30, 2020.)
WE WILL BE STAYING AT THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE...OUR OWN PRIVATE CHATEAU.
NESTLED WITHIN IN ITS OWN PRIVATE GARDEN OASIS, YOBABA LOUNGE IS A STYLISH, CHARMING AND HOME-LIKE RETREAT CENTER, NAMED BY THE UK GUARDIAN AS ONE OF THE BEST YOGA RETREAT LOCATIONS IN THE WORLD! THE CHATEAU. LOCATED IN THE MEDIEVAL VILLAGE OF CHALABRE, IS WORLD RENOWNED FOR HOSTING GOURMET VEGAN WELLNESS RETREATS SINCE 2013, ESPECIALLY FOR THEIR SENSATIONAL FOOD, BOHEMIAN STYLE AND WARM WELCOME. FOUR GUEST ROOMS ARE SINGLE OCCUPANCY, OTHER GUEST ROOMS ARE DOUBLE & TRIPLE OCCUPANCY.
THE HOUSE IS HIP, STYLISH AND BOHEMIAN, YET IT FEELS LIKE A TEMPLE. THERE IS A WALLED GARDEN WITH A MEDITATION LABYRINTH, A GLORIOUS YOGA SHALA, ALONG WITH LOTS OF PLACES TO RELAX. IT COMBINES AUTHENTIC CHARM, DISCREET LUXURY AND A CONTEMPORARY ATMOSPHERE. ENJOY THE DIFFERENT RELAXATION SPACES THE CHATEAU OFFERS. FROM THE ROOF TOP YOGA SHALA ENJOY BREATH-TAKING VIEWS OF THE SURROUNDING TOWN AND COUNTRYSIDE. THE WIDE WALLED GARDEN IS EQUIPPED WITH LOUNGE CHAIRS AND HAMMOUKS, GIVING YOU THE OPTION TO UNWIND IN THE SUN OR IN THE SHADE OF A TREE. IN ADDITION TO THE SPACIOUS LOUNGE AREAS, THERE ARE THREE DOUBLE-OCCUPANCY, FOUR SINGLE OCCUPANCY, AND TWO TRIPLE OCCUPANCY GUEST BEDROOMS EACH WITH SPACIOUS SHARED BATHROOMS. THE LARGE DINING ROOM, YOGA SHALA, AND OUR PRIVATE PAINTING ROOM CONNECTED TO THE GARDEN, ALONG WITH OTHER COMMON AREAS WILL ACT AS OUR CENTRAL MEETING SPACE FOR RELAXING, GATHERING, ART MAKING OR EATING.
THE BEAUTIFUL DINING ROOM ON THE GROUND FLOOR IS WHERE OUR MEALS WILL BE SERVED, THE YOBABA LOUNGE GOURMET VEGAN FOOD IS SENSATIONAL AND FREE FROM SUGAR, WHEAT, AND MUCH OF IT IS RAW.
MODERN BOHEMIAN GLAMOUR IS THE THEME WITHIN THIS BEAUTIFUL SETTING. ATTENTION TO DETAIL EMERGES AT EVERY TURN THROUGHOUT THE HOTEL ON THE BALCONIES AND FIREPLACE IN THE MAIN DINING ROOM, AS WELL AS IN THE CAFTAN-FABRICS CONVERTED INTO CUSHIONS & CURTAINS.
Cost: $3600 (triple occupancy), $3950 (double occupancy), $4500 (single occupancy) airfare not included
$1000 NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT REQUIRED TO HOLD YOUR SPOT. TOTAL BALANCE IS DUE APRIL 30TH, 2020. PAYMENTS PLANS ARE AVAILABLE, PLEASE SEE FAQ'S BELOW FOR DETAILS.
DUE TO HIGH AMOUNT OF INTEREST, WE EXPECT THIS RETREAT TO SELL OUT QUICKLY. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO PUT YOUR DEPOSIT DOWN EARLY, THAT WAY YOU'LL HAVE THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF TIME TO COMFORTABLY SPACE OUT YOUR PAYMENTS.
ONCE WE RECEIVE YOUR DEPOSIT WE WILL BE IN TOUCH AND SEND YOU TIMELY UPDATES AND TRAVEL TIPS AS NEEDED.
OUR LUXURIOUS ITINERARY:
sunday, september 20 (day 1) - arrival, orientation and opening circle
Arrive in France, and travel to the Chateau in Chalabre. You'll have a chance to refresh yourself and settle into the beautiful Chateau, explore the town, take a dip in the local river, relax in the walled garden. The Retreat will begin with an Opening circle at 6pm, followed by a three course welcome dinner.
monday, september 21 (day 2) - morning yoga, painting workshop, tour of the town and local castle
Breakfast at Riad Yasmine, along with an inspirational workshop on Watercolor Painting. Then its off for some adventuring! Guided tours of the Marrakech medina (old city) and souks will be taking place, along with excellent guided shopping. We’ll visit the Dar el-Bacha Palace, and eat lunch together at magical Le Jardin. That evening we will enjoy dinner together served at Riad Yasmine.
tuesday, september 22 (day 3) - morning yoga, painting workshop, visit to another local town and castle
Breakfast at Riad Yasmine, followed by a continuation of our Watercolor Workshop: Harnessing Local Inspiration with Watercolor.
Lunch at Riad Yasmine will be served family style on the Moroccan tiled terrace, where local women will join us to paint our hands with Henna patterns. There will also be free time at Riad Yasmine to enjoy the grounds and pool and an afternoon trip to the Majorelle Gardens and inspiring YSL Museum followed by optional Camel Rides in the desert at sunset.
Dinner will be served at Riad Yasmine upon our return to Marrakech.
wednesday, september 23 (day 4) - morning yoga, optional spa treatments, free time, afternoon painting
After breakfast at Riad Yasmine, today will be all about relaxation and being treated like a queen during traditional hammam and massage treatments at a local spa. After our spa experience we'll eat a relaxing lunch outdoors together in the courtyard at the stunning Palais Donab. You'll have the afternoon free to explore the city as you wish, along with an optional group trip for painting at a secret garden! Dinner will be served at Riad Yasmine.
thursday, september 24 (day 5) - painting workshop, visit to the local ancient cave paintings
Breakfast at Riad Yasmine, followed by a continuation of our Watercolor Workshop: Harnessing Local Inspiration with Watercolor. Lunch will be served family style at Riad Yasmine. After lunch Mati and Faith will continue painting with the group for the afternoon at Riad Yasmine. In the afternoon there will be the option for a second guided shopping trip to the Souk markets. Dinner will be served at Riad Yasmine after a beautiful rooftop art show and celebration of our work from the week & time together. We'll end our night with a horse drawn carriage ride through the streets of Marrakech, ending in a night time visit to Jemaa el-Fnaa, the bustling main square at the heart of Marrakech’s old city.
friday, september 25 (day 6) - painting workshop, local swimming and exploring the town, closing dinner
saturday, september 26 (day 7) -farewell & departure
Breakfast at Yobaba Lounge before our farewell and departure, check out will be by 11am. Shuttles will leave for the airport as needed.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS OUR PROSPECTIVE ITINERARY. SMALL CHANGES MAY BE MADE DUE TO WEATHER, DESIRES OF THE GROUP AND UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITIES.
:: FAQ'S ::
Are there payment plans?
Yes! Upon receipt of your $1000 non-refundable deposit you may divide your remaining total into up to 2 separate payments. Total balance is due April 30, 2020.
What does the cost cover?
6 night stay at the Yobaba Lounge Retreat Center, in the Medieval village of Chalabre.
A generous welcome Gift Bag full of goodies upon your arrival.
Harnessing Local Inspiration: 5 Deeply Inspiring Watercolor Painting Workshops with Faith & Mati, the lessons will be based on their popular course: IN THE FLOW. You’ll gain so many new skills, ideas, prompts & new ways of approaching your work, these lessons will take your painting practice to the next level!
24/7 Access to our private art studio for the week, an inspiring space with huge glass doors that open onto a garden meditation labyrinth.
Daily gentle morning yoga sessions in our private yoga shala.
6 gourmet breakfasts and 6 gourmet dinners.
Group walking tour of the local medieval town & castle.
Group transportation to another local castle & town.
Group transportation and guide to the ancient local cave paintings.
What isn't covered in the cost?
Any alcohol you choose to purchase.
Transportation to and from the airport. (Yobaba Lounge will help you set up airport or train station transfers).
Transportation & lodging outside of the retreat dates, should you choose to arrive early or stay later in France.
Any extra tours, excursions or activities (on site massage, etc) that you choose to do during your free time during the retreat.
Do I need travelers insurance?
Yes, we highly recommend it.
How much money should I bring for spending?
That is totally personal and depends on how much shopping you plan to do. ATM's are available to you and credit cards are taken at some major retailers.
Do I need immunizations?
Please see the CDC recommendations for France here.
Do I have to share a room?
Yes. The Yobaba Lounge Chateau is a luscious and intimate retreat space, we will have their entire property at our disposal. Each of their rooms are uniquely beautiful with shared bathrooms. Four of their rooms are single occupancy, which will be given on a first come first served basis. Their other rooms are double occupancy with two beds per room, and triple occupancy with three beds per rooms. We will do our best to pair you up with someone we think you'll match well with. On our retreats the sharing of rooms has fostered close bonds of friendship within the group.
What kind of food will be served, can food sensitivities be accommodated?
The Yobaba Lounge offers a gourmet vegan menu, their food is sensational! Everything that they make is free from sugar, wheat and much of it is raw. Yobaba Lounge never uses processed foods and all meals are prepared the old fashion way – from scratch. They provide a fixed daily menu that relies on fresh and organic ingredients, other food sensitivities can not be accommodated.
How do I get to Yobaba Lounge from The airport and back again?
Yobaba Lounge is happy to coordinate your airport transfers, or train station transfers: book your arrival and departure transfers HERE. When planning your arrival please note that you can check into Yobaba Lounge any time after 3pm on September 20th. Our Retreat will begin that evening at 6pm. On September 26th, our departure day, check-out is by 11am.
What airport do I fly into?
The Chateau is located in a medieval village called Chalabre, in the foothills of the Mediterranean Pyrenees in the South of France. The nearest airports are (distance in brackets):
Carcassonne - budget airlines (45 km)
Toulouse - national, international and budget airlines (100 km)
There are other airports a little further afield, such as Perpignan, Montpellier, Beziers, Barcelona (you will need to take the train from these airports.)
The nearest train stations are (distance in brackets):
Carcassonne (45 km)
Quillian, Limoux, Foix (local trains 25 km - 50 km)
Toulouse (100 km)
We recommend booking your flights at least 90 days before the beginning of the retreat. Please plan to arrive close to 1pm local time on September 20 if you are planning to coordinate shuttles from the airport with other guests.
What will the weather be like?
Weather in September is likely to be in the high 70's. It is expected to be cooler, in the high 50’s in the evenings.
Is there anything special I need to bring?
We will send you a supply list two months before the start of the retreat. Art supplies will be minimal and will include two 8 x 10 cold-pressed watercolor paper pads, a travel watercolor set full of your favorite colors and a roll of watercolor brushes. We also recommend that you bring an extra bag (a collapsible duffle) to bring home your goodies you have collected on our shopping trips. The temperatures will vary, so don't forget layers, pack a bathing suit, sweater and a light jacket!
I'm not an artist is this retreat still for me?
Absolutely! This retreat is much more focused on adventure and gathering inspiration, taking notice of your surroundings and approaching your life from a creative and holistic point of view. Painting is just one of the tools we'll encourage you to explore on this retreat. Our Retreat will be a mix of laid back down time, exploration, movement and immersion into a vibrant culture. We ask you to approach this trip with a sense of adventure in your heart. We think you are going to love this retreat! We encourage you to do a little research on the area before you come.
Do you offer refunds?
There will be no refunds for this Retreat due to the planning and logistics involved. When you register be sure to know all you can about traveling to France.
You've got more questions, we've got answers. View our extended Retreat FAQ page here.....
We love our retreat participants and so many have joined us more than once! We'll let them tell you about our retreats in their own words:
"I have had the privilege of participating in two Painting the Sacred Within retreats with Faith Evans-Sills and Mati Rose McDonough. Each retreat has been unique unto itself with the common theme being “you are most welcome here”. Faith and Mati understand that students are at all different levels and that we each have strengths and weaknesses. They are nurturing and confidence building and meet each student where they are rather than trying to force us all into one mold. The lesson materials for each class are very detailed and complete. Everything is spelled out and there is no need to try and guess how to achieve a certain technique. They are both generous and thoughtful with their insight and teaching. What’s most special about the experience is that their love for their craft and sharing it is most evident. Retreats are inclusive and while there are a number different items on the weeklong schedule, as students, we are encouraged to explore the location as a group or alone. There is no short supply of engaging activities and of course coming back to paint is welcomed. Every aspect of the experience is thoughtfully curated and each location has inspiring, wonderful qualities to offer. I would highly recommend a retreat with Faith and Mati, to get a taste of adventure, learn painting techniques, create beautiful art and celebrate friendship and womanhood."
- Myriam L., event planner, Omega Institute '18, Mexico '19
“If you are tempted to go on this Retreat DO IT!! So amazing, and so well run!”
-Amy F., Morocco Retreat ‘18
“Faith and Mati’s retreats are truly magical! The experience of travel and learning new techniques all while being a part of a super supportive group of women was beyond priceless!”
- Cassie B., Artist, Mexico Retreat '19
“What a week it's been. I feel so blessed to have been with such an amazing group of women artists during our Painting the Sacred Within retreat in San Miguel. We laughed, we cried, we shared our stories, we shared meals family style, we channeled Frida Kahlo, we explored the city, we painted alongside each other - some of us beginners, some of us masters, but all of us so supportive and so willing to lift each other up and hold each other sacred. Thank you Mati and Faith for your amazing guidance and truly inspirational talents. And - to my retreat sisters - I feel truly honored to have shared this time with you all and so grateful to have you as friends! My heart is full!"
- Julia L., Artist & Stay at home Mama, Mexico Retreat '19
"I'm full of joy and creativity from our retreat, it was just such a special time. Faith and Mati, thank you again so much for creating such an amazing artful & soulful retreat- I had the time of my life and have a new well of endless inspiration to draw from! What a gift this, and you, have been to me!"
– Michelle L., Costa Rica '18
“This retreat touched my heart so deeply and reminded me of the constant creativity, love, beauty and kinship that is available to me. Ya fattah (The way opener) for many more years of special friendships and creative energy in this beautiful place, filling up women to their core.”
- Brittany M., Artist & Stay at home Mama, Costa Rica Retreat ‘17
"When people ask what my favorite memories are I can say it’s been traveling to beautiful destinations with Mati and Faith! I’ve gone to Costa Rica and Morocco with them and both trips have changed my life for the better! Not only are you discovering new places, but also exploring parts of yourself through art making. Being able to travel and create colorful artwork while making new friendships have been the most transformative and joyful moments in my life. If you want to be nurtured and truly feel awakened, I suggest art retreats because it’s 100% happiness!"
- Lily U., Artist & Teacher, Costa Rica Retreats '16, '17, Morocco Retreat '17
"My first retreat with Faith and Mati was in Charleston, SC. It was so wonderful. We did loads of painting, had great food, and I left feeling so peaceful, rejuvenated and inspired. I recommitted to making art a regular part of my life. Attending The Morocco Retreat was like something straight out of an exotic travel magazine. Everything was above and beyond my expectations. There were so many pieces of the trip, clearly well thought out making traveling to a foreign country a breeze. This included guides which knew the best places to shop, and helped us feel safe, lovely accommodations, and lots of adventures each day to fully experience Morocco from the rug shopping, the souks, the hammam, trips to gardens, the mountains and more. I will definitely be signing up for another one of Faith and Mati’s retreats!"
- Lisa D., Acupuncturist, Charleston Retreat '16, Morocco Retreat '17
When I found out about Faith and Mati's first retreat to Costa Rica, I thought 'How AMAZING, but there's no way I can go' ... the time... the kids, etc. But thankfully I had an epiphany that it was time for me to do something for myself, and I made the leap! I hadn't painted in YEARS, too many to even say. In college I had studied visual and performing arts, and eventually became a graphic designer. But between life, my family, and career, the artist in me became more and more distant. I was creative as designer, but very differently than I had once been. I was really nervous about what I would or would not be able to put on a canvas and had so many of my own judgements. But between Faith and Mati's teachings and the divinity and bliss of Nosara, Costa Rica, I immediately fell into the flow of my creativity and awakened a part of me that I had so very much missed. Faith and Mati teach with such fluidity and guidance that speaks to all levels of artists. They really know how to take the fear out to let your inner creativity flow. For that I am forever grateful."
– Jen Van Arsdale Leathers, Graphic Designer & Artist, Costa Rica Retreat '15, Charleston Retreat '16
"My recent trip to Morocco with Faith and Mati was the soulful healing I needed. I have been painting for years, and was in a bit of a creative lull. I was looking forward to spending time with like-minded women and seeing a new area of the world...and hopefully leaving with some inspiration. By painting with other women and delving into the creative process in such a spiritual place, I ended up uncovering some deeper truths and returning home with a sense of creative wholeness. My trip to Marrakesh was a gift in so many ways..... and Mati and Faith's guidance made it possible. Not only did I have a wonderful experience, but I left having made some lifelong friendships."
- Daniela B., Artist & Teacher, Morocco Retreat '17
"This week in Costa Rica I focused on the practice of being wild hearted and learning how to let go. I'm so thankful for all of the women I got to spend time with and learn from, at the Pura Vida Retreat with Mati Rose and Faith Evans-Sills. I feel so blessed to call all of these ladies my friends. I didn't understand what holding space was before this experience but after feeling the unconditional love and acceptance and lack of judgement this week I've come away with an appreciation for creating an environment that nurtures others while they are on their journey. I'm excited to return home full of inspiration and ready to allow new learning to unfold with an open heart."
- Christine B., Artist & Photographer, Costa Rica Retreats '16, '17
"We had a fantastic time in Marrakech with the group and with each other, I went on the Retreat with a long distance friend that I rarely see. We loved it there as we didn’t just paint but did so much more, I enjoyed the company with Faith and Mati and all the other ladies in the group it was special, the Riad we stayed in was cozy and comfortable and the food there was delicious at the Riad and at some of the restaurants, loved the meditations, loved shopping in the souks there, did an amazing camel ride, and the spa day was an incredible treat and surprise. On the whole it was a self discovery Retreat for me. Mary Leigh and I are always in touch and hope to go to Costa Rica with you, as well as we loved the experience we had in Marrakech. Thank you for the extremely special Retreat and experience as it brought so much more than expected."
- Leena S., Artist, Morocco Retreat ‘17
"This was my third time on the Sacred Within Painting in Paraiso retreat in Costa Rica. I look forward to this trip all year long. Mati and Faith create a space that is so nurturing for my creativity to flow while I learn new techniques to apply to my art. I have met some of the coolest, strongest, bravest, beautiful souls on these retreats. I'm thankful that these women have become lifelong friends. So much Love and gratitude to Mati and Faith for sharing their wisdom and creating this retreat.”
- Barbara J., Artist, Teacher & Administrator, Costa Rica Retreats ‘16, ‘17, ‘18
"My week in Morocco with Faith and Mati was truly magical. I didn't know anyone on the retreat before I left, but I felt called to go. I left Morocco with deep soul connections with my new friends and some fabulous treasures from the souk markets. Faith and Mati perfectly planned an adventurous and exciting itinerary, and I felt safe and welcome the entire time. I cannot wait to attend another retreat with them soon!”
- Carolyn M., Artist & Photographer, Morocco Retreat ‘16