"Although mountains belong to the nation, mountains belong to the people who love them. When mountains love their master, such a virtuous sage or wise person enters the mountains. Since mountains belong to the sages and wise people living there, trees and rocks become abundant and birds and animals are inspired. This is so because the sages and wise people extend their virtue. You should know it as a fact that mountains are fond of wise people and sages. Many rulers have visited mountains to pay homage to wise people or to ask for instruction from great sages. These have been important events in the past and present. At such times these rulers treat the sages as teachers, disregarding the protocol of the usual world. The imperial power has no authority over the wise people in the mountains. Mountains are apart from the human world."
PYRENEES-ORIENTALES, OCCITANIE, FRANCE
PYRENEES-ORIENTALES, OCCITANIE, FRANCE
The Abbey of The Mountain is a retreat, sanctuary and creative space in the foothills of the French Pyrenees in South West France. There is a main household, a private loft apartment, a creative studio, a sacred gathering and event space and a lot of land.
The abbey sits in many acres of ancient woodland and rolling valleys which afford extensive space for reflection, inspiration, activity and prayer.
Retreats are quiet, unstructured and undirected.
The work of the Abbey is to bring the expansive and grounding nature of this place to others through the monastic tradition of Hospitality. To share in the wonder that occurs when we stop, step out of time and start listening, deeply. To show how we can change the way we live and work and play. To hold space and support for self-care and the care of others. To help you recharge and find strength, clarity and joy in all that you are. It is a space committed to the work of Deep Adaptation in service to life on earth.
“to entertain silence in the heart and listen for the voice of Oneness – to ask earnestly for your own discovery.” (Thomas Merton + Wallace)
- 40 minutes drive from Perpignan, Southern France -
- 3 hours drive from Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain -
High-speed TGV train links from Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona.
Daily business flights from the UK into Toulouse and Barcelona
Low-cost flights into Perpignan, Carcassonne and Beziers
By car, donkey or on foot: D117 off the A9 autoroute.
Fosse (Fossa) is in Pyrenees Orientales, Occitanie, Languedoc-Rousillon, France.
The small hamlet in the foothills of Mount Canigou sits in a meadow valley at an elevation of 550m and is close to the Spanish border, mountain ski resorts and the Mediterranean coast between the Catalan city of Perpignan and the medieval city of Carcassonne. It is deep in the heart of ancient Cathar territory. The land is ancient, solid, grounding and full of magic.
People come to slow down, to sleep, to take a much needed breath of fresh air and escape from the fast pace and intensity of everyday life. Just you and the hills stretching as far as the eye can see. No distractions, no interruptions, just time and space so you can focus on exactly what matters:
Come to rest and to recharge.
Live alongside kindred spirits in the wilderness of the Pyrenees.
Walk the forest paths.
Listen to your needs.
Chop wood and carry water.
Swim in the rivers and sit around campfires.
Bring your projects and dreams.
Open your heart to creative possibility.
Believe in the magic of synchronicity and serendipity.
Find clarity and renewed commitment to your practice.
The Main Household- Maison Blanche was opened to residents in 2019. A three-storey farmhouse with four bedrooms. It sleeps 8 comfortably and up to 11 including a camp + sofabed if you don’t mind sharing.
Built circa 1600
Maison Blanche is the home of Monk, writer, artist and weaver Emma Wallace. It is a three storey stone farmhouse with walls two foot thick and great oak beams. There are red terracotta roof tiles that occasionally blow off in a storm. There is a chimney, woodburning stove and a larder that has mice from time to time.
Scattered over the three floors are several bedrooms, bathrooms and living spaces. The house sleeps up to eleven. There is a kitchen built from a wheatsheafing machine and a lot of pots and pans that hang from the ceilings. The kitchen tap has never sat correctly but I like to pretend it is one of those fancy restaurant ones that moves about. Several visiting men have tried to fix it. I tell them this is not possible, but they try anyway and then give up.
In the winter it is cold so we sit by the fires or put on more woollen jumpers - slippers are recommended. In the summer it is cool inside and provides the perfect conditions for a siesta when the temperatures head into the 30's and 40’s. The temperatures are rising year on year. We notice the drought and the flood. There are plans to build an Ark. Sometimes there are flies, so be careful not to walk into one of those sticky fly-catching devices that hang from a drawing pin.
There is a tradition (or plain old habit) in this village to name the homes after their residents. The House of Blanche (Maison Blanche) was the home of Blanche Rapidel until the 1990's. The Rapidel family have been landowners in the village of Fosse since the late 1600's. They still are. One of them used to grow a crop of potatoes each year in an allotment by the communal bins but he is quite an illusive creature and I never met him. I wouldn't recognise his face. I swear he came under cover of darkness. The allotment has now returned to the care of the Abbey and is a communal permaculture space. — Emma Wallace
Perfect for writers, thinkers and those searching for
distraction-free time to focus on what matters.
The Loft is a modern barn conversion with en-suite bathroom and private terrace, next door to the main household. An all-year round creative retreat, a bright, spacious & luxury escape with a contemporary feel and traditional French vintage features. Split over three levels, it has a private south-facing sun terrace, a modern and well-equipped kitchen, original oak beams, handcrafted carpentry made from our local oak and beech trees by the chisel and hammer of our friend and ally, traditional carpenter Dan Jones, original artwork from artist-in-residence evryman and a roaring log burning stove for cold winter nights. There is a library. Of course.
A spacious, one bedroom self-catering loft apartment with private sun terrace, lounge, en-suite bathroom and fully equipped modern kitchen.
Stylish modern interior
Hand-sprung double mattress and solid oak bed
White cotton bed linen, goose-down duvet
Exposed stone walls and terracotta tiled floors
Original oak beams and traditional features
Fluffy towels and bathrobes.
Lounge with comfortable seating and wood burner
Wifi, Flatscreen TV and docking station
Local wine, still and sparkling water, coffee and tea
Private sun deck
Bath towels and bed linen are provided and there is a parking space for your use next to the apartment. If you're looking for somewhere to store ski, surf or cycling gear, secure storage space is also available.
A small artist and writer studio space opposite the Main House. Originally a stone barn where the pigs, chickens and rabbits were kept for generations, The Atelier is now a maker space filled with tools, artists materials and workbenches. Basic materials are provided for reasonable use – we can also accept additional materials for your project at your own cost in advance, just let us know your shipping dates.
Fosse, Fossa, Foça - from the latin meaning pit, ditch or cavity.
The village of Fosse, Les Cabanes sits in an open valley of the Fenouillèdes hills crossed by the river Matassa, a tributary of the Désix that has its source in the pine and beech forest of Boucheville. The valley is a protected natural zone filled with orchid meadows, wild thyme and olive trees. Our neighbour Pierre's organic beef herd graze in the meadows. It is hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
Les Cabanes (from the latin capanna = hut, rudimentary house) is mentioned in 1011 as a possession of the Abbey of Saint-Michel de Cuixà near the town of Prades (the birthplace of Trappist Monk and Peace Activist, Thomas Merton) - Cuixà is the medieval abbey that provided the pillars of the famous Cloisters Museum in New York City. A text dated 1347 shows that Les Cabanes was then a parish. The first records refer to the founding village and stronghold of Perles in 889, part of the land owned by the monastery of Saint-Martin-Lys. Abandoned in medieval times, the church bell of Perles was brought to Fosse and is rung alongside the bells in the church dedicated to Sainte Assiscle, a female Christian martyr.
There were about fifty inhabitants in 1700, then eighty in 1750. This figure increased in the first half of the nineteenth century, with a maximum of 137 inhabitants in 1836. Subsequently, the population has continued to decline. I arrived here in 2010 to a population of about thirty people. In 2016 little Louisa, the warrior, was born. She is now three years old, the same age as my nephew. These pathways belong to her now. In 2018 we welcomed the arrival of two new babies, a sister for Louisa and a first baby boy child to our cowboy Pierre and his beloved, Clare; our numbers are slowly rising.
The next generation is founded. We tend to this land for them.
Map & Directions to The House & The Hill
Map & Directions to The House & The Hill
The House & The Hill is approximately 1hr from Perpignan International Airport on the Mediterranean Coast in the South of France. 3 hours by road from Barcelona International and 2 hours from Toulouse-Blagnac. From the D117 take the D9 mountain road from Caudies de Fenouilledes, heading towards Le Vivier.
To arrange for a reservation, please check availability and book your stay on AirBnB
or email about longer stays (over a month):
Please include in the email:
Your full address
Your phone number (including international code)
The dates of arrival and departure you are interested in
call (+44) 7515 516049
Notice of cancellation or other change in plans should be made as soon as possible so that others waiting to make a retreat may be given an opportunity to do so.
Check-in time is from 4:00 PM unless otherwise agreed.
When guests depart, rooms must be vacated by 11:00 AM in order to allow time for cleaning.
Individual guests must be at least eighteen years of age.
Pets are welcome in The Loft but not in the Main Household.