Volunteer as part of our evolving contemplative community near Poitiers, France



Favourited 577 times

  • rating

    Host rating

  • feedbacks



  • last activity

    Last activity


  • Last email replied

    Reply rate

    93.6 %

  • Last email replied

    Average reply time:

    within 2 days

  • Badges

    Top Host

 Min stay requested: at least 1 month

  • Description


    The Chateau dates from the 1700's, backing onto the remains of an 11th Century monastery. Other buildings consist of a collection of farm buildings, a gatehouse and a hunting lodge. The land offers 160 acres of grassland, woodland, walled garden and marshes, with natural springs, the river ‘Rhune’, a lots of animals and flowers. On the domain there are 24 ecosystems of local and national heritage. An ancient fishing lake embedded in the south-facing aspect of the main house.

    This place was bought in October 2017 through funds raised from an international network of meditators rooted in the contemplative mystical traditions of Christianity. Restoration of the buildings began in January 2018. A small group have been living on site during the renovations, which has seeded the start of the resident community and daily rhythm of life.

    In March 2018 we began our trial Workaway volunteer program. Inviting Workaways has been a hugely successful experience on both sides. Together we share beauty of the land, the buildings and the richness of our meditation life and work. It has been a wonderful experiment and learning-curve that convinced us that welcoming volunteers will be a vital part of the life here. A vessel for mutual learning, the chance for everyone to feel valued and empowered in their specific skills, making a contribution to a greater whole and spiritual development through participation in the day-to-day rhythm of the community's rule of life and meditation.

    We feel very grateful to have lived and worked alongside such amazing people, all so generous and open-hearted in participating and contributing to what we are building here.

    The renovation of The Abbaye was completed in Easter 2019, which is now inhabited by an evolving residential community. Two other buildings are now renovated to form the Retreat and Conference Centre wit 23 further rooms. Now that we have dropped all Covid restrictions in France you are welcome to apply to come and share our life, meditation and work. Reminding you that the WorkAway requirement is 5 hours of work a day.

    Our vision is to build a space inclusive to practitioners, seekers and pilgrims from all spiritual traditions (or none) to help to make the world more peaceful. Ask us for our website link

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Charity Work
    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Animal Care
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn about the how work collaboratively with others in running retreats and courses, gardening, land management, house-keeping, cooking, living and working with others from diverse backgrounds and different cultures, meditation and spiritual writings from Christian and other traditions.

  • Help


    There are no Covid restriction at this time in France . . . .

    Please note that stays of a month or more is preferable / desirable but we will consider volunteers for periods of a minimum of 2 weeks. Unfortunately we do not currently accommodate families.

    Type of help needed

    Helping to run a Retreat Centre
    Creating and maintaining a vegetable garden
    Forest clearance and fencing
    Managing wood collection for fires
    Cooking / shopping for the community (not guests)
    Cleaning of communal spaces
    Animal care
    Small admin tasks
    Filming online events and retreats

    We are looking for people who enjoy living on the land in quiet countryside and are willing to offer a flexible open-minded approach to doing what needs to be done, as well as participate in the day-to-day rhythm of meditation and meal times. A space to be in relationship with other whilst exploring the nourishment of silence and solitude is at the heart of life here. We aim to encourage varying levels of silence as part of the every day life here and with the support of the community and resident teacher this is an opportunity to discover or deepen your own spiritual practice.

    Typical Daily Rhythm (please note this is adjustable with the change of seasons)

    Sunday to Saturday

    7.00 – 7:30 - Silent meditation (optional)
    7.45 – 8.35 - Morning meditation
    8.40 – 9.15 - Breakfast in silence
    9.30 – 10.00 - Study / Reading / group sharing (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - Saturday)
    10.00 – 12.00 - Work
    12.15 – 13.00 - Midday meditation
    13.00 – 14.00 - Lunch / Clean-up
    14.30 – 17.00 - Work
    18.00 – 18.45 - Evening meditation
    18.50 – 19.30 - Dinner

    Wednesdays are silent days of no work, a chance to read, study, renewal of your inner peace, rest, be creative or in silence …
    Saturdays are days off to have the chance to do some cultural or relaxing activities with other volunteers.
    Sundays are days of community life: eating and doing light work together.

    Unified Consciousness: One Mind One heart our theme 2022. During this year we will be bringing people together from around the world to reflect on the meaning of the oneness for themselves and for the planet. It will help them to emerge from the isolation and fear of Covid into a new engagement with reality and potential.

    The experience of unity among each other enjoying their diversity is an important part of the experience. Just as peace needs to be found within us before we can live peacefully in our personal lives and bring it to the world, so the spring of inner joy needs to be unblocked and set to flow. The daily schedule will focus on allowing this to happen freely.

    Practical projects for 2022 include:

    - Support with the organisation of communal spaces in the newly-inhabited Abbaye and meditation centre.

    - Ongoing planting and maintenance of the vegetable and flower garden.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent
    German: Intermediate

  • Accommodation


    Workaways are accommodated in bedrooms in the newly renovated Abbaye. Volunteers will be invited to share in the cooking of meals in the community kitchen, which will be eaten in the dining hall with community residents. Volunteers are invited to join the community for lunch and dinner every day, consisting of a blend of international cuisine, where we will accommodate as far as possible any special dietary requirements. The Abbaye building provides a good WiFi connection.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Our place is situated amidst beautiful countryside for walking and many places of historic and cultural interest. The nearest village is Marçay, 2 kilometres away and situated along the route Jacque de Compostella, which is a section of the known Santiago de Compostella. The nearest market town is Vivonne with supermarkets and other facilities. The ancient Abbey of St Martins at Ligugé is 6 kilometres to the north. Fifteen kilometers away the medieval city of Poitiers (which has an airport Biard along with local and TGV train links from Paris) boasts one of the most significant gothic cathedrals in France. Further afield there is also the cities of Tours and Saintes and the coastal town of La Rochelle.

    When making travel arrangements to our place please note we plan arrivals and departure to allow you as volunteers to settle into the life here with minimum disruption for the life of the resident community. So following your registration and interview, please arrange your travel accordingly. We can arrange pick-ups from Vivonne train station (regional line from Poitiers). Pick up from Poitiers main line station or airport is also possible.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week

These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.

Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

Communication: (4.8)

Host ref number: 133783777754