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Musicking Mindfulness Retreat in France

Come and be introduced to the creative new approach to mindfulness which only needs you to be present to yourself and others. Musicking is a very different way to come to mindfulness - and, despite the title, does not need any previous musical experience. Musicking is expressing ourselves in a spontaneous way without meaning it to make a difference to someone else (though it most often does) and without it making a difference to us how it is received by others. How does all that connect to mindfulness? Well, you cannot do any of those things without 'being in the moment'. So why not give it a try?

Meet the instructors

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  • Daily meditations
  • Musicking mindfulness teachings and walks
  • Group and individual sessions with Simon Cole
  • Daily excellent food (with apéritif and wine for evening meal)
  • Stay in the foothills of the Pyrenees with wild walking paths right from the gate
  • 5 nights accommodation with tranquil ambience and wonderful spaces
  • Tea, coffee, and infusions available all day

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate


5 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: French
Group size: Maximum of 6 participants
Airport transfer available:
Toulouse–Blagnac Airport (US$42 per person)
Airport transfer available:
Carcassonne Airport (US$42 per person)
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  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Garden
  • Meditation garden
  • Library

The Centre has a library and ample public spaces indoors and outdoors to allow for community or privacy as participants choose. Take advantage of the spacious group spaces indoors and outdoors, individual 'corners' for private contemplation, and a calm relaxing atmosphere.

All participants have individual rooms or a double room if coming as a couple or friends choosing to share. All rooms have bathrobes, hanging space, drawers, hair-dryer, sitting space, tea and coffee facilities, and a private bathroom (or shared with no more than one other person). All bathrooms have a shower, wash basin, toiletries, tissues. All bed linen and towels are provided.



Musicking, as Simon explains it in his book "just BE here", is only loosely connected with what one would normally think of as music: really it is about the flow of feeling and emotion that is going on in all of us all of the time. Being able to connect with this is the real essence of being mindful. If we block our flow, then we cannot be mindful and we cannot be connected with the true reality of what is happening around us.

Simon draws on the teachings of David Abrams, Martin Buber and Shunryu Suzuki, as well as his many years as a therapist and meditation teacher, to create an holistic experience which goes beyond mindfulness and leads participants on a pathway to experience their own individual flow of living.

There will be an emphasis on shared and sharing experience and Simon invites participation from individuals' own knowledge and background in offering a teaching which is inclusive and a practice which complements participants' resources.

The teaching topics include:

  • Starting with the rhythm of life - feel how you walk, try something different - listen to your breathing, the beating of your heart
  • Then the tune - movement and shapes and hearing the piper and how to feel your own melody playing inside you
  • And the harmony - meeting and exchanging and what is in how we make contact with each other, how we relate with ourselves within, with others and with the planet

For this retreat in particular, a too rigid format will be avoided because flow and spontaneity are important themes. But here is an outline of the likely framework of your days:

  • Morning silent meditation period, which you may join and leave as you wish
  • Breakfast, which you can take as suits you between 8 and 10
  • Morning teaching and activity period, normally broken into two parts
  • Lunch
  • Local walk or own time or individual counselling time
  • Evening meal
  • Community period, which can be storytelling or own experiences or themed meditation

Each day of your stay will follow a similar pattern, though Simon believes in being flexible in order to accommodate the particular interests of each group.

Daily themes

  • Musicking: the expression of what is going on
  • Levelling: getting to see the world around as it really is
  • Dialoguing: meeting with others with genuine humanity
  • Flowing: combining the three aspects of musicking mindfulness and culminating in a mountain excursion

Included excursions

There are walks in the surrounding hills built into most days at 'Le Sentier Tranquille', but they always aim to have at least half a day as a group further up in the mountains (for which transport will be provided). The activities on this excursion will follow the theme of the retreat, but will take advantage of the exceptional setting to enhance participants' experience.


Simon Cole


The Centre is located on the edge of a hamlet with direct access to the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. There are many walks of different grades - from gentle riverside stroll to difficult mountain routes - within reach. Simon will accompany the group on walks linked to your retreat, which will be matched to the resources and experience of the group. Walking activities will be valued as a means to the opening out of the spirit and are not viewed as a fitness exercise. It is likely that there will be a half-day away from the Centre further in the mountains, for which transport will be provided.


You will be served good food throughout the retreat. All ingredients are sourced locally, and as far as is possible, only what is in season is used. Dishes prepared are representative of this part of France. Anyone who has travelled in France will know that it is quite a lot more difficult eating as a vegetarian here than in most other parts of Europe. Le Sentier Tranquille will provide vegetarian or pescatarian options when requested, but individual diets are unavailable unless there is a medical need. They are not able to cater for vegan, nut allergies, or coeliac condition.

Tea and coffee is provided in rooms, and in addition, a range of teas, coffee, and infusions is always available in the terrace room where you eat. You will also be offered an apéritif (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) before the evening meal and wine with the meal. (Alcoholic drinks are not available at other times.)

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Pescatarian
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 5 nights accommodation
  • All meals
  • Daily meditations
  • Group and individual sessions with Simon Cole
  • Teachings and walks

What's not included

  • Airfares
  • Transfers (35 EUR each way for Toulouse or Carcassonne airports)
  • Personal expenses

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by plane

Please book your flight to arrive at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS) or Carcassonne Airport (CCF). Transfer between the airports is provided by Le Sentier Tranquille and payable locally.

Arrival by train

Coming by train, you can take the Eurostar Paris connection. TGV trains from Paris to Toulouse come via Bordeux. If you come via Paris, you must change trains and stations in Paris, for which you should allow 90 minutes. If you change trains at Lille (on the way to Paris), it is only a platform change, which is a lot easier, but the fare is a bit more expensive.

In Toulouse, you change onto the train which comes to Pamiers and goes on to Foix, Ax-les-Thermes and then to the border with Andorra. From many parts of England and Wales, it is possible to do the complete journey in a day if you are prepared to start early. For options, visit European Rail or seat61.

Airport: Toulouse–Blagnac Airport Airport transfer available: Toulouse–Blagnac Airport (US$42 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.
Airport: Carcassonne Airport Airport transfer available: Carcassonne Airport (US$42 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 25% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Quality of activity
6 days / 5 nights
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Arrival: Sunday August 29, 2021
Departure: Friday September 3, 2021

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