Contemporary Writers Retreat
Join the WAITlist
- Daily workshops with themed field trips
- Daily write-ins, in the field, at home, or at a classic Paris café
- Meet with J’ai lu publishing’s head of e-Commerce and a bookseller to learn about the local market
- One-on-one coaching with our in-residence writers
- Work with our branding expert to connect to your writing and your audience
- Spend 6 days and nights in a gorgeous Art Nouveau house, in a relaxed, artsy neighborhood
- Organic continental breakfasts (6 days), and delicious lunches (3) and dinners (2)
- Shop at a farmer’s market for group lunch supplies, and enjoy a selection of premium teas, coffee, and snacks in our private kitchen
- Discover charming local shops and restaurants
- Get to know each other over a game of pétanque, followed by a relaxed cocktail
- Finish your writing day near Paris’s attractions, with time for sightseeing
- Take tea at the salon that’s made their blends from the Versailles kitchen garden since 1672
- Indulge in a sumptuous cocktail at a luxury hotel bar
- Say goodbye with a Seine dinner cruise
June 2022 Workshops
June 2022 In-Resident Author/Coach
Set It Like You Mean It
Setting is an essential aspect of fiction and memoir writing. Get it right and your setting becomes an intriguing secondary character; flub it–or try to fake it–and you’ll hear from readers. Keris Stainton has published books set in NYC, LA, London, and Italy (One Italian Summer, which Rainbow Rowell calls “Gentle and romantic. A holiday in itself.”), and will guide you on how to make your setting resonate with your readers.
She’s the bestselling author of fourteen novels, including adult and YA romcoms and one Christmas novel for younger readers that is not a romance, but does star a talking pug. She previously worked as a bookseller, a PA in the music industry, and once got a casual job as an arena steward so she could see New Kids on the Block for free.
She was born in Canada, grew up on the Wirral, lived in London for a while and now lives in Lancashire with two boys, one guinea pig, an unhealthy obsession with One Direction (yes, she has a boyband problem) and a plan to move to the seaside in the next 12 months.
She can almost always be found on Twitter or Instagram, avoiding writing her next book (but she’s working on it in her head. Probably).
Think Like A Brand
We all have a great story to tell, but how do you convince agents, publishers, and readers to care? Author, speaker, and branding coach Lisa Anselmo will show you how thinking like a brand can create a more compelling read—and a passionate following. She’ll discuss everything from identifying your core theme to positioning yourself with a unified approach (head shots, website, marketing messaging), and even rebranding strategies for authors looking to relaunch their careers.
Lisa lives in Paris and NYC, and is the author of My (Part-Time) Paris Life—How Running Away Brought Me Home (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press). She also hosts a travel series on Youtube, My (Part-Time) Paris Life. She spent most of her professional career in magazine publishing, working on such iconic brands as Allure (Condé Nast), InStyle, and People (Time Inc./Meredith).
Her unique background in design and branding, as well as writing and performing, informs her coaching method, Finding Your Authentic Voice, which shows writers how to create—and market—a must-read, helping them and their work connect on a personal level with their audiences.
Sense & Sensuality
To write sensually is not just about the five senses, nor is it about sex scenes (though any truly great sex scene is loaded with sensuality). It’s about spinning a web around your reader, drawing them into your world. It’s the unexpected detail that creates intimacy between you and your audience, the moments that make them hold their breath, then pick up your next book, sex scenes or not.
An RWA Golden Heart winner in the long contemporary category, with several books soon to be published, Gabrielle Luthy will show you how to weave sensuality into your writing in a way that makes readers feel as if they’ve jumped into your story and are being whisked away by your characters, setting, and of course, the romance. We will also explore ways to create a sensual writing process that takes you on your own intimate and fulfilling journey with your story.
Édith de Belleville
2022 Tour Guide
Native Parisienne Édith de Belleville is the author of Belles et Rebelles, tales of the flamboyant, extraordinary women–including Joséphine de Beauharnais, George Sand and Sarah Bernhardt–who have left their indelible marks on the City of Light.
Passionate about Paris her whole life, Édith left a 20-year career as a lawyer to become a licensed tour guide, officially recognized by the French government. A voracious reader, Édith combines her love of literature, formidable knowledge of Paris, and admiration of rebellious women to lead engaging, witty tours. We’re thrilled that she’ll be showing us the Marais, with its richly diverse culture, through her unique perspective.
As well as her own writing, Édith is featured in Jamie Cat Callan’s Parisian Charm School, and is currently collaborating on a book about Marie-Antoinette.
June 2022 Retreat Cost
Single occupancy with shared bathroom
Double occupancy with shared bathroom
We have 1 single-occupancy room remaining and 1 shared room (twin beds). All bathrooms are shared.
Traveling alone? Pas de probleme–we’ll pair you up with a roomie. Consider this a writing week away with girlfriends you haven’t met yet!
Reserve your place with a $500 deposit. Balance required by March 12th, 2022. Payment plans available. Full details on the booking page.
Your home in Paris
The moment you step into the Maison Pierre Chanzy, a 1920 Art Nouveau hôtel particulier with a storied past, you know you’re in for a special treat.
Blending Belle Epoque charm with modern comfort and convenience, the Maison is in the heart of Paris’s 11th arrondissement, close to city sights but hidden enough to provide the perfect retreat experience.
I love the sound of this, but I write historical/thrillers/another sub-genre. Can I still join you?
Absolutely! Although our June 2022 retreat focuses on contemporary women’s writing (that includes romance, women’s fiction and memoirs, including blogs), our workshops are not sub-genre-specific. We’ve called it contemporary to set it apart from the upcoming historical and paranormal retreats. (Update: with the current coronavirus situation, we don’t have confirmed dates for any retreats past June 2022. We’ll update the site as soon as we do.)
We have one requirement: our retreats and accommodations are women only.
What if I want to spend all day writing at a café?
We get it–you have a whole week to yourself and you want to get down as many words as you can. While we’ve structured the program to include plenty of writing time amidst the rest of the cool stuff, we’re not ones to ignore the calling. You can opt in or out of sessions as the muse strikes.
I live in Paris, or I’ll be there at the time of the retreat but I already have accommodation booked. Can I still come along?
Yes! We’d love to have you join us. Please contact us to discuss options.
You only have two dinners in the program (the first and last nights). What do I do the other nights?
Each day’s field trip will end near a Paris landmark, so you can sightsee; we’ve included suggestions in the detailed itinerary. Or you might decide to come back to the Maison and write, then venture out for dinner at one of the many excellent choices nearby.
We also have a well-equipped kitchen for meal preparation. There’s no oven, just microwave and cooktop. (Pro tip: bread and cheese only need a cutting board 😉 )
Whatever you decide, you’ll find someone willing to relax with a glass of wine while discussing writing on those mellow summer evenings that Paris loves to flaunt.
How many people will there be?
Space permits 8 guests double occupancy, or 6 guests if the single occupancy options are filled, plus your retreat team, for a maximum of 10 people. This gives us all room to write while ensuring we can book the place to ourselves.
Can I bring my spouse/partner/friend?
Sorry, registered attendees only.
Are flights/trains and other travel costs included in the retreat registration?
No. The only travel costs we cover are your métro pass for the week of the retreat (commencing Monday, June 7th) and to/from Sunday’s pétanque game.
How do I get to the Maison Pierre Chanzy?
We’ll provide you with detailed instructions upon registration. If you still have questions, we’ll help you arrange transportation. You can also put a call out on the Facebook group to share a taxi or van, depending on who’s arriving when.
Is the Maison wheelchair-accessible?
Unfortunately not. As charming as it is, there’s no room for an elevator. To access the building, there’s a small flight of steps in the foyer, followed by a full flight to the first floor (common area, 2 bedrooms) and another flight to the second floor (4 bedrooms). If stairs are difficult for you, we’ll do our best to accommodate you in a first-floor bedroom.
Is the Maison air-conditioned?
No, but with Paris generally being very mild in June, it’s usually not a concern. Fans will be available if you need them. And if by some quirk of nature it gets cold, we’ve stayed there in winter and it was toasty warm.
How is Maison Chanzy dealing with COVID-19?
Your personal health and safety is important to our hosts. Read their comprehensive charter here.
Do I have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend the retreat?
Yes. All attendees must be fully vaccinated and boosted. We’ve got more information on everything Covid here.
I have specific dietary needs. What can I eat?
Ohhh, we hear ya. Wherever possible, we’ll use bio (organic) ingredients, as well as provide gluten-free/vegan/vegetarian options. For meals out, we’ve chosen restaurants and cafés that provide similar options.
We’ll have filtered water (regular and fruit/herb) at the Maison and, to keep our environmental footprint light, your goody bag will contain a metal flask to fill before field trips.
We’ll also provide a list of local resources for your requirements before departure, plus you can ask questions on our Facebook group.
I still have questions.