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Practicalities

Arrival and departure

Arrival and departure days vary depending on the season.

Please arrive before 6pm so you do not miss the first orientation at 7:30pm.

To co-create the calm and stable energy of our retreats, please arrive only on the specified Arrival Day.

Departure time is between 7am-12 noon on Departure Days.

Transportation

Plum Village is ~ 85 km east of Bordeaux.

Train

Sainte Foy La Grande is our nearest train station. It is ~ 25 minutes away by car. You can buy tickets from – Trainline, Rail Europe, Oui.sncf, SNCF, Ouigo.

From the train station to:

A taxi service helps us bring retreatants from and to the train station.

A taxi service helps us bring retreatants from and to the train station.

A shuttle (with a €20 fee) on Arrival Day in the afternoon, and on Departure Day in the morning.

If you arrive outside of shuttle times, you can take a taxi (~40€) from Sainte Foy La Grande to any of our hamlets.

  • VTC Jardini: +33 (0) 7.77.90.21.47
  • Taxi Richard: +33 (0) 6.21.63.23.56
  • Taxi David: +33 (0) 6.84.91.00.80
  • Mr. Gachet: +33 (0) 5.53.83.07.87
  • Mr. Dumora: +33 (0) 6.30.03.00.49
  • Bergerac Taxis: +33 (0) 5.53.23.32.32

Car Pooling


Driving to:


Flying

Our nearest airports are Bergerac (EGC) and Bordeaux-Merignac (BOD).

From Bergerac airport, you can:

  • Take a taxi to Bergerac train station, then a train to Sainte Foy La Grande
  • A taxi to Plum Village (~ €40 – €70)

From Bordeaux-Merignac airport:

  • A shuttle to Bordeaux St-Jean train station (~ 45 minutes), then a train to Sainte Foy La Grande.

What to bring

Essentials

  • Personal towel & toiletries
  • Ear plugs and eye mask, if you are a light sleeper
  • Flashlight
  • Alarm clock/device (or you can use your mobile to set an alarm)
  • Water bottle/thermos/travel mug
  • Water-proof shoes that are easy to slip on and off (for entering & leaving the communal buildings easily)
  • Slippers (for using inside your accommodation)
  • Umbrella or rain coat
  • A copy (digital or paper) of your invoice and travel documents
  • Earphones & extension cord (3-5m) to listen to teachings given in various languages

Recommended

  • Insect repellent (mosquito, & potentially ticks, chiggers) in Summer & Autumn
  • We recommend that during your stay, you check yourself daily for ticks during Spring, Summer and Autumn, especially if you have been outside in the wooded and grassy areas. You may like to bring your own tick remover.
  • Laundry soap – clothes washing is mostly by hand

For Large Retreats

June; Summer; Francophone; 21-Day; Wake Up; Health & Wellness; Business; Cooking; Christmas; New Year; Lunar New Year

  • Earphones & extension cord (3-5m) to listen to teachings given in various languages
  • Lunchbox/Tupperware for packing picnic lunch

For Summer

  • In New Hamlet and Lower Hamlet, for all accommodation types, please bring your own sleeping bag or beddings (we will provide pillows). Rental is available if needed. This helps us reduce the amount of
    water necessary for frequent washing.
  • In Upper Hamlet, bedding is available in rooms.
  • Wide brim Sun hat to protect from harmful rays as we will have activities outdoors
  • High SPF sunscreen

Campers & Caravan

  • All camping gear & sleeping bag.
  • There are no water, electric, or septic hook-ups for caravans. There are limited electric hookups in Upper Hamlet available.

Please note:

  • Please leave your pets at home. Although we love animals, there is no way to accommodate pets in Plum Village.
  • Each Hamlet has a small shop with most things you might need (drinks, notebooks, snacks, toiletries, postcards & stamps etc)

What to wear

Plum Village is a mindfulness practice center and monastery, home to diverse cultures. To respect and support our collective energy of practice, we ask everyone to wear modest, loose-fitting clothes at all times.

Please wear only clothes that fully cover your shoulders, chest, back and legs past the knees. You may find a light shawl handy in Summer. Please do not wear shorts, hot pants, tank tops, short dresses and so on. If your clothing is too revealing, you may not be able to enter the Meditation Halls. These are sacred spaces.

Simple, casual clothing, that’s easy to wash, is best.

You may like to bring something nice to wear for formal lunches, tea meditations or other festivals.

Please note: If you are coming in Winter, we recommend you bring plenty of layered clothes for wet, windy and cold weather, as well as for our drafty, modest accommodation.

Meals

All Plum Village meals are prepared by the monks and nuns with much love and mindful work. We use fresh vegetables, sourced as locally as possible. In Spring and Summer we often enjoy produce from Plum Village’s own organic “Happy Farm”.

All Plum Village meals are vegan: vegetarian with neither dairy nor eggs, and our staples are usually rice (brown and white), oats, bread. We are vegan in order to nourish our compassion and protect our planet.

We eat our meals together in mindfulness. We usually have 15-20 minutes of silent eating at the start of lunch and dinner, and breakfast is usually fully in silence. Eating in silence helps us appreciate the food deeply, and cherish the presence of those around us. You can read more about our practice of mindful eating here.

We regret that we’re unable to cater to specific individual dietary requirements or medical needs, nor provide cooking or refrigeration facilities. Please bring your own supplements (or allergy replacements) as necessary.

Internet and telephone

During the retreat, please also give your cell phone and Internet a retreat. Only access Internet for urgent purposes.

Please remember to put an auto-response on your email, to make all your travel arrangements, and have a copy of your travel documents before you arrive.

We recommend asking friends & family to support your retreat by limiting phone communication (you could arrange a specific day to check messages or make a call).

Duration of stay

Please refer to our Retreat Calendar to find more information on the arrival and departure day for each specific retreat. Most retreats offer a stay for one week.

If you wish to extend your stay once you are in Plum Village, please speak directly with the Registration Office of the hamlet you are staying in to enquire about this option, as it will depend on the time of year and availability. You may be asked to write a letter of aspiration to share about why you wish to stay longer. If there is space, the community will look into your request. 

Please read extended stay to learn more about staying longer in Plum Village.

It is also possible to come for a day (i.e not to stay overnight in Plum Village) to attend one of our Day of Mindfulness (DoM) on some Thursdays and Sundays during the year in the Spring, Autumn and Winter. Please read Day of Mindfulness for more details on the schedule, dates and location. 

Lazy day

One day a week at Plum Village is Lazy Day, and there are no scheduled activities.

Lazy Day is a deep practice. Lazy Day is an opportunity to let the day unfold in a natural way while still maintaining mindfulness. It is a day to practice being rather than doing. It is a day to nourish ourselves with silence, nature, rest, journalling, reading, exercise or perhaps music. Lazy Day offers us the time, peace and space we may need to write a letter to a beloved one, or perhaps a letter of reconciliation.

On Lazy Day we may like to take a walk through the nearby countryside, practice relaxation, or slow walking meditation around the hamlet. Our meditation halls are always open for those who enjoy sitting meditation or total relaxation.

We ask everyone to stay within the monastery on lazy day in order to fully benefit from this special day.

Teachings and interviews

Teachings:

Dharma Talks are given in either English, French, or Vietnamese with simultaneous translation into the other two languages. Translation into other languages (for example, German, Dutch, Spanish, or Italian) are available depending on the need.

Interviews:

Retreatants can ask a question directly to senior Dharma teachers during the “Question and Answer” sessions that take place once a week during big retreats. Dharma teachers and experienced monks and nuns are available to offer private consultation sessions to those in need throughout the year. Please enquire in the hamlet where you will stay.

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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