Practicalities

Arrival and departure

Our arrival and departure day is usually on Friday, except for special retreats for which it is stated otherwise. Please prepare your travel arrangements so that you can arrive at Plum Village on the arrival day.

Arrival time
Please prepare your trip in such a way so that you can arrive in your hamlet by 6pm. Please note that due to our monastery schedule, we are unable to check-in new arrivals after 8pm. This will give you time to register, settle in and have dinner (we usually eat around 6pm) before your first evening session at 8pm (usually a stting meditation).

We provide transportation to and from the station in Ste Foy la Grande on Arrival and Departure Days. If you’d like to be picked up, please let us know in advance your arrival time. Please note: the last pick-up we offer is for the train that arrives at 19h10 in Ste Foy la Grande.

In order to support the collective energy and stability of our retreats, please do not arrive on a day that is not the specified Arrival Day.

Orientation
We offer an Orientation session about Plum Village practice and the week ahead to new retreatants either on Arrival Day evening (at 7.30pm) or the following morning. The orientation gives essential information about our practice and will help you enjoy your stay. We recommend all our newly arrived guest not to miss it.

Departure
During Spring, Autumn and Winter, please arrange your departure time between 9am-12 noon on our regular Departure Days, to give you time to relaxingly pack and say goodbye.

Please note:

  • During the Summer Opening on Departure Day mornings there may be presentations by monastics in the hamlet where you’re staying, finishing around 11am. We provide shuttles to Ste Foy Train Station throughout the day on Departure Days, starting at about 7am.
  • During special short retreats (eg. Italian, Francophone, Educators, Business Retreat), there may be a Dharma Talk on the morning of Departure Day, finishing at midday. For such retreats we would recommend that you organise your departure for after lunch.

Transportation

Plum Village is located about 85 km east of Bordeaux. Thee are different ways to reach us:

Our small teams of brothers, sisters, and friends in the office are doing their best to care for current and future retreatants. Please kindly make all your travel arrangements and have a copy of the necessary documents before you come.

Train

Bordeaux is 2 from Paris by TGV (High-Speed Rail). Most of our friends change at Bordeaux St-Jean or Libourne to take the small train to Sainte Foy La Grande station.

Sainte Foy La Grande is a 25 minute drive from Plum Village.

Upper Hamlet and New Hamlet pick up and drop off friends at Sainte Foy La Grande on our Arrival and Departure Days (usually Friday); generally, between about 7 am and 7 pm. Detailed times from each hamlet are sent to you after reservation.

The transport between Lower Hamlet and Ste Foy La Grande on the arrival/departure day is taken care of by the taxi service: http://www.vtc-aquitaine.com/plum-village.php

To buy your train ticket, you can visit:

If you arrive outside of our pick-up times you can take a taxi to Plum Village. From Sainte Foy La Grande to any of our hamlets, the taxi costs around 40€ – 60€.
If you travel via Bergerac airport, then you can take a taxi to Bergerac train station and travel to Sainte Foy La Grande or you can take a taxi directly to Plum Village (cost around 40€ – 70€)

• 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
• VTC Jardini: +33 (0) 7.77.90.21.47
• Mr. Dumora: +33 (0) 6.30.03.00.49
• Bergerac Taxis: +33 (0) 5.53.23.32.32

Car Pooling

To help the Mother Earth and reduce CO2, you might like to participate in carpooling. We have a site for carpooling to Plum Village: Plum Carsharing
You may also like to check the international public carpooling websites: BlaBlaCar or Carpooling (for finding shared rides not listed on the limited-membership Plum Carsharing).

Directions from Google Maps

Upper Hamlet

Lower Hamlet

New Hamlet

Flying

Bordeaux has an international airport: Bordeaux-Merignac (BDX).

There is a shuttle from Bordeaux-Mérignac to Bordeaux St-Jean train station, which takes about 45 minutes. From there you can continue your journey by train.

Contribution and refund

Plum Village monastery is a non-profit charitable organization run entirely by Dana. “Dana” is a Pali and Sanskrit word meaning “donation” or “offering”.

The amounts listed on the registration form (ranging from 300 to 550 Euros) are Dana contributions per person and per week of retreat. We ask that you contribute the full amount as soon as you receive the contribution email from us.

We can offer 50% reduction for students under 25 years old, and 25% for students aged 26-28, upon presentation of a valid student card (this is only applicable to a dorm with shared bathroom or camping).

We gratefully accept additional donations to support our monasteries and service projects around the world. It is thanks to your participation and support that the monastic community can thrive and share the path of mindfulness practice, both in Plum Village and beyond.

You can contribute in the following ways:

• Through Stripe – a trusted online payment service based in Ireland. This includes Sepa – Direct debit, Creditcard, iDEAL, SOFORT & Bancontact.
• Cheque in Euros from a French bank. Please make cheques payable to Communaute Bouddhique Zen Village des Pruniers (or CBZVP).
(We cannot accept cheques from outside France, nor in currencies other than Euros)

Cancellation & Refund:

If you no longer can attend the retreat, please cancel your reservation as early as possible so the space can be offered to others.

If you let us know:

More than 3 weeks before the arrival date, your contribution will be refunded, minus a €50 cancellation fee & service charges.
Less than 3 weeks before the arrival date, 50 per cent of the contribution will be refunded.
On or after the arrival date, there will be no refund.

If we do not receive your contribution within 28 days of you making a reservation, the reservation will be automatically cancelled.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

What to bring

Essentials

  • Personal towel & toiletries
  • Flashlight
  • Alarm clock
  • Water bottle/thermos/travel mug
  • Water-proof shoes that are easy to slip on and off
  • Slippers
  • 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

For Large Retreats

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 outdoor
  • 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

Recommended

  • Ear plugs and eye mask, if you are a light sleeper
  • Insect repellent (mosquito, & potentially ticks, chiggers) in Summer & Autumn
  • Laundry soap – clothes washing is mostly by hand

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 many cultures from both East and West. 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, arms (to the elbow) and legs past the knees. Women 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.

In Plum Village 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

Generally, all our guests can stay for at least one week and a maximum of two weeks. This is applicable to all of our retreats in general.

It is also possible to come for a day (ie not to stay overnight in Plum Village) to attend one of our Day of Mindfulness (DoM) every Thursday and Sunday. Please read Day of Mindfulness for more details.

If you wish to stay longer than two weeks, then you are invited to write an aspiration letter describing with your motivation as well as the number of weeks you wish to extend your stay for. The community will take as a basis your practice of the first two weeks and your aspiration letter to reach a decision. Aspiration letter is not required for Summer Opening Retreat.

For more details on how to stay longer in Plum Village, you are invited to read Extended Stay.

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 French, English, 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:

Thich Nhat Hanh, is now living in Vietnam and is not able to give personal interviews to students and guests who come to Plum Village. It is possible to ask a question directly in person 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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