a life-changing writing retreat

Join Jess Lourey, bestselling author and award-winning writing professor, and Allison Quaid, writing coach and healer, on this week-long, women’s 2019 writing retreat held in a luxurious villa just north of Paris. Whatever your writing experience and goals, prepare for an alchemy of escapism, creativity, and renewal at this grand location!

June 2 - 8, 2019

60 minutes outside of Paris, France

One day will be spent in Paris doing a literary tour of St. Germain and chocolate tasting.

***May 15 is the deadline to register for this retreat—reserve your spot now!

Connect with your creativity.
Honor your courage.
Nourish your body.
Claim your voice.

This retreat gifts you the dedicated time, space, and guidance that your writing deserves! Jess and Ali have four decades of writing and life coaching experience between them, which means they’re uniquely qualified to make you comfortable and guide your writing to the next level, whether you are a beginning writer or have several projects under your belt. Mornings are spent in writing workshops while afternoons are given over to exploration and play, with optional one-on-one writing guidance always an option.

The workshop takes place in a stunning, luxurious five-star villa with a private pool near the Morienval Abbey, located in the Oise region, an area an hour north of Paris (and accessible by train). This section of France is sprinkled with castles and farmers’ markets and drenched in history and spiritual power.

Workshop Overview

During our week together, we’ll begin each morning with a nourishing meditation and a delicious, healthy breakfast. After you’re focused and oriented, you’ll set your writing goal for the day. Jess and Ali will provide proven writing techniques designed to help you release writing blocks, organize your time, and find your motivation. You’ll uncover the heart of your creativity—whether you’re not yet sure what you want to write, or you’re working on a deeply personal memoir, a nourishing nonfiction project, or a captivating novel—so you have a true-north compass for your writing journey.

Your afternoon is set aside for rest and play! Nap, write on your own on the private deck overlooking a forest and an 11th-century abbey, research, receive individual coaching, explore the abbey and its world-famous rose gardens, take an inspiring hike through the woods or a dip in the private pool, bike to the nearby town on charming country roads, or exchange plot ideas with other women. We’ll come together after dinner to share our writing.

You’ll be shown how to:

  • Find the emotional heart of the story you need to tell

  • Give shape to your stories

  • Connect with your voice and bring it onto the page

  • Create cinematic atmosphere in any project

  • Apply the foolproof ARISE Method to edit your work

  • Overcome blocks and make friends with time

  • (Re)discover the joy of writing

This retreat is for women who want to:

  • Work with master instructors who value laughter, creativity, and community

  • Reconnect and re-center

  • Begin or advance a written project

  • Explore the world with a fun-loving community of creatives

  • Bond with interesting, joyful women

  • Honor, celebrate, and strengthen their intuition

  • Enjoy fresh and delicious local cuisine

  • Dedicate time for creativity but also for play

  • Be cared for in a safe space

  • Laugh until their stomachs hurt!

All workshopping follows the Amherst Writing and Artists’ model as well as the principles of The Artist’s Way, two gentle, proven methods that recognize and nurture the creativity we are all born with. These methods support beginning creative writers as well as advanced writers.

We offer a nourishing mix of personalized instruction, relaxation, and community. Most of the guided writing will take place in the villa, with one or two workshops moving to the Abbey or the outdoors.

We will stroll the historically rich streets of Paris one afternoon to learn about the famous French female writers like George Sand and Colette, see where they lived and wrote, and sample five pastry and chocolate shops in the quaint St. Germain de Pres. More here.

To keep the setting intimate, registration is open only to women and capped at 15 registrants. Participants are encouraged to fly into Paris; Google Flights is a great place to find low-cost flights, and we’re happy to answer travel questions!


Retreat Leaders

Retreat leaders Jessie and Allison

Ali Quaid (CEO Creative Eco-Catalysts, rock star change-agent, 20 years experienced workshop facilitator, Reiki healer, storyteller) is an experienced writer and teacher who will offer you the support and instruction you need.

Jess Lourey is a TEDx presenter, Psychology Today blogger, creative writing professor, winner of The Loft’s Excellence in Teaching Fellowship and the bestselling author of 17 books. She wants to help you to write your best story.

*Allison and Jess’ retreats have been named to The Write Life’s Incredible Writing Retreats of 2019!


What other students have said about Jess and Ali

“When I signed up for Jessica Lourey ’s fiction writing workshop, I was at a low point. I was stuck. I longed to write a novel, but I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t think I had any stories worth telling. Jess helped me realize that I have a lifetime of experiences just waiting to be tapped into, a lifetime of stories, characters, settings and plot twists. Anyone can teach the mechanics of writing, but not anyone can inspire like Jess.” — Tina M., Minneapolis

"Jess Lourey is a rare double talent. She is an outstanding writer. Just as remarkable is Jess’ ability to teach writing to others. She clearly communicates the essence of good writing — whether it is giving a novice writer broad guidance on how to structure a novel or write sentences that grab the reader’s attention, or working with experienced writers on the fine art of wordsmithing to improve elements of pace, suspense or character development." — S. T., Indiana

“Allison, I felt you taught me to trust my creative ‘self’ and instincts on a very deep level through your writing class prompts. I found it confidence boosting, heart-felt, creative, thought provoking and a real learning process shared in a public, but very safe place which was fun and created a great writers’ pool.” — Rachel M., Ireland

“I found Allison’s feedback so encouraging and uplifting and appreciated the tips to go deeper into the character, the history, the sensorial impressions, and the emotions. She intuitively knows those vulnerable moments and is open for them. I liked that.” — Sara H., Germany