Deepen your roots – plant trees and meditate at Bonnevaux

Come and spend a week in nature with us on the beautiful grounds of Bonnevaux.


16 - 25 Feb, 2023

Bonnevaux is set on 65 hectares (160 acres) in a small valley which comprises woods, meadows, grazing lands and fields. Much of the property is wooded and consists of many ancient oaks trees. The grounds are home to wild boar, small game, deer and a great diversity of bird life. The goal of the retreat centre is to bring in harmony with nature in its rural setting.

Come and spend a week in nature with us on the beautiful grounds of Bonnevaux.

We hope to be a team of about 20 people who enjoy being outside and meditating together (or learning to meditate). We will be planting hundreds of bare-root trees and shrubs that will increase bio-diversity, help with sound insulation, protect areas from wind, support wildlife and provide edible fruits. Between meditations as we go outside each day to plant, you will experience the wonder of working in the land — and the hope is that you will discover a deepening of your embodied perception of the wholeness and holiness of nature.

At Bonnevaux our daily rhythm of meditation nourishes and informs our work and relationships. Our mission is to share this with you when you come and stay in the hope that you will take the graceful insights you receive as tools towards a more contemplative lifestyle that strengthens your roots and foundations in a troubled, polarised world – and so to be peace for others.

Your stay at Bonnevaux will be free of charge though we would be delighted if you felt you could make a donation.

The field work will be adapted to each person’s strength and abilities, so don’t be shy to join us whatever your physical condition might be. Different tasks will be shared between the participants: bringing trees to their position, planting, adding straw and protection against the deer. The ground will be prepared in advance so there will be no heavy digging; and there will be some indoor tasks. 

Plants are offered free by “Prom’ Haies en Nouvelle-Aquitaine.” The community at Bonnevaux, Thomas Litzler our organic farmer, and Jean-Christoph who has looked after the land for many decades, will work together to make this an agreeable, fun, and productive time for everyone.

You are welcome to come for a day if you live nearby. We will offer you lunch and coffee breaks. 

Important: if you sign up for this project, please make every effort to commit to come and help us complete this important work. It is vital we have accurate numbers when calculating accommodation and meal quantities (free for participants) as well as the hours and hands required for the planting work itself.

We will be planting:

Oaks, cherry, white poplar, willow, walnut, service or sorb tree, elm, linden

Common hawthorn, wild pear, crab apple, elder, field maple.

Alder buckthorn, common dogwood, dog rose, privet, viburnum

What clothing to bring:

  • change of layers and woollens
  • change of boots
  • house shoes
  • rain gear
  • gardening gloves if you have them

Bonnevaux is near Poitiers, France, southwest of Paris. It is 20-minute ride from Poitiers Airport and train station. The journey by train to Poitiers is about 90 min from Paris (Montparnasse).

By road

5 hour drive from Paris along the A10. Parking is available at Bonnevaux. Get directions here

By air

Fly into Poitiers Airport, served by low-cost airlines. The airport is a 20-minute drive from the Abbaye. To the Poitiers Biard Airport website 

Fly into Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport – click here to get all travel info to and from the airport.

Fly into Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport – click here to get all travel info to and from the airport.

By train

1.5h by TGV from Paris to Poitiers station which is about 20 minutes drive from Bonnevaux. To the Gare de Poitiers Train Station website

  • Speakers
  • Schedule

Deepen your roots - plant trees and meditate at Bonnevaux


ArrivalThursday 16 February 2023, check-in: 14:00 – 17:00
DepartureSaturday 25 February 2023, after lunch (15:00)


You are welcome to come for a day if you live nearby.  Best times to arrive are: 7:45, 9:00, or 12:00.

You will be most helpful if you are with us from the morning to the afternoon planting times. Please consider being with us for meditation.

Lunch and coffee breaks are offered.

7:45 – 8:45Morning prayer and meditation (optional)
9:30 – 12:00Planting
with Coffee/ Tea Break   included
12:15 – 13:00Midday prayer and meditation   (optional)
14:00 – 17:30Planting
with Coffee/ Tea Break   included
18:00Evening prayer & Meditation (optional)
  • Contribution
  • Your stay at Bonnevaux will be free of charge though we would be delighted if you felt you could make a donation.
  • You will have your own room, or you will share a room with another participant. 
  • Bedlinen and towels are provided. 
  • Full pension is included. 
  • If you live nearby and choose to join us without accommodation, we will offer you lunch and coffee breaks.
  • Registration

To register for the retreat with  accommodation or for a day, please contact Marie-Christine via  the email address  <contact@bonnevauxabp.com> .

Event is fully booked.


— If you need to cancel your registration, please inform us immediately as we will be counting on you to finish our work.

Membership is offered

Membership is valid from Jan – Dec.

** by French law you must be a ‘member‘ of the charity (association ABP) Abbaye de Bonnevaux – Centre Pour la Paix in order to participate at an on-the-ground event at Bonnevaux – 86370 Marçay, France.

Membership is non-binding. It simply means that you are invited to attend the annual general meeting if you wish and that you may receive information about our events during the year.

The Abbey of Bonnevaux is the spiritual home of the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) which includes a Conference and Retreat Centre dedicated to peace. The on-the-ground activities of the Abbey are organized under the responsibility of l’Association Abbaye de Bonnevaux – Centre pour le Paix (ABP).  The Association, which is governed by the French law of 1st July 1901, is registered in Poitiers under the reference RNA: W863007299.

Address : Bonnevaux, 86370 Marçay, France.
Phone number : 06 33 43 71 71 / 06 61 96 57 74.
José Pype (President of the Association); Giovanni Felicioni (Associate Director and Programme Manager)
Site hosting: Flywheel

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