inspire (v.) mid-14c., enspiren, “to fill (the mind, heart, etc., with grace, etc.);” also “to prompt or induce (someone to do something),” from Old French enspirer (13c.), from Latin inspirare “blow into, breathe upon,” figuratively “inspire, excite, inflame,” from in- “in” (from PIE root *en “in”) + spirare “to breathe”. 

In the English to inspire and the French inspirer, the verb has the meaning of infusing into the mind a sense of wonder and exaltation. But in French, and in its original English sense, it also means to breathe in. The act of creation; of a book, a poem, a song, or a painting is one of letting out, a flowing from the interior to the exterior, so that what was held inside the mind and body become something visible and real. But this process of outflow is not possible without a deep filling of the well of creation first, of inspiration, of breathing in.

Join us in this magical setting in rural France, and let this process take place.

Inspire is a project of the writer Marcus Sedgwick, who has lived in France for the best part of a decade. The house, its gardens and woodland are perfect havens of creative beauty; come for a week and feel the difference it makes to your generative health.

How do retreats at Inspire work?

The idea behind Inspire is to allow your creativity the best chance to flourish. To this end, the retreats are small, so you get all the attention, or perhaps more to the point, all the space, that you’re looking for.

To make your days as free as possible, your lunch and evening meals are prepared and served to you, allowing you to spend your time working on whatever it is you have come to work on; be that a novel, a memoir, a work of non-fiction, a song…

Each room has a writing desk, so you can work in solitude, and there’s also the library and living room if you want to have some company. There’s fast wi-fi in the house in case you need to do a little research or contact home, or you can base yourself on a bench in the garden and connect to nature instead, with an acre of private woodland on the doorstep, and rolling countryside beyond, with churches and chateaux galore.

Who are the retreats for?

Anyone! Since Marcus, the host, is an author, we naturally have a focus on the written word, and we welcome writers at all stages of this lifelong voyage. Marcus has fifteen year’s experience of teaching on creative writing retreats, and is a kind and adept guide to helping you make another step on your writing path, whatever ‘level’ you’re at. Whether you’re writing your first piece and want close guidance, or are a published writer who just needs the peace and space to work, we welcome everyone to Inspire. Our guiding principle is that this is your time, and we simply do our best to offer you a place for your creativity to freely emerge.

However, we also welcome creatives of all other kinds; you can use your time at Inspire to compose a song as equally as a poetry collection, to draw or work on illustration. There is a guitar in each room, and a piano in the house for your use; for serious endeavours, or just for relaxing…


While anyone is welcome on the retreats here, we’re also trying to offer a rather indefinable resource for people with healing needs, of whatever kind. This springs from Marcus’ own experience with illness and recovery, and his interest in a triangle that is composed of the relationships between trauma, illness and writing. Why else, after all, do we write, than to attempt to express what we are struggling to express?

To this end, we can arrange specific somatic therapies during your time here, but more simply, the haven that is the setting provides a protective environment from which you can safely explore your three corners of this triangle.

For more on healing, go here.

To find out more about dates, prices and other practical matters, go here.