PANCHAKARMA GUIDE » LOCATIONS » FRANCE » Gardoussel Retreat - The Sun Centre, St Andre de Valborgne, France

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Gardoussel Retreat - The Sun Centre, St Andre de Valborgne, France
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It is located in the lush Cevennes Mountains of the Languedoc region, Gardoussel ('guardian of the birds') is a magical oasis of calm in one of the most beautiful and untouched parts of France. This centre is a place of stunning simplicity and incredible natural beauty where guests can truly relax without the distractions of TV, crowds or traffic.
It is surrounded by glorious pine and holm oak forests, Gardoussel is a picturesque hamlet set in 45 acres of private meadow and woodland in the heart of the Mediterranean mountains, 1 hour from Nimes and 2 hours from Montpellier.

St Andre de Valborgne - Our local village is 1 km away along a small country road. There is a large natural swimming pool with waterfall just 5 minutes' walk towards the village, with picnic tables, benches and diving rocks: truly spectacular. Gardoussel lies just outside the national park but shares the same lush, wild scenery, tiny shale-built hamlets and quiet, unhurried way of life.

Nearest Airports: Nimes and Montpellier

 Alex & Sharon


Gardoussel Retreat - formerly known as The Sun Centre - lies in an estate of 45 acres, of which 15 acres is meadows at the edge of a river and the rest is woodland and mountains. The land is dynamic - both soft and hard, open and closed, bright and shaded. So there are plenty of places to find an undisturbed spot for meditation, reading or sunbathing.
Gardoussel's predecessor, The Sun Centre, was founded in 2001 after we moved from Scotland to France to follow our dream of creating a space where people could let go, relax and learn or develop tools for self-awareness, in beautiful natural surroundings. Our interest and integration of various traditions and methods into our family life is the basis of the experience that we share with our visitors.

Gardoussel Retreat regularly hosts Ayurveda courses, Ayurveda workshops, Ayurveda correspondence courses and Ayuryoga (Ayurvedic yoga) trainings organized by the European Institute of Vedic Studies.


Gardoussel Retreat offers themed Ayurveda and yoga holidays, writing workshops, gites and unstructured residential stays. Pamper yourself with a choice of therapies: Ayurvedic massage, Swedish massage, Ayurvedic consultations or classes, yoga classes, craniosacral therapy, acupuncture and Ayurvedic cookery lessons.


At Gardoussel, guests can pamper themselves with a variety of therapies or yoga classes all offered by qualified and experienced therapists.


Guests are accommodated in our gites (holiday apartments) and independent, en-suite bedrooms. We have 2 gites (holiday apartments) for rent for those who wish to stay with us on an independent basis.

Le Pigeonnier has two twin/double bedrooms with a 2-person sofa bed in the living room giving it a total capacity of 6 people. It has a large kitchen with an open-plan living/dining room, wood burning stove and a shaded terrace for outdoor dining, plus a shower room and a separate toilet.


Le Gîte Vert also has two twin/double bedrooms and a two-person sofa bed in the living room (total capacity 6 people). It has a living/dining room with an open fireplace and a modern fitted kitchen as well as a terrace shaded by overhanging vines for outdoor dining.

Both gites are available for let from Saturday to Saturday. Bedding is provided. Guests have the use of our loft workspace and outdoor yoga deck in addition to our 45 acres of meadow and woodland – perfect for ball games, lazing in a hammock and exploring. We also have five independent guest bedrooms in addition to the gites. All have been recently renovated and are available for rent in addition to one or both of our gites.

La Bergerie is a former barn adjacent to the main property containing three en-suite bedrooms, two with a double and a single bed, and the other with four singles. Le Nid. Previously a laundry room at the heart of the main building, le Nid was recently converted to create two three-person bedrooms, each with a mezzanine and a shared adjoining bathroom. Our full quota of bedrooms including gites can be rented together for residential group gatherings (workshops, seminars, courses) on a full-board or self-catering option only.


Delicious Ayurvedic meals, prepared using fresh, vegetarian ingredients, are served on our terrace with stunning views across the valley or, in cooler weather, inside our communal lounge / dining room. We use mostly organic, local produce and whole grains, not to mention local wine. Breakfasts are continental-style self-service. Meals are normally provided as part of an exclusive booking, but groups wishing to self-cater can be considered on a case by case basis.

Breakfast is self-service and continental-style (breakfast cereals, toast, jams, juices, tea / coffee etc). Lunch and dinner are normally prepared by Frances and Maggie under the guidance of Alex and consist of delicious, fresh, home-made vegetarian meals inspired by Ayurvedic nutritional principles, adjusted to western foods and culture. Most of the ingredients we use are organic and grown in the local area.


The charges for the following are: Ayurvedic Massage - 50€ for 60-90 mins, Swedish Massage - 50€ for 60-90 mins, Half Hour Massage - 30€, Cransiosacral Therapy - 60€ for 90 mins, Ayurvedic Consultation - Cost 60€, Ayurvedic Cooking Lessons - Cost 45€ per hour, Yoga classes - Cost 10€ per participant for a 90 mins class.

And the charges for the room are:  le Pigeonnier - 450€ per week and le Gîte Vert - 430€ per week.


We welcome groups and teachers who wish to run their own courses or workshops at Gardoussel. We usually run a few events ourselves during the summer months and others organized by the European Institute of Vedic Studies (EIVS) here in France.

The Loft makes an ideal yoga or bodywork studio. It has oak parquet flooring and is simply decorated, well ventilated, and equipped with a fire stove for use during colder weather. There is space for groups of up to 20-22 people seated or 12-14 people doing yoga or similar bodywork activities. Classroom tables and chairs available, also yoga mats and some meditation cushions.
Ideal for yoga practice and other body work. Situated under a tree canopy next to the river, our two decks (the smaller one rectangular and the larger one octagonal) benefit from plenty of shade in the heat of the day. Below the property, we have a long stretch of flat, grassy meadows offering an alternative space for group activities.


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Contact Details
Gardoussel Retreat - The Sun Centre, St Andre de Valborgne, France
Address: Gardoussel, 30940 St Andre de Valborgne, France.
Phone: +33 4 66 60 16 78
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