Category Archives: Loire Valley Writers Retreat

Travel at from Paris to Angers at a speed of up to 200mph on the TGV!

Easy ways to get to Le Chateau du Pin

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Would you like to come to the Chateau du Pin writing retreat with a well-planned route that is easy to follow? My wife Norma is a great planner, plus she reads French, German and Italian, so she has figured it all out for you.

First: Would you like to fly into Paris, or into Nantes? The advantage of flying into Paris is that it’s Paris. Paris is an amazing, life-changing city. Nothing can describe Paris. If you haven’t been there, you owe it to yourself to come a couple of days early and see Paris. The advantage of flying into Nantes is that it is easier to get to the chateau from Nantes than from Paris.

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Charles de Gaulle airport

Getting to the Chateau du Pin from Paris

To get to the chateau from Paris, you will need to take the TGV from Gare Montparnasse to the city of Angers. To get to the Gare Montparnasse directly from Charles de Gaulle Airport, take the Les Cars Air France shuttle (16.60€) to Gare Montparnasse. (If you are spending a few days in Paris, take a taxi or other form of transport to Gare Montparnasse.) From Gare Montparnasse take the one-hour and forty-minute TGV ride to the city of Angers (book via Raileurope.com: $88 U.S. and up. Trains travel at speeds up to 200mph. They depart every one to two hours.) Then from the train station in Angers, take a fifteen-minute local train ride to the village of Champtocé-sur-Loire. Trains depart from Angers to Champtocé-sur-Loire at 12:30 pm arriving 12:45 pm; 3:37 pm arriving 4:00 pm; and 6:05 pm arriving 6:30 pm. Depending on which train you take, we can pick you up at the Champtocé-sur-Loire train station at 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm, or 6:30pm. If you arrive and have not made prior plans to be picked up, or you don’t see anyone there waiting for you, call or text Norma at 415 317-4460. We are here to help!

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Nantes Atlantique airport, Hall 1

Getting to the Chateau du Pin from Nantes

It’s easier and quicker to get to the village of Champtocé-sur-Loire if you fly into Nantes, and the total prices are comparable, once you add up all the train travel. In Nantes Airport, Hall 1, buy a 7.00€ shuttle ticket  for Gare de Nantes. At Gare de Nantes, buy a ticket to Champtocé-sur-Loire, 17.00€. Take train from Nantes to Champtocé-sur-Loire (7:41 am arrive 8:30, 12:11 pm arrive 12:58 , and 5:35 pm arrive 6:30 pm).  (You can also buy this ticket in advance through RailEurope.) We can pick you up at the train station at Champtocé-sur-Loire at 8:45 am, 1:00 pm, or 6:30 pm. Or call or text Norma at 415 317-4460. If you have any questions please let us know–we are here to help!

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Surely, true inspiration comes from within

But writing in a magnificent French château surrounded by 300 acres of topiary, formal gardens, parks, woodland trails and vineyards can’t hurt.

Maybe you’re perfectly content writing by yourself day after day in your kitchen on that old table, or at your cramped desk in the spare bedroom. Fine. À chacun son goût. You can find us this September at Le Château du Pin, a private French château in the Loire Valley which the French government has officially classified as a “Monument Historique.” We’ll be writing together in daily Amherst Writers and Artists workshops, using the power of the group to keep us from the many devilish maladies endemic to the literary calling.

Now look. I’m not a rich guy. I don’t come from money. I wouldn’t know how to get up on my high horse even if I could afford one. I’m as proletarian as the next lug.

But who doesn’t like a well-appointed Louis XIV drawing room?  I mean, even a person of modest means has choices. We could do our workshops in a nice Ramada Inn conference room in Fremont, or Watertown, or Atlanta. Or we could go to France. What’s it gonna be?

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Maybe our writing will get an extra boost from Le Pin’s gardens and grounds, which the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication has designated “Des Jardins Remarquables.” Or maybe we’ll just enjoy that for its own sake and let our writing take care of itself. All I know is—and I’ve been  a professional writer for about 30 years—this stuff gets old. Writing, or trying to learn to write, or looking for inspiration in the same old postage stamp of land, well, it worked for William Faulkner, but he was an odd duck. He liked to get so drunk he couldn’t get out of bed and then write from there. So, like I said. À chacun son goût. Or, in English: What’s wrong with getting out of the house now and then? I like to at least put my slippers on. Anyway …

You have to hand it to my wife, Norma, she of the many languages spoken and the intrepid traveler’s spirit. She found this place. She did all the work. We’ll just go and sleep in big French beds and come down in the mornings and eat croissants and then languish in the glory of our own collective unconscious.

So here’s the program, basically the same as the program at the Marconi Conference Center, and at Guest House in Chester, Connecticut, and in Tuscany and Amsterdam:

Mornings and most afternoons will be devoted to writing workshops. Workshops at Le Château du Pin will take place in the Grand Salon on the ground floor. When workshops are not taking place, the entire ground floor, including the tower library, Grand Salon, Petit Salon, and dining room are at your disposal for reading, writing, dreaming, and relaxing throughout the day. Feel free to wander into a secluded nook in the gardens to write, walk the trails of Le Pin, relax by the pond in the formal garden, or venture into the charming small town of Champtocé-sur-Loire. Angers is the nearest major town (about 15 miles away) and is also a beautiful place to visit. Nantes is also in easy reach. Check out this page to get more information on getting to and from Château du Pin.

TopiaryPondPrices range from $1699 to $1999. Some of the rooms are small singles and others are large with king- or queen-sized beds. Bathrooms are shared with no more than one other person. If you choose one of the smaller rooms, rest assured that there is plenty of room in the château and on the property in which to escape for peace, relaxation, and a beautiful view. All workshops, breakfast, nightly family-style dinners, and a private conference with Cary are included in the price of registration. $975 saves any room. For more information about rooms and reservations check out our online store. If you have further questions or would like to talk to Cary about your writing goals, give him a call at 415.308.5685 or email us at info@carytennis.com. Allez, on y va!

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