The Plum Village Foundation has acquired a new practice center in the French village of Verdelot, close to Paris. The first monks have moved into the monastery and have begun preparations for the center’s first official retreat.
The foundation acquired the new center to accommodate overwhelming interest in mindfulness retreats, not least from people living stressful lives in large cities such as Paris. An announcement on the Plum Village website reads:
Each year thousands of new practitioners discover the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and want to apply them in their daily lives. To meet the needs and wishes of those who would like to come to our centers, we have founded a new monastery an hour east of Paris. We hope to bring the essence of Plum Village, within easy reach of one of the largest cities in the world. (Plum Village)
Healing Spring Monastery, as the new center has been named, is situated in the village of Verdelot, located between the cities of Paris and Reims. The center is accessible via public transport from Paris—taking just 85 minutes by bus—making it an ideal location for visitors from Northern Europe. The monastery is situated on 1.8 hectares of land surrounded by green hills and has its own spring and two small rivers, from which it derives its name. The 19th century buildings of the monastery used to house a catholic convent.
Healing Spring Monastery is the second Plum Village center close to the French capital, the other being Maison De L’inspir, a small center run by nuns in Noisy-le Grand. As with Plum Village in the south of France, interest in retreats and mindfulness programs at Maison De L’inspir far surpasses capacity. As Sister Giac Nghiem shared on the Healing Spring website:
As the number of people wanting to participate in our retreats is growing our house can no longer meet all the needs and demands. This is why we have asked our brothers to come and help support us in the Paris region. The idea to create a monastery for our brothers will allow us to meet the urgent need that is resonating over Paris and its region. (Healing Spring Monastery)
Preparations for the first retreat and the opening of the monastery are underway. On 17 November, the 90-day winter retreat will commence at the monastery. People are invited to participate in the entire 90 days of the retreat, join for a week or more, or take a break from city life and stay for a day or a weekend of peace, quiet, and mindful meditation.
In their current state, the buildings of the monastery can accommodate up to 20 monastic and 20 retreatants. Plum Village intents to increase the capacity up to 50 retreatants after some necessary renovations and updates to the facilities.
Plum Village is a Buddhist meditation center in the Dordogne, in the south of France, founded by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and Buddhist nun Sister Chan Khong in 1982. It has grown from a small center into a large complex with several hamlets housing monastics and lay practitioners during their visits or retreats. The center has various sister monasteries and branches all over the world.
The new center in Verdelot has been acquired with the help of donations and a friendly loan, but more funds are needed for renovations and loan payments. The center is currently raising the funds via its website.
Come and visit our new practice center near Paris (Plum Village)
Sister Giac Nghiem shares her dream – Why we need a new Practice Centre near Paris (Healing Spring Monastery)
Healing Spring Monastery