Lexis Retreats

A Retreat in the Heart of Gascony


Lexis: meaning the total stock of words in a language

This Autumn at the height of the Armagnac harvest Miv Watts (The Maverick Soul) and Raffaella Barker will be hosting a creative writing course in the stunning 17th century manor amid the rolling hills of the Gers, SW France. Using the house as inspiration, Raffaella will take our guests on a journey to enhance their writing skills.

The course will include excursions to stimulate the senses such as visits to the Ancient cellars of an Armagnac Chateau an excursion to a beautiful baroque chapel and visits to the markets of local medieval towns. Delicious lunches and dinners will be prepared daily by our Parisian chef Philippe. 

Author of the bestselling lifestyle book The Maverick Soul, Miv began her career as a window dresser for Burberry. She met and married Peter Watts sound engineer to the Pink Floyd with whom she had two children (Ben Watts Fashion Photographer, and Naomi Watts Actress).

Having enjoyed a global career as a Stylist in film, TV and Interior Design, she moved to the South of France and continues to create beautiful environments while working on a new book with Interiors photographer Tim Beddow.

Lexis is the latest iteration of Miv’s design work, and where she currently calls home.

Writers Retreat October and November with Raffaella Barker

To celebrate our first year of opening, we are honoured to be hosting acclaimed and prolific English writer of 9 novels, Raffaella Barker.

Writing can be a daunting prospect, and taking yourself off to somewhere beautiful with like minded people to spend a week immersed in your imagination is a dream you can have for real.

Creative writing courses are opportunities to hear how other people do things, to feel the support of the group and to make friends and talk. Raffaella Barker has taught numerous courses from Riad El Fenn in Marrakech to Villa Cetinale in Tuscany, from a valley in Devon to a West Coast Scottish Island. The courses she has run have included the renowned Arvon Foundation, the Faber Academy, the Guardian UEA Masterclass and private group weeks for up to 16 students.


Located in the Gers, Armagnac country, South West of France, Lexis houses three buildings on the property. Nothing in the house follows a straight line as the origin of this house dates back to three hundred years and all of the furniture is antique or bespoke. There is one permanent guest on the property; Whitty the cat, who regards herself as being the proprietor of all three dwellings and has the right to every bed. You, naturally have the right to shut her out!

MAISON de GUARDIEN: a four bedroom, three bathroom, farmhouse. All the rooms are full of character, decorated by Miv.

The PIGEONIERRE: a two bedroom, one bathroom house, equally as well appointed. 

The MANOIR: the main property and has 2 guest bedrooms, and is where host, Miv resides. 

Further info on rooms can be found here or by contacting us via the form below.

The Retreat

Writers workshop with Raffaella Barker, 6 Days, 5 Nights

Bring your reading lists and let’s discuss the beauty of language. Referring not only to the words we form as prose or poetry, but the language in our actions, our choices, our every day interactions and our gift of sight. The gift to observe the beauty in simple idyllic surroundings.

Designed as to be a non-structured writing week, in addition to our guided workshops, our writing retreats are an opportunity to give your writing the time and space it deserves.


1st October – 6th October


4th November – 9th November


5 nights accommodation, writing workshop hosted by Raffaella Barker, chef prepared lunches and dinner, and all other details as listed in the provided itinerary. 

A Day at Lexis

10:15am – 1:00pm – Writing workshop with a mix of short and longer creative exercises and a coffee break mid morning 

1:15pm – 2:15pm – Lunch 

In the afternoon, guests are free to go for walks, enjoy the local area, draw, read or work on individual writing projects 

Raffaella is available to meet for half an hour individually with guests, to be pre-organised with her in the morning. 

5:00pm – 6:30pm – Evening writing and discussion session led by Raffaella. This is an informal session before dinner to chat about writing and books. 

8:00pm – Nightly dinner with Chef Phillipe 

Email us for more information, or to book your stay.

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