Contemporary Writers Retreat

Paris, June 7 - 13, 2020
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June 2020 Romance/Women's Fiction/Memoir Writing Retreat filling up quickly-only 2 places left!

Write your heart out

  • Daily workshops with themed field trips
  • Daily write-ins, in the field, at home, or at a classic Paris café
  • Meet with J’ai lu publishing’s head of e-Commerce and a bookseller to learn about the local market
  • One-on-one coaching with our in-residence writers
  • Work with our branding expert to connect to your writing and your audience


Live like a local

  • Spend 6 days and nights in a beautiful Art Nouveau guest house, in a relaxed, artsy neighborhood
  • Organic continental breakfasts (6 days), and delicious lunches (3) and dinners (2)
  • Shop at a farmer's market for group lunch supplies, and enjoy a selection of premium teas, coffee, and snacks in our private kitchen
  • Discover charming local shops and restaurants

Enjoy Paris

  • Get to know each other over a game of pétanque, followed by a relaxed dinner party
  • Finish your writing day near Paris's famed attractions, with time for sightseeing
  • Take tea at the salon that's made their blends from the Versailles kitchen garden since 1672
  • Indulge in a sumptuous cocktail at a luxury hotel bar
  • Say goodbye with a Seine dinner cruise

Your home in Paris

The moment you step into the Maison Pierre Chanzy, a 1902 Art Nouveau hotel with a storied past, you know you're in for a special treat.

Blending Belle Epoque charm with modern comfort and convenience, the Maison is in the heart of Paris's 11th arrondissement, close to city sights but hidden enough to provide the perfect retreat experience.

June 2020 Retreat Cost

Single occupancy with shared bathroom

Double occupancy with shared bathroom

We have a limited number of single-occupancy rooms; others are double-occupancy. All bathrooms are shared.

Traveling alone? Pas de probleme–we’ll pair you up with a roomie. Consider this a writing week away with girlfriends you haven’t met yet!

Reserve your place with a $500 deposit. Balance required by April 30th, 2020. Payment plans available.

Referred by Lisa Anselmo’s My Part-time Paris Life? Please email for your 10% discount and quote LISA10.

Your June 2020 Creative Team

Keris Stainton

June 2020 In-Resident Author/Coach
 Set It Like You Mean It

Setting is an essential aspect of fiction and memoir writing. Get it right and your setting becomes an intriguing secondary character; flub it–or try to fake it–and you’ll hear from readers. Keris Stainton has published books set in NYC, LA, London, and Italy (One Italian Summer, which Rainbow Rowell calls "Gentle and romantic. A holiday in itself."), and will guide you on how to make your setting resonate with your readers.

Keris is also our June 2020 in-resident coach.

She's the bestselling author of fourteen novels, including adult and YA romcoms and one Christmas novel for younger readers that is not a romance, but does star a talking pug. She previously worked as a bookseller, a PA in the music industry, and once got a casual job as an arena steward so she could see New Kids on the Block for free.

She was born in Canada, grew up on the Wirral, lived in London for a while and now lives in Lancashire with two boys, one guinea pig, an unhealthy obsession with One Direction (yes, she has a boyband problem) and a plan to move to the seaside in the next 12 months.

She can almost always be found on Twitter or Instagram, avoiding writing her next book (but she's working on it in her head. Probably).

Lisa Anselmo

Author/Branding Expert

Think Like a Brand

We all have a great story to tell, but how do you convince agents, publishers, and readers to care? Author, speaker, and branding coach Lisa Anselmo will show you how thinking like a brand can create a more compelling read—and a passionate following. She'll discuss everything from identifying your core theme to positioning yourself with a unified approach (head shots, website, marketing messaging), and even rebranding strategies for authors looking to relaunch their careers.

Lisa lives in Paris and NYC, and is the author of My (Part-Time) Paris Life—How Running Away Brought Me Home (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press). She also hosts a travel series on Youtube, My (Part-Time) Paris Life. She spent most of her professional career in magazine publishing, working on such iconic brands as Allure (Condé Nast)InStyle, and People (Time Inc./Meredith).

Her unique background in design and branding, as well as writing and performing, informs her coaching method, Finding Your Authentic Voice, which shows writers how to create—and market—a must-read, helping them and their work connect on a personal level with their audiences.


Juliette Sobanet

June 2020 Author
 Sense and Sensuality

Juliette Sobanet is the award-winning author of five Paris-based romance and mystery novels, five short stories, a book of poetry, the screenplay adaptation of her first novel, and a bestselling memoir, Meet Me in Paris.

Under her real name of Danielle Porter, she is the author of a new Paris-based thriller, All the Beautiful Bodies. Her books have hit the Top 100 Bestseller Lists on Amazon US, UK, France, and Germany, and her novels have been translated into Italian, Romanian, and Turkish.

A French professor and writing coach, Juliette holds a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.A. from New York University in France. She has been writing professionally for over thirteen years, and she adores helping students tap into their creative genius and make their writing dreams a reality. Juliette and her adorable cat, Charlie, split their time between France and the U.S.


Édith de Belleville

June 2020 Tour Guide
Marais DiverCity tour

Native Parisienne Édith de Belleville is the author of Belles et Rebelles, tales of the flamboyant, extraordinary women--including Joséphine de Beauharnais, George Sand and Sarah Bernhardt--who have left their indelible marks on the City of Light.

Passionate about Paris her whole life, Édith left a 20-year career as a lawyer to become a licensed tour guide, officially recognized by the French government. A voracious reader, Édith combines her love of literature, formidable knowledge of Paris, and admiration of rebellious women to lead engaging, witty tours. We're thrilled that she'll be showing us the Marais, with its richly diverse culture, through her unique perspective.

As well as her own writing, Édith is featured in Jamie Cat Callan's Parisian Charm School, and is currently collaborating on a book about Marie-Antoinette.


I love the sound of this, but I write historical/thrillers/another sub-genre. Can I still join you?

Absolutely! Although our June 2020 retreat is contemporary women's writing-oriented (that includes romance, women's fiction and memoirs), our workshops are not sub-genre-specific. We've called it contemporary to set it apart from the upcoming historical and paranormal retreats.

We have one requirement: our retreats are women only.

What if I want to spend all day writing at a café?

We get it--you have a whole week to yourself and you want to get down as many words as you can. While we've structured the program to include plenty of writing time amidst the rest of the cool stuff, we're not ones to ignore the calling. You can opt in or out of sessions as the muse strikes.

I don't know anyone else at the retreat. Who will I room with?

We'll pair you up or you can work that out on our Facebook group with the other attendees. Don't worry, though. Many of us have shared rooms at writer's conferences with people who've gone on to become great friends. We hope that happens at the retreats, too--and that you both keep coming back!

I live in Paris, or I'll be there at the time of the retreat but I already have accommodation booked. Can I still come along?

Yes! We'd love to have you join us. Please contact us to discuss options.

You only have two dinners in the program (the first and last nights). What do I do the other nights?

Each day's field trip will end near a Paris landmark, so you can sightsee; we've included suggestions in the detailed itinerary. Or you might decide to come back to the Maison and write, then venture out for dinner at one of the many excellent choices nearby.

We also have a well-equipped kitchen for meal preparation. There's no oven, just microwave and cooktop. (Pro tip: bread and cheese only need a cutting board 😉 )

Whatever you decide, you'll find someone willing to relax with a glass of wine while discussing writing on those mellow summer evenings that Paris loves to flaunt.

How many people will there be?

For the June 2020 retreat, and any others held at the Maison Pierre Chanzy, space permits 10 guests double occupancy, or 8 guests if the single occupancy options are filled, plus your retreat team. This gives us all room to write while ensuring we can book the place to ourselves.

Are flights/trains and other travel costs included in the retreat registration?

No. The only travel costs we cover are your métro pass for the week of the retreat (commencing Monday, June 8th) and to/from Sunday's pétanque game.

How do I get to the Maison Pierre Chanzy?

We'll provide you with detailed instructions upon registration. If you still have questions, we'll help you arrange transportation. You can also put a call out on the Facebook group to share a taxi or van, depending on who's arriving when.

What about the current strikes?

We expect those to be well and truly over by June. Either way, we're used to getting around les grèves, and have plenty of back-up plans for transport. Our venues are not currently impacted.

Is the Maison wheelchair-accessible?

Unfortunately not. As charming as it is, there’s no room for an elevator. To access the building, there’s a small flight of steps in the foyer, followed by a full flight to the first floor (common area, 2 bedrooms) and another flight to the second floor (4 bedrooms). If stairs are difficult for you, we’ll do our best to accommodate you in a first-floor bedroom.

Is the Maison air-conditioned?

No, but with Paris generally being very mild in June, it's usually not a concern. Fans will be available if you need them. And if by some quirk of nature it gets cold, we've stayed there in winter and it was toasty warm.

I have specific dietary needs. What can I eat?

Ohhh, we hear ya. Wherever possible, we'll use bio (organic) ingredients, as well as provide gluten-free/vegan/vegetarian options. For meals out, we've chosen restaurants and cafés that provide similar options.

We'll have filtered water (regular and fruit/herb) at the Maison and, to keep our environmental footprint light, your goody bag will contain a metal flask to fill before field trips. 

We'll also provide a list of local resources for your requirements before departure, plus you can ask questions on our Facebook group.

I still have questions.

Fire away!

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