Invites you to…

Design Your Story in France

A 10 Day Writing Retreat & Workshop
with April Bosshard

July 3rd to 12th, 2019



Relax ~ Write ~ Connect


Take your writing to France and experience the magic of Château Orquevaux.

This stunning château in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France will enliven your senses and inspire your imagination. Captivating, calming, and full of creative energy, this place naturally calls forth one’s muse.


Join me, April Bosshard, for a very special retreat for creative writers. This is a one-of-a-kind invitation to relax and reconnect with your story while you deepen your love of writing.

Château Orquevaux hosts artist residencies most months of the year. Artists from around the world visit for two or four week stays, but we will have exclusive use of the château for this July 2019 writing retreat.

For ten days, Château Orquevaux will feel like your home. You will be able to relax, rest, play, explore, and bien sûr, create to your heart’s content!


Time to relax, write, and connect with other passionate creators.

This unique retreat offers writers time and space to work on their chosen writing project in an inspiring and supportive setting. Writers will be encouraged to dive deeply and joyfully into their creative process.

Writing workshops will take place in the mornings and some afternoons. All writers will receive a private story coaching session and personal feedback. In addition to focusing on craft, attention will be given to cultivating and maintaining a meaningful writer’s life.

The retreat and workshop is open to all writers working on any type of project, though it’s particularly suited to those with an interest in writing novels, screenplays, and memoirs.

In the spirit of creating a safe, encouraging environment for writers to deepen their process and make progress on their individual projects, work will not be shared or critiqued.

This retreat seeks to provide a nurturing atmosphere for dedicated writers who are: ready to refine their connection to the creative process; open to having creative conversations with other writers; and longing for a break from their usual routine (and possibly even a breakthrough in their writing). 

Your host: April Bosshard

Retreat and Workshop Facilitator, Creator of Deep Story Design

Sometimes called a “story whisperer” and other times a “story genie,” April is a deft and experienced workshop facilitator and story coach who works with writers around the world. Her keen awareness of story principles and deep understanding of the writer’s craft sheds light on many of the complex issues writers face when it comes to story creating and sticking to the writing process. More about April.

“April helped me to get clear about my story. Her process, tools, and tricks helped me to free myself from writer’s block and dead-end journeys that waste time. She is a story wrangler.”
~ Laura Haas, North Carolina

“April is an intuitive, skilled and extremely generous story coach. She has given me exactly what I needed to take my writing seriously and evolve to the next phase.”
~ Dr Bernadette Geraghty, Australia

“April is the deep of Deep Story Design. She is a gentle Story Whisperer, so talented at what she does, with a remarkably deep understanding of story and a way of embracing the whole room with her generous spirit.”
~ Margo Lamont, Vancouver, BC

A Note From April


I have had my own profound creative experiences at Château Orquevaux and so I can honestly attest to the magic and wonder of this place. It is a place to be both playful and serious. A place to confront oneself and one’s creative work. A place to connect with like-minded creative souls. A place that helps to reawaken what matters deeply to you.

There is something powerful about living and working communally with other creative people, even for a short time. You’re sure to make a creative leap if you make the time to come here. I know I did.  And that’s why it was important to me to create a workshop like this for others.

I truly believe that writing teaches writing, and if writers have the opportunity to dive deeply into the creative process, in a special environment and with the right kind of guidance and support, magic can happen.

If you’d like to talk to me in person, please get in touch and we can set up a call. 

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you imagined.” ~Thoreau
Picture yourself here…
The château and its surroundings will be your home for ten sweet days…

Bedrooms are spacious and comfortable and fitted with Queen beds with duvets, white sheets, and fluffy pillows.

There are 3 shared bathrooms with a total of 3 large showers, 1 soaker tub, 4 toilets, and 2 bidets.

Delicious homemade French food.

Meals at Château Orquevuax

During the week, meals will be made for us by Marie. She can provide vegetarian and/or wheat free options. Dinners will include a glass of wine. On the weekend, we may go out to a nearby town for dinner on Saturday (not included in price), and we will co-create a meal together on Sunday. For lunches we will feast on plentiful leftovers that we prepare ourselves. Croissants and baguettes will be provided each morning (except for Monday when the boulangerie is closed). Coffee, tea, yogurt, fruit, and farm eggs will also be available. You will be well fed with delicious, homemade French food.

Typical Days at the Château

Typical days at Château Orquevaux can include relaxing mornings and languorous afternoons. You may choose to get up early to write, meditate, walk or do yoga in the salon. Y0u’ll be free to create a self-serve breakfast whenever you wish, knowing that fresh, warm croissants and baguette will be delivered around 9 am most mornings. Our writing workshops will convene most days from 9:45 to 12:45. After that, we’ll take lunch together or solo, feasting on dinner leftovers, kitchen provisions, or personal groceries. Afternoons might include a village or forest walk, a stroll around the property, a nap in the hammock, or a swim or a ride in the paddleboat on the lake. And more writing, of course!  A couple of writers will partake of private story coaching session with April. We’ll gather for one of Marie’s beautifully prepared dinners around 6:30 most evenings. Dinner might be followed by games, talks, or readings on some nights. Quiet time will be encouraged after 10 pm.

(Please note: Participation in planned events is always encouraged but never mandatory. If you end up in a deep writing flow, go with it!)

Give yourself the time to renew your dedication to your writing.

Fee includes:
9 nights accommodation at Château Orquevaux
French Meals*
Daily Writing Workshops
Story Coaching Sessions & Feedback
Post Retreat Writing Support
(*8 dinners plus self serve breakfasts and lunches)
$500 deposit required to hold your spot
Full payment requested by April 30th, 2019
Payment Plans Available ~ Email to Discuss

Two road diverged in a wood and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”  ~ Robert Frost


Do I need to be able to speak French?
Not at all. The retreat will be conducted in English.

Where is the château?
In the small town of Orquevaux, which lies approximately 300 km east of Paris in the region of Champagne-Ardenne. It’s about a 3 hour drive or a 2 to 2.5 hour train ride, depending on the speed of the train. The train takes you to the town of Chaumont, the nearest train station, where we can arrange for you to be picked up. From there, it’s a 30 minute drive to Orquevaux.

How do I get to Château Orquevaux by train?
You can take the train from the Gare de l’Est in Paris to the Chaumont train station, where we can arrange for you to be picked up.

What if I want to bring a car?
You may want to rent a car if you choose to drive yourself to the château and/or plan to enjoy some self-directed excursions before, during, or after the retreat. (Check to see if you need an international drivers license.)

What else is there to see in the area?
Orquevaux itself is off the beaten path, which is why it is perfect as a retreat setting. But we are not far from the regions of Champagne, Burgandy, and Alsace. The main city for Champagne is Reims, which is 2 hours away by car. Dijon, the heart of Burgandy, and the smaller town of Beaune are about 90 mins away. In Alsace, the French city of Strasbourg lies near the German border and is under 3 hours away. All of these destination are reachable by train as well.

Why do I have to talk to April bef?
This is simply so that we can get an idea of your project, writing style, and personal intentions for the retreat. We will be a small group (approximately 10 to 12 writers) living, working,and playing together for 10 days/9 nights and we need to ensure that we have a compatible group. All writers, from emerging to professional, are welcome.

Do I get my own bedroom?
Yes. If you would like to share a room with a friend who is also attending the retreat, you will each receive a slightly reduced rate.

Do I get to write in a private space?
The château is full of places to set up a laptop, and you might want to move around from day to day. But you will also have the choice to set up your own private office in one of the artist studios on the top floor. You will be provided with a desk, chair, and lamp.

What if I have dietary constraints?
Our wonderful cook, Marie is generous and flexible and able to create vegetarian options dishes if they are needed. Please let us know if you have special dietary requests. We will our best to accommodate each writer’s needs. (You will have a chance to visit a grocery store to stock up on items not provided by the château.)

What if I have some physical limitations?
You must be physically able to handle going up and down stairs.  There is no elevator at the château. There is one bedroom on the ground floor, but you still have half a flight of stairs from the outside to the inside of the building. 

Are there laundry facilities?
Yes. There are several washing machines and dryers on site. This allows you to pack lightly and wash things as needed.

Any other comfort tips?
It will likely be warm and dry in July, but you may want to bring a pair of slippers to wear in the house and a jacket, scarf, or wrap for the evenings. If it is hot, you are welcome to swim in the lake out front, so why not pack a swimsuit just in case? In case of rain, be aware that this is the countryside and it can get muddy from time to time.

What happens after the retreat?
April will offer a special monthly writing group for retreat participants from September to December 2019 to provide ongoing support for the projects worked on during the retreat. In addition, each writer will also have the option of a one hour story coaching call to be scheduled within 6 months of the retreat. 

Have I missed a question? Please let me know!

Practical Details and Retreat Schedule


Arrivals & Departures

Please plan to arrive between 3 pm and 6 pm on Wednesday July 3rd.
Please plan to depart around by noon on July 12th.

The nearest train station is in the town of Chaumont. If you plan to travel by train from Paris or another city, please try to arrive at the station between 2 and 5 pm, if possible. We will arrange to pick you up from the station and drive you to Château Orquevaux.

On the 12th, train departures between 11 am and 2 pm are ideal.

If you plan to rent a car and drive yourself to the château, please contact April to see about ride sharing.

Retreat Schedule (subject to change)

Wednesday July 3rd
Arrivals ~ 3 to 6 pm
Settling in and Orientation
Welcome Dinner and Champagne Toast ~ 6:30 to 8 pm
Introductions & Intentions Circle ~ 8 to 9 pm

Thursday July 4th 
Breakfast ~ 8:30 to 9:30
Writing Workshop in the Salon ~ 9:45 to 12:45
Lunch ~ 1 to 2 pm
Individual Coaching Sessions ~ 2:30 to 4:30
Dinner ~ 6:30 to 8 pm

Friday July 5th
Breakfast ~ 8:30 to 9:30
Writing Workshop in the Salon ~ 9:45 to 12:45
Lunch ~ 1 to 2 pm
Individual Coaching Sessions ~ 2:30 to 4:30
Dinner ~ 6:30 to 8 pm

Saturday July 6th
Breakfast ~ 8:30 to 9:30
Writing Workshop in the Salon ~ 9:45 to 12:45
Lunch ~ 1 to 2
Optional visit to Chaumont market
Dinner out in nearby Joinville

Sunday July 7th
Breakfast ~ 8:30 to 9:30
Writing Workshop in the Salon ~ 9:45 to 12:45
Pot luck group dinner (made with market ingredients)
Poetry Reading (bring a favorite poem to read aloud)

Monday July 8th
Breakfast ~ 8:30 to 9:30
Special Excursion to Renoir’s house and studio in Essoyes
Dinner ~ 6:30 to 8 pm
Group Literary Reading (voluntary)

July 9th
Breakfast ~ 8:30 to 9:30
Writing Workshop in the Salon ~ 9:45 to 12:45
Lunch ~ 1 to 2 pm
Individual Coaching Sessions ~ 2:30 to 4:30
Dinner ~ 6:30 to 8 pm

July 10th
Breakfast ~ 8:30 to 9:30
Writing Workshop in the Salon ~ 9:45 to 12:45
Lunch ~ 1 to 2 pm
Individual Coaching Sessions ~ 2:30 to 4:30
Dinner ~ 6:30 to 8 pm

July 11th
Breakfast ~ 8:30 to 9:30
Writing Workshop in the Salon ~ 9:45 to 12:45
Lunch ~ 1 to 2 pm
Farewell Champagne Dinner ~ 6:30 to 8 pm

July 12th
Packing & Goodbyes
Depart Château by 12 noon on the 12th

Please Note: Yoga will be offered most mornings between 7 and 8:15 am.


To stay in touch about this event and others, please send me your name and email
address and I’ll add you to my newsletter list. Merci!

“We are waiting for youoooooooooo!”