• NRuskell

Get away from it all: Healthy detox retreats at Azur Wellness in Biot

Azur Wellness is an oasis of health in the hills of Biot, offering day, weekend and week-long fasting retreats to get your body in shape.

Ever feel the need to get away? Like, ‘oh, I would love to do a yoga retreat in Costa Rica…’ But then, the mere thought of the planning, taking holiday from work, and the expense of booking a retreat in a far-off land just feels like more stress? Or maybe, you’re not feeling your best and you know a juice or dry fast would do wonders for your health but you can’t actually get yourself to stick to it? Well, it turns out that you don’t have to travel far to get away from it all, to disconnect with a private yoga session, or to detox and rejuvenate your body.

In fact, you can do all this and more in one-day, weekend or even week-long retreats right here in Biot. Christine Paul, a Yacht-Chef turned plant-based health specialist has created Azur Wellness, a haven of health and healing in a beautiful Provençal villain the hills of Biot. Providing en-suite accommodations for a small group of health-seeking souls, Christine prepares all the meals (or juices/broth for fasting retreats), has a professional yoga instructor give classes and leaves plenty of time for resting with herbal tisanes, detoxing in the sauna and invigorating with a cold plunge in the pool.

Christine has had a long-term interest in health, nutrition, wellness and complementary therapies and she has travelled the globe to learn the various approaches and methods to healing the body. She is a member of the FFJR (Francophone federation of fasting and hiking) which is dedicated to fasting based on Dr Buchinger's method.

Now, she focuses on helping people rejuvenate their mind, body and spirit by reclaiming their health with specialised detoxing and fasting retreats with a combination of fasts complemented by outdoor hikes, yoga, mindfulness activities, massages, cookery demonstrations, nutritional advice, and much more. By taking out the obstacles to detoxing and eating well, Christine provides a safe, temptation and habit-free environment while also taking out all of the guesswork - mainly, that pesky food prep! According to Christine, the focus of each retreat is about creating a new improved, healthier individual.

One-day Wellness Retreat

Azur Wellness recently invited Riviera Insider to a one-day wellness retreat to discover this getaway nestled near the tech hubbub of Sophia Antipolis.

Her proposal:

‘For your special Wellness Day “off”, you will be treated to a morning of Yoga, food demonstrations, a delicious plant-based lunch, sauna and relaxation. As well as have the opportunity to learn about the various types of fasting methodologies I offer and their benefits.’

I must admit, I was sceptical that one day away would be enough to ‘unplug’ from my recent onslaught of family/health/work/life crises – especially a place barely 4 km from my office! Nevertheless, Christine’s invitation felt like a gift from the Universe.

A South of France sanctuary

Arriving at the stone house surrounded by bushes of rosemary and vines of flowers is already enough to start the release of tension. The freshly pressed green juice was at the ready as interesting people from all walks of life arrived. This was a discovery day with other journalists and local health professionals and there was instantly an air of wellness amongst these different but like-minded individuals.

We are each shown to our rooms, each with ensuite bathrooms and underfloor heating (a lovely surprise for a cool autumn day). Then it was restorative yoga, followed by herbal tea and a cooking demonstration of raw, vegan Pad Thai, gluten and grain-free seeded crackers, a ginger tahini dip and vegan chocolate truffles.

Then we moved out to the garden, enjoying the warming November sun as Christine whipped up a fabulous feast for lunch.

A lively and enjoyable lunch of sesame kale salad, sauteed mushrooms, almond cabbage salad, crudités with dip and vegan Pad Thai was devoured at the garden table, laughing, sharing and having a truly wonderful time. Then we changed into suits for the sauna and those who braved the repeated cold-plunges were the seasoned experts - who also had the best skin!

The sauna turned more into a traditional sweat lodge, as we each shared stories, laughed and listened attentively to one another, building comradery and friendship.

By the late afternoon, we retreated to our rooms to shower and dress, reemerging with rosy, shinny cheeks, to find a spread of raw, vegan desserts. We sat together one last time, enjoying matcha ‘cheese’ cake and chocolate truffles, warmed by more herbal tea and good conversation. And that’s when it struck me - for the entire day, I felt transported far away - far from work and life and worries. And I realised that even a single day retreat can feel like you’ve gone on holiday.

If you, or someone you know (and need to get a gift for), can use a transformative healthy getaway, look no further than Azur Wellness.

-Nicole Ruskell

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