In the little village of Montbrun Bocage, in the south of France, near the mountains called the Pyrénées, a group of friends had a dream that one day they could be living as neighbours in their ecological houses, surrounded by gardens producing organic food, with a common house in the middle where they could meet and celebrate life together.
After the preparations: ten years of inspired work, a lot of patience, deceptions, laughter and perseverance, the Amaranthe Eco-village is coming now into a new phase. Amaranthe invites the youth to come together to take part in the ecological construction of sustainable homes while immersing themselves in the natural wonders of the region, community lifestyle and the arts to explore what it means to be truly sustainable inside and out.
Participative program design
An eco-village is an intentional community with the goal of becoming more socially, culturally, economically and ecologically sustainable. Facilitated by Atikah Lorot a collective intelligence and innovation consultant, experience first hand what a self-organised and effective collective is about. Through a collaborative process, create the camp that you want together with your peers. Explore different ways in which "sustainability" can take form in real life, together with people who make it happen every day and make meaningful encounters through connecting with like-minded people with whom you share a common interest, discovering new perspectives through conversations that matter.
Learn about eco-building with straw bales, earthen grout and lime plaster - In the current phase of the Amaranthe Eco-village four houses will be built with straw walls, two houses with bales of straw and two with prefabricated straw panels. These walls are protected from humidity by either panels or earth and lime plastering. Youth will get an opportunity to participate in this exciting phase of the project along with exploring Amaranthe's permaculture land practices.
Ecology & Connection
3 Day trek in the Pyrénées mountains
Nestled beneath the snow-covered peaks of the Pyrénées, the Ariège National Park in South Western France is populated by lake summits, alpine meadows, vultures and Isards. Using a contemplative and immersion approach paired with an expert high mountain guide, you will learn to survive in the wilderness as you climb to 1500 feet, opening the connection between yourself, your inner nature and with your walking companions. Learn to tread lightly, discover edible plants, bathe in torrents, see native animals and how to choose the perfect bivouac spot!
Connecting to nature
Vincent from Le Chant des Bois trained in the 8 Shields map invites you to connect deeply to nature, understand life and to navigate your pathway within it. Explore your inner connection to the wild through sensory practices, plant exploration, wildlife tracking, bird language, primitive survival skills, games and wandering...
Culture & the Arts
A short distance from Montbrun Bocage is Carla-Bayle, a small picturesque village surrounded by ramparts, considered by all to be THE "Art village of Ariège." Many artists and artisans have come from all over the world to settle there including within Amaranthe eco-village making it a hot spot for both cultural and artistic dynamism. Gathering from the local resources and talents we have a range of artistic endeavours to share if you choose…
A different way to look at puppets
Let yourself be surprised by what a puppet can tell you... Craft paper, breath, movement and observation...it is all you need to discover the wordless, powerful, language of puppetry.
The art of textiles
Discover the art of Tataki Zome the Japanese art of transferring botanical dyes from flowers and leaves onto fabric by simply hammering them onto the surface and learn the process of transforming fabric into works of art with Isatis Tinctoria dyeing an ancient plant with a well-documented history as an indigo dye and medicinal plant.
Music creation & performance
Play, have fun and open yourself to the wild nature of music with guided facilitation in songwriting, improvisation and body percussion!
French cultural immersion and exploration
Take time to experience the many beautiful walks of the Ariège, refresh and go swimming in the lakes and cycle your way through village markets and Medieval castles. During your stay you'll also have the opportunity to dance all night and take supper with a giant traditional dish at the the local Montbrun-Bocage festival of Saint Roch.
Cost, inclusions and exclusions
Cost: 550 Euros Inclusions: - Breakfast, lunch and dinner made from all organic locally sourced produce* - Campsite hire and use of Amaranthe's camping facilities - 3 day trek in the Pyrénées with expert high mountain guide - Transfers to/from Cazers-sur Garonne to/from Amaranthe - Transfers to/from activities outside cycling distance - 12 day bicycle hire - All art workshop materials & instruction - Guided activities in nature Exclusions - Travel to/from Cazers-sur Garonne to/from the rest of Europe and/or other countries - Insurance and visas if required - Spending money for souvenirs, snacks, personal items * Vegan and vegetarian options available
Accomodation & facilities
This a camping only program and you will require your own tent to participate. The facilities at Amaranthe Eco-village include hot water showers, dry toilets, indoor/outdoor kitchen, a small cottage, a marquee and a gypsy wagon for indoor activities. Meals are taken together in the eco-village dining hall. Youth will be participating in both cooking and chores. Bicycles will be provided for local travel.
Essential items to bring on your trip
Camping for 12 nights and trekking overnight in the Pyrenees requires preparation and efficient packing. Download our full item checklist here to prepare you for your stay.
Getting there and away
Amaranthe is an eco-village focused on sustainability located in the village of Montbrun Bocage. Amaranthe strives to produce the least possible negative impact on the natural environment so the Eco-villagers prefer you to travel as "green" as possible by choosing to take a bus or train across Europe to their closest station Cazères-sur-Garonne. If travelling by bus we recommend using Flixbus which operates across Europe to Toulouse (the closest major city to Amaranthe), then travelling to Cazères-sur-Garonne from Toulouse by France's train service - SNCF. Transfers to/from Cazères-sur-Garonne to Montbrun Bocage where the eco-village is located is included in the camp fee. Just let us know when you plan to arrive and we'll have someone to greet you at the train station. Flixbus https://global.flixbus.com/ SNCF https://www.sncf.com/en
What will the weather be like?
It will be Summer in France so expect average high temperatures to be around 29°C (84°F) during the day with slightly cooler temperatures in the evening. Your 3 day trek in the mountains will require some warmer weather clothing to suit temperatures of 14°C (57°F) in the evening.
Do I need to speak French and who's this camp for?
Amaranthe eco-village is "cosmopolitan", meaning members come from Italy, Greece, Spain, Netherlands, Australia and most of them speak English so mastery of the French language is not required. Due to French laws, we can only accommodate over 18's on this trip. If you're young, interested in sustainable living, ways of living in harmony with each other, the creative arts and immersing yourself in nature with good friends then this trip is perfect for you.
What are my payment options?
We work in partnership with Susila Dharma Nationals and charities to provide scholarships and subsidies so do reach out if you'd love to come and need some help making it happen. Camp fees are paid via bank transfer to the nominated bank account provided on registration confirmation. We have a full refund policy minus transaction & currency conversion charges if you cancel before 21 days of the camp start date. The same refund policy applies if you cancel within the 21 day period before the camp start date minus a 55 euro administration fee.
How to book
Step 1. Fill out the registration form by June 30th. We recommend you register as soon as possible as there are only 12 spots available. Step 2. We send a confirmation email within 48h along with important information for your trip. To secure your spot you will then need to: - Pay the full fee to the nominated bank account at Susila Dharma International. - Complete both the emergency contact and waiver forms also provided in the confirmation email. Step 3. It's time to organise your travel! Once you have booked your transport send us: - Your itinerary so we can organise your transfers from Cazères-sur-Garonne. - Your insurance coverage details (if required - see checklist). Step 4. Get packing and make your way to the South of France to have an incredible inward and outward journey immersed in nature!