The story of the Petit Paradis began in 2013. From a corporate job in luxury yachting in Monaco, I made a 180 degree turn in my career, retraining as a yoga teacher in the Integral Yoga tradition.
Never one to do things by halves, I quit my job in April 2013, ripped up and renovated my entire apartment over then next the next 3 months and then travelled to southern Virginia in the USA to the Satchidanda Ashram where I spent July and August on a TT (teacher training) intensive.
It was around that time that I came up with the idea of having a retreat space. In my mind it was going to be a house somewhere in the south of France in the arriere pays but I wasn’t quite sure where but I knew in the course of time it would manifest.
In the meantime, after returning from the States, I started teaching in local yoga studios around Antibes. The idea of a retreat space was still marinating in the background but nothing had developed yet. Then in 2017 I found a farmhouse in the Vesubie valley. There was space in the garden for a chalet for yoga and in my mind this was THE retreat space. It was ‘perfect’ (…100% humidity throughout and needed a damn good refurb 🙈…)! Fortunately the owner didn’t want to sell it to me so the search continued. In January 2019 I found Le Petit Paradis in Juan Les Pins not even 300m away from my apartment. It was miles better than the damp old Bergerie. Situated in a beautiful park in downtown Juan-Les-Pins, I found a sweet little house with a basement that would be perfect for yoga.
The universe conspired, the sale went through and the house was mine by the end of May 2019. I lived there for a month and then rented the house out over the summer. During one of the many house-warmings in the month of June one of my friends said ‘this place is like a little paradise’! And hence the name, Le Petit Paradis, was born.
Renovations started in September 2019, repainting the whole house, installing reverse cycle AC, ripping up the basement floor, and redoing all lighting, knocking out the kitchen wall, installing a new kitchen, creating a laundry room, building a front porch and many other things. I eventually moved in 2 weeks before lockdown.
The studio renovations began in July 2020, plastering walls, rerouting piping, applying technical insulating paint, constructing new walls, wiring, lighting, flooring, painting, building cupboards, installing the projector (the studio is also my movie room and night club) 😁 and the bamboo ceiling. The lighting was one of the key elements to the project as this would influence how the space would feel. And the end result has meant that the space is extremely versatile in the different ways it can be used.
The journey of the Petit Paradis has been one of transformation not only of a house but also on a personal and an energetic level. Moving from a one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom house, it’s been amazing to have more physical space for friends and yogis. Transforming what was a lost space into a nurturing, inviting space for people to feel safe and welcome to explore and move on their own personal journey has been a dream come true. Creating a space that can morph from studio into a healing space, into nightclub, into movie room, into a dance room, into a space for gathering and creating community has been a long-planned project and I’m super happy with the results. The energy in the studio feels very nurturing and welcoming. The space really feels like a cocoon. I see the Cocoon as a gift to myself and others and a place where we can all feel safe to move, explore and transform on many different levels.
The official opening of Le Petit Paradis studio was on Sunday 20th September with an amazing day retreat : Reclamation – a return to the Wild Woman, and since then the energy of transformation has been sealed. We’ve had yoga classes, SOMA breath sessions and movie nights, dance nights, night club sessions, and sometimes I go down there just to move and dance by myself. It feels amazing and everyday I’m filled with gratitude to have been able to create this space.