What’s on offer
The Chez Boileau year is divided into two seasons: High and Low. During the High season (May – October), the house is used for organised activities, mainly the Sculling with Yoga courses which can be joined by individuals and groups.
The Sculling with Yoga courses are available for individuals or small groups and can be tailored to all standards, from beginners to international-level race preparation. They are run under the general direction of Ali Boileau, working with other regular Chez Boileau teachers, as well as, from time to time, some distinguished guest coaches.
Costs for courses vary according to the time of year and the nature of the course being arranged: but are typically in the region of £900 per person per week, inclusive of tuition, meals, accommodation and equipment hire. Exact costs for particular weeks can be quoted on request.
During the low season (November – April), there are no scheduled activities and the house is available for rental on a holiday-let basis. See the 2020 Calendar of activities and availability for date details.
Because of the specialised nature of the facilities and the equipment involved, only people technically proficient in the sport activities they intend to pursue (Sculling, Cycling or Yoga) will normally be offered tenancies; but please don’t hesitate to enquire. Weeks normally start with arrivals on Sunday and end with departures on Saturday – but if you need a different sort of schedule, we can often be flexible.
Prices are typically from £1,200 – £3,000 weekly, depending on time of year, number of occupants etc.
The Basic Curriculum
Underlying all our training is the Sculling with Yoga program, in which the standard Yoga routines are adapted and enhanced to make them more specifically relevant to the demands of oarsmanship.
We believe that the mental and physical disciplines involved in Yoga can transform a rower’s performance, and we aim to give all our visitors the opportunity to test these principles.
But rowing is not just about acquiring technical skills: it is also about enjoyment – and we try to make sure that the joi-de-vivre for which the Dordogne region is famous is part of the experience. We want our guests to have a good time while they are here – and judging from the feedback we receive, they usually succeed in that too.
The Bergerac team
Here are some of the people who run the day to day activities in Bergerac.
Ali Boileau – rowing and yoga teacher
Much of Ali’s time during the past two decades has been spent on the Thames near his home in Kew, during which he set up up a successful school rowing programme for the comprehensive school where he was teaching.
Since then he has studied Yoga in Austria, the USA, France and India, and won numerous Masters sculling events in the UK and abroad, as well as planning and setting up the Chez Boileau project in Bergerac.
After a serious car crash in 1998, Ali was told that with so many injuries (broken bones and damaged lung ), he wouldn’t be able to row competitively again. Proving this prediction wrong has been on his mission-statement ever since.
Nayana Cariappa – yoga teacher
Nayana’s special area of expertise is in restorative and flexibility-building yoga, a subject of special importance to Masters rowers whose first priority will normally be to avoid injury and stay “in the game”, rather than to win at all costs.
When not in Bergerac, Nayana is often in Bangalore, her home town, where she has many loyal pupils at the new yoga studio of which she is a joint founder. For ten years before becoming a yoga teacher, Nayana worked in admin for the Google corporation, mainly in Singapore.
Colleen Curtis – Housekeeping manager
Colleen is reponsible for day to day details of accommodation, meals, and use of the house facilites during your stay, and she’ll see to your needs during your stay.
Originally from California, Colleen has lived in France for the past 17 years (including 7 at the nearby Plum Village Buddhist community); so she knows the area well, and can give good advice on where to go and what to see locally. She’s seen here making jam with the fruit from our own cherry trees.
Steph Atkinson – Booking Manager
Steph is responsible for arranging and confirming reservations for courses and accommodation, and is the person to deal with on anything to do with making or amending a booking. Contact her initially via the Contact form, and she will email you back.
Steph is an enthusiastic participant in Triathlon competitions. She is also a qualified sports-massage therapist with a comprehensive understanding of injury management, reducing muscle tension, promoting flexibility and relieving pain and stiffness in soft tissue. Her expertise provides the basis for much of the the injury-avoidance content of our courses, and she’s a regular visitor to Bergerac.
Craig Drake – cycling guide and coach
Craig is a former professional cyclist who has ridden for British, American and European teams. He now lives near Bergerac, and knows all the classic local routes, as featured in the Tour de France – as well as many other little-known, but hugely rewarding circuits which are to be found throughout the region.
When we’re getting a house group together for a ride, Craig can provides the necessary pre-ride briefing, as well as leading the way and setting the pace. Access to local knowledge and expertise of this kind can make all the difference for serious cyclists.
The regular team is supplemented from time to time by Guest Coaches, who come for a limited period, and may direct some or all of the training activities during their stay.
Here are some of the guest coaches who are planning to join us in 2020. See the Booking Calendar for an overview of who’s doing what, and when. For more information on the guest coaches themselves, follow the “read more” links below.
Joy Skipper – gourmet athlete
Nutritionist, Masters sculler, endurance cyclist and best-selling cookery author, Joy comes to Chez Boileau because she loves Bergerac and the activities it offers, both sporting and gastronomic.
Sign up for a week when she’s there, and you could accompany her on the river, on the road, at the food market, in the kitchen and then at the dinner table.
Sue Appelboom – Nutrition and performance
An outstandigly successful rower in the 1990s, Sue is now a nutrition specialist based in London. She offers practical advice designed to help her clients, many of them professional sports people, play an active role in the improvement of their health and wellbeing.
During her visits, Sue will be taking groups out for sculling tuition, as well as giving classroom sessions on how nutrition combined with lifestyle changes can boost vitality and peak performance.
Read more about Sue Appelboom…
Marina Traub – Rowing with Yoga
Based in Boston, USA, Marina is a rare phenomenon: a natural born teacher who combines 12 years’ experience as a collegiate and national rowing coach with a high-level skill as a practitioner of Vinyasa yoga.
Her ability to explain, and more importantly to demonstrate, how Vinyasa routines can safely be learned and used by rowers of all ages and standards, can be a revelation. Working with Marina will help you improve performance, and bring a new awareness of movement and momentum in the boat.
Read more about Marina Traub.
Charlotte Taylor’s sculling camp
Champion sculler Charlotte Taylor’s growing reputation as a coach is based not just on her own record-breaking speeds, but also on her ability to teach her skills and techniques to others.
She’s planning to return in August 2020 for a repeat of her 2018 and 2019 Summer training sessions, which were a great success, with pupils from California, Germany, Scotland and London, all making huge progress.
Read more about Charlotte Taylor.
Toby Garbett – Triathlon for rowers
Toby is a two-time World Champion rower, and GB national champion in Triathlon for his age group. He’s also an active sports coach working with groups and institutions of all kinds.
He’s planning a week in Bergerac during October 2020 to demonstrate how and why Triathlon training can be helpful to rowers. The course will include daily sculling, as well as the three Triathlon sports of running, cycling and swimming, so keeping up with him will be fairly hard work. But Toby’s understanding of fitness, training loads and performance is unmatched – and this is a rare opportunity to train with him in the superb conditions of the Dordogne. Read more about Toby Garbett.