L’Eau Vive Provence is an interdenominational Christian conference centre. It has a three-pronged mission: hosting, listening and training.

A welcoming place
The centre is open to all those who want to take time out. It’s the ideal place for reflection and prayer, it’s open to all who are seeking purpose in life. We take care of all sorts of groups: pastors, missionaries, theology students, chaplains, artists and composers, scouts, young people (within the context of their activities) etc. In the summer L’Eau Vive organises holiday camps that combine spiritual input and fun/relaxation.

A listening place
The warm atmosphere is conducive to sharing. Each person is free to share their questions, problems and difficulties. An opportunity is made for one to one listening for those who require it. L’Eau Vive has a vocation as a place for restoration and healing for the life’s casualties.

A training place
Numerous seminars, weeks and training days are organised throughout the year. Whether for counselling, straightforward Bible teaching or spiritual progression our Bible teachers come from varying horizons to provide quality teaching in order to build up each Christian for serving the the church and the community.




Announcement in the Official Journal

Opening of the association ‘l’Eau Vive Provence’ by the founders Brian and Helen Tatford.
19th November 1971 declaration in the journal officiel. A small house, the ‘Villa Solenzara’, is purchased and transformed little by little with the help of teams of volunteers of various nationalities.

Construction of an additional building, the Restanque and the meeting room La Bergerie. Continuous growth and improvements throughout the years: kitchen, swimming pool, laundry room…

Since his departure, Brian Tatford’s principles have shaped the work that continues to this day: – Living out the Good News of the Gospel – Making disciples after 2 Timothy 2:2



Arrival of Charles and Françoise Kouyoumdjian

July 1992 they arrive and take over the day to day running from Brian and Helen Tatford.



Arrival of Amanda Ford

Early 1993 Amanda arrives to be the secretary, a role she continues to fill to this day.



Purchase of Le Mas des Oliviers

The centre increases its accommodation capacity and buys two plots of land for sports at the same time.



Departure of Charles and Françoise Kouyoumdjian



Marc-André and Claire Descheemaecker take over the management of the centre

Marc-André becomes the third director in l’Eau Vive’s history and takes over under the authority of the Board of Trustees.


We suggest you read “”L’Odyssée de L’Eau Vive” (in French). How, from the streets of the capital to L’Eau Vive Provence, via Lille, Brian and Helen Tatford lived this great adventure and how the Lord has led them each step of the way

Download The odyssey of l’Eau Vive (pdf doc)





Marc-André DESCHEEMAECKER and his wife Claire arrived in January 2010. They have 3 children.  Marc-André received a clear call to serve God as the director of L’Eau Vive.

« I’m often asked about our vision, and what is the secret that has kept L’Eau Vive going for nearly 50 years. As a good soldier I detail my strategy!

  1. God is the source of everything. I remind myself that the goal is not just to keep the centre ticking over, but to remember whom we are serving and it’s not in our own strength that we will succeed. To understand that the development of the ministry and the pursuit of the vision is not due to our financial resources but to God’s infinite resources.
  2. Unity. Among the trustees, the permanent team, the volunteers remember that we are all where God has placed us, on the same wavelength and serving Him together.
  3. Joy in serving. Staying joyful when there are trials, when the workload is heavy and tiring. Stay on course, run the race, keep the faith! »

Amanda Burger

Coordinator & Trustee

I’m from Eastbourne, England and whilst I was working as a PA in London God called me to serve him at L’Eau Vive. Since 1993 I have had the privilege of being at the heart of the team with the faithful missionary support of Echoes of Service and Christian family and friends. Serving here, whether it’s on the telephone, at my desk, or in the Bergerie with our visitors, and young people from the team, has been a huge joy for me.

Jean-Marc Armando, Chef cuisinier

Jean-Marc Armando


I trained as a chef with a CAP in the 1980s and then worked in a number of restaurants on the Côte d’Azur, in England and in Switzerland. One day a Christian holiday centre in the Hautes Alpes was looking for a cook, I answered this miraculous call and worked for ten years in the centre as a cook and helping with the building maintenance. It was a time of rich blessing. Following specialized training as a baker and pastry chef in Digne I worked for three years in a large bakery. One afternoon I whilst hiking I thought about working again in a Christian structure and soon afterwards I heard that L’Eau Vive was looking for a Head cook. This was an answer to my prayer. I joined the team in April 2022.

Elena Berretta

Elena Berretta


I am Italian and I come from Rome. Before coming to L’Eau Vive, I taught Italian to foreigners. For a few years I was thinking about doing an experience of service abroad and after a period of prayer I received a proposition to serve as House Mistress at Eau Vive from my pastor. I have been here since January 2023 and I am grateful to God for this opportunity and for being part of His work.

Elena Berretta

Elena Berretta

Hospitality Manager

I am Italian and I come from Rome. Before coming to L’Eau Vive, I taught Italian to foreigners. For a few years I was thinking about doing an experience of service abroad and after a period of prayer I received a proposition to serve as House Mistress at Eau Vive from my pastor. I have been here since January 2023 and I am grateful to God for this opportunity and for being part of His work.



Charles & Françoise KOUYOUMDJIAN


Married with 3 children and 5 grandchildren. They lived in Switzerland for 20 years where Charles was a school teacher. They have been involved in varying ministries, first with young people through the Contact network then in wider church ministry. In 1992 they headed for L’Eau Vive and took over the direction of the centre. Françoise was responsible for all the housekeeping and logistics involved in running the centre. Charles’ responsibilities ranged between the overall running of the centre, teaching in its seminars and local churches. He is also a qualified Christian counsellor within the ACC France network, of which he was a founder member and secretary. Today Charles heads up the board of trustees of which Françoise is also a member.

Joel & Amanda Burger EVP



Joël works as a teaching assistant is the local primary school which allows him plenty of spare time which he willingly devotes to helping in the numerous DIY and technical tasks that need constant attention! He also replaces Amanda at home when she’s holding the fort at l’Eau Vive! With Amanda they have 2 teenage boys and are both involved in their local church at Aix en Provence. They have served on the board together since 2000.



My wife is called Christine and together we have adopted 3 children. My professional career was with Shell as an accountant. Another career opened up to us in 1980 when we learned to run with perseverance …according to Hebrews 12 v 1!

Mark Roberts



Mark is the latest addition to the board of trustees. Born in Ireland, brought up in the UK now lives with his wife Alice and their two young daughters in Marseille. Mark works as an occupational therapist and brings a special creative and practical skill set to the board. Before love (for Alice) brought him to the south of France he served with Operation Mobilisation, notably as personal assistant to the late George Verwer.


Suzanne et Eric CAVAGLIA


Suzanne and Eric have been trustees since 2008. ‘Retired’ they live in Vitrolles and have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. They are members of the church Le Chemin in Aix en Provence.

Franc.& Jacques

Jacques et Francette CAIRE


We have lived in the area for several decades. We have 2 children and 5 grandchildren. We are retired civil servants. We have known l’Eau Vive since its beginnings and are proud to be involved with it in this way.

Sandrine EVP

Sandrine ANTONY


I’ve been on the board since 2013. I was a volunteer at l’Eau Vive for the first time in 2004 and then the following summers. I was also the housekeeper from 2007-2008. I’m originally from the south-west of France and by profession a qualified social worker.