Come and help us to maintain and run events at our medieval chateau in the rolling, Gascon hills in South West France. We are an Anglo-Dutch couple with two young girls and a miriad of pets. We bought Chateau de Puissentut 7 years ago with the intention of setting up a retreat centre for people who have, or are recovering from, cancer. After 2 years of full-time renovations we opened our doors to our first guests.
Now 5 years on we're happy to say that our retreats are having a very postive impact on the lives of people who've had the misfortune to suffer from cancer. However, these are a labour of love, they do not keep the (rather large) roof over our heads! To do that we also host other people's retreats (such as yoga and fitness retreats and cycling holidays) and weddings. It is great to have a mix of events, it keeps things varied and lively and weddings, in particular, are always entertaining!
So how could you help us? We need help through the off-season (mid-October to mid-March) with maintaining the chateau and gardens and with the last stages of the renovation. We would also love to have the time to pay more attention to the woodland that surrounds the chateau, some of which is old, well established trees and some of which is rejenerating and could really do with some clearing to support the growth of the new trees.
During our 'on' -season we need help keeping the garden tidy and with running our events. Tasks might include helping us clean rooms, helping in the kitchen, helping to set up and host weddings etc.
In the quiet season we can offer accommodation in our cottage, which has two bedrooms, bathroom, and a large, open-plan kitchen, dining and living room area, and wifi. We offer a mix of dining with the family and self-catering. During the peak season accommodation is in our yurt, in a woodland glade very close to the house. All meals are provided with the family. If you have your own vehicle to live in it is a great option to park up in the glade and have use of both your own vehicle and the yurt.
We're dog friendly!
Our children have grown up having lots of visitors coming and going, many of whom have been here to help us renovate the house, and they're very friendly and love meeting new people. Our dog is also very happy to have someone new to play with and to take him for walks (if you like that).
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Helping with Tourists
Help with Computers / internet
We need people to help us in the garden, with maintenance in the house, with larger building projects, with hosting guests and with computers and publicity.
This host offers accommodation and payment.
English, Dutch, French
If you wanted to come and help for us in the off-season we can offer you a cosy, 2-bedroomed cottage with open-plan kitchen, dining and living area. We are good cooks (I'm vegetarian so the food is mostly vegetarian) and we also encourage you to do some self-catering in your well-equiped kitchen. In the peak-season we can accommodate you in our yurt which is set in a lovely glade very clost to the house (we're working on creating another room specially for volunteers but that is maybe a project you can come and help on!).
The chateau is deep in the heart of rural Gers so you do need to like the countryside if you want to come and stay with us. If you like to get out and about, having your own vehicle is a great advantage as there isn't a lot of public transport but we do have a car that can be borrowed. There are lots of lovely walks from the house and plenty of pretty villages, and fascinating market towns to visit.
Since agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy the markets are a highlight of being here and are filled with local produce and local colour.
There nearest towns are Lectoure, Condom, Auch, which are all interesting to visit. For the real city buzz Toulouse is only an hour away and is a really great place to people watch, shop in some great independent boutiques and enjoy the local cuisine.
If you are a keen cyclist the rolling hills and extremely quiet roads are perfect for interval training. And if you come in the Winter, we're only a couple of hours from the Pyrenees mountains where you can ski or enjoy the spa resorts.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week