We are both British and have been living in France since 1996
Twenty six years ago we bought a nearly derelict farmhouse and barn in about two acres of land 10 kilometres east of Villefranche de Rouergue in the Aveyron Department, France.
The house is in a rural location but not isolated, in a small hamlet. We are just on the edge of the Massif Centrale at a height of 554 metres above sea level. The surrounding area is hilly and provides a peaceful and relaxing area with wonderful views
We are both retired. Richard is a retired fire service officer, Patricia a retired tax adviser. We do have wide range of friends both French and British. Whilst together we have very good knowledge and experience of building and DIY skills and also all the tools and necessary equipment we are no longer as energetic as we once used to be, so extra help is always a welcome relief.
We have now renovated an old barn to a very high standard of comfort but there is still the complete renovation of the original old farmhouse to do, therefore, anyone with building experience or a wish to learn would be very welcome
We try to make sure that our workaways are properly looked after and when the weather is suitable we will take them sightseeing to places of local interest.
We have lived in France long enough to appreciate what we call proper food. We strive to vary the diet so that no main meal is repeated for at least 14 days (unless specially requested) It may be French, it may be British, or, it may be a mixture of French and British and on occasions you will taste the local delicacies.
We will provide the breakfast food which you will normally have on your own at a time to suit yourself. Lunch will be around 1300 hours which we will all eat together and the main meal will be around 1900 hours which again we will all eat together. We are both sociable people and actively encourage conversation and cultural exchange especially at meal times as this this is as equally important to the meal as the food
We believe our lifestyle provides an ideal escape from a hectic working or studying or city lifestyle and it gives the impression of what life was like in the UK 50 years ago.
Help in the house
We really encourage workaways to become part of the household during their time with us.
They can learn how to work with poultry, gardening and building trade work.
Hopefully they will discover a way of life that has changed very little over the last fifty years
For those with an “open mind” the cultural exchange can give them an opinion on life from a completely different point of view.
Over the years we have travelled a lot and gained experience of other cultures and we share our knowledge with our workaways
We have so many projects to do that that the list is endless. It ranges from cutting the grass and hedges to laying floor tiles and hanging doors and if someone with building skills comes to visit us we will find the appropriate task for them.
We have a large garden and a vegetable plot and we keep ducks and pheasants. This means that there is always some outside work to do
In the winter there is always firewood that needs cutting and stacking
We live in a recently converted barn, which is almost completely renovated but there is still the old farmhouse to completely renovate and decorate
At one time we ran a business in France and we still own the shop and living accommodation in a nearby town. When time and inclination allow, we hope to finish converting the living accommodation into four separate apartments
Another project, on the back burner at the moment, is to continue the renovation of a Ford based Spartan kit car. We do have an oxy-acetylene cutter and welder and also a MIG welder but we do not have the confidence to trust our welding
At the right time of the year help could be needed in preserving the fruits of the garden
Help is always useful at any time of the year, The tasks we will give to you will depend upon your capabilities and experience
What we really need is a general helping hand
English and French
You will have your own private double bedroom and bathroom which also has a door direct to the garden and open air
Also available is a completely self -contained 1/2 bedroomed apartment
Internet access via Wifi
We provide bedlinen and towels.
The Aveyron is one of the nicest departments in France and the locals are very friendly.
Away from the main roads the area is very quiet. The whole area is scenic and full of quaint villages, in fact there are more of the “most beautiful villages in France” in the Aveyron than any other Department in France
The terrain is very hilly with steep hills and deep valleys. Unfortunately, there is very little night life. It is ideal walking country and, if you can cycle up steep hills, then cycling is an ideal way to travel.
And we do have two ladies and two men’s bicycles that you can use whilst you are here
We are very flexible with the hours worked. Normally you can work at a time that suits you, but, we do ask that you work 25 hours per week
Volunteers are welcome at any time of the year. We cannot say what the weather will be like but one thing we can promise you is a varied diet of good honest tasty food together with a local wine
We do receive British satellite television and this will be available to volunteers
This is primarily an English speaking environment, although Patricia can speak French fluently but we do not use it in normal daily conversation
As we are both non-smokers we do not allow smoking in the house
The nearest town is the bastide town of Villefranche-de-Rouergue and for French gastronomy and local fare, the market on a Thursday is not to be missed.
Nearby are the medieval villages of Belcastel and Najac. Further away is Gaillac (a wine centre), Albi (famous for its Toulouse Lautrec museum and enormous cathedral). Cordes sur Ciel
Getting here. Toulouse airport is our nearest international airport, there is a shuttle bus service from there to Toulouse railway station, from there it is a less than a two hour rail journey to our nearest railway station which is Villefranche de Rouergue (where we will pick you up, if required).
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
25 hours per week, 2 days off