Chris and Maggie live in a large house which was renovated a few years ago. We just outside the village of Varen, about 100 kms north of Toulouse. Chris is semi-retired, having worked in UK TV and radio as a drama writer and producer and subsequently as an internet consultant, providing advice to the creative industries on how to manage content online. Maggie is an artist and part time teacher of English and French. We have both traveled extensively in Europe and the rest of the world. Nowadays we still spend a certain amount of time travelling, occasionally working away from home, but otherwise occupy ourselves with gardening, tinkering with this and that, reading. Maggie works in her studio and I have a work room in the house.
The house is surrounded by its own land, with gardens, woodland and a river for swimming and canoeing. There is a railway nearby with direct trains to Toulouse. We are both sociable people, taking great enjoyment from cooking and eating, good conversation. we keep up with friends throughout the world using the internet and we both have a wide range of interests.
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
There are six hectares of land around the house, which is partly garden, partly open fields. There is also woodland, going down to the river Aveyron. As a result there's always a lot to do. I have a small tractor which is very versatile but keeping nature at bay is always demanding. The house was renovated the house five years ago and there is still painting and decorating to finish, inside and outside. We'd like to host people who enjoy this kind of thing and are happy to join in generally with the life of the house.
We are both very keen cooks and have a well equipped kitchen, to semi-professional standards. We are always interested in learning new styles of food. We would welcome volunteers with good cooking ability and a strong interest in food, particularly our regional ingredients.
English, French, Spanish
We can offer a separate, large double bedroom with its own bathroom. The house has central heating and air conditioning. There is satellite TV and a high standard of comfort. The house is non-smoking inside.
The countryside around Varen is very beautiful, with steep valleys. The village itself is medieval, with a huge church and castle. Nearby is the small town of Saint Antonin Noble Val, in the valley of the River Aveyron, where its possible to go canoeing and kayaking. Further away are the towns of Villefranche-de-Rouergue, Gaillac (a wine centre) and Albi (famous for its Toulouse Lautrec museum and enormous cathedral). All these towns have weekly markets which are always popular. If you want to get away for the weekend by public transport, there is a regular train service to Toulouse within walking distance.
We normally suggest that volunteers come for two or three weeks only. We are not able to host people for long periods.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Five hours per day