We are three British friends who own two close-by, traditional Maison de Maitre style homes, in a small rural village in North Deux-Sevres, Nouvelle Aquitaine, France. We are a single person and a couple, all of whom work in France. The village is on the border of two departments, Deux-Sevres and Maine et Loire.
We are twenty minutes from Doue en Anjou (formerly Doue la Fontaine), thirty minutes from Saumur on the River Loire (and the fabulous Chateaux of the Loire Valley), thirty minutes from Thouars and thirty minutes from Bressuire.
The two homes are five minutes bike ride apart. We have bikes which you can use. If the weather is inclement we will transport you between the houses by car.
Lifts to places of interest at weekends can be organised, by negotiation with us, dependent upon our other commitments.
The village is very small and quiet, with no public transport. We do not, currently, have a spare car we can loan to our helpers. There is a bar in the village, which is visited monthly by a fish and chip and kebab van. There is also a small fishing lake in the village. On July 14th there will be a full village picnic near the lake to celebrate the Fete Nationale, which we would be happy to include you in.
We decided to put our joint profile together as the couple who live in the smaller of the two houses, with the much smaller grounds, do not need help for as long as our neighbour does, and we do not have such nice, independent accommodation for a couple to stay with at our house. We do have a lovely loft guest room, but it isn't independent. Our neighbour, with the larger house and much larger grounds, has a lovely totally independent studio, with its own shower room, dining area, currently a double bed, but we have two single beds which can be put into the studio if preferred, and a small, equipped kitchenette. This larger propertyhas a barbecue area and a large swimming pool too, which we thought would be much more attractive to a Workaway couple. All ingredients for meals will be provided. Simple cooking facilities are available within the studio, and we will stock your fridge with fresh food etc, and replenish as you need. A small word of caution, vegan food is still quite difficult to source in rural France, and can be expensive. this situation does improve year on year.You will also be very welcome to eat with the hosts, and their friends, from time to time too.
The the owners of the smaller property would be the "added value" for this opportunity, being happy to take our couple to visit local places of interest at the weekends if they wished that. We also speak more fluent French than our neighbour, so could help there too if the couple spoke French. Our neighbour does not drive, so we felt we would be able to offer that service to supplement their stay. Also, if either of us has to return to the UK and the like for family crises, then the other neighbour is still available to supervise, support and be company for the Workaway couple.
Two of the three of us are trained English teachers so we could also offer English lessons if required.
The second, smaller, property is a five minute cycle ride from the first, or a fifteen minute walk
It is our intention to ask for five hours of help per day, from each person in the couple, Monday to Friday, with weekends, and national holidays, free. Our requirements are for general house and grounds cleaning, decorating and maintenance, helping alongside the hosts whenever our own work commitments allow
English language teaching can be offered if required.
We are based very close to the beautiful Loire Valley wine region, with many Domaines close by, and all the fascinating history and beautiful Chateaux of the Loire valley, and the Anjou-Touraine wine region of France. Our homes are actually located in a small area which produces an AOC wine called Coteaux du Layon.
Our home and ground maintenance projects will, hopefully be moved along by our helpers by the end of the timeframe we have specified, but there might be the opportunity to stay on afterwards and offer help to local viticulteurs in harvesting the grapes. This would be something which helpers might like to explore for themselves. Apart from speaking English with ourselves, there will be many opportunities to practice using the French language, as English is not widely spoken in rural France. Even the fabulous City of Light, Paris, is only three hours away by TGV train, from Angers.
The owner of the larger of the two homes would like the following help:
Gardening and grounds maintenance, including weeding, mowing – there is a sit-on mower - strimming, some repairing and clearing out of sheds and outbuildings, along with basic fencing repairs .
Pool and pool area, cleaning and maintenance
House cleaning and basic, simple maintenance within the house
Possible simple decorating, and basic woodworking skills, cutting and sawing up wood for kindling and stacking wood for the winter.
The owner of the second home requires help with the following tasks:
Clearing of outside barns (ready for concreting of barn floors)
Internal cleaning (after some recent very dusty building work)
Internal painting and decorating.
Clearing of a front garden, ready for laying of a membrane and gravelling
General gardening, tidying
It is envisaged that the larger property will require three days of help per week, and the smaller property two days, but this will be flexible.
The larger property owner will require helpers from around the end of June until around the end of August.
The smaller property owner will require help from the middle of July until around the middle to end of August.
The accommodation we offer is based at one of these properties, the largest, and comprises a small, self-contained holiday studio, with its own separate access from the main house. The studio consists of one large double bedroom/living/dining room, including a small kitchenette area, with an en-suite shower room, washbasin and toilet. Free wifi access and TV are offered. Access to washing machine and dryer facilities by arrangement. The studio also has full access to the large garden, with bbq and a large swimming pool shared with the owner. The accommodation would ideally suit a couple. This house is also home to two dogs and a tortoise.
All reasonably-priced food will be provided for breakfasts, lunches and evening meals. It is worth mentioning that vegan and vegetarian needs are still quite difficult to source in rural France, and are often expensive. This situation has improved a little, but it is only fair to point this out. Breakfast items will be provided in the studio along with water, juice, tea, coffee, milk etc, cleaning materials for the studio, toilet rolls etc. Preparation of breakfast, in the studio, will be your own responsibility. A light lunch will be provided at whichever house you are at each day, for example, sandwiches, salads, omelettes, something on toast.
Your evening meal will sometimes be prepared for you by the owner of the studio, but there will be food items provided in your fridge, in the studio, for you to do be able to produce your own evening meals when her time is committed elsewhere. A microwave, slow cooker, electric steamer and low fat grill can be provided if required. There is a large bbq in the garden. We will expect you to be independent and self-sufficient in feeding yourselves from the produce provided if our time and attention is required elsewhere, for work, for example.
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5 hours per day, per person, Monday to Friday