We are a British family restoring and renovating a petit chateau near Le Mans in the Pays de la Loire in France. It's beautiful, peaceful spot in the countryside and a great project to be part of. We came here for a different pace of life, to experience a new culture and to give our children the chance to have an outdoors lifestyle and to grow up bilingual. We have two children, Rufus (9), Laurie (7), two cats Penny (old) and Jeremy (older) and a crazy lab collie cross called Monty (18 months). We run a busy chambre d'hote at the chateau which we opened at the end of August 2018 and are juggling this with family life and the restorations. It's crazy, it's busy but it's great fun. Our side of the house is still rather "rustic" but everything works, including the plumbing. So if you don't mind roughing it slightly in beautiful surroundings and would like to be part of a renovation project do get in touch.
You'll learn how to restore an old building and convert it into a viable business. Brush up on your gardening skills and spend the summer in France. We have a good relationship with our neighbours so there is plenty of French chat to be had too and of course we're more than help to help with your English too.
We are looking for help with the restoration of one of our outbuildings this summer. Turning it from a run down carriage house/atelier to a luxurious two bedroom gite. This will involve things like clearing out the old sheds, cleaning up old floor tiles to be relaid, basic carpentry such as putting up partition walls, painting, plastering (if you have the skills), lime plastering (removing loose old render and either repointing or fixing up the lime plaster on the outside of the building).
We also need help staying on top of our gardens, woods and parkland. Which would involve jobs such as cutting the lawns, trimming hedges, helping to maintain our vegetable garden and flower beds by weeding and pruning.
A good knowledge of sit on mowers, power tools and a willingness to get stuck in are all very welcome, as are gardening and building experience. You don't need to be an expert at all, as long as you're willing to learn on the job (which is what we do).
We love to share the cooking and are really interested in food from other cultures, so if you love to cook you'll be very welcome into a family of foodies (with two foodies in training who are getting less picky as time goes on).
English and some French (the children speak fluent French and English)
You will have your own room with a shared bathroom and toilet. Everything is clean and it works, but we haven't renovated our side of the chateau yet so it isn't that glam. You will eat with us a family, we cook and eat together everyday.
We are near to the city of Le Mans (a 25 min drive away). There are trains from the village a couple of times a day, but we are fairly rural so if you have a car you might want to bring it. We are well placed for exploring the chateaux of the loire, the vineyards of Touraine, Saumur and Anjou and the beautiful French countryside. Paris is just an hour away by train too so perfectly accessible for a weekend trip. We don't get that much time off between B&B guests though, so you will need to be willing to explore under your own steam (and with your own transport).
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Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week