Help bring a Napoleonic chateau back to life in Villeneuve de Marsan, France

Country

France

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    Host rating

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    Feedback

    8  

  • last activity

    Last activity

    07/12/2021

  • Last email replied

    Reply rate

    84.1 %

  • Last email replied

    Average reply time:

    within 5 days

  • Badges

 
  2021 

 Min stay requested: at least a week

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  • Description

    Description

    😊What positive progress has been made in the fight against COVID. We are delighted to be able to offer Workawayers stays with a valid coronavirus test or vaccinations 🙃 Even if you are French and want to improve your English or start your workaway adventure in your own country, that might be fun whilst waiting to go further afield :-). Our most recent Workawayers have come to us from Poland, the UK, Norway, Lithuania, Ireland and the USA thank you Ewa, Kendra & Eryn, Bilié, Rusne & Saule and Rosie 😘.

    We are a British couple with 2 children, who love enjoying life, good food, good company, having fun and the outdoors! We live in a glorious Chateau in the stunning Landes region in Aquitaine about an hour and a half from Bordeaux, and the closest ski slopes, an hour from Hossegor Beach and an hour from Pau. The Chateau is 5 mins from the local town where there’s a Wednesday market, supermarket, chemist, bank, patisserie, open air theatre, doctors, restaurant, bike shop, hairdressers etc even a bull jumping ring. We have lots of animals, we breed horses and have three dogs, mini goats, chickens, peacocks, assorted cats etc. We like to have friends visit when possible and really enjoy meeting other people from other cultures.

    The Chateau is on 40 acres or so including woods and was not lived in full time for a number of years. Workawayers have helped on a variety of projects indoors and outdoors including; gardening;decoration; sorting; cleaning;cooking; DIY; fencing, curtain adjusting, clearing the jungle like undergrowth with or without chainsaws, transplanting roses; helping bring the walled vegetable garden back to life organically (we don't use chemicals), shutter sanding and painting, wall building, making a formal rose garden etc depending on individuals interests and skills. Workawayers are not involved in any business, the Chateau is a private house. It’s really lovely as the village is very supportive of all our efforts and likes to see and meet the volonteers. We’d like to open the gardens up for charity once a year but there is a LOT to do before then!

    We are bringing the Chateau back to life with laughter and work - it’s a voyage of discovery from Salamanders to 100 Sq meters of ‘forgotten really old terracotta tiles under 12 feet of brambles! We try to recycle and re use where we can and are now dab hands with a pressure washer 😎. There is something quite neat about finding the courtyard granite stones flowerbed edging stones under a foot of topsoil and then re instating the beds according to the old plan or indeed finding 3 extra bedrooms we didn’t know about when we came and the random furniture in them! Some of which we are still in the process of up cycling.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    Gardening
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Life here in the South of France is all about enjoying life and making the most of everything the region has to offer sunshine, good food, joy and pleasure in simple things. Of course if you want to go to Hossegor Surfing or Bordeaux to the big markets and waterfront fantastic! We love food and sharing meals. Emma is a yoga instructor, indian head masseur, reiki master and professionally qualified seichim energy worker so definitely some opportunities to learn about those things if you're keen. Ross is a horse breeding and racing expert and a former advanced event rider, so if you want to come horse racing wth us at Mont de Marsan or watch the 5* eventing at Pau that might be fun. There is not a lot of opportunity to learn French at the Chateau but the locals are super friendly and will definitely help you practice - all put local friends are French! There is no riding available our horses are broodmares some with foals at foot or not in work. We also have a few brocantes, some lovely bastide villages, the Chapel of Cycling, the Chapel of Rugby is 20 minutes away. The local town of Labastide-d'armagnac is glorious, we have a local golf course St Avit, and even an excellent local rugby team Stade de Montois. Our village has tennis courts and a swimming pool (open in the summer)- but we have one here so you can always save the trip! We are on the route vert for cycling and are on the doorstep of the Gers where D’Artagnan of the three musketeers came from, there’s a big sculpture of all 3 in Condom which is an hour away and his home town of Lupiac which is picturesque and has a 13 hectare leisure lake. Other workawayers have loved going to the Pyrenees, Biarritz, Biscarrose, Bordeaux, Lourdes and Pau. We are in the heart of Bas Armagnac so Chateau visits are very close by! We love learning new things so are keen to share your interests.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help

    Help

    We would be thrilled to have people from one week to four weeks with a keen interest in gardening, DIY and general sorting out and admin! The Chateau has all sorts of lovely things that need bringing back to life and using again - the walled organic fruit and vegetable garden (it would be great to learn how to be more self sufficient and what to grow and when for us and if possible the community), the stable yard and paddocks (fencing, tractor work etc) various restoration and decoration items, sorting and labelling of tool room the rack room etc! All the time we learn more about the castle, we’ve also found out it was abandoned for 50 years with a giant oak growing through the winter salon and roof!! We are in the process of doing up the guardians house so there is decoration to be done there as well as in the Chateau itself on the second floor, and DIY. If you are a curtain enthusiast we have a number of pairs that need lengthening by over a meter (straight lines nothing hideous), re upholstery is also needed of some old, old chairs and sofa, wallpapering etc. If you like wine we have a very large stone cellar that could do with some love and organisation! In essence lots of fun things to do. Even if you haven't tried these things and are keen to learn and have a go and bring other talents we would be delighted to have you! We are also quite keen to have an internet site so other and previous workawayers scan log in and see what has moved forward and what it is like. We all muck in here and its a part of the fun. Basically let us know what you like to do and we will find you something :-)

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    French: Intermediate
    Spanish: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    Having moved to France with a basic level of French we are keen to learn more and really fit in with the community. One of the best ways to do this is to be able to speak the language well! We love to help people with their English speaking should they wish to improve.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    At the current time accommodation is in the Chateau itself in an ensuite bedroom on the ground floor) overlooking the chickens, peacocks and pool.
    Breakfast is at 8am - yoghurt, toast, fruit
    Lunch is at 1pm - a sandwich or soup
    We always eat evening meals together at 6.15pm
    We do not provide alcohol apart from a bidon of wine per week (3.5 litres) specifically for Workawayers red/rose 1 bidon to share between 2.
    We are not vegetarians but can certainly accomodate 3/4 vegetarian meals a week for the others you may want to cook for yourselves and we will still eat together! We are unable to accommodate vegans or other dietary needs at the current time. Usually workawayers enjoy spending time here and then going off for adventures over a couple of days to the pyrennees, the coast, Lourdes, Bordeaux, Dax, Carcassonne, Toulouse, Biarritz, Spain, île de Rey, surfing or the ski stations etc, covid and weather permitting!
    Workaways tend to use blahblah cars or buses to get about which is super reasonable and will often pick up from the end of the drive or have their own transport. There is a bus station in the village which gets you to Mont de Marsan where there is a good train station.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Workawayers have recently visited Pau (50mins), Lourdes (90mins), the Pyrenees (90mins), Hossegor (50mins), Biarritz (50mins), Condom (1hour); Aire Sur L’ardour (25mins), Bordeaux (60mins). We are basically an hour max from the beach and an hour and a half from the mountains, our most recent Workawayers just got back from Carcassone which is 2.5 hours away via Lourdes and Pau! Apparently we are an hour and a half from the closest ski station but to be safe I'd say 2 and you will definitely be there. For more information about the beautiful area of Landes please visit this tourist website for the Landes .

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We have 12mbs internet connection via satellite. This is enough for most things so dependent upon what bandwidth you need it should be ok. The 4G is excellent here and works all over the property. As we have very thick walls the internet itself works better in some places rather than others so definitely worth having unlimited data on your mobile as a helpful addition or having a 4G dongle. We have a repeater but are in the countryside so don't have the same service as you would get in Paris!

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    Any size. You would still have meals etc with us you’d simply sleep over in your own place! Campervans are most welcome there are some nice places to park here :-)

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    Any well behaved pet is fine - we have to be super careful with dogs as we have foals, young stock and horses here all the time.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 117897515843