We are a family of three, including a five year-old little girl, living in a house in the very South of France, 5 minutes from a quaint historical little town in the Pyrenees.
The house has a large garden and a couple pastures and is set in a very quiet area (a hamlet surrounded by pasture land) in the foothills of the Pyrenees (40 minutes from ski resorts and 2 hours from the sea).
We are francophones and I am an English teacher at the local high school. I've visited 22 countries and lived in the UK and Canada. When I was a child, we used to host foreign students who wanted to learn French and I loved the experience.
We are very "Nature" -oriented, eat organic food, and have a vegetable garden as well as some fruit trees.
DIY and building projects
If you come to stay with us, we can help you practice French and English, of course (and being an English teacher and having hosted foreign people in the past, I know what learning a language is and can adapt to people's needs in that respect).
You can learn gardening skills (I was trained as an agronomist, initially, and I'm very interested in that field, and have a lot of books you can read on the subject). Of course, if you already know quite a lot about that, we would also be interested in learning from your experience.
You can also learn how to do some wall pointing, and learn about ecological renovation of old houses, because that's what was done here and I have a lot of information, books, etc... And there is a local association organising lots of visits of ecologically renovated houses or ecological new houses around.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
The garden is big and used to be an "abandoned" pasture, so it's fairly "rustic".
A lot of work has been put into it over the last few years (clearing, planting fruit trees and raspberry bushes, setting up a vegetable garden, etc...), as well as some renovation work in the house (which is a renovated stone and wood house dating back to the 19th century).
However, with the arrival of Lea (now four), free time has been scarce and we would gladly welcome someone with an environmentally-friendly outlook and willingness to help, mostly in the garden (splitting wood for the winter - we have an electric wood splitter - planting trees and fencing them, clearing brambles, collecting wood and shredding it with a shredder for mulching, collecting leaves and helping prepare a compost heap, weeding and planting in the vegetable garden, etc...)
However, as we have some building projects in mind (2 terraces, a barbecue, a pond, a car port), we would be particularly interested in welcoming people with some building experience / skills or at least some physical strength to help us out with those as well.
If you are interested, I could also show you how to do some pointing (to repair old walls with lime mortar and colored sand). And finally, according to what's needed or the time you stay, if there is no more work to do in the garden, there would be small maintenance tasks, like applying a coat of ecological wood oil to the garden shed, etc...
You can visit a lot of things in the area : castles, caves, museums, hiking in the moutains, go skiing, etc... So if you'd like to do some of this in your free time, we can show you around a little or give you information, guidebooks, maps, etc... for you to discover the area. We are sometimes busy : work + Léa + gardening, etc..., so we expect visitors who share our lives to help a little as and when (for example : helping setting / clearing the table, putting the shopping away, peeling vegetables as we chat preparing meals, etc...)
We have 2 dogs, in the garden, a female German Shepherd with a tendancy to lick your face, and a boisterous black mongrel looking a little bit like a labrador, that we rescued 3 years ago as a puppy.
The house has 4 bedrooms, so you would have yours, on the second floor, with 3 windows, a double-bed and wardrobe. There is a bathroom on the same floor (there are 2 bathrooms in the house), with a sink, a shower and toilets - and a beautiful view on the garden and the mountains when you sit on the toilet seat! :o)
It's a beautifull setting : all around the house, the nearby town, the mountains around, with lots of possibilities for outdoor activities in the mountains, walks in the pastures and woods around the house, and I could take you to town when going to work in the morning, for example, for you to visit the castle, enjoy the market, etc... to save you the half-hour walk needed to get into town.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families