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We are a British couple ( three grown up children) who live 6 months in France and 6 months in California. Our place in France is in the heart of an absolutely beautiful medieval village approx 4 kms from the Mediterranean. We bought the house 11 years ago and have carried out a lot of renovation and restoration including a large old established garden which was very neglected.
We have been with workaway for more than 7 years and have welcomed more than 180 workaways - many have stayed with us for several months, several have returned, 2 or 3 times. We provide self catering, very good quality accommodation in a beautiful setting with wifi and views of the Mediterranean. Gardening experience, technical skill and knowledge of plants are essential. We sometimes need help with property maintenance, so building and carpentry skill is also valued. Final requirement is our 4 week minimum stay. We are not an ideal host to learn French since we are not native speakers. We can introduce you to someone who gives private French language lessons for a fee.
Our location is not off the beaten track, the village itself is quite lively in Spring and Summer and there are many lovely beaches within a few kms for swimming and sunbathing. Even In winter there are cafes, bars and shops open within 2 minutes walk and open all year. The old village itself where the accommodation is located (within 2 minutes walk) has a post office, two churches, two hotels, a boulangerie, tourist office, art gallery, red cross thrift shop, at least a dozen tourist shops ( some closed between November & February), a town hall with facilities for yoga classes, bridge and scrabble club etc, there is also within 2 minutes, a newspaper and book shop selling international newspapers and to the 'cafe du progess' the local hang out for coffee and croissant in the morning and wine beer and/ or dinner in the evening. Within 10 minutes walk, in the more modern part of the village (Bormes Le Pin) , there is a bank, 3 doctors, a dentist, pharmacy, shoe mender, 3 hairdressers, 5 more cafes, a bistro bar which good for mingling while watching sporting events on television, tennis club, There is a daily mini bus service from the old village to the nearest local beaches and to Lavandou where there are many more cafe/bars restaurants and nightclubs. There are also good hikes in the hills and along coastal paths and also bike trails. It is about 40 minutes by bus to Toulon, St Tropez or Hyeres ( 3 euros) and public transport is cheap - the ride to Toulon ( about one hour) is only 3 euros, There are weekly local markets in the old village, in Bormes le Pin, Le Lavandou, La Londe, St Tropez and many local flea markets where great bargains ( antiques and semi antiques) can be found.
Between October and March, we give preference to volunteers ready to stay for longer periods. If you have significant gardening experience and would like to spend the Autumn and Winter in the South France, we would like to hear from you.
Help in the house
Most of our workaways improve their gardening knowledge and skills while staying with us, and benefit from learning about waterwise Mediterranean plants. The fact that you cater for yourself in this listing requires that make regular trips to shops and markets. There are also bars for hanging out with locals and weekly clubs for pétanque ( boules), bridge, scrabble, yoga & dancing classes. We once had Argentinian workaways who learnt the tango during lessons provided by the Mairie on summer evenings . There is sometimes opportunity to find local people who wish to exchange language practice.
This workaway offer is for people who like working outdoors doing energetic, physical tasks in a methodical manner. Gardening is a skilled and knowledgable activity and we strongly favor volunteers with significant appropriate prior knowledge and experience. Our work requires concentration and good work habits. We ask volunteers to wear appropriate protective clothing, to focus on the job, take care with the tools they use, and to refrain from using listening devices while working. Volunteers with paid work experience find it easier to adapt to the daily work routines we require.
Tasks include weeding, clearing, digging flower beds, pruning and thinning bushes and trees, watering plants, shredding garden waste for compost, making compost and mulch, laying mulch, planting seeds, Knowledge and skill with activities like paving, dry and wet walling etc are very useful. Building skills carpentry, painting decorating and ability to use a sewing machine etc are also useful . We ask everyone who stays with us to do some domestic cleaning. We have also hosted artists and illustrators who have done some creative painting for us in the house or of the garden.
The minimum stay is four weeks and, on average, our volunteers do 3 hours in the early morning Monday to Friday, in total 15 hours per week. This equals 15 hours every 7 nights accommodation or 60 hours per person during 28 days. In addition we expect workaways to maintain the apartment we provide in the same state or cleanliness they find when they arrive ( probabaly an additional 2 hours per week) and take turns to prepare and clear up the shared daily refreshment break and the occasional "pot luck' suppers . The accommodation is self catering. spacious, well equipped (including bedlinen, towels, kitchen equipment etc) , warm/cool and comfortable, with daily access to wifi ( mostly though not guaranteed for 24 hours ). You can see examples of what the accommodation is like in the photos on this listing. Fresh produce from the garden is shared when it is available. We do not provide meals on a regular basis. There is access to a well equipped kitchen in the accommodation unit which we expect workaways to keep clean and tidy including a comprehensive cleaning prior to departure. Workawayers arrive and depart on weekends, 15 work hours are usually between 7-11 am Monday to Friday depending on the time of year and because it is often too hot to work hard later during the day.
We host workaways throughout the year. Volunteers who want to stay in the Fall and Winter months are especially welcome. Anyone with genuine gardening knowledge and skill who is looking for a long stay in the south of France during October to April - please contact us.
Our accommodation is spacious and fully equipped for self catering . We provide light refreshments on workdays. Our accommodation is especially suitable for workawayers who want to cook their own food. Our volunteers stay either in a self contained studio apartment ( with shower + Kitchen) with sun terrace and sea views, or in a 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom apartment with shared use of well equipped kitchen and plenty of space for eating and relaxing outside . From June to September, at minimum, we guarantee a comfortable private bedroom with a lovely view of the Mediterranean and use of a furnished terrace outside with panoramic views of the Mediterranean. Volunteers helping during the fall and winter are more likely to be offered two rooms per person/couple. There is a washing machine available for workaways to do their own laundry. Bed Linen and towels are provided subject to their being returned clean and undamaged. The property is in the heart of a famous and lively village ( spring summer) it is more tranquil in the winter. It is a very short walk to village centre, and close to beautiful beaches and countryside. There is public transport available to Toulon, Hyeres, the local beaches, St Tropez is 40 minutes by bus ( the 3 euros fixed fare takes you to all local destinations). Plus a local mini bus service goes from the old village to Lavandou, (the nearest local town 3 kms). Volunteers with prior workaway experience tell us that the self catering accommodation we offer is well above average. Smoking is not permitted in the accommodation and we require that the accommodation is kept in a clean and tidy condition .
Please come with shoes and clothes suitable for gardening! This means clothes, gardening gloves and shoes which offer protection from sharp leaved plants and insects. No flip flops, slip ons or sandals permitted in the garden and socks are essential . If you wear shorts, come equipped with plenty of insect repellant. There is a red cross 'thrift'/charity shop in the village, where clothing bargains ( useful for gardening but also often Stylish and French ) can be found - open on Tues and Thursdays, one of our longer stay workaways volunteered there. There is also a lively flea market every Sunday throughout the year in a nearby village- again a source for recycled clothing and other treasures . Bear this in mind as you pack for your journey though strong protective well fitting shoes are essential and not to be found second hand.
We offer working holidays short or extended with a 4 week minimum. Extended stays are also possible and suit people wanting a 2- 6 month stay in France . Please bear in mind, you will get really good quality self catering accommodation ( with heating, hot water, towels and sheets etc). You must have your own health and accident insurance. We expect everyone who stays with us to leave the accommodation in the same clean condition they find when they arrive, to clean up the kitchen after cooking and other shared areas of the accommodation. We ask you to return any bed and bath linen and beach towels we provide washed and dried before you leave.
Travel Arrangements Most of our workaways come by train to Toulon Station. The bus station is directly next to the train station in Toulon which makes the journey straightforward. The bus journey to Bormes costs 3 euros, and takes just over one hour. There are 2-3 buses - 7801, 7802 and 8814 which start at Toulon railway station.
The nearest aeroport ( Toulon) is well sited for Bormes (25 mins drive) . The other two airports are Marseille and Nice - both are 2 hours away by car . There are trains from Marseille and Nice to Toulon - in both cases you will need to take the bus form the airport to the train station. There is a free local car park in the village.
We will ask you to provide details of your arrival time and mode of transport, so we can make arrangements to meet you locally.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
negotiable - 15 hours per week ( 3 hours Mon- Fri mornings ) without meals