We are James and Roo, we're both in our 50's and we have family of 5 children, the 4 youngest of whom live here in Brittany. The children are growing rapidly and currently range in age from 13 to 20 and they are spreading their wings now with university and residential lycee meaning that the home is a much quieter place during the week than it used to be.
We have been here for 5 years and love the peace and quiet of the Brittany countryside. We have a main house and a gite, which we rent to holiday makers, and we are surrounded by 9.5 acres of grounds including a lake and woods.
We would like to increase our holiday rental options and the big project at the moment is a tree house in the woods, perched high above the lake. We would love to encourage as much wildlife as possible, and apart from the fun and excitement of staying in the tree canopy, it will be a great viewpoint for watching the deer, wildboar and pinemartins that are all regular visitors to the garden. There have even been sightings of re-introduced wolves near here, so who knows what you might see or hear!
We would also like to build a small number of luxury camping pitches that would be hidden away in various parts of the grounds.
We love cooking and we would like to develop our vegetable growing: we could and should be self-sufficient, but finding the time to build and maintain everything on a very slender budget is a challenge and we would love to share our enthusiasm and our wonderful country location with you in return for some much needed energy and help.
Les Papillons is situated near the village of Priziac and not far from the old market town of Le Faouet. Brittany's rugged and wonderfully varied coastline is only 40 minutes away, and the historic towns of Quimper, Vannes and Pontivy are all about an hour away.
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Our first language is English, but we speak some French and our children are completely bilingual. We would be very happy if we can help you improve your language skills and equally we are always looking to improve our french or learn other languages.
We want to respect our environment and anything we create, we would want to have as little impact on the surroundings as possible. We have an opportunity to learn about and create a small enterprise that will allow others to get as close to nature as possible. In turn, we are always curious and keen to learn about, and learn from, other people's cultures. This region of France is primarily agricultural, with a strong local identity that sees itself as Breton before French. Local traditions like Breton music and dancing (and the Breton language) are kept alive in the many fetes and community gatherings ('pardons') .
We want to welcome people who are energetic outdoor types who don't mind a bit of Brittany winter weather!
The two main projects that we need immediate help with are the continuing construction of the treehouse and taming the grounds, in particular woodland clearance and logging.
Useful skills would be basic carpentry and experience with power tools including chop saw and table saw. For the clearance it is essential to be able to use a chainsaw safely and it would be useful, though not essential to be able to drive a tractor (old and temperamental Massey Ferguson 140).
Our guests will be able to live and sleep in our gite over the winter and early spring. It is a seperate, stone-built 'longere' farmhouse and fully equipped for our holiday guests, so all the home comforts are available. You will be able to live as independently as you like but equally be welcome to integrate with us as much as you want. We love cooking and will be able to provide at least one main meal a day, but we are very flexible and happy to discuss your own ideas.
We don't allow smoking inside.
The local area is very rural, predominantly comprising farmland and deciduous woodland. It is very popular with walkers and cyclists, with an extensive network of designated tracks, paths and quiet country lanes. Angling is possible in the numerous rivers, streams and lakes.
There are scores of little chapels to visit, some with beautiful and ancient artifacts. Cycling is as popular here as it is in the country at large and the roads are very quiet.
Almost every village has its bars, cafes and restaurants and it's possible to savour the local delights of Breton crepes in every town. The coast is about 35 minutes away and is infinitely varied with deserted sandy beaches, rugged cliff-top walks and little fishing villages nestling in secluded and sheltered estuaries and inlets. The restaurants are a must for seafood lovers.
Larger towns like Pontivy, Lorient and Vannes all offer plenty in the way of shopping, and the medieval centre of Quimper is particularly attractive.
We are quite remote here: your own transport would be a major advantage.
During the week there are just the three of us living here, but at the weekend our son and daughter come back and our eldest daughter will be back and forward between here and the UK.
We also have two dogs, Ebony and Juno, a cat, Deeley, chickens, and a large koi carp in our lake who we imaginatively call Big Fish.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week