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We are Rachna (39), Jaap (37), Tijko (4) and Enna (2). We are Dutch, traveled the world and settled this spring in the Southern French countryside. We live the 'Coeur des Bastides' region right in between the bastide villages Monflanquin and Villereal, halfway between Bordeaux and Toulouse. We are relaxed happy people and love to have people around. Our kids are enthusiastic little minions, always a little timid at first but very open and happy after an hour:) They speak Dutch and are learning French very fast.
Giving up our cityjobs in the Netherlands, we jumped in to a big new adventure. We wanted something totaly different more outside, eco and to have more time for our children and our surroundings. After half a year we are still very happy with the choice we made.
The castle, that we rent out during the summer months and where we occasionally hosts a wedding, needs renovations of all kinds; to maintain its old historic details but we also want to make it bit more hip. Now it is a bit dark like the middle ages :) So it needs some change. Outside is a world in itself. The hole terrain is big and needs some loving care. Using our permaculture experience we are experimenting in our garden and 'potager' to produce our own veggies. Coming years we hope to turning a large tract of the terrain in an edible forest... but first things first.... we can't do it al at once... So that is something for the future.
We invite and expect our guests to be part of the family. We invite you to join us in our leisure activities (but don't feel obliged :) and in discovering our new Southern French habitat. This is lots of fun. The French people in this region are very open and helpful which brings us to nice places. Being a temporary part of the family also means that you participate in the life in the house and to perform household tasks together with us or alone.
-- For the summer months July and August we prefer guests that speak French. Our children will be around a lot, so speaking French helps a lot in keepimg the conversation understandable for the whole family. An for us, being originally Dutch, it's a perfect way to practice as much as possible! --
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
Off course being in the middle of a different family will give you new views on live... but also discovering the France people, nature, and of course food!! together with us wat a lucky thing ;).
We ourselves have some experience with building, architecture (have been city planners in a former life) , natural gardening, but also want to discover the "new" things that make us and the world happy... like eco toilets.... what a nice things... but how can we make these more fashionable??
Next to us there are some retired owners on the property that are nature loving gardeners, artistic sculpturing painters and the love to such for old stuff in the ground with other France people... they are always active! They can't sit still :)
We do have a big list.... ranging from renovation and painting to expert level building, decorating the castle and working in the garden. We have our preferences and priorities but we happily improvise due to what our guests are good at and like to do. Some stuff listed below but it can change as we constantly learn ourselves too.
Building: create a new gate in the old stone wall, make a floor in the barn and put up water and electricity, clean the attic for renovation, build eco-toilets, to mention some.
In the garden we want to chop and plant trees, do pruning, expand our vegetable garden and our pool house and terrace, build eco-toilets, maintain fences, etc. We have a couple of hectares of land in which we made ditches to retain water in the coming years we want to extend the park garden and plant with trees, perennial vegs and medicinal plants.
Besides, we want to see if we can market our place better on the internet. We would love to be able to connect better to a public that is searching for eco-friendly holidays and weddings. We are not what you would call social media experts :) but would love to learn about that!
Ok, from experience, we can tell you, it is really cool to live in a castle :D The building has a U form. Our house is in one corner. Your bedroom is located on the inner court with a great view on the castle and has a double bed (140). The rest of the house we share together. Rachna loves to cook so we do have a big kitchen and make a lot of stuff from our own garden. We are now expermenting with eating vegan, and for so far are quite happy with it, , so lots of the food will be vegan. We love the nature and pick every moment possible to go outside to have our lunch and dinner.
We live in Envals, 5 minutes drive from the villages Villereal and Monflanquin. These and the other surrounding villages have a vivid social life and people are open and helpful. Hiking, trails, (mountain) biking, climbing are popular here. There are lots of castles and bastides, prehistoric cave paintings and many other things to explore which make it a really nice place. Moreover, the region is well known for its food and wines and is the no.1 'bio' region of France.
We ourselve myself do quite some running, cycling, hiking and yoga. You're always invited to join! We by the way also have a solar heated pool which you can use.
The place is quite remote from public transport so a car comes in handy but we also travel a lot by bike. We have one mountainbike that you can use. We might buy one more. On arrival we can pick you up from Bergerac or Villeneuve sur Lot.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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