Our place is located in the center of the Loire Valley, it is an expanding project committed to preserving the biodiversity of beauty of the French countryside. The project is led by Jonathan R, an American painter who has dedicated his life to preserving the vernacular architecture and traditional aesthetic of rural life that is disappearing in modern France.
WHAT WE DO is salvage, repair, and reuse the vanishing pieces of masonry, glassware, woodcraft, and metalwork developed by the ancestors of the French who live here in order to restore and protect the buildings and heritage of the region. We finance these building and renovation projects by running a luxury retreat where we invite our guests to explore the region and engage with local artisans, bakers, farmers and vintners to experience the country way of life. As a Workawayer, you may take on any number of roles related operating the retreat, our farm, or the renovation of our projects.
We work as a collective, sharing the tasks of meal preparation, cleaning, shopping, and organic farming. We observe ecological and sustainable living practices that are a part of living in the countryside.
Our mission is to educate our staff and the public about the unique aesthetics that define the biodiversity of beauty in the Loire Valley that we have sought to maintain and protect for over twenty years.
We prefer volunteers with previous experience in hospitality work, the food service industry, construction, woodworking, and other craft skills, but you are not required to have these skills. We are happy to teach you what you need to know here if you are dedicated to our mission and are ready to learn. Working here will be an education in the aesthetics of rural France and in conservation philosophy and methods. If you contact us, let us know WHY you think you'd be a good fit to help us maintain this sanctuary in the Loire Valley for future generations. We will do our best to respond to all thoughtful inquiries.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
We work as a collective, so you should expect to be asked to pitch in to MANY of the types of tasks mentioned above. We have organic gardens, farm animals, landscaping, errands, antique haggling, tree-climbing, dish-washing, composting, tree-trimming, tool-shed organizing, and more to be done. No matter where you work here, you will be working around a lot of delicate building materials which must be handled with care. If you do not have an appreciation for antiques and the careful protection of old things, this might not be the place for you.
We are looking for self-directed, independent volunteers who can be given long-term tasks and trusted to carry them out every day without constant supervision.
Driving cars with a manual transmission (stick-shift), a working fluency in French and an appreciation for design and the hard work necessary to realize an esthetic is a big plus, but we look forward to hearing from everyone. You will be working with French and English speakers.
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
You may share a room with another Workaway volunteer. Bathrooms are also shared. All rooms are provided in the village adjacent to the retreat property. A bed with clean sheets and blankets are provided, and you are welcome to use our laundry machines. We have a couple of bikes that you are welcome to borrow to take rides through this peaceful countryside. We occasionally organize day trips for members of the crew who are interested in visiting local historic sites and chateaux and learning about the history of the Loire Valley.
We share in the task of staff meal preparation and washing up. Breakfast and lunch are informal and we typically eat dinner in the late evening. We enjoy fresh produce and excellent regional wines each night. If you have special dietary needs or like to eat on a regular schedule, please let us know this in advance and we'll do our best to accomodate you! We are open to hearing from people of all different cultural backgrounds, but let us know if these kinds of things are important to you. We encourage you to mention your previous work experiences that demonstrate your ability to work with a team and clean up after yourself.
We respect every Workawayer's desire to do their own thing after the work day is over, but please understand that being a team player willing to share stories with everyone over dinner is highly preferred.
Please be advised - If you are just visiting the region for a short time and can only work here for less than three weeks, we will probably NOT be able to accomodate you.
When you contact us, please understand that we want to know WHY you think you'd be a great volunteer here. We receive many inquiries every week that tell us very little. We tend to invite volunteers who are interested in what we do here and are not just looking for a place to stay on their holiday. If you would like to write to us in your native language to tell us about yourself in more detail, please do! Even via translation, we will get a better sense of who you are.
If we ask you to join us, you must arrange your own travel arrangements to the city of Saumur. We recommend taking a train and we will pick you up at the train station to drive to our properties.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
must be compatible with other animals and people
More than two
25 per week/semain