Help with animals and with tending to the vegetable garden at a wellness retreat venue in the Pyrenees, France



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    within 4 days

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 Min stay requested: at least 3 weeks

  • Description


    Hello there. We are a Matt, Ali, and our kids Olea (10) and Simeon (8), who in 2015 bought a large hill farm in the Vallespir, and we have been working hard and renovating it and creating holiday accommodation ever since.

    We are a British family living in France; so the language at home is English.

    Matt has done lots of things including working as a diver, a Marine, then a computer technician and is now a forester/farmer/builder! He competes most years in the local triathlon (Bearman Xtri) and loves pushing himself physically; and recently has been doing a lot of cold water immersion. He is now the forester, land manager, electrician, plumber, technical manager and general handy man!

    Ali worked for many years as a chef on private sailing boats all around the world so has a background mainly in hospitality. I am an avid animal lover which is why we have so many! I love our long hikes in the mountains with the donkeys and dogs and like to practice yoga. I am design chief on the build, I manage bookings, do changeovers, feed the family, take care of guests and also do a lot of varnishing and animal care.

    We both enjoy the great outdoors, long lunches, friends, family & animals!

    We live in part of the main mas and Ali's parents live in their own house, which is in one of the outbuildings. We have no neighbours, and the village is only 5 minutes away down the track, the Mediterranean coast (and Collioure) is only 1 hour drive away and we are very close to the Spanish border so trips into Spain are very easy, even just for lunch.

    We built all the guests accommodation and we now host wellness retreats and family nature holidays.

    Using wood from our own forest, a band saw and a good workshop we can make almost anything out of mostly chestnut & oak. Anyone who enjoys working with wood will have many opportunities.

    We also have a poly tunnel and large organic vegetable garden, and are starting to learn about and adopt permaculture methods.
    Our aim when we have stopped building, is to become as self sufficient as possible, both terms of food and energy but we're not there yet! We are still making improvements to the property in the winter, Spring we have a lot of retreats but also try to get as many vegetables planted as we can. Summer is family holidays; very sociable and fun. Autumn; usually more retreats and some maintenance and harvesting.
    There is so much to do here! We welcome practical, open minded and fun people to help out.

    We have lots of animals; 3 donkeys who we take for camping trips, 2 dogs, 4 cats, 25 chickens, 2 pet pigs, a few pet sheep and a goat; It's a great place for animal lovers! We are somewhere between a petting farm and a rescue centre!

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Apart from exploring this beautiful part of France, you could also learn about animal care, organic vegetable growing, the English language! This is also a perfect place for people interested in forestry, ecological farming & permaculture.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    Our set up is best adapted to host a couple. I am sorry, we do not have room for families at this time.
    We like our helpers to have a friend to go exploring with and to enjoy their free time together so 2 people is perfect.
    We need help in the Spring to help with the yoga retreats; but also a little painting, possibly some varnishing and gardening.

    In the summer, we organise activities for guests and kids; things like walks with donkeys and stopping for a picnic, guided hikes, tours around the animals and lessons is taking care of animals, and showing kids how to tend to a vegetable garden. There will be help needed with animal care, taking kids to the pool etc and doing light domestic chores (a bit of washing up after meals and getting kids to tidy up after themselves!).
    We have a big wood working workshop and are always making something out of wood grown here. Lots to learn and help with there.
    We can use pretty much any practical skills and can adapt jobs to peoples interests or skills. People who can speak French and English is helpful.

    Spring and Autumn is retreat season for us and half term holidays so we are still busy with guests doing yoga, meditation etc and can use help around the farm, and with the animals, kids etc.

    Most of all we like positive, independent, practical and fun people who work well as part of a team but also enjoy some quiet time, and would enjoy sharing this wonderful place with us for 3 weeks- 2 months or more.
    Best suited for a couple who have their own car who don't mind living remotely and enjoy nature, hiking etc.

    PS: I am sorry we don't except dogs as we have sheep, cats & chickens and don't want to put them at risk or disturb our guests with extra barking etc.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Spanish: Beginner

  • Accommodation


    We can offer a basic mobile home in a secluded spot with double bed, South facing terrace, compost toilet and hot water shower, wood burning stove. Double bed and kitchenette with fridge. Comfy sofa on terrace. Wifi.
    Over the winter when we are closed, we can offer one of our very comfortable gites.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    There are buses that go from the village into Perpignan for 1 euro and we can offer lifts wherever we are going. There could be occasional use of a car when it's not needed; but having your own car is best!

    This location is ideal for walkers, mountain bikers & climbers and lovers of peace and nature. There are many beautiful villages and small towns up & down the valley to visit, all the way to the white sandy beaches on the coast of France & Spain. Collioure is 'our St Tropez' (1 hour drive), Ceret is our biggest local town (30 mins drive) which has a great Saturday market, art galleries, restaurants etc. Barcelona is 2 and a half hours drive away.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    Yes; there is wifi in the accommodation.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 242995296227