Help us while we restore an old chateau in Hautes-Pyrenees - wonderful mountain views and quiet rural life. Our current project is to tame the wild gardens whilst starting to renovate bits of the house!
DIY and building projects
We offer a relaxed village life, living the way we do. We are French-speaking and can offer language lessons (if you like!) as well as wonderful views of the countryside, including the Pyrenees themselves.
We are a couple of ex-teachers originally from the UK, with 2 lovely lively lurchers, living in a small village in the Hautes Pyrenees - Sariac-Magnoac - just over the border from Gers. We recently moved into the local chateau - although the castle itself was taken down some centuries ago, we are left with a collection of old buildings including a pigeonnier and even a large chapel.
We have 8 acres of land split into several fields and a lovely woodland garden, as well as a very overgrown path down to the river Gers. We are looking for help with cutting back overgrown areas, mowing, digging and planting. We have machines to help (strimmer/brush cutter/ride-on mower/tractor etc) but need outdoor lovers to help us with this part of our project.
There are also several buildings to renovate, so we may ask you to help us with decorating or clearing if the weather is not good enough to be in the garden. For example, we have 2 very old "salles de gardes" - amazing vaulted rooms that need the concrete chipped off to reveal the beautiful old stones they were originally built from to house the soldiers guarding the chateau!
You will be helping alongside us while we do the work - we will ask you for some strong help but we won't ask you to do anything we would not be doing ourselves and of course we will not be slave drivers!
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
Please contact them directly for more information.
Double room in the old farmhouse, shared bathroom (at the moment!). The house is still quite basic although we have all facilities and on the plus side we have a wonderful open fire for colder evenings. Dogs have pretty much free run of the grounds and house so be prepared for some cuddles! We cook and eat together - outside if the weather is good.
We love travelling ourselves, Howard loves his motorbike trips and will be looking forward to going out on rides to discover more about the local area, whilst Ali has visited many countries and speaks several languages.
Our village is small but very international and very friendly. Many of the villagers have lived there all their lives and remember the chateau from their childhood. Everyone we have met has been excited at the thought of it being restored back to life as it is a bit neglected and unloved.
Sariac-Magnoac is a wonderful place to explore the local area, including Gers and the Hautes Pyrenees. There is a small local market on Saturdays in Castelnau-Magnoac (7 mins away) as well as a beautiful lake for swimming etc. Further afield, there are several more lakes for water sports, plenty of beautiful old towns and lovely countryside for walking.
We are 1h 15 from Toulouse, 3 hours from Bordeaux and 30 mins from the foothills of the Pyrenees - for the skiers, we are 1h 20 from the nearest ski resort. So plenty to do including mountain-biking, parachuting, climbing, watersports, hiking, skiing etc.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have several fields available to park a van if necessary and all facilities available in the main house
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week