We are Hilde (46) and Luc (48), originaly from Flanders/Belgium, enjoying the peace and tranquility of French countryside of the Thiérache (Hauts-de-France) for a few years now.
We are transforming a former cattle farm in the valley of the river Oise into a small scale farm/smallholding that is – as much as possible – self-sufficient. This also means using electricity, gas, heating and water wisely and “reduce, re-use, recycle”.
This transformation includes big and small restauration on and inside the house and the barn by using as much as possible traditional materials and techniques, or otherwise turning to modern ecological alternatives.
At the same time, the pasture behind the barn is being transformed into a permaculture (kitchen) garden surrounded by a traditional hedge with a rainwater drain and puddle, with space for our two donkeys. We also keep semi-free range chickens and likewise rabbits.
We are always looking for help with all of those, and also for doing hay or wood (according to the season). Ideally you are pro-active, able to work together, and at the same time able to get things done on your own.
We love the French culture and savoir-vivre and would like to share that with you. As such we would like to learn more about you, where you come from, what thrives you and also find out how different (or not) the daily life is where you come from. If you could cook some traditional or typical food from where you come from, that would be great.
We like you to participate in our daily life and be more than just a tourist passing by. Therefor we prefer a week stay at miminim.
We can accomodate for two people at the same time in the house. If you want, you can bring your own tent.
Internet access is quite limited here – unfortunately – so there is no acces for your own device. If you would like to have access, we have a computer at your disposal.
We live at 11 km from the trainstation and we be happy to pick you up there!
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
We invite you to participate in the French and Belgian culture.
We would love to learn about you, your culture, the daily life and taste the traditional food from where you come from. It would be great if you could teach us some of the traditional food from where you come from.
We can learn you how to make traditional French and Belgian food.
We can teach you Dutch.
We are looking for a help with biological/organic kitchen gardening and the transformation of the pasture (according to permaculture principles).
We are also looking for help with building and restoring the house and barn,, using traditional techniques and materials or modern ecological alternatives.
Dutch (native speakers), French, English
- a spare room in our house with a shared bathroom
- your own tent
- the hayloft ;-)
We have six cats and a dog (without acces to the spare room!) so we can't accomodate for animals, except the horse or donkey you are travelling with.
We are non-smokers.
At less than 5 minutes walking, there is the Axe vert, an old small track railway that is today transformed into a walking- and cyclingpath from Guise to Hirson, and that is a part of EuroVelo 3 (Trondheim - Santiago de Compostela). Next to it is the river Oise, the perfect place to enjoy the peace and calm of the water and ideal for canoe or kayak.
There are quite a lot of nice forests and lakes nearby, among others the Parc naturel de l’Avesnois, the pond Etangs des Moines in Fourmies, the communal forest of Hirson with its Domaine de Blangy and its cascade.
There is the Piscine de l’Ile verte in Hirson with swimming pool, sauna, hammam, jacuzzi, fitness and bowling.
Also worth a visit is the Familistère in Guise (the Utopia of Godin, the man from the stoves) and the abbey of Saint-Michel.
Parfondeval, wich is one of the most beautifull villages of France, is at half an hour drive.
The medieval city of Laon, situated on a rock of a honderd meters high, with a lot of things to see and its cathedral, is at an hours drive.
For those who love brocantes (flee markets): from April untill Octobre, there is always one to be found nearby.
Please note that public transportation is limited.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
We are flexible; 5 hours/day, 5 days a week