We are Nick & Laurie, an English couple, ex Londoners who have made a new life in France . We live in the country in a large granite house beside a small river ( its part of an old water mill) in Southern Brittany.
Our house is the main dwelling, although the mill itself is the home of our very good French friends with whom we share many projects, holidays and adventures.
The area is very peaceful, surrounded by small farms, small villages and medieval towns, a world away from the big city, traffic and stress. The front of our house is really part of a large riverbank with lawn, trees and reedbeds which we often share with wildlife . Our own wildlife includes 2 Norwegian Forest cats and 9 chickens ( shared with our neighbours). They live in 2 large runs behind the house, although they often run free right around the house.
The house itself has 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms , a library/television room, a large salon and 2 barns attached, one converted into a workshop, the other still half finished ( one of our projects including wall pointing, roof insulation, floor tiling etc).
We both retired early in our 50s from busy jobs in community and social work but Nick still works freelance as a fundraising bid writer for charities while Laurie cycles, swims, gardens and explores the art of cooking, and does remote parenting on 3 grown up children in the UK. We eat fish but little or no meat ( out of principle and preference) but we are lucky to live in a region of France blessed with wonderful seafood and local produce.
We can offer volunteers good food, good company and a taste of French rural life. A car would be useful if you want to explore the region but we would be happy to take you out ourselves.
We are able to pick you up from Renne or Dinard Airport, or Renne Train station which are all about 1.15 mins away
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
We feel we are friendly and sociable as a couple and try our best to engage with people. We have between us a plethora of life experience and a realistic sense of what its like to live in France. We are culturally aware and although not french, can offer insight into life here
Help varies with the seasons but we have a number of one off and ongoing projects including:-
1.Gardening, developing more food beds, clearing brambles, planting, maintaining, propagating (we have a small greenhouse), landscaping, growing food on floodbanks
2.The barn, pointing, roof insulation, floor tiling, electrics, heating
3. Maintenance, roof patching, gutter clearing, drains etc, log splitting, interior painting
4. Cleaning, windows, spring cleaning, lots of wood polishing
5. Occasional, furniture stripping,
6. Cooking, exploring vegetarian recipes, making all kinds of jams, curds, cakes, healthy foods
7. Learning more French ( Nick is more advanced than Laurie but we are both happy to learn or teach)
8. Animal care ( helping with the chickens and any other new arrivals)
9. Foraging, collecting wild fruits, mushrooms, herbs etc according to season
Own bedroom and shower, WIFI access to internet, French & English television, use of books, cycles etc. The rooms offered are both double beds with storage for clothes and windows onto river. Heating is by electric fire in the bedrooms or woodburner ( living room)
We live 15 minutes by car from Josselin, a picturesque medieval town with impressive chateau, and Ploermel a more modern town with lots of shops & facilities. Both have good cinemas with films in both French & English. We are about 45 minutes from the gulf of Morbihan in the South with its principal town Vannes, or over an hour to the beautiful northern coast around Dinard and the channel port, St Malo.
If you have a car, you have a host of sites to visit within 2 hours including the standing stones of Carnac, Pont-Aven ( an artists' haven) , Rennes , Quimper, Lorient and Brest. Brittany has many large forests, lakes and medieval towns as well as a thriving music scene (celtic and mainstream). More locally there are breweries, organic bakers, chateaux, outdoor photo exhibitions etc.
For non car owners, we can offer bicycles and lifts on a regular basis.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week