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We are an English speaking family of 5. We are looking to connect with like-minded families or couples who can help with our French renovation project in a small rural village in the pretty region of Franche Comte in France. We have made a good dent in the renovations, so be assured your stay would be a comfortable one but we really need some help to get further along this summer.
We are currently only spending half of the year in France and the other half in our home country of England, that along with the fact we are on a tight budget has meant that progress has been slower than we would have hoped. We are an unschooling/worldschooling family and as such our children (all boys - 12,10 and 6) are vibrant, individuals who are respected as equals and are pretty much fully autonomous in their lives and their learning, The boys attend a part-time Sudbury democratic school setting (which I founded back in the UK) during term time. We are really hoping to be able to host other families on a similar parenting path or people with views in line with our own. We have two great bedrooms which have been completed and are ready for workawayers to stay in. These are large enough to accommodate children on camp beds too. I LOVE to cook and entertain guests and dinner is always a big affair in our home. Ryan and I had a successful high-end restaurant/country pub for a number of years and so hosting people is something we thoroughly enjoy. Although I have limited my personal meat intake, please note, we are a meat eating family. We would be able to accommodate vegetarians and perhaps even vegans, however, this does not mean that we would not eat meat ourselves and so if this bothers you then, unfortunately, we probably won't be a good fit. The boulangerie is opposite our house and opens daily for the wonderful fresh french bread we just love!
About our home - We are very passionate about restoring this beautiful house respectfully. My husband is pretty handy and has renovated more than a few flats and houses but has a background in IT and so his DIY skills are all self-taught. Having worked in hospitality and event design and organisation, I have a keen eye for design and love interiors. This project is the biggest we have ever taken on but has been the most rewarding by a mile so far. The house was built in the late 1700s and fortunately for us has retained most of its original features. We think it is a very special place and would love to share it with others.
We have a large comfortable living area and fast WIFI for those of you who may also work online. The house has two smallish gardens (which we desperately need help with), one of which gets the sun for the best part of the day and backs on to the large community field garden. We are very flexible and are happy for workawayers to suggest and for us to agree beforehand what their schedule to help us achieve our goal would look like. We are also happy for families to all pitch in or for one parent to 'work' and the other to relax and enjoy the slow french lifestyle.
I've talked a lot about families but please don't be put off if you are a couple with no children or even an individual. Everyone will be considered if you think we would be a good fit personality wise.
We are just under an hour away from the beautiful city of Dijon and about 40-50 minutes away from Besancon. There are several lovely Chateaux's relatively close by to visit or to take a stroll around their grounds as well as plenty of old historic villages with weekly markets. For anyone with a keen interest in wine, we are an hour or so away from some of the most prestigious wineries in the world in the Burgandy region. Just 35minutes away is a main high-speed train station that could have you climbing the Eiffel tower or gazing at the Mona Lisa in Paris within a few hours. Other amazing destinations include Montpellier, Frankfurt, Luxemburg, Marseille, Metz, Nice, Lyon and more.
You will need a car if you want to get around independently but we are happy to transport you locally.
Help in the house
We hope this cultural exchange will be mutually beneficial. We would love to share our unique family lifestyle with others and share our English heritage while enjoying the setting and traditions of our home in the French countryside. Two for one in the cultural exchange deal ;)
We would be looking forward to learning about other cultures and traditions as a family and connecting with others while hopefully fostering some long term friendships.
The help required - We need all types of help in renovating the house and with getting the gardens looking lovely.
Skills or experience in the below areas would be useful but honestly, anyone willing to work hard, laugh hard and give it ago is welcome.
The list of help for this year include:
Repointing and installing lead flashing on the chimneys - (roofing, building skills etc)
Creating our new family kitchen, utility room and boot room - (carpentry, building, metalwork, stonework, plumbing skills)
Installing an additional bathroom - (plumbing skills)
Installing our new biomass boiler - (plumbing skills)
Painting and decorating - (handy with a paintbrush skills ;) )
Gardening and landscaping - (I am not green fingered at all so any help in this area would be great!)
Clearance labour in the garden and outbuildings - (strong men or women who aren't afraid to get dirty while doing some hard graft and tip runs)
Restoration work - (Plaster of Paris mouldings, paint effects, windows, woodwork skills etc)
In addition to this, we are working on our very limited French language skills and so anyone able to help us with this would be great!
Like said above we would be flexible in agreeing a schedule but ideally would need help for 5hrs a day 5 days a week or equivilent hrs in order for this summer to be really constructive.
We have two beautiful bedrooms which have been completed. These are large enough for children's camp beds if needed. The bedrooms are all spacious and light with dual aspect.
We are more than happy to provide a light breakfast and a hearty dinner for all those staying with us and really do want you to feel part of the family, so soup lunches or bread and cheese are also often available.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week