Build a legacy reviving a historic Périgueux chateau in Aquitaine, Southwest France



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 Min stay requested: at least 1 month

  • Description


    *️️️️*️UPDATE - Thanks to your enthusiasm, we are mostly booked up in 2020 but have just finished a room for a two with private bathroom for experienced WorkAwayers with professional decoration, gardening, and renovation skills. Driver's license necessary.

    We need to make sure that you are a good fit and will enjoy the experience as much as we do. Please not that if you do not send the requested info in this profile when introducing yourself, your stay request will automatically be rejected in favor of the many lovely WorkAwayers who respond thoughtfully*️*️

    And, thanks to you, we have been able to complete much of the research and website design, so all stays going forward will necessarily include some type of maintenance/gardening/light renovation/care-taking tasks.

    A project with purpose! Be a valuable part of this quirky, historical French countryside chateau's 2020 further transformation from an unkempt treasure to a must-visit destination... where you will learn about the local history, bring a colorful piece of history back to its former glory, and help build a better future for disadvantaged youth. The chateau once featured in The Telegraph.

    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Please do provide references (actual references and/or websites) in your first introduction, so that we may make faster decisions for you.*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️

    We are an american and italian mother-daughter team that has recently purchased and recommenced renovation of a stunning country chateau not far from Périgueux that dates back to the late 1400s (admittedly, it's an odd feeling to live in a house older than the official discovery your own country). Originally the home of barons (we apparently have our own coat of arms) built on an ancient base, the estate was then totally transformed by a quirky 1800s French Artisan renown for his religious art (he has streets named after him for it) and penchant for things English; he and his equally eclectic heirs left their workshop, two chapels, and an indelible footprint on the property - transforming it from a hunting lodge to a towering gothic tribute. The chateau was more recently a summer resort for French Ministers' families before the state auctioned it to private owners. Walking through its halls during sunset and seeing the remaining original artwork --along with the self-portrait of their creator-- tells you a thousand stories... if you dare to hear them :-)

    We are looking for good, hard working, talented, and mission-driven workawayers to make a permanent contribution to the chateau's legacy though renovating it and properly telling its fascinating story. The Chateau renovation is well underway and our home will become accessible hopefully in mid-2020 as both a country inn with food, retreat center, and a top-tier leadership summer program (with scholarships for disadvantaged youth), so we are inviting talented folks of all sorts to make the chateau's rebirth a success.

    The renovation work to be done is not structural, but it is nevertheless of immense value to us. It is truly amazing to see what just an hour of TLC can do to transform the house and yard.

    If you are talented and passionate about design, decoration, historical preservation and nature conservation, large-scale landscaping, gardening, interior/exterior renovation, historical research and storytelling, animals (including big friendly dogs and chickens), course development, French cuisine, photography/videography, and social media, you will be right at home.

    Experienced builders who are self-directed and not afraid of hard work would be highly appreciated.

    In return, we are willing to host you and introduce you to the area, the land of truffles and foie gras, share what we know about the location's colorful history, teach you about some of the restoration and methods we've used, and cook with you or take you out for a meal, depending on how tired we all are from the day's work. In addition, we will share all that we learned from years working and studying around the world and look forward to learning about you, as well. Bonus points to anyone who can teach my mother some French, as she maintains that she is too old to learn the language (I say nonsense to this) :-)

    During your stay, you would most likely be sharing the chateau and the grounds (including swimming pool) with us ladies, a couple of other workawayers, one italian greyhound, two great danes, twenty chickens, and countless other passing friends, including deer and rabbits. If we are lucky enough to find skilled builders, you may have an entirely separate housing option --the light-filled guardian house with private garden-- in 2020.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    Elderly Companionship
    General Maintenance
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Farmstay help
    Help around the house
    Animal Care

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Nestled in the heart of the Perigord not far from Perigueux, a historic summer playground for the wealthy filled with historic sites, the stunning and sunny area has extremely friendly locals and some of France's best nature and food to offer. Whether your ideal meal is a picnic in your very own regional park surrounded by centarian trees or enjoying a Michelin starred meal, you're only minutes away. We are also close enough to Bordeaux for an easy vinyard tour day-trip, which is highly recommended, or the helicopter tour.

  • Host offers payment in line with the minimum wage

    Host offers payment in line with the minimum wage

    This host offers accommodation and payment.

  • Help


    We may be over 500 years old here, but we are abuzz with activity, so there is something for almost everyone!

    And, thanks to you, we have been able to complete much of the research and website design, so all stays going forward will necessarily include some type of maintenance/gardening/light renovation/care-taking tasks.

    - Painting, plastering, woodwork, insulating, roofing, some basic electrics and plumbing
    - Landscape design and realisation
    - Building-out courtyards, massive flower gardens
    - Interior design with realisation
    - Professional dog training (professionals willing to work daily with the girls are very welcome!)
    - Caring for and playing with our lovely dogs and chickens
    - Planting organic orchard and vegetable garden
    - Housekeeping and Pool care
    - Cutting and/or moving firewood
    - Website re-design and maintenance
    - Leadership course curriculum development
    - Restaurant menu design and possibly tastings
    - Shopping runs (license necessary) and car (preferred)

    Please let us know your passion and talents, and we'll see if we're a match!

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent
    French: Beginner

  • Accommodation


    Country Chateau living, all the way! As the majority of the Chateau has been renovated and will open in 2019, the lovely accommodation is located in the same rooms that we will eventually rent to guests. There are also common areas and kitchens, barbecues. If you treat them with the utmost respect, you are welcome to them as family.

    If we are lucky enough to find skilled craftsmen and craftswomen in 2018, a major goal of ours, you may have an entirely separate housing option in our lovely (but partially renovated as of now) guardian house in 2019.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We are fairly new to having workawayers but have a welcoming, healthy atmosphere at the Chateau and would love that you help us with a positive, can-do attitude along with a desire to collaborate with all who contribute here.

    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️Please send your references if you have any, as this will be an important part of considering our match.

    My spunky 70-something mother is at the Chateau on a full-time basis, and I usually travel for work more than half of the time, so couples may initially the best fit for us, although others will definitely be considered. The Chateau is non-smoking inside and generally very well-kept. Of course, drugs, drama, and prior trouble are absolute no-nos, but we do not mind at all if you indulge moderately in the fruits of the local vineyards; after all, we are in France!

    For the right workawayer or couple who finds a perfect fit with us and wishes for longer term (3+months) work, we may be willing to consider an exceptional extension of the workaway period or a part-time work arrangement with us with modest stipend, etc. This is of course assuming that you can already legally work in France are are willing to enter into a formal limited-term agreement to do so.

    The Chateau is literally a 10 minute drive from the nearest SNCF train station, but a car is highly recommended to truly take advantage of the area via day trips. You are a short drive from not-to-miss historic villages, meals, nature walks/rides, and many other adventures, not to mention in the heart of truffle-hunting country.

    Flights to Paris, where you can catch a TGV (fast!) train (station right in the airport or in Paris Montparnasse if you wish to lunch under the Eiffel tower beforehand) to Angouleme are usually the easiest and most economic options. At Angouleme, you can either rent a car or we can pick you up, depending on the arrangements. Otherwise you can also fly into Bordeaux, which then leaves you with a lovely 2.5 hour drive or a train ride to the nearest station, and in 10 minutes, you're home!

  • 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

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Minimum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

My mom, the camel whisperer :P
Me enjoying some quality time with non-French nature :-)
The sunny South wing
Two of our favorite sights... our hens and the giant cedar :-)
View from the (unfinished) guardian house - help us finish it!
You haven't lived until you've hosted hens, they're amazing :-)
Yay, the girls! Mimi and Nana. They've grown a bit since then
Your pool (we tend to keep it clean in the summer :-)
The large chapel, pre-cleaning, with spring blossoms :-)
Ancient garden elements
The silver lining after a lively storm
These towers are celebrations... the artist would build a tower when each of his children were born :-)
A glorious view! (April 2018)
The arrival in the 2010's (prior to some landscaping)
Over 100 years ago! We love finding and reading the few remaining historic postcards of the Chateau still in circulation.

Host ref number: 369458831945