We are a youngish Canadian couple with two small children who are 11 and 8 years old and a cat, Millie (yes I need to update our profile photo, our children are much older now!) and have been living in Europe for the past 20 years.
We have three projects for this autumn/winter for which we need help:
Project 1: Renovate the attic of a beautiful old garage into an office (see photos). It is actually not a major project since there is a good floor/walls/roof already. The work will consist of installing hemp based insulation in the roof and putting up plasterboard, mudding and sanding then painting. This is the biggest part of the job by far but we do have a scaffold, ladders etc. and lots of other equipment to make the job easier. After that part is finished it will be cleaning, sanding and oiling the floors, installing electrical wiring and radiators/lights etc. and all the finishing work to set it up. We may also look to install a toilet or at least a sink since there is already plumbing installed.
Project 2: Build a treehouse for our children in the huge 'platain' tree (see photo). My idea was to have a first platform of about 2M x 3M and about 3M off the ground with legs coming down to the ground on one side and fixed to the tree on the other side in the most eco friendly way possible (no bolts, nails or anything in the tree). From there another level could be added (much smaller) a little higher up as well as walls and possibly a roof over part of the platform.
Project 3: Completely re-do ou vegetable garden using permaculture (also in other parts of the garden like around fruit trees etc.. Despite researching permaculture online we have no real knowledge of how to do it properly or where to start.
For project 1 and 2 construction skills are essential, I have reasonably good skills myself but an not trained in any specific trade so need someone who has training or very high level experience who can either lead the projects (especially the treehouse) or at least be able to work independently since I will not be available everyday to help or even manage.
For project 3 obviously knowledge of permaculture and setting up gardens is essential.
We also need help with general house maintenance/cleaning, the large gardens (aside for the permaculture angle), and our children. This is why we feel our workaway suits a couple but will also definitely consider a single workawayer if their skills in construction are high level and we can just focus on the renovation/construction work while they are here.
We have recently decided to only take workawayers who can stay for at least 2 months. While we know this isn't for everyone, it's just too difficult to invest the time and energy into integrating people into our family and projects only to have them leave 2 or 3 weeks later. This is especially hard on our young children who become attached to our workawayers. Also for the above projects, it's important that our workawayer(s) can stay to see the project through from start to finish or at least see big steps through from start to finish.
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
You will have the opportunity to learn new skills and improve your existing skills related to home and garden maintenance and childcare while having the opportunity to live on a luxury property with a laid back, easy going and fun English/French speaking family. You will also be able to improve your language skills in both French and English if you wish, however our first language is English so you will not be 'immersed' in a full French environment as we usually speak English in our family. Having said that, Warren is happy to speak exclusively in French to our workawayers to help them improve their French but you will need a decent level of French to begin with, we're not a French school ;-) You can enjoy living in a beautiful region in France, have the opportunity to explore the local area, and take in the culture and sites.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
The three big projects I've described above. We don't really expect to find someone who will want to/be able to stay and help us with both construction projects from start to finish although it would be nice if that's possible and remuneration is possible for someone with high level construction skills which seems only fair, let's discuss.
The general help we require is a little different everyday but there are many tasks that go with the general upkeep of our house and gardens that we need help with since both are large and we have very busy schedules! These tasks include some light yard work (watering, weeding, cutting the grass, planting or harvesting fruit and vegetables etc.), painting, cleaning out/organising garages, planning and doing activities with the children as well as helping the children clean and organise their toy room, cleaning, dusting and vacuuming throughout the house etc. and generally just trying to stay on top of the dusting, vacuuming and tidying required in a very old house that has been renovated to the highest standard to keep it looking its best.
Overall, whether it's helping around the house or on one of the bigger projects, it’s critical to be organised and to take the initiative without needing to be asked but you will be part of our family so not expected to do anything completely on your own, high energy and enthusiasm are the most important assets you can bring!
We provide full room and board in a private apartment attached to the house.
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
Apartment; 2 bedroom, bathroom, living room, sunny terrace, large garden
Located in a beautiful village with restaurants, pubs, bakeries, grocery store etc.
This is a wonderful escape to the French countryside and way of life. While we live in a French only environment (outside of our home) and it's therefore helpful if you can speak a little French, it is not necessary and we can help you improve your French and/or English while you are here since we are bilingual and we also speak a little Dutch and Brazilian Portugese.
This region is second in tourism in France behind only the Cote D'Azur so there are many things to do in the area from beaches and surfing to chateaux and wine tasting and everything in between. There is a good network of buses and trains and our helpers in the past have often used ride sharing (BlaBla car) as a quick, easy and cheap way to get around.
Please bear in mind that even though we're not far from many bigger towns and cities (Bordeaux, Nantes and La Rochelle to name a few), this is a small country town of about 3000 people so if you're looking for more of the bustling city life with lots of people around all the time then this definitely isn't for you.
If you're looking for something slower paced, quieter and closer to nature while still enjoying many nearby amenities then this is definitely for you!
Please drop us a note if you're interested to learn more-we'd love to chat!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We work from home and have good Wifi coverage in the house.
We can accept a dog or cat as long as they will get along with our cat and our young children. For dogs, they cannot be aggressive or bark a lot because we live in the middle of the town. It's also important they are well behaved and won't dig in the garden.
5 Hours per day