Usually responds within 15 days
We are located in the foothills of the eastern Pyrenees, near the Mediterranean sea and the Spanish border. My French husband Gérard and I moved here in 2019, after 25 years living in New York City. I am American, born in Manhattan.
We are restoring and renovating the property with the goal of creating an artist's residency, an organic vegetable garden, a retreat for hosting cooking classes and writing workshops, and of course, a home for us.
The huge, stone house sits on 60 hectares (150 acres) of meadows and forest. We heat with geothermal energy, solar and wood stoves. Our water comes from a spring. We care deeply about nature and the environment and are renovating in accordance with these values.
We are cutting trails around the property, clearing brush, planning the gardens and doing other outdoor work, while we work with an architect to proceed with house renovations. A WorkAway volunteer would be a great help to us with all these tasks!
Gerard and I speak French and English fluently and interchangeably. If you wish to practice one or both languages, we can do that. I am a chef-instructor who cooks most of the meals, mostly vegetarian, all cuisines, using fresh, local ingredients. I love food and wine and you, the volunteers, will benefit from that passion! We enjoy meeting new people and entertaining friends and family. WorkAway guests will be included in gatherings (if they wish), if one is planned during their stay; our community is international, multi-lingual and fun.
Or, they can enjoy the complete peace and quiet of our place, relaxing in their private space or walking the vast and pristine landscape.
Types of help and learning opportunitiesHelp with Eco ProjectsGardeningDIY and building projectsAnimal CareHelp around the houseGeneral Maintenance
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities
This is a rural experience. Interaction will primarily be with Gerard and me, both fluent in French and English. I am an extrovert and enjoy talking with others--even in languages I don't speak! Culturally, this will be of value for guests who wish to improve their language skills. It's ideal for someone who wants a rural French experience, loves nature and hiking. The three small pre-Roman chapels within walking distance to the house are lovely cultural icons, typical of the area.
Although we are not near a town, we do make trips into Perpignan or Thuir on a regular basis for shopping. When the weather is right, we go swimming in the Mediterranean, about 1 hour's drive away. We will happily bring guests with us for outings if you would enjoy that. We also entertain frequently (meals, parties, houseguests) and you will be welcomed as a member of our extended family.
No special skills required but if you have any, let us know! We need help with outdoor chores, mainly. Volunteers need to be fit, active and reasonably strong. We're clearing brush, cutting wood, gathering stones to rebuild historic walls, making gardens (digging, fencing, composting, etc), clearing trails, whitewashing walls (some inside). All building renovations will be done by builders, so no need for help with that. We have an active dog, named Guapo, who needs at least one good, athletic walk daily and we might ask for help with that some days.
Private apartment in part of our large house with bedrooms (queen sized beds or single beds, depending on your needs and availability), kitchen/living area and bathroom. Simple accommodations as we haven't renovated yet. Access to the gardens, meadows, trails, etc. We will provide you with groceries to prepare breakfast and one other meal each day. We will cook and share one meal each day with you, except on Sundays.
What else ...
Our property is 20 minutes driving to the nearest grocery store. Walking distance to 3 pre-Roman (10th-11th century) churches; beautiful country roads and trails abound in the area. The beach is about 1 hour away; skiing 1.5 hours away; farmer's market 30 minutes away; small city of Perpignan is 45 minutes away. We have a car that you may be able to use, depending on your driver's license, experience and capability. There is also bus service to town (cost 1€) that we can help you with.
A little more information
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Space for parking camper vans
This host can provide space for campervans.
How many Workawayers can stay?
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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Accuracy of profile:
Nan and Gerard really take your interests and skills into consideration when organising the tasks. I did a mixture of tasks like helping to organise their attic, tackling the brambles and… read more
On a typical day we worked in the morning (weeding, cutting brambles, stacking firewood, gardening, etc.), had a delicious lunch together and then had the afternoon off. Then we usually hiked in the surrounding… read more
Nataliia is an enthusiastic, intelligent, hardworking and curious person. She is good at so many things! She stayed with us for about one month, helping with gardening, cleaning, organizing, furniture restoration, trail clearing, being a sous-chef and… read more
From the very first day, I felt like visiting my family or friends. I've been treated like a family member. Every weekend we went out wether to Mediterrane sea, to the weekend market, or to the city. Here, in this family, your… read more