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 and wood stoves. Our water comes from a spring. We care deeply about nature and the environment and intend to renovate 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.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Help around the house
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 bedroom (queen sized bed or 2 single beds, depending on your needs), 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.
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.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
This host can provide space for campervans.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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