Help us with our versatile renovation and permaculture project in Montsenelle, Normandy, France



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 Min stay requested: at least a week

  • Description


    Hello everyone!

    We are Upe and Marieke, both artists who fell in love with this old priory. At the moment we are 4 people, two extra semi-permanent guests/volunteers and a funny cat and a dog.
    Our native language is Dutch, but we can also welcome you in French, German, Spanish and English.
    We are working on a major project for the renovation of a beautiful old mansion and its outbuildings in Lithaire, Montsenelle, La Manche, Normandie, France.
    The house, which has been abandoned for years, is set in a 6 acre garden and has its own pond.
    We have a variety of jobs to offer including clearing the garden (which has not been well managed for years), assisting with internal and external renovations of the buildings, helping to build stone walls, plastering, bricklaying, installing underfloor heating, cleaning or cooking, there is plenty to do!
    We ask volunteers to stay with us for a minimum of two weeks. We are especially looking for people who have some experience with bricolage or construction skills.
    We are located in a 12th century former priory in the village of Lithaire, with a fine bakery 1km away, the town of La Haye du Puits 5 km away that has many facilities such as bars and restaurants and shops and we are 15 km from the coast with many beautiful beaches and villages such as Carentan, Barneville and Carteret.
    We grow our own fruit and start growing our own vegetables (we already make jams, chutneys and sauces).
    Usually we eat together, in the afternoon a hot meal. We like to cook for you, but we also like it when you surprise us with your own specialties.
    Although we are in rural France there is a good mix of culture and activities to meet and interact with the locals or other travellers.
    We love meeting people and inviting others to enjoy this corner of France that we have decided to call home.
    For those who do not have transport, we are happy to take you by car to the nearby beaches, towns or public transport for trips to Bayeux or Caen or Le Mont Saint Michel.
    We also love going to flea markets during the seasonal months and we love music, singing and talking by the fireplace.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    - Restoration projects
    - Gardening
    - Permaculture
    - DIY and bricolage projects
    - Cooking family meals

    We offer an versatile and ambitious plan in which we can use (a lot of) specialist (technical) construction supervision. Experience with renovation and masonry is super welcome and we are very open to suggestions that can help the project move forward.

    The regenerative way of farming, learning and making use of nature and its circular processes really appeals to us and a permaculture setup would fit in well with the structure and our plans, so experience and knowledge are very welcome there too!

    For people who enjoy cutting down trees and branches with a brushcutter, dredging the pond and pulling weeds there's plenty of work to do too.

    When the kitchen is ready and we harvest from the land, we envision creative cooking workshops and group cooking sessions. So if you have ideas for that, don't hesitate to share them with us.

    Apart from that, we want a food forest. We like to fantasize and philosophize about this and would like to get started with the first phase. Knowledge of food forests, permaculture and the like are most welcome. But even if you don't have the knowledge yet, but you want to learn, you can still come and we will learn together.

  • Help


    Help needed:
    - DIY bricolage
    - plastering
    - bricklaying (with old stones)
    - gardening
    - cooking

    We could really use the help of people with experience in plastering, DIY and restoration. Own initiative is a plus, if you have a good idea we will give you the freedom to fill in and implement it as you see fit.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent
    German: Intermediate
    Spanish: Intermediate
    French: Intermediate

  • Accommodation


    - two bedrooms in the house
    - unlimited wi-fi
    - a bicycle available
    - car transport if needed
    - train station close by

    You are very welcome to stay with us, indoor or outdoor if you would come with your own camper/caravan or tent.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Activities and interesting places nearby:
    • The site of Mont Castre is nearby: ancient stony carrier has remnants from neolithic, gallo-roman et medieval periods.
    • Hikes & Walks along Cape Carteret with possibility of paragliding
    • A variety of beautiful and endless beaches along the coastline of La Manche from Avranches to Cherbourg
    • Musée D-Day Omaha Beach, Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie
    • Lovely city of Bayeux, rich in culture and of course the famous Musée de la Tapisserie
    • The lovely historic capital of Contention Coutances with the Notre-Dame Cathedral an example of Norman Gothic art.
    • The Jazz sous les pommiers festival takes place every year in Coutances in the heart of the Cotentin
    • The lovely city of Caen rich in culture
    • Hikes & Walks in Le Mont-Saint-Michel

    If you take the bike you are at the bakery around the corner in 3 minutes.
    The nearest town is La Haye du Puits, it is a 5 km drive.
    Or you can enjoy for example Carentan, Coutances, Saint Mère-Eglise, Bayeux and many other beautiful Normandy towns nearby. And you are about an hour away from the famous Mont Saint Michel.
    The nearest beaches are 15 minutes away, they are very diverse and endlessly long.

  • 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

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    People who want to work online and use our internet can do so in the common living room. We have Wi-fi, fiber has not yet been installed on the property. Last summer, several people worked online, despite the fact that it is not a super-fast connection, there were regular zoom meetings that could take place without any problems.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    The site certainly offers enough space for campervans. In the courtyard, which is flat, there's room for at least 3 or 4. In the fields is enough space for (many) tents.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    We have a cat of our own, her name is Charlie, very sweet but not the most social animal. Last summer we had several dogs staying with us, which is perfectly fine.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

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

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Host ref number: 565595714733