We are an English family of four. Katy, Andy and our kids Amelie and Sophie. We are trying to build an ecotourism business in the Southern Dordogne. We have a very old farmhouse, barns, some fields and woodland which all needs a lot of work to get us where we would like to be! Our house stood empty for over 20 years before we bought it in 2015, and it was eight months of hard slog (mainly by Andy) before we could move in. We now have a kitchen, playroom for the kids, lounge, 3 bedrooms and nearly 2 bathrooms.
Andy is a DIY enthusiast, and turns his hand to pretty much anything. He worked within the electrical sector in the UK before we moved out here, so has a good grounding of know-how. Katy was a divorce lawyer so this is definitely a new adventure. She dreams of having her own expansive veggie plot and chickens to look after - but we are not quite there yet. She is in charge of paperwork, website building and moving wheelbarrows full of stones
We like to work hard but also take time out to relax and enjoy the French lifestyle available to us here. We are both trying to improve our French language skills (whilst the children quickly overtake us and become fluent), and try to participate in community events as much as possible. We also like to explore the surrounding countryside on foot and by bike with our dog, Leo. In the evenings we enjoy relaxing with a glass of wine (or two), reading, watching films.
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Help with Eco Projects
Whilst we are an English family, we are integrating into the local French way of life. Our two children attend school here, the eldest is fluent in French. There are always local events on going. We are happy to help those who would like to improve their English. Alternatively you can teach us more French or any other foreign language.
We will ensure that you can explore the local communities and countryside, and take part in any local events going on whilst you are here.
You will be able to learn many skills in general building work, plumbing, electrical work, gardening, grounds maintenance, and more.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
We need help with building and renovating work on our ancient farmhouse in the Southern Dordogne. There are plenty of different types of work available to any volunteers who would like to come and help us out. We are in the process of creating an open terrace from an old cow barn (complete with milking stalls), putting wood cladding and insulation on a newly built wall on an old workshop area, creating paths around the property, installing new windows and doors, and pretty much everything else!
Upcoming projects will include self-building a swimming pool, re-roofing an open barn and breadoven area, and painting and decorating. We also intend to turn an old vintage caravan into extra sleeping space, create a composting toilet and more.
The work included is general building work, DIY, plumbing, electrical work, gardening and groundwork etc. One of us is experienced with electrical and plumbing work so it will just be to assist him on that side.
We are trying to do all of this work as ecologically as possible on a small budget - using the materials that we find, upcycling and sourcing cheap stuff.
We would love to have individual volunteers or a couple.
We have two small children so some child care assistance would also be welcome!
You will have a choice of accommodation. We have a little caravan with its own (very small) kitchen area and facilities, and a put down double bed. There is a toilet but no shower. Or you can have a double bedroom in our house and share facilities with the family.
We will provide you with bikes to get around, and you can use our family car or van if wanted (and you have a driving license of course!). It is not possible to walk to the shops quickly from here, but you can cycle. We are about 5 minutes by car from the nearest train station.
You will have access (if needed) to a car, and we can provide you with a bike. We are about 5km from the nearest village, but it is quite hilly. We are very close to a train line (it stops in the local village) with links to Perigueux and Agen.
There is plenty of walking/running trails and cycling opportunities near to us. There are plenty of beautiful villages and glorious countryside to explore. The major towns of Cahors, Sarlat, and Bergerac are all within an hours drive. There are the famous caves of Lascaux and more are not far away in the Dordogne, you can do watersports on the rivers, and there is plenty of fishing,
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week