Learn new skills in building, gardening and renovating in the Dordogne, France



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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    We are building a house and are at the stage where we need to do the plumbing, run electrics, put up plasterboard, lay tiles etc. Experience is a bonus but not essential. We also need help with gardening and landscaping and general help in the house, including moving furniture. Sometimes we organise house contents sales or house clearances, so the help can be varied.

    Very important: Please read our profile in full and check our calendar before applying, as it saves disappointment and we don't have to decline your application. Everything you need to know is contained in our profile and sometimes repeated to ensure you don't miss any important parts. We have large dogs who can be boisterous but not aggressive.

    Please read our feedback to get an unbiased view of what to expect from staying with us and why so many workawayers extend their stay or come back for a second, third or fourth visit. A lot of our volunteers have come to think of us as their second home. You need to have a good level of English, be fit, strong and healthy and able to use logic, reason, common sense and the correct mental attitude. If you believe you have these qualities, then you will be in for a good time.

    Sorry but we only accept applications from people travelling on their own. We do not accept families, couples, pairs, groups or people who want to bring pets and people with any health issues, including pet or food allergies. Nor can we cater for anyone with special dietary requirements including vegetarians, gluten, wheat or lactose intolerant, any other eating disorders, religious dietary restrictions (Pork/Beef) or picky eaters as we are catering for large groups. We are sorry but we do not make exceptions.

    This is an exchange. You need to come with the attitude that you are here to help us. We have a duty of care, so making sure our volunteers are happy and have a good time is our main concern. We have grown up children and grand children and we try to look after everyone who stays here in a way that we hope our own family would be treated if they were staying with hosts.

    If you cannot get out of bed in the morning, suffer from mood swings, struggle to socialise or have an aversion to hard, physical work, this is not the place for you.

    The tasks are hard but we laugh a lot. You will be joining a family environment and treated as a member of our family. Meal times are important as we all sit down together to eat and talk and find out about each other. Strong bonds are made in this way and many strong friendships have been made between us and between workawayers.

    You need to be strong and fit, have common sense, logic and reason, initiative, a sense of humour and come with a good work ethic and be prepared to help us on site and in the house.

    We are an Anglo Franco family (English is spoken most of the time). You will not get the opportunity to practice French much and you need a good grasp of English. We live in an isolated, large rambling house in the middle of the stunning Dordogne countryside in South West France for the past twenty seven years.

    From April- NOV we normally have approximately 4/6 volunteers staying with us in male and female dormitories. Minimum stay 2 weeks but longer stays are preferred. Please state whether it is building, gardening or housework that you are interested in and when you wish to come.

    You'll have fun learning useful skills you will use throughout your life. Someone with construction experience would be fantastic.

    Please make sure you read our profile in full before applying. We will know if you have not taken the trouble to read our profile in full. We want you to apply because you feel we are best suited to the type of experience you are looking for and not sending a blanket one fits all request to dozens of hosts. We ask for a minimum of two weeks stays but we prefer longer stays. We can't accept dogs, families nor groups of travellers or anyone with special dietary/health needs which includes vegetarians.

    Our daughter and her French husband and their two small daughters and our eldest son and his French partner and their two little boys live near by and are frequent visitors to the house for dinner and the occasional cup of tea. Workawayers are always included as part of the family at these events. This is usually the only time we speak French as a family.

    Our part of the Dordogne is spectacularly beautiful. Wild boar, deer and wildlife are abundant and Buzzards and Black Kite are to be seen circling on the air currents on a daily basis. There are rivers and lakes to swim in, as well as canoeing and two great swimming pools about 30 minutes away. Rock climbing, walking, horse riding at local stables, picnics and caves (about 2 hours away) to explore as well as historic towns to visit. There are local markets as well as historic town centres and buildings to interest everyone. There is little night life, so our fire pit is the central focus of evening entertainment.

    We have walnut, apple, pear, cherry, hazelnut and plum trees. We have about 10,000 sq. metres of land.

    During the summer months there are music concerts everywhere. There are also lots of village fetes and lots of local things to do. We live in the middle of the countryside, miles from anywhere with no public transport , but we do try to ensure you get the chance to visit some local attractions and do fun things locally on your non working time.

    We have had several volunteers here at a time and have had some wonderful times together. The help can be hard but the atmosphere is terrific and most people have really loved being here. Many workawayers stay much longer than they originally planned.

    Please note: Not suitable for dogs or families with children. We provide three main meals per day (we are meat eaters )and plenty of it. No one leaves the table hungry. We do not provide wine or beer as a staple and we cannot cater for anyone with special dietary needs. Please do not apply if you are a vegetarian. We have cats and dogs and can't take people with any allergies as we live in a very rural area.

    IMPORTANT: Please quote: REFERENCE 123. When applying so that we know you have read our profile in full.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    Animal Care
    Language practice

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Julia and Paul are English but have lived in France for twenty seven years. Our children are married and or have French partners. They visit a lot so you can practice your French. you will also pick up a number of new skills that will prove useful throughout your life.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    We are currently looking for workawayers to help on a number of building and renovation projects and general maintenance on our house as well as helping in the gardens. Experience an advantage but not always essential . People who are prepared to muck in and fit in with an easy going and friendly family and help with the vegetable garden or general chores when necessary. Our main house is a constant project, we also have an old ruined barn that we are turning into a house.

    People with their own transport would be particularly well suited as we are out in the country and we can not always promise to take you on exploration trips.

    5 hours per day, five day week or equivalent depending on team requirements, with some weekends required (included in the 5 days)

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    2 dormitory bedrooms one for boys and one for girls sleeping 4 and 6 with shared bathroom facilities. These are basic, clean and comfortable

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    At home we also need help around the house and in our vegetable garden , general gardening and fruit picking in season. We prefer volunteers to offer help rather than having to be asked. We have walnut, apple, pear, cherry, hazelnut and plum trees. We have about 10,000 sq. metres of land. You will need work clothes and protective shoes and proper work gloves and do remember a hat or cap for the sun. Please ensure you have your health insurance up to date and tetanus jabs up to date. As mentioned we cannot accommodate special dietary requirements ( vegetarians please do not apply ) no allergies. No other health issues either sorry. Whilst we like to accommodate many nationalities we ask for a good level of understanding of spoken English and or French. You will be using tools regularly so you must be able to understand instructions , your safety is important to us.

  • 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

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours per day, five days week or equivalent depending on requirements. with some weekends required (included in the 5 days) thank you

These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.

Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (4.9)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 618152215451