We are Andy and Emily and in January 2018 we left our life and jobs in the UK and (with our cat Minnie!) moved to France where bought an old Cognac farmhouse in the Charente Maritime department of south-west France which we planned to restore into a gite . The house consists of 8 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 2 kitchens, 2 living rooms, swimming pool and large gardens of approximately 2 acres. We love its beautiful and peaceful rural location and its proximity to some of the best sights and attractions of the Charente Maritime from Cognac, Bordeaux and St Emilion to La Rochelle, Royan and the Atlantic Coast.
We worked solidly throughout 2018 and early 2019 doing much of the work ourselves and opened our gite for the first time in May 2019. Our first season has been a great success and during our winter close period we have much to do in terms of continuing to make improvements to both the house and gardens to get us ready for our second season in May 2020.
Away from the house, we love to travel and meet new people. We are learning French, and more recently Spanish, so it would be great to exchange with someone who can help us with our languages or inspire us with our future travels.
DIY and building projects
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Great opportunity to spend some time improving your French and immersing yourself in the local community and French culture, food and wine! The house provides a good base to explore the local area whilst you are here.
We are looking for help in the garden - creating new flower beds, planting, creating a vegetable patch, building a compost area and general weeding and maintenance. Internally we are looking for help inside the main house and adjoining cottage - painting of ceilings and walls and assisting with laying of new flooring. We're also looking for someone with a bit of muscle to help Andy with more of the heavy duty work.
Double en-suite accommodation offered with own kitchen, sitting room and TV. Breakfast and evening meal will be provided.
We live in a rural part of France so a hire car is necessary to enable you to get to supermarkets and explore. Our nearest town is Jonzac which is a 10 minute drive away and has some great restaurants, boutique shops and a weekly market. Our nearest airport is Bordeaux which is approximately 1 hour away.
There are many great towns and cities around us which we highly recommend visiting from Bordeaux and St Emilion (1 hours drive) to Cognac and Saintes (45 mins) as well as the Gironde Estuary (1 hour) and Atlantic Coast and La Rochelle (1 hour 30 mins).
The local area is famous for its Cognac and Pineau production as well as wine and the world-famous Bordeaux and St Emilion wine regions are within easy reach.
We are happy to provide lots of recommendations and suggestions for your stay!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week