Live in and help restore an old big house in the beautiful Southern French of Sommieres, France



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  • Description


    I'm taking a break from my job, which might turn into early retirement, or at the very least a complete change of direction. My daughter is at school in the UK so she and my (French)wife will still be based there for a while yet. My tasks are to decorate and repair the house for them, upgrade the kitchen and bathrooms, and tidy up the garden.
    There is also a granny cottage(or perhaps Gite?) attached to the house, which once redecorated could provide private accommodation for a person or couple who wanted to live indepently from the main house.
    Obviously we wanted this house so are biased, but everyone who has visited has loved the house, the town and the area. I think for the right person/people this can be a fantastic place to visit, live in and enjoy.
    One thing which really appeals about Workaway is the opportunity to meet people from different parts of the world who love to travel. Up until recently I've visited different countries more or less each week for my job(over 85 countries in total), and I feel that staying in one place may lead to cold turkey. So to meet interesting new people is a very attractive proposition.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Help around the house
    Language practice

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    I've travelled extensively throughout the world and know some Spanish, but my French is very poor and is something I need to develop, but I'm poor at languages. Everyone else in the town speaks French. So there is great opportunity to learn the language, although as I demonstrate it is possible to exist with only a minimal understanding.
    The town of Sommieres is very rich culturally. Every Saturday there is a market, which has continued for years and provided the backdrop for the market scene in the film Jean de Florette. There are many pavement cafes. We have a castle, and a famous Roman bridge built by Roman emperor Tiberius.
    Very close by is Arles, where Van Gogh painted many of his best pictures. They also have a wonderful Roman amphitheatre, as does Nimes, which is also close by.

  • Help


    I have a large old house which requires some work in the garden and house with painting and general improvement. So if you want to create a beautiful garden there is gardening work, if you can paint a room or fence whilst listening to music or trying to learn French there is plenty of that work, if you can lay a parquet floor, repair some damaged old stone steps or have renovated houses in the past there is that type of work. If you know plumbing or tiling I'd like to upgrade the bathrooms. If you know carpentry/plastering I'd like to put a new couple of doors in.
    I also saw one or two Workawayers who have experience in brewing beer. If anyone has this experience I would love to start brewing a West Coast style double IPA.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Beginner
    French: Beginner

  • Accommodation


    A beautiful late 19th century grand house.
    The house is in a beautiful Southern French town named Sommieres, which you can look up and learn about. There are many beautiful houses on this site in the South of France, but I think the position of this one on the edge of a wonderful old town is what separates it from the majority. I'm a big fan of living a walkable distance from the centre of a town rather than needing to drive to reach places.
    I'm English and with that comes an inability to cook. So I will try to help where required and take you shopping, but unfortunately you are on your own in terms of creating meals.
    We are 750m from the town and a good number of restaurants and bars.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    History, art, nature, biking & mountain biking, running, walking, Saturday market, winerys, kayaking, horses, jazz club, beautiful small towns, Montpellier, Arles, Nimes, Aigues-Mortes, Van Gogh, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Marseilles, Aix en Provence, Carcassonne, Barcelona, beach, mountains, Les Chorégies d’Orange, Festival d’Avignon, Gypsy Fair, Saintes-maries, Feria de Pentecost, Nimes, churches.
    I fell in love with the area because of the little old towns, the relaxed attitude of the people, and of course the food and wine. Sommieres has the tiny streets of old town Barcelona, but without the tourists. It feels like an unearthed gem.
    My dream is breath life into the house, create memories and learn about the life and culture of the area. I'd like to learn new skills, learn about the region and learn French.

  • 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

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

Host ref number: 722343359481