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Hi we're a family of four who have recently left our old lives in Paris for a change of lifestyle. I'm Philipp is a Tv and film maker from South Tyrol in Italy and my wife Anna, is an English fashion designer, we have 2 daughters, a 1 and 3 year old. We fell in love with our 18th century chateau and decided to embark on the adventure to restore it and tame the 15 acres of gardens, forest and argricultural land. We are perfectly situated close to the beautiful touristic town of Honfleur on the Normandy coast, 10 minutes cycle ride to the sea. We love a challenge and reward our efforts with great french food and wine and company!
Living and restoring a french chateau, means learning about history, ancient building techniques and ways to restore the building respecting its integrity. Its an opportunity to stay in a very beautiful part of France and to understand every day life in France, whilst improving your french and your knowledge of french wine and cheeses.
We are looking for people passionate about architecture and history, who would like to learn about and participate in the renovation of a historic building.
In a chateau no task is simple, and every step to make it a livable place with contemporary amenities comes with special challenges. (The chateau is protected, so every modification and building material has to be signed off by a planning committee).
I'm an experienced renovator (I'm also a filmmaker specialized in architectural television programs) and there's always local tradesmen on site with specific expertise in historical building techniques. However, research is key to any modification we're planning here at the chateau and there's not one day where we don't learn something new about building techniques, materials and problem solving.
New jobs and tasks pop up literally every day here at the chateau, within the next couple of weeks for example, we're dealing with 200 year old terra cotta tiles, (restoring the good ones sorting out the broken ones), we create a new floor slap without adding any moisture to preserve the fragile wooden structure, we restore an old cast-iron radiators and, with the help of a professional art Restaurator, we bring back to life an 18th century hand painted wall decoration. If these are tasks that interest you, we'd be happy for you to assist us. We don't need you to have previous experience in renovation, but we do look for people who are hands on and practical and not afraid to get there hands dirty.
If you want to improve your french and add some technical terms to your vocabulary, you're welcome to join us to the trips to the builders merchant, where you can practice your french negotiation skills.
Don't hesitate to get in touch with us, to learn about what we're exactly working on on your dates.
English, German, French and Italian
A private room in the chateau with a double or single bed, please note that the chateau is clean but is old and needs renovation. You will be welcome to join the family meals or use the kitchen facilities as you wish.
We live in a pretty rural village, a 10 minutes cycle ride from the picturesque harbour town of Honfleur and the local beach. The seaside towns of Deauville and Trouville are 20 minutes away by car and the Normandy landing beaches are also in proximity by car. The public transport is limited so having your own transport is a plus if you intend to visit the local sites, otherwise we are able to lend you a bike.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week