Bonjour et Bienvenue!
We're an active couple (Christine & Alan) who would like some immediate and also ongoing help with various projects such as gardening, planning and creating new garden features, harvesting, pruning, woodcutting, dry stone walls and painting plus other housekeeping, cooking and general maintenance around our house and land in SW France.
1 or 2 people, offering you your own self-contained cottage or a Pigeonnier Tower - hours and other details by arrangement. It would be useful if you are self-reliant, with initiative, can drive a tractor and use other farming/gardening equipment such as chainsaws, strimmers, ride-on mowers. Own transport useful as we are in the countryside, and it is a 20 minute walk to the nearest small village.
See calendar for availability, and we prefer a minimum stay of 7 days.
Also prefer non-smokers and meat-eaters, please.
PLEASE DO READ OUR PROFILE FULLY and understand that we need help with physical, manual work and note that our home is rural, and public transport in the immediate vicinity is non-existent. That doesn't mean we're isolated, just that buses, trains and suchlike are not on the doorstep! There are local trains, in Siorac-en-Perigord and Le Buisson, and we do have bicycles for your use. The terrain is hilly in parts, so cycling does require a level of fitness. We can supply approximate cycling times to local villages & towns on request.
Our Home is a large peaceful estate in a forest in Perigord Noir. There is a Manoir, where we live, two cottages for holiday rental, and a pretty one-bedroomed converted pigeonnier with an ensuite.
The buildings have been carefully renovated to retain their original features, whilst offering all modern conveniences and a quality of life which is irresistible. There are also extensive outbuildings - a large garage and workshop, a forage barn and a stable block with six boxes. (We don't currently have horses here, but we do have a pond with many frogs and toads, several goldfish, plus red squirrels, deer, martens and much wildlife of many types.)
We have lovely gardens of 2 hectares, a walnut orchard, plus 7 hectares of meadows currently grass and wildflowers, and the remainder is woodland.
This is a tiny hamlet currently with 4 inhabitants – a ‘lieu-dit’ in French – close to Urval in the Dordogne. It is in one of the most stunning parts of the world, at the heart of an area renowned for its rich history and pre-history. It is nestled in the beautiful, verdant 6,000 hectare Forêt de la Bessède, an ancient, protected area of notable bio-diversity.
The nearest village Urval is a 15 - 20 minute walk, and has a bar/restaurant. Shopping is about 10 minutes by car; we do have bicycles for your use, but a car is definitely an advantage.
There are many wonderful places to visit close by, including medieval Sarlat; the caves and National Pre-History Museum at Les Eyzies (open year round); stunning Beynac; La Roque Gageac; the Gallo-Roman museum 'Vesunna' in Perigueux; the magnificent, cathedral-like crystal Gouffre de Proumeyssac, plus many well preserved bastide towns (e.g. Monpazier, Beaumont du Perigord); and beautiful unspoilt villages on the Dordogne, with seasonal canoeing, kayaking and swimming, plus an abundance of weekly, year-round local markets, vineyards and interesting sights.
We are Christine and Alan, we’ve been married for 40 years. We lived in London for many years, still have an address there, and we've travelled the world and spent time living in Australia, Greece, Denmark, Norway, and France - which has always felt like our second home - and we now spend most of our time in France.
We have two grown up children who live and work in London, and a grandson born in 2015.
Christine is a leadership & marketing consultant, author, poet, and editor with a keen interest in cookery, gardening and nature; Alan has an engineering background and is a publisher and project manager, whose interests lie in food and wine, computer technology and nature and wildlife.
We like to have fun and laugh a lot, we enjoy music and cinema. We have an extensive film library, loads of books, and mobile WiFi which is metered and therefore NOT UNLIMITED - it's effective for email and surfing, but not suitable for downloading or streaming videos, movies and suchlike, or for gaming or business purposes - and is sometimes limited by weather conditions. Mobile phone and data signal is good over most of the grounds. We can recommend cost effective solutions to guests and others needing greater usage.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
WHAT WE CAN OFFER
We can offer a warm and friendly welcome, a beautiful place to stay - either our fairy-tale one-bedroomed cottage or the Pigeonnier, which has a double bed, and ensuite shower room.
We can introduce you to local French life and community - and Christine trained as a teacher of French and English so can help with language skills if you want. Alan is very skilled and talented in many areas of engineering and design, and can share his practical abilities in estate management and planning.
In the past we have hosted overseas students, both as au pairs and as language students, and been able to share mutually beneficial experiences where everyone was happy.
WHAT WE WOULD LIKE FROM AND CAN OFFER TO A WORKAWAYER
We would ideally like someone who is practical, willing to help with the tasks involved in running an estate - garden maintenance, harvesting fruits and nuts, wood cutting, and general repair work; able to use a ride-on mower, a tractor, chainsaw, brush-cutter, hedge-cutter, strimmer and suchlike tools.
Some skills in dry stone walling, stonework, tiling, painting, roofing, general repairs would be useful. Help in the house, and cooking would also be a benefit.
We would prefer a couple, but will accept suitably experienced or skilled individuals too. There is no major work to do in terms of construction, it's a question of upkeep, repair and maintenance, and managing the changing seasons.
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 and tetanus jabs up to date. 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.
We would like people who are creative, enjoys plants, can do weeding, pruning, hedge-cutting, and assist with harvesting fruit and nuts in season, and maybe get involved with autumn jam and conserve making, plus help in the house and gites. We need people who can lend a hand with the practical physical tasks of keeping the place in good shape and benefit from our experience and knowledge.
We offer either self-catering arrangements or if meals are provided there will be shared preparation, cooking, clearing and general chores.
In addition to our seasonal holiday cottage rentals, we will be offering retreats and events for writers, artists, business people and leaders of enterprises from different countries, taking advantage of the peace, quiet and beauty of our home to provide an opportunity for reflection and new ideas and respite from busy lives and the demands of the workplace.
English, French, some Italian
Single or double rooms with en suite shower/wc facilities, either attached to the main house or in one of the cottages, depending on occupancy. If a cottage, a kitchen will be available, if in the pigeonnier, it will be shared with us in the house.
You can hire canoes in nearby Siorac, and river swimming is also available; supervised bathing is on offer close by at Le Buisson de Cadouin, where a safe, clean and refreshing ‘plage verte’ offers another opportunity to experience a dip in the Dordogne’s waters. Local markets abound, with a profusion of fresh produce and colourful wares on display. Night Markets are a delightful summer experience, with local food and produce on sale, and usually entertainment in the form of music and dancing. There's a good cinema close by in Le Buisson, and we are within easy distance of world famous sites such as the caves of Les Eyzies, medieval Sarlat, Beynac, La Roque Gageac and many other places of interest.
Please note this is a rural area and there is no immediate public transport. We have 2 bicycles for you to get about locally, and there is a train service from Siorac and/or le Buisson de Cadouin which goes to Sarlat and Bergerac via local stations.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
By arrangement (Maximum 25 hours/week)
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