Help with renovation projects for our 18th century home in the National Park of the Cevennes, France

  • France
  • Favourited 190 times
  • Last activity: 29 Nov 2023



 Min stay requested: at least 3 weeks



  • Description


    There are two of us, Bill and Anette with Lila and Rosie our two yellow Labradors. We have a wide range of life experiences and we're good teachers. The report from the nieces and nephews is "they are fun!"

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Bill is retired now, but his career was in energy-efficient building in San Francisco. He mentored many young people in the construction trades. This project offers a combination of modern building (the plumbing, heating, and electricity conform to current French normes or building standards) with traditional French building techniques in stone and wood. There is also a large workshop available for your personal projects.

    Anette works as a consultant for large corporations. She conducts seminars to integrate corporate cultures after a merger, and does personal coaching.
    We are an hour away from pre-historic Celtic monuments, Roman ruins, the Mediterranean, cathedrals, and medieval villages.

    The chateau is embedded in farm country, with typical country things; crops, tractors, firewood, horses, and dogs. The main crops are apples and onions. The farm manager has been here 35 years and knows a great deal about commercial farming. We raise our own vegetables. Anette is a great cook, and there is an opportunity to learn to cook with fresh local produce.

    It takes at least a week to get oriented, so please plan on four weeks.

    We speak English (American), German, Portuguese, and French, and our library has books in all four languages.
    We have internet, but no TV.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

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

  • Help


    We are remodeling a large 18th century chateau. It incorporates a number of energy-efficient features. We recycle almost everything that comes out of the chateau, and we install used or up-cycled material wherever we can; it's a great opportunity to explore a combination of high-tech and low-tech. There is a continual need to clean tile, mix concrete, paint, dig, etc. The finished work is of very high quality.
    We also have large vegetable and flower gardens, and there is constant work starting, planting, weeding, and harvesting. It's a mixed menu of things to do, and the work changes depending on the time of year and where we are in the project. We work every day. You will help us 4 to 5 hours, 5 days a week, and you'll probably be happily tired by the end of the day! We want this to be a fun experience for all of us.

  • Languages spoken

    German: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Portuguese: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    We have a guest rooms with their own bathroom and shower on the top floor for Workawayers. The accomodations are quite simple, but they work really well... and it’s charming. The house is quiet, except for the church bell, the owl, other birds and the frogs in the spring.
    We eat meals together in the dining room or on the terrace, depending on the weather. We love food, we’re in France after all. We spend a great deal of effort making delicious food. We're not rigid about the hours, but helping with preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards is not really part of the 4-5 hours of work.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Le Vigan (pop. 4,000 +/-) is five minutes away by car and forty minutes walking on trails. There’s the Musee Cevenol and a great market Saturday mornings. We are in the Cevennes National Park with amazing hiking and biking opportunities.
    At the chateau there is a large bassin to swim in, and the Coudoulous river is just across the road with wonderful swimming holes and barriers to jump off. Note that swimming is a summer activity, in the winter you can admire how fierce the rivers become.
    A 2 euro bus ride takes you to Nimes - a Roman city, or to Montpellier. It's easy to go there and back on a weekend day.
    To get here, take the train to Nîmes or Montpellier. Then take the bus from Nîmes or Montpellier to Le Vigan and we'll pick you up.

  • 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

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    Yes, afternoons are a good time to work online. We have fiber-optic high-speed internet. It's much faster in some rooms than others (70 cm thick stone walls!)

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    The main gate is quite narrow, 2.4 meters. There are level places to park a camping car.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    This host has said they are willing to accept those travelling with a pet.

  • 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: 782821784699

Feedback (15)


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Accuracy of profile: (4.9)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

Communication: (5.0)

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