There are two of us, Bill and Anette with Lila our yellow Labrador. We have a wide range of life experiences and we're good teachers. The report from the nieces and nephews is "they are fun!"
DIY and building projects
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 approaches with traditional French building techniques. There is also a large workshop.
Anette works as a consultant for large corporations. She conducts seminars to integrate corporate cultures after a merger, and does personal coaching. For people asking “what do I do next?”, she offers advice and insight. This may be as simple as going for a hike together.
We are an hour away from pre-historic monuments, Roman ruins, the Mediterranean, cathedrals, and medieval villages.
The chateau is embedded in farm country, with typical country things; 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 a while to get oriented and less than two weeks isn't enough to get anything accomplished, so please plan on two weeks.
We speak English (American), German, Portuguese, and French, and our library has books in all four languages.
We have internet, but no TV.
We are remodeling a large 18th century chateau. It will incorporate a number of energy-efficient features. We recycle almost everything that comes out of the chateau; 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. 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 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.
We have guest rooms (not remodeled) on the top floor for Workawayers. The guest toilet and shower are a floor below. It’s quite simple, but it works really well and it’s charming. The house is quiet, except the owl, other birds and the frogs.
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. Helping with preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards is not considered part of the 4-5 hours of work.
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.
Take the train to Nîmes or Montpellier and we'll pick you up. There are also buses to and from Nîmes/Montpellier to Le Vigan.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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