Fairytale thatched farmhouse (owned and loved by Kiwis) Normandy, France



Favourited 528 times

  • rating

    Host rating

  • feedbacks



  • last activity

    Last activity


  • Last email replied

    Reply rate

    100.0 %

  • Last email replied

    Average reply time:

    within 5 days

  • Badges

    Top Host
Contact Register

 Min stay requested: at least 3 weeks

  • Description


    *️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️2019*️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️ This year we are rebuilding the pool deck and constructing a geo-dome - that should be really fun! There is also a whole new exciting project, we've bought an historic house in our village which we want to restore to it's former glory - we are talking tapestries, painted decorated ceilings, detailed wall panelling, goregous plaster mouldings etc - It's really something! We are looking for mature workawayers (23+ years) with a driver's licence and some construction/renovating experience to help us with these projects, there is a much rounder description of us and the situation below, we really look forward to meeting you*️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️

    *️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️General Description and introduction*️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️
    Hi, we're Mike, Rose and Olivier! We are a Kiwi / Franco family living in historic Normandy, we've been renovating our amazing 500 year old farmhouse whilst perfecting our French and generally immersing ourselves in French life for a long time now. We've been returning the house to it's traditional majestic beauty by reinstating the thatched roof and exposing it's stone and oak features, whilst at the same time adding modern twists of glass, metal and bold colour, and the occasional 'kiwi twist', and we love it!

    We are a couple who have travelled and worked in many different countries and enjoy learning about different cultures. Here in France, we have a simple but good life enjoying the outdoors in our pool, jacuzzi, trampoline, kids play area, brazier and bonfire pit, etc. We are in the countryside just outside an active village, our 13 year old son, Olivier, goes to the local school (~2km/10min cycle), and workawayers are welcome to use our bikes to explore the local towns and cafes, scenic and historical sights, local markets etc.

    We are near the end of an extensive ecological project to re-thatch and insulate our chaumiere (thatched farmhouse). The bulk of the thatch and other insulation work is now done but there are many associated projects such as paths, drainage and garden features.. Additionally we are in the midst of many interior projects such as the repair of 300 yr old oak flooring and reupholstering furniture. We use natural/traditional products where ever possible and usually have a simple organic vegetable garden.

    We are looking for enthusiastic capable people who would enjoy helping us in exchange for access to this fantastic part of France. We are of course happy to assist those wishing to improve their French and/or cultural understanding of France and bring you into the classic components of rural French life such as markets etc. We also try to assist you with access to the tourist sights where we can - there's everything from famous sights to unknown local food producers here.. We're close to all the historic D-day sites (actually on the D-day 'route-de-libertie'), the evocative Abbaye d'Hambye is 5 mins away, the local beach (a fantastic never-ending stretch of golden sand) is 30 mins by car, there are wonderful local produce tours (cheese, cider, calvados etc) and it's only 40 mins to the famous Le Mont St Michel!

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco project

  • Help


    We do occasionally get professionals in but we are multi-skilled (from electronics to masonry) and do most projects ourselves. Many of the tasks involve woodwork or stonework so workaways with building skills would obviously be very much appreciated but in addition many projects just need willing capable hands.

    In terms of the work routine we are very flexible and do not have set hours of each day to work so if you'd like to do your work in several very intensive days and then head off for a weekend camping that's fine with us and you're welcome to borrow our tent, or if you'd rather have more short days and enjoy the house, relax in the pool and spa during down time and chat over long lunches that's fine too just talk it through with us. There are of course certain days when we have to work around Mike's availability or the weather etc and we tend to just work as a team to meet those targets.

    In terms of living in the house, it is a family home and all general assistance in the home is much appreciated, cooking, dishwasher stacking etc. Generally, we try to all muck in and enjoy the summer, the projects, the house and life in general.. We always enjoy meeting a variety of people and welcome families and a variety of ages, in fact we prefer if workawayers are over 24, or at least one member of a couple is, just as a general indicator of independence and practical life experience.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, French, and a smattering (only) of Maori and Japonese

  • Accommodation


    We have two double bedrooms in the house and 2 caravans next to the house available for workawayers. We usually let people chose which they prefer..

    We usually work on stays of approximately 4 weeks as this helps everyone settle in, relax, and get the best out of the experience. This can sometimes be extended depending on circumstances.

    We have three cats who are in and out of the house, we generally find they don't create a problem for people with cat allergies perhaps because we don't have many soft floor coverings..

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    There are multiple choices for access to us:
    By boat - there are the Brittany Ferries ports at Ouistreham Caen and St Malo (both ~1 hour from us) which connect to the UK and Ireland;
    By plane - there is a Ryan Air airport at Dinard (~1 hour) mainly connecting to the UK or local French airports at Carpiquet/Caen (~45 mins) and Rennes with European connections;
    By train - there are good SNCF train links to Villedieu-les-Poeles (~10 mins) from Paris Gare Montparnasse and there is also Gare Folligny (~20 mins) if you are travelling down the western side of France rather than from Paris;
    By bus - the local bus company is Manéo with a variety of options for across La Manche (our department in Basse Normandie) connections;
    By car - we are easily accessible from the western motorway route in France, it's called the A84 on the section by us, we're exit 38 (~5mins) where there is on-off access and a co-voiturage parking area good for bla bla car etc.

    We are happy to collect people from the bus and train stations and co-voiturage sites. The plane and ferry ports are quite a trip for us and although we can sometimes do this by co-ordinating with other travel plans we appreciate it if workawayers can get to within 20 mins of us.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    25 hours a week

Mike and Oli doing the haka
The top of the double height reception room in the house - lovely old beams, weird shaped door, modern lanterns suspended from antique pulleys
Everyone joining in and enjoying NZ day celebrations 2013
The workawayer team late summer 2014 up at our look-out
Having fun in the pool
The house in the snow
Rose and the workaway team winter 2012 at foret de Saint Sever Calvados
Our local beach, the beautiful St Martin de Behal
'The musketeers' at Le Mont St Michel
Roasting marshmellows around the brazier
Workawayers in the jacuzzi
The kitchen with Paris-Auckland-London skylines (template)
Rose doing the bathroom shower mosaiic

These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.

Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 858889688575