Eco-construction in Vosges National Park, France



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  • Description


    Hello! Myself (Louise) and my partner Mathieu have just moved to a plot of land in the Vosges to take up a life-long rewilding and climate resilience project. To begin, we will be building our own home this summer, and set up the foundational elements of the food forest that will feed us in the years to come. We are building a straw bale home with a timber frame using multiple natural building techniques, most of our build will be done by hand. Right now we are building up our stone walls and our roundwood timber frame.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Help with Eco project

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We will be sharing our knowledge and experience of how to create a home using natural building techniques. We also have skills in foraging wild food, basket making and spoon carving, which we are happy to share with you in the evenings. We also like to go to nearby events and participate in rural village life so you can experience France in a local way.

    You'll also to get to see how a village is responding positively to the climate crisis. Our village has the goal of being self-sustaining, with local heritage orchards and local energy production in the form of a wind warm and solar panels. We both speak French and English so it is possible to practice either of these languages with us.

  • Help


    We are looking for people with enthusiasm to learn alongside us in creating our home. No previous experience is required, come share the skills you have. Our main focus this summer is the build, at the moment we are doing masonry by creating a stone plinth wall using reclaimed stones and lime mortar. As well as this we are starting carpentry work by building our roundwood timber frame structure and making a green roof. We expect to complete this all by November. Our days can be quite physical but it is satisfying to build a house with your own two hands.

    We have just started a small permaculture garden using hugelkultur techniques and companion planting and hope to expand a lot on this over the next few years. We have a particular interest in forest gardening.

    Update: We are taking a trip between the 19th Sep - 5th Oct so won’t be able to host during these dates

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, French

  • Accommodation


    The accommodation is camping on the land as we are still in the process of building. We can provide tents and bedding (camping mats, pillow, sleeping bags), you are also welcome to bring your own camping gear. Our campsite is on our land within an orchard with a small stream passing through it and a small forest at the back. It is a private and well shetlered space under the trees with a good view of the stars at night. We have renovated our shed into a communal space with a fully equipped kitchen, dining and relaxing space which you can have full use of and share with us. We have a communal solar-heated shower and compost toilets available.

    We will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner on the site. Meals are simple home cooked vegetarian or vegan (whatever your requirements).

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We are an hour away from Strasbourg, in the Vosges National Park, accessible by train. We live in the heart of a small, friendly village and have a lot of local interest in our project. We have beautiful surroundings with lots of forest walks and mountains in the area. We are also within walking/cycling distance from a train station that can take you to nearby cities such as Strasbourg or Saint-Die-des-Vosges.

    Previous Building Experience: Mathieu was part of a team that built a straw bale round house last summer, working full time for 3 months, learning the following building techniques: - Work site and tool safety - Site layout - Stone and straw bale walling - Hot lime mortar making - Roundwood stick framing - Use of natural insulations - Reciprocal and green roof construction - Earth flooring - Lime and clay plastering - Heritage walling (wattle and daub, cordwood and lath plaster)

    If you're curious, and think you might want to come help us at some point, drop us a message! We speak both English and French. We'll make sure to make it a fun and life-changing learning experience.

  • 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

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Finishing off the stone wall
Spoon carving in the evening
The roof starting to take shape
The logs have been debarked!
We’ve started to raise the timber frame using a tripod system
Group photo with our stone wall progress!
Carpentry work to build a solar oven
Making some straw clay
The 3d model of the straw bale house we are building
The communal space
A nearby mountain walk
Sleep arrangements

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Communication: (5.0)

Host ref number: 869416691583

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