Hello, we are Anita and Chris. Anita was born and raised in Kenya and Chris is English. We have travelled together extensively, having just completed a 30 years in Los Angeles. Between us we speak English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Kiswahili. I am a pianist and teach and Chris is a sound mixer for major motion pictures.
A year ago we moved to France, to a beautiful old Mas, originally a monastery and then a silk mill just outside Ales, on a hilltop with a magnificent view with access to all amenities. We would love to have people in our home work with us on the renovation of the Mas and it's garden and also to afford them an experience in a most beautiful part of France, exploring the magnificent Cevennes mountains, the nearby historical cities of Nimes, Montpellier and Avignon. Ales has a train station with great connections.
We very much enjoy having guests in our home and we have had great success in the past with doing online rentals in Los Angeles, which was always huge fun. This year so far we have had six Workawayers and I think it says a whole lot about the experience of staying and working here that four of those six are people who were here with us on a Workaway last year too!
We have a very affectionate dog, a Rhodesian ridgeback mix, who loves people.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
We are located just outside the Southern French town of Alès in the department of the Gard. We are on the edge of the Cevennes Mountains which offer some wonderful walks and hikes, rivers, gorges and grottos The history of the area is rich and complicated, as with most of Europe!! In WW2 the Occitane was a stronghold of both French resistance to German occupation and of Protestant resistance during the various French religious wars over centuries. Alès is a cultural centre itself but we also close to the Roman city of Nimes, the Mediaeval and very picturesque town of Uzes , Montpellier and Avignon. The Mediterranean is an hour to the South with beaches and seaside towns and the wild beauty of the Carmargue with its wild bulls, horses and flamingoes. We are also in the heart of a wine growing region, so much to explore.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
We are looking for help with renovating the house and improving the grounds. There is a lot of varied work that needs doing including redecorating, plumbing, electrical, masonry, carpentry, insulation, drywalling, pathways, decks, flower, shrub and vegetable beds, mowing, brush clearing etc. I am competent in pretty much all of these but mainly I could use some help and a second pair of hands. Specific skills are always welcome too though. In the summer its is too hot to work in the middle of the day so work would normally be between 7am and noon and 5pm and 8pm.
Swahili (Kiswahili): Fluent
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
The ground floor is given over for the use of guests. There are three bedrooms: two large and one smaller one, each opening onto the extensive garden. The shower and toilet are shared, but there is an additional wash room. The largest room will also have its own kitchen facilities.
We would encourage having evening meals together over conversation and good wine. Chris is an excellent cook, but we would also enjoy experiencing other cuisine from those who like to cook. Breakfast and lunches would be help yourself’ arrangements. We would provide the food and there is always lashings of wine, plus Chris has a specialty in making his own tonic water for gin and tonics by the pool.
We would encourage anyone with a musical instrument to bring it. I play classical music and would love to have some chamber music partners, but all music is encouraged in our large living room which used to be where Yehudi Menuhin led the Cevennes chamber orchestra..
Ales itself has a lot of bars and restaurants and, in normal times, there are concerts and theatre. It is easy to walk into the old town and wander its alleyways with its myriad of interesting shops.
Alès also has a regular and efficient train service station with service. You can catch the TGV from Nimes, which is only 1/2 hour away. Montpellier is about 45 minutes. Paris is 4hrs, Marseilles 2hrs, Barcelona 4hrs. We are generally available to drop you and pick you up at the train station.
No longer tied to jobs, we have been in situ since arriving - partly by choice and also, as we all have been, by necessity . However, we have made some good friends, both French and otherwise, so we do a fair bit of entertaining and exploring of the magnificent region.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
WiFi is OK but not excellent.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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