Help with DIY projects at our historic chateau in the Haute-Garonne department in SW France

  • Favourited 44 times
  • Last activity: 28 May 2024



 Min stay requested: at least a week



  • Description


    Now based in an interesting historic chateau between Saint Gaudens and Aurignac in Haute-Garonne, we (Mary-Jo & Jonathan) are a British couple who have travelled extensively for both business and pleasure. Our family now consists of a dog (Aladin), 2 cats (Dolce & Gabanna), 4 chickens and a duck.

    Having escaped the rigors of corporate life, we find ourselves busier than ever with the refurbishment of a home which, in part, dates back to the 12th century, establishing wildlife friendly areas along with fruit, vegetable, herb and flower gardens based on organic principles.

    The chateau stands in the middle of our land which extends to approximately 8 hectares (20 acres) and includes around 400m of frontage onto a small river. Although only 1.5km from a small village the closest local amenities are to be found in Saint Gaudens or Aurignac both of which are approximately 12km away.

    The property provides a haven of peace and solitude where you can just slowdown and relax around the grounds or down by the river. Many birds can be seen & heard on the property and we sometimes get visited by deer and wild boar.

    When with us you may have the opportunity to use a separate kitchen to prepare your own food (dependent on gite availability) but the preference is always for us to join together to prepare and eat meals. We are omnivores who are inspired by cuisines from around the world but are always open to new cuisines and culinary adventures.

    We have an outdoor unheated pool which is for the use of guests staying in our Gite, however, if we do not have guests the pool is available for your use.

    NB. Workaways will not be given any work tasks that are associated with the running of our small gite business.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We normally use our first language, English, around the home and are willing to help anyone who wishes to develop their skills in this area.

    As long term DIY'ers we have a variety of transferable skills including decorating, furniture upcycling / restoration, plumbing, vehicle maintenance and small construction works.

    Having been brought up on a farm, Jonathan has some inherent knowledge of gardening, agriculture, country crafts and wildlife which he has finally started dusting-off and putting to use.

    Having worked and travelled extensively around the world we have knowledge of many regions and cultures especially southern and eastern Africa, Thailand and to a lesser degree, Nepal.

    Mary-Jo is an intermediate level French speaker and would love to work with guests to mutually develop their language skills. She is also a Destiny Coach helping women to achieve their dreams, and would be happy to share some of her knowledge.

    In addition to the above you will be immersed into the culture of the surrounding area where you can visit places of interest, street markets, fetes and museums.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

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

  • Help


    We a looking for assistance with a wide variety of tasks ranging from house work to gardening, DIY and small construction projects.

    Specific work may include but not be limited to:
    • Painting and decorating
    • Establishing and maintaining gardens
    • Undergrowth clearance
    • Production of firewood
    • And with help with the day to day upkeep and cleaning of a large house.

    Workaways who posses skills relating to the types of work detailed above and experience with power tools are very welcome. However, the most important attributes are a willingness to learn and to try your hand at a multitude of different task along with and open cheerful nature and a 'can do' approach. Some of the work will be physically demanding so a good level of fitness would be advantageous.

    Some carpentry skills would be particularly beneficial.

    Although we have skills to transfer in some of these areas, in others we may all be learning together.

    It is expected that you'll work 5 hours a day for 5 days of the week , nominally 08.00 to 13.00 Monday to Friday but this can be flexible to accommodate your and our needs.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    French: Intermediate

    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.

  • Accommodation


    You will be have the sole use of a comfortable double or twin room with ensuite facilities. Common areas (kitchen / dining, comfortable lounge) are shared with us.

    As it's a big rambling house with lots of outdoor space it is always possible to find somewhere to be quiet and alone if the batteries need to be recharged.

    There is WIFI available throughout the property and we have an extensive library of books including numerous volumes of travel literature.

    As part of the cultural exchange aspect of workaway we prefer that we all join together in the preparation, eating and clearing up of meals.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Ideally we are looking for people who can bring some skills to help with the work we need to do and we feel that the situation would be ideally suited to couples BUT, anyone and everyone will be considered.

    Although we will be working with you, being able to work alone and on your own initiative will be a distinct advantage. Any specific safety equipment such as face masks, ear & eye protection, gloves etc will be provided.

    We are in a very rural situation and having your own transport would be a distinct advantage although from time to time we may be available to transport you to the local towns or take you out to local places of interest.

    There are a multitude of walks in the vicinity and the quiet lanes and paths are ideal for cycling. We have a number of bicycles which you could use.

    Further afield there are some wonderful walks in the Pyrenees which can be accessed by car within 1 hr and, if you desire a taste of Spanish culture or cuisine you can be in Spain in less than 90 minutes. For road cycling fans, many of the Pyrenean passes that feature in the Tour de France are within easy striking distance.

    In the surrounding area there are a number of historic sites ranging from prehistory through the Roman occupation up to the resistance and underground railroad (escape routes through the Pyrenees) of World War II.

    Both Saint Gaudens and Aurignac are connected to the village by a bus service but the busses only run infrequently. From the railway station at Saint Gaudens there are frequent trains to Toulouse (1hr) and good connections into the broader French / European railway network.

    Toulouse international airport is approximately 1hr away by car and 1.5+hrs by public transport.

    Outside of the day to day running of the property our interests cover the history of the region, cycling, hiking, international travel & overlanding and photography.

  • 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

    We have good wifi throughout the house with numerous locations where you could connect and work.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    Unlimited parking on grass is available.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    Probably no limitations however contact us first.

  • 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: 946754394666

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