Organic, sustainable living and gardening in La Chapelle-Saint-Etienne, France

  • Favourited 340 times
  • Last activity: 2 Mar 2024



 Min stay requested: at least a week



  • Description


    We are Fiona and Jim, native Scots, who retired to this quiet and beautiful area of western France nearly 3 years ago. Jim was a local government worker and househusband and Fiona ran chaities and educational organisations in the UK. We have 4 children, all of whom live in the UK and 7 grandchildren.. We are sociable and friendly and love entertaining friends and meeting new people.
    Fiona is head gardener and chef and speaks good French and volunteers once a week with a homelessness charity. Jim is broad Scots, loves football and is chief dog walker, wood man and grass cutter.
    We have a beautiful 3 acre garden around our old French farmhouse. The garden includes swimming pool, seating areas, flower beds, ornamental shrubs and trees, an orchard, fruit and veg patches, a polytunnel, solar panels, a small pond, and chickens. Here we and our 2 dogs and three cats work and play. Our philosophy is to live as much as possible from our own produce and we are experimenting with permacultures including no dig and Hugel.
    We are happy to make a small contribution to living expenses of our Workaway’s of 10 euros per working day and we would love people with the same philosophy to come and help us maintain and develop the garden,

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco Projects
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We are trying to live a good life growing many of our own fruit and vegetables, keeping chickens for eggs and generating our own fuel/power. Fiona is a great cook making bread, cakes and even smoking and curing and we often entertain friends and neighbours both French and British. There are opportunities to join us in these social occasions but also to participate with us in walking groups exploring the region, boules club, curry club, gardening club, and shopping in the local towns and markets. Our friend Nicola who lives nearby said she would love to be a workaway traveller staying with us because she could learn loads about gardening and cookery and also have an excellent cultural experience!

  • Help


    You will be working alongside us gardening ( including cultivation, weeding, digging, pruning) wood gathering and minor maintenance. ( painting etc) on the external parts of the property. Experience in gardening or DIY would be great but not essential more important is physical fitness and a willingness to muck in. In 2020 the main projects are renovation of the chicken house, maximising impact of the no dig veg patch, creating a monster fire pit and pergola and renovating fences and hedges including teaching ourselves about the ancient art of hedge layering. We are particularly interested in hearing from anyone able to help us with processing a large amount or fire wood felled from our own trees last year

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    Adjoining our house is the “wee house”, converted 2 years ago, with a bedroom/living room, seperate kitchen and toilet/shower room. This would be your home for your stay and when you wanted privacy this would be your own private space, it has tv but no wifi signal although this will be available in the main house at meal times etc. We will provide everything you need to make your own breakfast and unch but the evening meal will be had with us in the big farmhouse kitchen or outside in the covered eating area. You will be welcome to help pick crops, prepare shared meals and join in with loading the dishwasher and clearing up after. If you’re interested Fiona will also share her baking and bread making expertise.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    To get here there are flights to Poitiers and La Rochelle and trains and buses to Niort, Bressuire and Poitiers and we will arrange pick ups to and from your arrival destination if necessary. The house is situated 3 miles from the nearest town and because this is a rural area public transport is scare. However this is great countryside for walking and cycling and we have bikes you can use. Nearby there is horse riding, fishing lakes and go carting.
    We are pretty relaxed and like our neighbours enjoy the benefits of the peaceful countryside. We are non smokers ( smokers are welcome to smoke outside as long as they empty their own ashtrays) but we enjoy the occasional drink in the evenings and with friends.

  • 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

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 953737559921

Feedback (2)