Hi there, we are Rowan and Laura, we are in our thirties and in 2016 we decided to take the plunge and move from City life (in Zurich, Switzerland) to country life in France. We bought a 16th century watermill located near Cognac, in the Charente region of France. We have four self catering cottages on-site which we rent out to holidaymakers and also a large barn and grounds which we use for events, workshops and weddings. We are located in rural bliss in the midst of the Cognac vineyards, it is peaceful and tranquil and full of wildlife. When at the Mill it feels like you are a million miles from anyone, you can relax on the terrace and look out at the vines without seeing or hearing anything other than the birds and the deer that often amble across our lawn. Despite that, we are actually only ten minutes drive away from the bustling town of Cognac where you can sample typical French life with coffee and a croissant on the square or amble around the shops and boutiques before a nice relaxing two hour lunch at a riverside restaurant enjoying a glass of wine or two.
So that is a little about us and our location which all sounds, and is, perfectly idyllic, so why do we need you...? With such a large property and gardens we have a HUGE list of projects and maintenance to keep the place looking tip top, these potentially include: pointing very old stone walls, building a petanque court, installing lighting, paving, painting, building a kitchen, clearing and tidying gardens, chopping trees and clearing woodland, restoring the barn roof, updating the pool area, decorating the gites.... the list goes on and on. Sounds daunting but we are determined to get everything done and hopefully get some helping hands in so that we don't completely kill ourselves in the process.
And what do you get from all of this...? You will get the chance to stay in a beautiful historic building in a gorgeous part of South West France. You will have your own self catering cottage for the duration of your stay so that you have your own space to relax in. I, Laura, am obsessed with cooking and baking so you will get lots of home cooked meals and cakes to keep you energised. And of course, we live onsite as well so I'm sure there will be plenty of evenings of small talk and sampling French wine and the local cognac!
DIY and building projects
You will truly get to experience French country life, which is very different from visiting touristy french cities. We are located in South West France, just outside of Cognac and not far from Bordeaux. Both areas which are famous for their vines and the brandy and wine that they produce. We can arrange wine and cognac tours for you during your visit so that you get to experience and learn all about this fascinating world. We are both learning French so can also help you with the language, if you are so inclined. We live just outside a small village where you can visit the local boulangerie each morning, the one and only restaurant for lunch and then enjoy a leisurely game of petanque (boule) with the locals in the afternoon. This is true France and France at it's best and we would be delighted to share it with you.
As already referenced above we are looking for help with a vast list of projects. We already have specialists booked where needed e.g. electricians and plumbers but are looking for people to help with the following: fixing roofs, pointing very old stone walls, building a petanque court, installing lighting, paving, painting, building a kitchen, clearing and tidying gardens, chopping trees and clearing woodland, gardening, laying paths.... the list goes on and on.
We have four self catering cottages located on-site so one of these will be your home for the duration of your stay. They are all fully equipped with all mod cons, fully fitted kitchens and everything you could possibly need for a home away from home. Although in rural France, we do of course have wifi (although be warned it can be slow at times) as well as TVs with English satellite channels. For meals, you will have your own kitchen so can cook for yourself some evenings and as mentioned, I am an enthusiastic cook so happy to provide lunches and dinners which we can all eat together. We are happy to discuss this with you and cater as much or as little as you like. We also have chickens and are enthusiastic gardeners so have fresh eggs daily and lots of fresh produce which we can provide you with.
We would be happy to advise and organise activities for you in your time off and even take you on day trips ourselves. Please note, we are in a remote location that is not served by public transport so you will need your own car to get here and travel around. If you have any questions at all or want to know more, then please just get in touch and we'll be happy to discuss with you.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Can be agreed depending on duration of stay (Maximum 25 hours/week)