we are Guy and Cybèle, an english-french couple eco-renovating a late eighteenth century house in the charming village of Cherval (the village has a restaurant/bar and a bakery).
It's a small house with a large garden and we are looking for some help with both. The most part of the renovation is done but we would appreciate some help to finish.
The garden is just over an acre of land with small fruit trees : hazelnuts, cherries, prunes, peach and apricot trees, plus some more obscure fruit that we planted in a wind breaker hedge, the French names are amelanchier, goji, rose hips and cherries etc. This makes it sound really abundant, but we often lose all the fruit through spring frost which is what happened this year, and even in a good year, there's not so much, but we're planting to try to improve this. We are interested in permaculture and intend to create what will be mostly a forest garden. There is a pond full of frogs.
We like to share eating together, talk, taste wines and nice recipes. When we eat, we eat at table and have a real meal with food and sometimes wine with the use of mobile phones kept to a minimum.
We eat mostly organic, often with meat. We eat mostly gluten free. Vegetarians are welcome. Vegans too, though you may have to give us cooking tips and/or extra cooking and shopping help.
Inside, conditions are quite basic, but with hot running water ! You could camp or park in the garden. There is a locked barrier suitable for giving maximum protection for your camper/van if you have one. We are also in a very safe area. (We have tatami japanese beds to put on the floor, but sometimes remove them if the work is dusty or sawdusty.
We accept smoking outside.
We speak English, French. Guy speaks Italian and some Spanish. Cybèle speaks German and some Japanese. The language we use at the house is usually French, but can be English the other languages mentioned too to a lesser extent.
We have 2 cats, so animals must be cat friendly.
Ayuda en proyectos ecológicos
Proyectos de construcción y bricolaje
Cuidado de animales
Cocinar para toda la familia
You will be able to take part in an eco-renovation learning some of the techniques that we have been learning. We use only natural materials. You can learn about natural insulation materials and how to apply them.
We can explain the local area and suggest places to visit. We could take you to visit some sites of interest locally such as the nearby château de Bourdeilles and Abbaye de Brantôme or an abandoned castle in the woods. There are some concerts in the villages around here particularly in the summer. You could also enjoy swimming in the river. A bus leaves from not so far from here to go to visit Angoulême (cartoon museum) and Périgueux (medieval market town and remains of roman villas).
Guy is interested in history and politics, and Cybèle in pottery, theatre and dance.
Guy is a cycle tourist and can advise on places to go by bike. Cyclists are particularly welcome.
We can help travellers with their level in French or English.
In 2022, the house is our priority, we need help to finish the renovation.
Help needed soon :
In July and August 2022, we will do hemp and lime mortar to insulate inner walls. This is ecological insulation applied with wooden supports or on some walls applied directly to the wall.
During these two months, we also hope to make a small slab of lime mortar with cork insulation, probably with crushed tiles in the mix too to regulate dampness. Ideally, we would like to make a large garden shed with old oak beams and a number of recycled doors which we have in an outdoor shelter.
We will complete a wall of poplar sarking boards which hold in place with a system of grooves and ridges on the edges of the boards - they are held in place with a staple gun.
Paint the walls of our guest room and bathroom. We have used fermacell, which is a stronger and more ecological version of plaster boards to make walls in this area. Behind the fermacell is wood wool insulation which is better still than hemp and lime for heat retention. The wood wool is covered by a plastic membrane that allows small amounts of moisture to go out but not enter the room. We would have liked to avoid plastic which is not ecological as it's petrochemical based, but no paper/wood alternative was available at the time. The fermacell walls will be painted with a clay based natural paint which we make ourselves.
We are likely to go away in October. We will be looking for cat sitters. There could be an option on working with us at the house for week in September, then staying to house and cat sit in October.
The garden is lovely in spring/summer, you could also enjoy it and help us for :
Redesign and plant the pond to encourage natural life /Feed resident frogs.
Removing staghorn sumac trees
Planting trees (in autumn)
It's a small house with a downstairs living room and two upstairs rooms. You could sleep upstairs in the guest room or on the mezzanine. The mezzanine is only accessible by ladder. Alternatively, we could sleep upstairs and you would sleep in the living room downstairs. We have a fold down bed. It's basic, but reasonably comfortable. Weather is warm to hot in the summer, it's now June and we just had two days at 39 celsius, which was exceptional, but it's commonly in the thirties in the Summer. Camping is also possible, but obviously not obligatory unless we are doing a job with lots of volunteers. We have a medium size piece of land. The frogs can be a bit noisy in the evening.
The tgv fast train from Bordeaux, Paris, Poitiers or Tours arrives at Angoulême.
There is a bus from the Angoulême sncf railway station, direction Perigueux. Look up Transpérigord or Lignes Régulières Nouvelle Aquitaine Bus Ligne 1 Angoulême Périgueux to find the times. It then costs just two euros forty to go by bus to La Rochebeaucourt et Argentine or Mareuil, near to us. You can put your bike (non dismantled) in the hold. In France, you can carry a bike dismantled in a bike bag on all trains apart from the Ouigo trains without paying extra.
Alternatively our nearest railway station is Montmoreau Saint Cybard on the slow train (TER) from Angoulême to Bordeaux. The station is 23kms 14.5 miles from our village. Cycling from Angoulême could take two and a half hours, from the train station at Montmoreau one and a half, from the bus stops at La Rochebeaucourt or Mareuil, half an hour. We can come to collect you at Mareuil or Montmoreau.
Around Cherval are a lot of nice villages with cafés and concerts im summer.
We are under 30 kms from Aubeterre Sur Dronne, where there is a monolithic church and a similar distance to the medieval wooden covered market in Villebois Lavalette where there is a fortified castle open to the public.
In Angoulême, there is a festival of comics once a year and the museum of comics. Périgueux is just over an hour on the bus. It's the capital of the local area and a historic town with big street markets on wednesdays and saturdays.
Acceso a Internet
Acceso a Internet limitado
Puede alojar familias
We have a lockable metal barrier behind which you could park your vehicle. This is also a very safe area.
We have cats, so no large cat eating dogs, but friendly dogs welcome.
Más de dos
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week