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Chalabrais
All Year: Yes
Area (ha):
Persons: Up to 2 people
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 42486
Country: France

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Last Updated: June 24, 2016

Busy couple with varied projects, surrounded by nature in the French Pyrenees:

Martin has just bought a neighbouring house with garden and barn in our small French village and needs help with building renovation, gardening, landscaping and ground clearance. Essentially, he's looking for manual labour - help with painting, plumbing, carpentry, roofing and gardening/landscape. There is a possibility that this could become a longer term commitment.

Maggie is also looking for a careful person to help handling and preparing textiles for photography, and organising a system to store and record the kimono.

She has a book project in mind, too. Creative input or relevant experience in publishing would be always be appreciated.

As we travel in Japan, Maggie would also like to improve her very basic conversational Japanese.

Our current home consists of an old village house, and its adjoining barn. We bought it in 2000, and have lived here permanently since 2006, now joined by our cool cat, Chiyo. Martin is a master carpenter with designer/architect tendencies, and is happy to share his expertise with HelpX helper. We have a pleasant garden, which Martin is gradually turning into a little corner of Japan in France.

Our home comprises the original two-bedroom house and attached converted barn. This means that we can offer helpers comfortable, private accommodation with own bathroom, in the old house part of our home, where friends and family usually stay. Downstairs is a kitchen/diner, and upstairs is the double guest room and bathroom, with a balcony overlooking the garden, and views beyond of the village chapel and forest slopes. Our personal private en suite accommodation is barn-side. There is a big lounge and dining area on the ground floor which is for all to share.

The fun stuff:

We are in the south of France, near the beautiful Pyrenees mountains. In your free time, you can walk, cycle or run in any direction from our village, and the area is criss-crossed with cycle and walking trails. There are nearby lakes for swimming/sailing/kayaking and mountains to climb, hike or ski in (closest resort is just 45 minutes away). Carcassonne airport is 45 minutes by car and the nearest station is Quillan (15 minutes). There is little public transport in our immediate area, so we are happy to collect helpers. There is a low cost minibus service is available to local towns on market days. If you wish to really explore the area then it's better to have a bike or car.

We will provide breakfast foods, cook one hearty meal per day, and share a platter-type lunch with baguette/pate/cheese/fruit. We love to discover new cuisines, cook french or japanese dishes or learn the dishes of other countries from our helpers. We tend to shop where we can buy locally produced fruit and vegetables, and regularly enjoy organic trout farmed just outside the village.

House rules and our expectations of visiting helpers:

Our preference is for couples, over 25 years old. No smoking, no drugs. Unfortunately, we cannot accept children, nor cater for vegetarians. We expect you to be tidy, keep your room and bathroom clean, and offers of help with meal preparation and daily chores are always welcome.

We normally have a one week trial period unless agreed in advance, but we keep an open mind about extending if it works for everyone.

WORK REQUIREMENTS - Our preference is that you work 6 hours per day for five days with weekends free (but this is negotiable - and somewhat skill and weather-dependent), in return for accommodation, meals and free access to internet. Optional opportunities to visit local attractions/mountains with us at the weekend, or to improve English language skills (Maggie has been a private language tutor and would also be happy to help with conversational French). We work hard, and play hard, and hope our HelpX helpers do too!

We look forward to giving a warm welcome to HelpX helpers on our ongoing projects!

Martin and Maggie

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