All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 23
Persons: 1 or 2 or couple
Host ID: 47193
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Last Updated: June 18, 2017
Bonjour et Bienvenue!
HELP NEEDED WITH GARDENING, WOOD CUTTING, STONE WALL BUILDING, GENERAL MAINTENANCE, COOKING.
PLEASE read our profile fully and note that our home is rural, and public transport in the immediate vicinity is almost non-existent. That doesn't mean we're isolated, just that buses and suchlike are not on the doorstep! There are local trains, and we do have bicycles for your use. We can supply approximate cycling times to local villages & towns on request.
We're an active couple who would like some immediate and ongoing help with various projects around our house and land in SW France: ideally a couple, but will consider 1 or 2 people - offering you your own fairy-tale self-contained cottage or even a Pigeonnier - hours and other details by arrangement. Start as soon as possible, May or June, for up to a month.
Prefer non-smokers and meat-eaters, please, though we can explore vegetarian options if required.
Domaine de Pessel is a 17th and 18th century estate of 23 hectares, situated in a forest in France's Perigord Noir. The estate consists of a Manoir, where we (Christine & Alan) live, two cottages which we offer for holiday rental, and a one-bedroomed pigeonnier/tower with ensuite shower room/WC and access to a private kitchen.
The buildings have been carefully renovated to retain their original features, whilst offering all modern conveniences and a quality of life which is irresistible. There are also extensive outbuildings - a large garage and workshop, a forage barn and a stable block with eight boxes. (We don't currently have horses here, but we do have a cat, several goldfish, red squirrels and much wildlife of many types including deer and wild boar.)
We have lovely gardens of 2 hectares, a walnut orchard, plus 7 hectares of meadows and the remainder is woodland.
Pessel is a tiny hamlet – a ‘lieu-dit’ in French – close to Urval in the Dordogne. It is in one of the most stunning parts of the world, at the heart of an area renowned for its rich history and pre-history. It is nestled in the beautiful, verdant 6,000 hectare Forêt de la Bessède, an ancient, protected area of notable bio-diversity.
The nearest village is a 15 - 20 minute walk, mainly by woodland track if you prefer, it's very pretty and unspoilt, and has an excellent bar/restaurant. Shopping and all services such as doctors, pharmacy, bank cashpoint, boulangerie, is about 10 minutes by car; we do have bicycles for your use, but a car is definitely an advantage.
There are many wonderful places to visit close by, including medieval Sarlat, the caves at Les Eyzies, stunning Beynac, La Roque Gageac, the Abbey at Cadouin, well preserved bastide towns and beautiful unspoilt villages on the Dordogne, with canoeing, kayaking and swimming, plus an abundance of local markets, vineyards and interesting sights.
We are Christine and Alan, we’ve been married for almost 40 years. We lived in London for many years, still have an address there, and we've travelled the world and spent time living in Australia, Greece, Denmark, Norway, Holland, and France - which has always felt like our second home - and we now spend most of our time in France.
We have two grown up children who live and work in London, and a grandson born in 2015.
Christine is a psychologist, author, poet, editor and leadership consultant with a keen interest in gardening, cookery and nature; Alan has an engineering background and is a publisher and project manager, whose interests lie in food and wine, computer technology and nature and wildlife.
We like to have fun and laugh a lot, we love music and cinema. We have an extensive film library, loads of books, and satellite broadband which is effective - if sometimes limited by weather conditions. Mobile phone signal is good over most of the grounds.
WHAT WE CAN OFFER
We can offer a warm and friendly welcome, a beautiful place to stay - either our fairy-tale one-bedroomed cottage or the Pigeonnier, which has a double bed, and ensuite shower room.
We can introduce you to local French life and community - our neighbours are friendly and fascinating, as are our friends - and Christine trained as a teacher of French and English so can help with language skills if you want. Alan is very skilled and talented in many areas of engineering and design, and can share his practical abilities in estate management and planning.
In the past we have hosted overseas students, both as au pairs and a language students, and been able to share mutually beneficial experiences where everyone was happy.
WHAT WE WOULD LIKE FROM AND CAN OFFER TO AN EXCHANGE HELPER
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Helping with Tourists
We would ideally like someone who is practical, willing to learn and help with the tasks involved in running an estate - garden maintenance, harvesting fruits and nuts, and general repair work; not averse to using (or learning to use) a ride-on mower, maybe a tractor, chainsaw, brush-cutter, strimmer and suchlike tools, hopefully with some skills in stonework, tiling, painting, roofing, general repairs but not essential. Help in the house, and some cooking would also be useful.
We would prefer a couple, but will accept individuals too. There is no major work to do in terms of construction, it's a question of upkeep and maintenance, and managing the changing seasons.
Christine would like someone who enjoys plants and can help her to fill Pessel with even more flowers and assist with harvesting plums, figs and damsons in season, and maybe do some jam and conserve making and share cooking. Alan would like someone who can lend a hand with the practical tasks of keeping the place in good shape and benefit from his experience and knowledge.
In addition to our seasonal holiday cottage rentals, we will be offering retreats and events for business people and leaders of enterprises from different countries, taking advantage of Pessel's peace, quiet and beauty to provide an opportunity for reflection and new ideas and respite from busy lives and the demands of the workplace.