Working in France Restoring La Giraudiere Part 1

Working in France on the west facade

Working in France restoring La Giraudiere

Follow the story of La Giraudiere and how one of the most popular volunteers project came to be. At least once a week there will be a post related to the restoring of La Giraudiere and the work that was involved.

My name is Paul and11 Years ago I decided to come to France and try to bring some life into what was a distressed, abandoned, derelict ruin called La Giraudiere.

In 1997 myself together with two Brother and a Friend of the family purchased this old masters farm house with the idea of creating some kind of holiday hamlet. At that time not sure exactly where we were heading and for certain not sure how to get there.


work in france building

From 1997 to 2002 we would travel back and forth from the UK and on each trip we would try to make a part of La Giraudiere liveable. The first week or two of any trip was spent clearing the jungle which would be there waiting for us. It seemed to start to arrive the moment we started to leave. It was a bit like a calling from nature asking that one of us should stay and look after this old lady called La Giraudiere.

So in 2002 our lady “La Giraudiere” convinced me to move to France and afford her the care and attention she deserved. By this time we had running water and an electric supply but that was the limit of the luxury items.

There was no working drainage system in place, mushrooms would grow on the ground floor, No telephone, each light I switched on would make the electrical wiring glow, The beautiful wisteria had pulled of the guttering, entered into the roof space forcing the roof tiles to be dislodged and forced many of the shutters off their hinges.


The first time I was there and a heavy rainfall arrived I saw why our Lady was so distressed that evening she cried from every crook and cranny as the rain entered into the hearth of this old stone built property.


working in France on drainage soakaway

Drainage soakaway instalation

The roof was covered with the old style roman tiles, which over the years had slipped down allowing water to enter via the roof.

The wisteria had also played a major part in damaging the roof as its tentacles spread around the building.

But another major problem came to light the morning after the major rainfall. In the morning there was water entering into the old house via the land which at the back of the property was too high and came up to the window ledges on the ground floor. This brought water into the property via the stone walls. Later that evening water started to enter the property via the floor yes like a spring there was a small fountain of water coming up from the floor yes our lady was situated upon a source.

[important]This story will continue throughout the season so you can bookmark this blog, subscribe to our feed and follow us on twitter and facebook – Links are top left.[/important]

Thinking of living and working in France – Read article from an expat who now lives and is working in France. Like to learn more about working in France then why not carry out an internship at La Giraudiere visit INTERNSHIP IN FRANCE for more info.

Maybe you would like to help out at La Giraudiere then take a look at the VOLUNTEERS WORKING HOLIDAY IN FRANCE to find out how you can mix working in France with a volunteers holiday.



About La Giraudiere

The whole idea of the La Giraudiere project is for people of all backgrounds, all ages, all nationalities to have the chance to live together learn about each others lifestyle exchange their knowledge, experiences and skills whilst living and working together in France and at the same time helping, improving and adding to the Project for those to come in the future. To see the different types of volunteers work that has been done and what is still required visit our website
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.