We are looking for a non-smoking couple to look after our house for five to six months from late October 2019. We prefer a couple as the house is relatively isolated, and may not be attractive for a single person for such a long period. You should speak French!
We don’t have any pets, so you don't have to look after any pets, and we kindly ask you not to bring any pets with you.
You could use a double bed room, a bathroom with bath and shower, an extra toilet, a living room and a well equipped brand-new kitchen with dishwasher, hob, oven, fridge and a freezer. Of course there is a washing machine.
The house sits in the middle of 1.6 hectares of land that is now a sanctuary for all kinds of wildlife. We have a garden that is finally starting to yield results now that we have got to grips with the unusual micro-climate and difficult soil in our valley.
The house has oil-fired central heating and a wood-burning stove. Windows have been upgraded to Danish standards, and insulation is in place for the cold winters. Essentially, the house needs living in all the time, otherwise, like most empty houses, it develops damp.
We are connected to the electricity and tele grids, and have reliable broadband. Water is pumped up from our own well, which gives us wonderful quality alpine water from an underground lake. We check it's purity at a local lab every 2 or 3 years. Waste goes to a septic tank which was completely renewed in 2018.
Deliver and collect us to/from the railway station! The nearest station is Aix-en-Provence, around 80 kilometres away. Otherwise, there are few responsibilities:
* guard the house,
* keep the house clean and regularly ventilated,
* top up winter bird feed,
* sort out any maintenance issues if they crop up, such as blocked pipes
* maintain the garden and sow some seeds in spring.
* maintain our waste system with a weekly dose of activator.
The fields look after themselves. We shall be leaving our bicycles with the house-sitter for your use if you wish, so these would also need to be maintained if any issues arose.
The house is ideally located for someone who wants to work from home, or concentrate on a piece of creative work of their own without distractions. The nearest neighbours are about 60 metres away, and local traffic is low on the nearest road (80 metres down our track).
On the other hand, the two villages near us, Barjols and Pontevès are easily reached by foot or bicycle, being just a couple of kilometres away (though you have to climb hills). All services are available in Barjols - shops, chemists, doctors, garages, restaurants, markets, and there are a number of organic vineyards all around the area producing lovely wines. Barjols also offers high quality tennis courts, and there is even a cinema.
What To Consider
We ask our house-sitters to only pay for the services they use - electricity, broadband/tele and heating (fuel and wood for the stove). Water is free, and there is both oil central heating and a wood-burning stove. There will be a small supply of wood and fuel to get you started, but, as this is a 5 to 6 months sit, we ask that house-sitters order some of their preferred fuel on arrival. We can help arrange this.
Most of our house-sitters have been great, but we have had a couple of difficult experiences. We ask house sitters to pay any running costs beyond standing charges. In winter, these are around €80 per month plus heating fuel. We therefore ask for a deposit of €480 on arrival to cover these months.
Cleanliness is important to us. We clean all living areas weekly, including all floors and surfaces. We have excellent vacuum and wet cleaners to make this task easier, so ask our house-sitters to follow our own example. This is especially important when using the wood burner.
We only have one guest (double) bedroom. We are therefore unable to accommodate groups or families requiring more than a double bed.
The house is quite isolated. Getting to and from here can be quite complicated, though not impossible, by public transport. We therefore need a couple in possession of a driving licence. An ability to speak French is pretty essential in this area, as very few people here speak foreign languages.
Winter weather here is variable. It can get very cold in the evening and at night, but the sun during the day can soon heat up the air, especially in the months before Christmas and in March and April. Heating is therefore essential for this house-sit, but our house is well insulated, and the wood stove is extremely effective in warming those living areas you'll be using - living room, guest bathroom, kitchen and guest bedroom.