Here’s your chance to get your hands dirty in summer helping restore wonderful old homes and dry-stone walls in Provence.
Volunteer Restoration Work inProvence, South of France
If you’re bored with lying on the beach or photographing cathedrals, be a volunteer restoration worker and help restore a medieval village in Provence in return for discounted bed and board and two wonderful weeks in Saint Victor la Coste, near Avignon.
La Sabranenque is a not-for-profit restoration project working to restore and preserve rural Mediterranean architecture. The project uses local materials, simple techniques – and hands-on volunteers.
Having completed work on much of the ‘old’ village in the 1980s, La Sabranenque has since been working to restore other houses and structures and village paths and walls.
The project has also formed partnerships with groups carrying out restoration in Italy.
Each year volunteers come from all age ranges and professions and many countries. They get discounted accommodation and meals in exchange for their restoration work in the mornings, typically with old Provencal homes and other stone structures.
Visit Uzes, Pont du Gard, Avignon
Free time each afternoon means volunteers get to discover the beautiful Provencal countryside and an excursion at least once a week visits the pretty market town of Uzes and the spectacular Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard.
Avignon and Orange are not far away for those who want to explore a little further. You could also make time, perhaps at the end of your stay, to visit the beautiful Cote d’Azur for a bit of luxury after all that hard graft.
Or just relax in the village with its pretty terraces, courtyards, cobbled streets and trees.
Learn Simple Masonry Techniques in the Provencal Sun
The work needing to be done varies depending on the projects under way but the basis of the restoration work is stone masonry. There’s rubble to be cleared away, roof-tiling to be done, stone-cutting, flooring (tile or wood), plastering, arch and vault construction, path-paving and dry-stone walling.
No experience is needed – you’ll learn simple techniques as you work.
You don’t need to know French either. English is spoken by some of the project directors. They are:
Henri Gignoux, Director of La Sabranenque. (French national degree in direction of group projects. French National awards including Silver Medal of Ministry of Youth and Sports, Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of Ministry of Culture.)
Marc Simon (American), Coordinator of La Sabranenque activities. (BA cum laude Princeton University, Avignon University degree in French. Fifteen years of experience as supervisor of restoration projects in France, Italy, England, Greece.)
Pascal Parres, Project technician. (Diploma of stone-cutter.)
For more details, or to apply, contact: http://www.sabranenque.com
If archaeology is more your thing, click here for a wonderful exhibition of Roman artefacts in Arles during 2010.