How to live in France for free, right now

How to live in France for free, right now

Hopping on a visit to the south of France for a very long time is a romantic concept that few individuals can afford – or so that you assume. However what if there was a strategy to keep free or near it?

For these with a versatile sufficient schedule, the job trade affords free lodging—starting from rustic to royal—for a couple of hours of labor per day.

Whereas changing room and board labor is under no circumstances a brand new idea, it has by no means been simpler due to web sites like run away, which has a broad method to cultural trade and options every kind of ‘working holidays’ together with farm stays, language trade, marital duties and hospitality work. Different established websites that supply types of enterprise trade are WWOOF (International Alternatives on Natural Farms) or Trusted babysitters, which is, respectively, precisely what it appears to be like like. (WWOOF is completely for connecting guests to natural farms, whereas Trusted Home Sitters connects vacationers with those that want somebody to maintain their houses—and sometimes their pets and crops—for some time.)

These websites assist join these searching for lodging and new methods to work together with tradition with those that have tasks they need assistance with and who could make house for house guests. Workaway is our favourite for the big selection of listings it affords (over 50,000 worldwide!) and for its easy-to-use filters that help you slender down your required space and seek for any sort of mission you are seeking to become involved in, from pet care to harvesting. grapes, create sustainable plantations or prepare storage tanks. Whether or not you are touring alone or in a pair, there’s one thing for everybody.

Here is all the things it is advisable learn about find out how to get began in Workaway and find out how to get essentially the most out of your account, plus some inspiration for some nice locations to remain at no cost in France this fall, from a designer house simply exterior Bordeaux to an off-the-grid commune within the mountains of Corsica.

A subject of yellow sunflowers in a subject rising in a colourful panorama on a sunny summer time’s day in France. Beautiful farmland close to lush forests in opposition to blue skies in rural Lyon

What’s Workaway?

Workaway is a platform devoted to cultural trade and studying new expertise that connects vacationers with native hosts all over the world for ‘working holidays’. This often means serving to out on the property for 5 hours a day, 5 days every week in trade for lodging and meals. Expectations about hours and kind of labor vary from host to host and ought to be mentioned initially.

Exterior of enterprise hours, your time is your time and you might be often free to discover the native space and immerse your self within the tradition. The platform additionally makes it straightforward to attach with different staff who’re touring close by, facilitating friendships alongside the way in which.

The right way to begin:

Workaway’s annual subscription prices $49 for one individual or $59 for 2 buddies or a pair. After organising the subscription, it is time to create a fundamental resume for your self. Here is your probability to speak a bit bit about who you might be as an individual and a traveler: what your ardour or curiosity is about it, what languages ​​you converse and whether or not you might be open to language trade, what expertise (if any) you could have had and how much work you would possibly wish to do (corresponding to gardening, babysitting, family duties corresponding to laundry or mild restore work, and so forth.). In the event you’ve had earlier expertise being a visitor at another person’s house – whether or not via Airbnb, a previous cultural trade, or something like that – point out it! It’s a reduction to the hosts to know that you’ve shared the home earlier than and that you understand how to respect their house.

Subsequent, select 3-5 images that present your persona in addition to your pursuits (ideally your face!). In case you have any images that present you could have earlier expertise with the duties you are seeking to do, it is nice to incorporate them as nicely. However do not restrict your self to making use of to issues you could have expertise with – many hosts are comfortable to welcome freshmen who’re desirous to study a brand new process. Simply be sincere about your expertise degree and focus on it from there!

The right way to attain the hosts

Now, the enjoyable half: networking with potential hosts! Workaway has a set of filters that you should use to slender your search. Below the Discover a Host tab, you may search by host sort (corresponding to household houses, farm cottages, boats, sustainability tasks, hostels and extra), lodging info (whether or not there’s an web connection, if it is a non-smoking property, and so forth.) and so forth.), host availability (the time of yr they’re searching for assist and if they’ve a minimal keep – most require not less than two weeks) and extra. Notice that it doesn’t matter what is flagged as availability, it will not damage to speak with you – generally hosts have a final minute alternative you can benefit from.

When it actually involves sending a message introducing your self to hosts, it is necessary to customise your notice – in any other case Workaway will mark it as spam in case you’re simply copy-pasting the identical request to totally different hosts. It is okay if there are some repetitive components (in any case, you may solely introduce your self in so some ways), however you need to have a line or two devoted to that particular attribute: perhaps say what attracts you to it and the way you assume you may assist, or ask a query .

One factor to notice: Do not lie about your talents! It will not allow you to or your hosts to faux you could have an intensive information of milking cows, pickling greens, or harvesting grapes if you have not executed this stuff earlier than. As a substitute of setting false expectations, be sincere about your ability degree (even in case you’re a newbie). So long as you are open to studying new expertise with enthusiasm, it will not be an issue – and if the host is searching for somebody with earlier expertise with a specific process, they will discover it on their profile.

security precautions

The choice to remain in somebody’s house or visitor home is simply as dangerous for the traveler as it’s for the host. Sharing an area with somebody you do not know – typically somebody who might not share the identical native language or cultural boundaries – is a balancing act primarily based on belief. Listed below are some key issues to remember when searching for a Workaway host:

Learn opinions! The extra opinions, the higher. Discover out what workers have mentioned previously about their keep and browse between the traces if something sounds lower than optimistic. If something comes as much as you as a crimson flag, belief your instinct and transfer on.

As soon as you discover choices that appear appropriate, attain out to the host and ask to arrange a video chat to see how good your communication can be and make clear expectations concerning the lodging. This can be a nice alternative to inform them a bit extra about you and get to know what they’re searching for in addition to what’s talked about on their profile.

Among the essential areas to debate together with your host on an preliminary name are: expectations round hours (most hosts count on 5 hours a day Monday via Friday, often within the morning; ask how lengthy you might be anticipated to work from and whether or not the times are appropriate for flexibility); What are your duties and what degree of expertise are they searching for (Do you assist out with family chores like washing dishes and laundry? Or weeding and watering crops within the backyard? Be sure you have a good suggestion of ​​what is predicted of you!); what are your lodging (do you could have a separate entrance? your individual rest room?); What does native transportation appear like (do you want a automobile or bike?) and what are the expectations about meals (will you share 2-3 meals a day?? This varies drastically from host to host!).

12 Church of San Michele in Morato in Corsica with mountains behind

Concepts the place to go in France

Simply to get you began, listed below are some Workaway locations throughout France with nice opinions. These are glorious examples of the kind of properties you need to contemplate: these with overwhelmingly optimistic opinions, many images of lodging and former hosts/staff and a transparent description of what their expectations are. Glad journey!


Are you seeking to get off the grid for a short time? This bilingual host in Brittany encourages guests to get off social media and get out into the world round them, whether or not they’re attending native occasions or searching for mushrooms within the woods. It seeks a cultural trade with open-minded vacationers seeking to immerse themselves within the native tradition.


Do you dream of a trip on the Mediterranean Sea on the well-known lovely island of Corsica? This can be a property tucked away within the mountains the place you may correctly separate it a bit. The cottage is considerably self-sufficient, with an on-site fruit and vegetable backyard. You’ll be tasked with making jam, soup, and recent bread in addition to doing a little helpful work round the home, corresponding to constructing fences and chopping firewood. The household of 5 are main music lovers, so in case you can play piano or guitar, this is likely to be the place for you.


The golden hour glows on this beautiful property close to the village of Puy l’Evêque within the Occitanie area, motive sufficient to succeed in out to the hosts, who’re searching for assist with their vineyards and within the wine-making course of from these with some earlier expertise within the subject. Whereas most opinions are glowing, many level out {that a} greater degree of French proficiency is required to profit from this charming nation residence. Since there are no inside images of the sleeping quarters listed, that is one itemizing that we propose FaceTiming for hosts or ask for images to make sure they match your expectations.


Passionate (or simply curious) concerning the world of winemaking? Just a few weeks on this natural winery in Bordeaux is certain to quench your thirst. This itemizing is a paid alternative (so you’ll want to test visa necessities about that, first) the place you may get an opportunity to work within the vineyards and study concerning the winemaking course of in an excellent social setting. Critiques say the ambiance is “welcoming” and “cool” and everybody looks like one huge household.

Loire Valley

This cave home within the Loire Valley is able to welcome vacationers for every week or two in late October in trade for a couple of hours of childcare every day whereas dad and mom Anne and Laure work. The couple share two youngsters, a 10-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. Along with spending time with the children, some mild home tasks and gardening could also be anticipated. The close by city of Gennes might be reached by bike, and the household is comfortable to lend you one.

Sophie Dodd is a journey and life-style author HotelsAnd the wineand all issues France. You write in Journey + Leisure, People MagazineAnd French and extra. Observe her adventures in Brooklyn and past Instagram the account.

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