5 WWOOFing Opportunities in France

France Travel
by Lindsay Kalama-Smith Aug 30, 2010

All photos by author.

France has a vibrant community of organic farming.

WWOOFing opportunities typically include modest gardening and maintenance, and volunteers are usually expected to cook traditional French dishes of the region. Bonuses include wine tasting in the Bordeaux area, hiking in the Pyrenees, and brushing up your French skills.

1. Chateau Brandeau in Aquitaine

The Bordeaux region has a tradition of well-established vineyards, with ample opportunities for WWOOFing. Château Brandeau has 30 acres of vines, 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet-Franc. Spend your days separating stems, picking grapes, and devouring home-cooked meals. August is off-season, but a visit in June may coincide with the wine festival in nearby Saint-Émilion.

2. Beauchamp in Dordogne

Resting on 20 acres of gardens, Beauchamp is a non-profit farm dedicated to permaculture and sustainability. WWOOFers work on the garden and help maintain the farm. As the farm is self-sufficient, heat is generated from local wood, waste is composted, and gray water is processed through a system that runs through the pond and waters the garden.

3. Maison La Source in Rhone-Alpes

Though not a farm, B&Bs are not uncommon for organic opportunities in France. Situated near Lyon, this organic bed-and-breakfast needs WWOOFers to maintain the vegetable, fruit, and flower gardens. Meals are usually vegetarian, with organic vegetables and grains.

4. Mondès in Aquitaine

The lesbian-owned B&B Mondès near the town of Agen only accepts female WWOOFers. The estate is large, with plenty of room for tents and campers, and the onsite lake is perfect for swimming in the hot summer months. Volunteers are welcome to bike across the sunflower fields when not working in the kitchen or garden.

5. Moulin de Braux in Bourgogne

The mustard fields near Dijon are a beautiful backdrop for WWOOFing in eastern France. Duties include weeding, planting, water, and harvesting vegetables for the market. Volunteers can learn to prepare organic meals, and vegetarians are welcome. There is no alcohol allowed, but a bar is available in the nearby town of Semur.

To contact these farms, sign up with WWOOF Independents (US$30) or WWOOF France (15€). Work hours are typically 4-6 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. Whether to familiarize yourself in organic agriculture or to practice your French, a WWOOF experience is perfect for those on a short holiday. It’s not a vacation—expect to work hard—but the upside is that your breaks will usually involve munching on delicious cheeses and veggies in the midst of stunning countryside!

Community Connection:

Want to WWOOF in another country, or looking for another volunteer opportunity? Check out our Volunteering Abroad Focus Page.

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