Horticulture Travel

WWOOF: France – 2015

This is our first time WWOOFing and we had an amazing experience!

Before getting into the details of our experience WWOOFing, I want to preface this post by saying that WWOOFing, let alone WWOOFing abroad, is much like any complex endeavor; the expression “Garbage In, Garbage Out” holds true. If you put in the work getting to know your host, planning transportation, and making sure that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into, there will be far less room for potential surprises. For instance, to weed out hosts we might have had a bad time with, we created a short email questionnaire that would answer everything we wanted to know such as accommodations, type of work, work schedule, etc as well as listed the things about us that our host might want to know.  We think that it intimidated hosts that weren’t very confident in their ability to speak English. This worked to our advantage as we wound up with a host who was fairly proficient in English and knew pretty much exactly what was to be expected of us upon reading the email.
After getting off of our early morning train from London we spent the afternoon in Paris eating and people watching. We had intended to do more but I started to come down with a cold I got in London (that I inevitably gave to Hannah). After sitting and drinking tea at a couple of cafes we took a train down to Cholet where our gracious host Sarah promptly picked us up. We drove down dark winding roads to Sarah’s lovely house and were greeted first by her two dogs, Belle and Jolie, and by her kitten, Looping. Upon entering we were introduced to her mother, Pascal, who would be staying for the first week or so of our stay to help with Sarah’s farm’s open house.
I have to say, we totally lucked out on our timing. The work to get the open house together was minimal on our part, we got to have a meet and greet with Sarah’s friends and neighbors, and last but certainly not least, we were treated to traditional French home cooking by her mother for the first week of our stay. It was as ideal as it sounds.
During the second week of our stay Sarah had an apprentice so the work for us was slower and both Hannah and I got to sleep in a few days and work with different farms as well as in a bakery. It was great getting to meet all of Sarah’s friends and get a feel for life and work on the farms in the area.
More TBC…

Places: Paris, Cholet, Saint-Mesmin, Pouzauges, Nantes