Desperate in Haute-Loire

Bonjour from a wet and cold Auvergne,

We would be very grateful for any advice or suggestions with finding builders for basic renovation and also for swimming pool refurbishment, including the surrounding tiles etc.

We bought a farmhouse in the Haute-Loire ( 16kms from Le Puy en Velay) back in September 2016 with the idea being to spend 6 months in France and the rest in UK where we run our own business. Unfortunately, back in January 2018 we were involved in a fatal head-on car collision and this has meant that we have been unable to come to France, due to a series of hideous operations that we are still undergoing. Our problem is that we have tried to find builders locally but there is no-one available - everyone here are farmers and they are busy farming!
We have got to the point where we thought the best thing to do was to hire from UK ( Dick Strawbridge’s “Dave” scenario) but as a long shot, we wondered if there were people in France from other areas who would be willing to come here and do the work, staying in the house. Is this a mad idea? We are here at the moment and will be back for the summer. Any advice would be very welcome!

Many thanks

David & Amanda

There are Facebook sites dedicated to renovation in France where you could post your query. Worth a try anyway.

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Or hand everything over to a maître d’oeuvre (should be findable via the pages jaunes).

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Thanks, Chris. Will take a look!

Thank you very much - will have a look, Fingers crossed.

Hi Amanda,

There is a site called
You can post opportunities for people to come añd visit you and in return they will help you with a range of things.

If you have somewhere for people to stay (doesn’t need to be fancy) you may consider this as an option for more basic jobs like land clearing or painting. There is a small subscription.

I wish you all the very best. Recover well.

Best regards.

Might cause problems with French employment law.

Thank you, Fran.

I had not thought of Workaway, even though our son spent 3 months on a Texas vineyard with them a few years ago - who knew Texas produced wine!

Thanks for your wishes . Still a major op to go for David, but light at the end of the tunnel.

Best wishes


I would also be worried about how this affects insurance. If someone has an accident on the site and they are not ‘legal’ who would be held responsible ?

France is not listed on the workaway site. Not sure if you could use it.
Perhaps you should visit the Mairie for a list of workers and then get some quotes prepared.

Hi Teresa,
thanks for replying - the Mairie is a lovely man but this is a tiny hamlet, and we have asked before, but there is literally no-one available!

They are all farmers and will gladly do things like tree-cutting and pull you out of a ditch, but that’s about it. That said, they have all been extremely kind and helpful since the accident, despite hardly knowing us.

Really appreciate you taking the time to reply. Thanks again.