The middle of this post is our experience house siting in France (spoiler we loved it!) If you are looking for house sitting opportunities in France please see below
At the start of 2019, we came up with a plan. That plan was to house sit our way through Europe for the summer. I was house-sitting in Thailand at the time, and Brittnay was house-sitting back home in Melbourne.
Our plan was to head to the UK in April 2019 and buy a campervan then drive from the UK to Greece – pet sitting all the way. If you’re wondering how to become a house sitter, we have an extensive post that can help here.
However, In this post, I am going to break down our experience house sitting in France and how you can get free accommodation in France too.
Table of Contents
Are You Looking For House Sitting Jobs in France?
Do you want free rent in exchange for house sitting? I would highly recommend looking into becoming a house-sitting in France!
House sitting is very popular in France – it is so popular amongst homeowners that unfortunately we have had to turn down lots of house sitting opportunities in France.
We found the most popular sites for homeowners in France are Trusted House Sitters, Nomador, and House Carers.
If you want to join Trusted House Sitter you can use the code TRAVELHS and get 30% off! Use the code here
Our Journey to House Sitting in France
We locked in our first house sit in France while traveling in India in March 2019.
House sitting is very popular In France due to the large population of ex-pats retiring in France. We found this house sit on Trusted House Sitters and had a Skype interview with the homeowners.
One of the best house sitting websites for house sitters for finding house sitting jobs in France.
We were excited. This housesit was only a 40-minute drive from the famous wine region of Bordeaux in a not-so-famous wine region called Bergerac.
Ok, so we had a house sit locked in. All we had to do now was to get to the UK from India buy a campervan and drive to Bergerac. Easy right?
Well, not quite.
We had flights booked to Turkey from India around 10 days before the start of the house sit – at best we would be cutting it fine, but we love a challenge.
We landed in Turkey and frantically started looking for a camper van to buy – this was a little more difficult than we first thought – we had flights from Turkey to Manchester booked for 5 days out from the start of the house sit.
In the greater Manchester area, there was not a whole lot of vans on offer that suited our needs – so we narrowed it down to 2 vans and arranged to meet the owners ASAP!
We flew into Manchester, hired a car, and dove to meet the first van owner at a local mechanic to get it looked over. Since we were on a fairly tight time schedule (5 days till we had to be in Bergerac) we had decided if we liked the van and it passed the mechanic test we would buy it right there and then.
The mechanic looked over it and said there were no issues, so we took It for a test drive, withdraw-led the cash, and returned to offer the owner cash right there and then.
He accepted and we had our camper van! And more importantly, a way to get to France!
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We started to feel a little bit better – we now had 5 days to make it from Manchester, UK to Bergerac, France.
It was around 1400km with a 1.5-hour ferry crossing across the channel.
We booked in for the ferry the next morning, so our first destination was Dover 500km away.
We made a few quick stops at Primark and a couple of charity shops to pick up some essentials and we were off driving into the night to make it for the ferry check-in at 3 am.
We didn’t get much sleep that night but our first-night camping was cozy and we were quite chuffed with ourselves for pulling this off.
We made the ferry and landed in Calais. Driving on the right-hand side of the road in a right-hand-drive car was weird, but we didn’t have too much trouble adjusting (thanks to Britts co-pilot skills).
On the journey down through France, we managed to stay in some cool little French Village and were really, really enjoying our crash course into van life.
(As most of you should know by now we are massive foodies, and I can’t even start to describe how good it was to be back in the country of the world’s best bread, cheese, and red wine.)
We had previously visited Paris when we lived in London. During those trips, we had tried many of the things to eat in Paris, like steak frites, macaroons, baguettes (we even hunted down the winner of the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Traditional Francaise de la Ville De Paris) and explored all the cheese shops.
However, being out in the countryside now we were excited to explore the local wineries and farmers’ markets we had heard so much about.!
Our First House Sit in France – Bergerac
We were looking after a home in the vines in Bergerac from a couple from the UK.
Unfortunately, we were looking after the home because of health issues from the homeowner.
We had explained that we were driving down from the UK and if anything changed let us know because we could make a beeline straight for their house if they needed to leave.
However, our UK phone decided it didn’t want to work across the pond for the first couple of days and we had missed calls from them advising they had to leave and get back to the UK ASAP.
When we finally sorted out our phone we got in touch with the homeowner who had advised they had already left.
There were detailed pet care instructions for us on how to find the key and their dog was with a friend until we arrived.
The drive through the French wine country was like something out of a fairytale – there were vines and very impressive chateaus everywhere.
Our drive was full of ‘look at that, ‘wow’ and ‘omg’ moments.
We arrived at the house sit just outside of the small village of Le Fliex, the house was nestled between the vines of the neighboring vineyard. It was the most french thing we have ever seen.
We unpacked our things and made ourselves at home.
We made contact with the homeowner’s friend who had Flynn(our new dog) and she came over in the afternoon to deliver him.
She was also an ex-pat from the UK and took great pride in telling us all about the local markets, Boulangeries, and Fromageries.
We were very happy to learn that one of the top 10 farmers’ markets in France was about a 15-minute drive away (we were in heaven)!
Looking after Flynn was awesome. He had a big yard to play in and loved chasing balls and playing.
He also required 2 walks a day – which to our pleasure was to be through the neighboring vineyards! We had several walks that he enjoyed.
We were welcome to walk anywhere through the neighboring vineyards as long as we stayed 2 rows back from any of the houses.
Every day for 6 weeks was an adventure for us. We loved checking out the local vineyards while walking Flynn.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Bergerac area. It has some of the best wine we have had on our entire European house sitting road trip.
Most of which came from local co-ops. The co-ops sell local DOC wine straight out of the barrel at anywhere from 1 – 3 Euros per liter. We had a real ball finding and sampling the wine of the area.
I also purchased a French road bike and spent most mornings out and about exploring the Bergerac area via cycle – it was just magic.
Our Second House Sitting Job in France – Montaigu-de-Quercy
We had locked in this house sit via Trusted House Sitters – we were actually approached by the homeowner for this house sitting assignment.
We had 1 week to get to Montaigu-de-Quercy from Bergerac – so we took the opportunity to check out some of the French countrysides and take in some more local markets, cheese, baguettes and wine.
This housesit was in the middle of the countryside and was what we like to call the ‘cat chateau’. This home was a rather large stone house with 6 cats and 1 dog. The homeowner wanted us to arrive the day before she left so she could meet us and take us through several key points of the house – such as the dog’s walking route, cleaning the pool, and generally keeping on top of her 6 cats!
We arrived at the home late afternoon – we were greeted by an Irish ex-pat who had called France home for over 40 years.
Her home was beautiful (at this point we were starting to wonder if France was just a fairytale country).
She had prepared a roast for lunch so we got to know each other over a meal – of course, accompanied by local wine. We really enjoyed getting to know the homeowner and learnt a lot about the local area and her journey living in Montaigu-de-Quercy.
The homeowner’s late husband was a wine collector and together they had an amazing wine collection from all around France – it was like a dream cellar!
She took us through the home, the cats, and everything we needed to know about the dog walk.
We were only in Montaigu-de-Quercy for a short 3 weeks, it was just starting to become warm enough to swim in the pol in the afternoon, so our days would start with a walk with the dog (and cats), followed by 5 or 6 hours or work.
We would then go out and explore the local area and collect locals bread, cheese, and wine and come back to the home.
Where we would have a locally sourced platter out by the pool – we seriously couldn’t believe how stunning this was!
Like all good things, this house sit had to come to an end.
It was a very fast 3 weeks but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and it was time to move onto the next one!
The homeowner came later afternoon and to return the favor we cooked her dinner using local French ingredients and shared a couple of bottles of wine.
We thoroughly enjoy getting to know the homeowners who we house sit.
This women was very interesting and still someone who we stay in contact with to this day!
Our Final House Sitting Opportunity in France – Salon-de-Provence
We arranged this house sitting job through Nomador. We had a week before it started – which was cool with us!
We had purchased the camper van so we could take a few weeks of house sitting to explore between house sits.
This housesit was in Salon-de-Provence, somewhere that was on our visit list while we were house sitting in France.
Again we arrived in Salon-de-Provence the night before the homeowner left.
This homeowner was an Australian ex-pat who had been living in France for around 20 years. She absolutely loved Salon and we quickly made a bond when we found out she was obsessed with French food.
She was quick to write down all the essential food must-do’s in Salon-de-Provence.
This home was very close to the center of Salon-de Provence and had a gorgeous (very French) style backyard.
We were looking after a brother and sister pair of beautiful white cats. We call these cats the show cats because they were perfectly white and perfectly groomed.
By this point it was mid-summer and it was HOT.
We spent most mornings working followed by afternoon lazing around the backyard eating and drinking local products. I think we were starting to get the hang of this French way of life!
Salon-de-Provence is the biggest town we had house sit in while house sitting in France.
Every day there was a new local market to check out within driving distance and we even timed it right to check out the local yearly farmer’s expo! This was a cool day out sampling local French products and talking to local farmers.
This housesit was for just over 6 weeks, we really enjoyed our time in Salon and would love to go back sometime. There is lots to see, do and eat
After that 6 weeks, we were on our way to our next house sit – which would be in Italy!
We had been to Italy several times and were excited to be back in the land of pizza, pasta, and Chianti wine!
If you need a little extra help at all have a look at our step-by-step guide to becoming a house sitter.
At the time of writing this post, it is coming into Christmas and the holiday period.
Throughout this time period, house sitters are in hot demand!
If you are looking to start house sitting this is the perfect time because there are a lot of house sitting jobs in France on offer!
So if wondering how to get into house sitting, you should have a look at our extensive house sitting course.
It has all our secret resources such as email templates (that allow you to land ANY house sit you want!!)
Happy house sitting in France everyone!