House Sitting in France – Our Experience House Sitting Through France

The middle of this post is our experience house sitting 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 devised a plan to house-sit our way through Europe for the summer. I was house-sitting in Thailand then, and Brittnay was house-sitting back home in Melbourne.

Our plan was to head to the UK in April 2019, buy a campervan, and drive from the UK to Greece—pet-sitting all the way. If you’re wondering how to become a housesitter, we have an extensive post that can help here.

However, In this post, I will break down our experience house sitting in France and how you can get free accommodation in France too.

House Sitting in France
Our experience house sitting in France

Are You Looking For House Sitting Assignments 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.

The most popular sites for homeowners in France are Trusted House Sitters, Nomador, and House Carers. If you want to join Trusted House Sitter, use the code TRAVELHS to get 30% off! Use the code here

Part 1: Locking in The House Sits

We locked in our first house 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 there. We found this house sitting on Trusted House Sitters and interviewed the homeowners via Skype. We were excited: This house sit was only a 40-minute drive from the famous wine region of Bordeaux in a not-so-famous wine region called Bergerac.

Okay, so we had a house sit locked in. All we had to do now was get to the UK from India, buy a campervan, and drive to Bergerac. Easy, right?

Well, not quite.

Part 2: Getting a Campervan

We had flights booked to Turkey from India around 10 days before the start of the house sit—at best, we would be 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 five days before the start of the house sit.

There were not many vans on offer in the greater Manchester area 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 have it looked over. Since we were on a fairly tight time schedule (5 days till we had to be in Bergerac), we had decided that if we liked the van and it passed the mechanic test, we would buy it right there and then.

The mechanic looked it over and said there were no issues, so we took it for a test drive, withdrew the cash, and returned to offer the owner cash right there and then.

He accepted, and we got our camper van! And, more importantly, a way to get to France!


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Part 3: The Drive to From Manchester to Bergerac

We started to feel a little bit better—we now had five days to travel from Manchester, UK, to Bergerac, France. The journey was around 1400km, and we took a 1.5-hour ferry across the channel.

We booked in for the ferry the following day, 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 then we were off driving into the night to make it to the ferry check-in at 3 a.m.

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 through France, we stayed in a cool little French Village and really enjoyed our crash course in 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 tried many of the things to eat in Paris, like steak frites, macaroons, and 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, we were excited to explore the local wineries and farmers’ markets we had heard so much about.!

Jay cooking dinner on a campfire in France
Jay cooking dinner on the way to Le Fliex, France

Part 4: 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 finding 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.

House Sitting in Le Fleix, Bergerac, France
Our first house sit in France!

We arrived at the house just outside the small village of Le Fliex. The house was nestled between the vines of the neighboring vineyard. It was the most French thing we had ever seen.

We unpacked our things and made ourselves at home. We contacted 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 France’s top 10 farmers’ markets was about a 15-minute drive away (we were in heaven)!

Looking after Flynn was excellent. He had a big yard and loved chasing balls and playing. He also required two walks a day, which, to our pleasure, were through the neighboring vineyards! We took several walks that he enjoyed. We were welcome to walk anywhere through the neighboring vineyards as long as we stayed 2 rows from any of the houses.

Every day for six 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 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 exploring the Bergerac area by bike—it was just magic.

House Sitting in Bergerac France
Jay walking Flynn through the vines

Part 5: Our Second House Sitting Job in France – Montaigu-de-Quercy

We had locked in this house sit via Trusted House Sitters – we were approached by the homeowner for this house sitting assignment.

We had one week to get to Montaigu-de-Quercy from Bergerac, so we took the opportunity to explore the French countryside and visit some more local markets, cheese, baguettes, and wine.

This house sit was in the middle of the countryside and was what we like to call the ‘cat chateau’. It 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!

House Sitting in Montaigu-de-Quercy, France
Brittnay House Sitting in Montaigu-de-Quercy, France

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, 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 end.

It was a very fast three weeks, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and it was time to move on to the next one!

The homeowner came later this 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 whom we house-sit.

This woman was very interesting and still someone with whom we stay in contact to this day!

House Sitting in Montaigu-de-Quercy, France
Brittnay house sitting in Montaigu-de-Quercy, France

Part 5: 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 house sit was in Salon-de-Provence, a place 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 lived 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 quickly wrote down all the essential food must-dos in Salon-de-Provence.

House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence
Brittnay House Sitting 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 groomed.

By this point, it was mid-summer, and it was HOT.

We spent most mornings working, followed by afternoons lazing around the backyard, eating and drinking local products. 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 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 six weeks; we enjoyed our time in Salon and would love to go back sometime. There is lots to see, do and eat

After that six weeks, we were on our way to our next house sit—in Italy!

We had been to Italy several times and were excited to return to the land of pizza, pasta, and Chianti wine!

House Sitting Salon de Provence France
House Sitting Salon de Provence, France

If you need a little extra help, check out our step-by-step guide to becoming a housesitter. When writing this post, it is coming into Christmas and the holiday period. Throughout this period, house sitters are in hot demand!

If you are looking to start house sitting, this is the perfect time because there are many house sitting jobs available in France!

Read These Resources to Get Started

What Are The Best House Sitting Websites For You
What Are The Best House Sitting Websites For You
How To Become A House Sitter (10 Easy Steps)
How To Become A House Sitter (10 Easy Steps)

6 thoughts on “House Sitting in France – Our Experience House Sitting Through France”

  1. Ohhh so jealous guys I would love to house sit near Bordeaux as well!! What sites do you think are best for finding house sits around France??

  2. Hi Jayden and Britt! We are going to house sit in France next year hopefully!! Do you think we would also need a car to get around?? Thanks so much for your help guys 🙂 🙂 loving your posts on getting references too!

    1. Hi Charlene! Ohh we looooved house sitting in France, it was one of our favourite locations! I think a car is really handy there as many of the house sitting jobs were in the countryside so it gives you waaay more flexibility plus you get to do a whole lot more exploring! We spent days checking out different villages, wineries and chateaus! So glad you enjoyed the information about references its one of the most importants aspects of house sitting! Let us know how you go over there!

  3. Hello there
    We are thinking about starting house sitting (myself and my partner) and find your website very informative, thank you. We are in our early 60s & still working but nearing retirement and want to dip our toe in to see if housesitting would work as a retirement lifestyle. Your descriptions do sound amazing and very helpful.

    I have a couple of questions….
    1: Is this just something for younger couples or would home owners be happy to have older housesitters?

    2: Also wondering about the more challenging or anxious moments you may have faced and how you resolved them. I like the fact that “Trusted Housesitters” offer a helpline and insurance – have you ever needed to use either?

    Kind Regards

    Mello

    1. Hiya Mello!

      thank you for the kind words and I am so glad it has helped you!!

      1. 100% I think one of the biggest age groups in house sitting is around your age!
      2. I think with house sitting you need to be flexible and willing to change plans if need be. So I think used to get anxious about that but once I realised it apart of the lifestyle and the trade off from other incredible experiences I was relaxed about. I also have built up a huge handover document which covers all the questions I might have (including things like bins days, where the animals can and can’t go, dozens of questions I think having that also reassures and helps the homeowner see your trying to provide the best service possible.
      I have never had to use the insurance, but I am really glad its there as it gives me peace of mind and that is why I recommend others using a house sitting platform Trusted House Sitters, you can have a look at others ones we have tried here.

      What I would suggest doing first is doing a few sits locally, ask friends or family if they need a sitter and then see if you like doing it. I would also then ask then for a written review. I would suggest making a canva document that you can link to in your applications this is helpful when you dont have any reviews on your profile.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, ohhh I am also running a free class in two weeks, would you be interested in joining?

      Best,

      Britt

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