Volunteer in France

Jazz Festival in the medieval town of Crest
Crest, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes       July 21 - August 6, 2019

FRENCH SPEAKING PROJECT
Volunteer project: Every year, the Crest Jazz Vocal Festival is the highlight of the summer in town. The preparation of this major event needs a lot of time and people available. For more than 10 years, motivated volunteers have helped with its organization.

Guided by volunteers of the association in charge, you will participate in the life of the festival: installation of the festival area, setting up rooms, cleaning after each performance (stages, outside space), waste management and recycling. At the end of the festival, you will have to remove and store the materials. On some evenings, you will also participate in drinks and concert posters selling. Therefore, participants have to be able to communicate in French. This is a project for enthusiastic and motivated volunteers who wish to practice French and enjoy good jazz music!

Note: Some tasks are repetitive, but essential. The organizers of the festival rely on your motivation to help them before, during, but also after the festival. Working hours will vary according to the needs of the festival. The volunteer work is 20 hours a week; you may have to work on Saturday and Sunday. The volunteers are expected to be dynamic, motivated, enthusiastic, ready to meet the many local volunteers and the festival audience, and of course, fond of music! You will have a free access pass and will be able to attend most of the concerts.

Special requirements: Language for work activities and communication within the volunteer team will mostly be French. You have to be able to communicate in French, at least at a basic level.

Language: French

Possible free time activities: Visit of the Tower of Crest, visit of the towns of Valence or Die (old town and cooperative cellar), night markets, free concerts within the jazz festival, swimming pool, canoe, hiking in the Vercors mountains... The volunteers will organize an international dinner for the local people during the project.

Accommodation: In a former school. Mattresses will be provided; please bring your own sleeping bag.

Location: Located in the Drôme valley, in the south of the Vercors regional park, the town of Crest has 8000 residents. Dominated by its medieval tower (52m high), the town has a remarkable heritage. Crest is very busy in the summer time, and offers many sports and cultural activities. Towns nearby: Montélimar (40 km) and Valence (30 km).

Terminal: Crest

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

Extra fee: 50 Euro

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Restoration of the medieval heritage of Luzech
Luzech, Occitanie       July 21 - August 10, 2019

Volunteer project: Luzech is located in the Lot department in the heart of the Cahors wine region. It is surrounded by the River Lot which forms a peninsula. Occupied since the Gallo-Roman period, the city of Luzech was fortified in the Middle Ages, and different citadels and castles were built over the years. Today Luzech has a rich historical heritage, which is maintained by the city and its volunteers. Local associations participate in the life of the town and organize activities in the community gardens located below the Luzech tower.

The international volunteers will have various tasks in the town: continue the restoration of a gate that was started last year, cleaning and beautification of Rue des Mariniers, fixing of plaster joints on some walls, painting of the St Pierre Church and an adjacent gate, restoration of a wall near the Notre Dame Church (minor masonry repair on the external walls, restoration of stones and brushing), restoration of the wall of the cemetery of the Church of Fage, replacing of stones and cleaning. A retired craftsman will supervise the work activities again this year.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: You will be able to participate in the various events that will be held in the town, while discovering the surroundings. The natural riches of the Lot will invite you to beautiful hikes among the vineyards. You will have the opportunity to visit the sacred village of Rocamadour where old stone houses, majestic towers, churches and a castle cascade off the cliff into the Alzou Canyon and the Padirac Chasm (Cave) which is one of the most extraordinary natural wonders of France.

Accommodation: You will be lodged at the municipal campsite in tents. Please bring your sleeping bag.

Location: Luzech is a very active community, with many events happening regularly. With about 1500 inhabitants, Luzech offers a variety of leisure activities.

Terminal: Cahors

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Restoration of a chapel and building a path in Peyrilles
Peyrilles, Occitanie       July 21 - August 10, 2019

Volunteer project: The town of Peyrilles, located in Lot, will welcome this year its second international volunteer project. This municipality, hidden at the door of Quercy, gives its residents an exceptional living environment. In the heart of the green valley of the Lot, numerous Perigordian buildings surround the castle of Peyrilles, which is restored and maintained by the local people. Associations and municipal employees work regularly for the preservation of these places where many local events are organized. An English speaking community has established in the town for a few years now, attracted by the natural and cultural treasures of Peyrilles.

Supervised by a technical leader, the volunteers will carry out the following tasks: repairing the roof of the Bonnet Chapel and laying out a walking path (clearing and laying steps, laying a concrete base and logs).
During the weekend of August 3rd and 4th, the town organizes a local festival with a meal on Saturday and a dance party on Sunday, for which it will ask the help of the volunteers. The group will assist with installation of tables, meal service on Saturday, and cleaning the party site on Monday. During the third week of the project, the work schedule will be lightened to allow volunteers to have more free time to discover the region.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: You will be able to hike and explore the surroundings, including the village of Rocamadour and the Padirac Chasm. Rocamadour is a sacred village and important pilgrimage site, perched on the side of a limestone cliff and towering majestically over the Alzou canyon. The Padirac Chasm is a an underground wonderland of subterranean rivers, lakes and ornate chambers.

Accommodation: You will be housed in two municipal apartments located in the heart of the village, 3 bedrooms each, 2 volunteers per room. You will need a sleeping bag.

Location: Peyrilles (population 600) is an active community with many events happening during the time of the project. You will be invited to participate in each one of them! The bread oven is lit several times a year in order to organize festive meals for the whole community. You will have the opportunity to cook some pizzas in that oven. A local restaurant prepares la Mique levee, an emblematic dish of the Lot which you'll have the opportunity to savour.

Terminal: Cahors

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Restoration of ancient water mills in Auvergne
Besse, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes       July 22 - August 9, 2019

Volunteer project: The diversity of the natural and built heritage of Besse-Et-Saint-Anastaise (the full name of the town) gives it a special atmosphere and charm. It is located in the heart of the Auvergne volcanoes in the Massif du Sancy, the highest mountain in Auvergne, and is known for its Ski resort Super Besse. The town attracts tourists both during summer and winter. Besse is also a vibrant town with a number of events happening in the area all the year round. Local residents and associations are excited to meet you in this authentic town.

Besse is crossed by the Couze Pavin river taking its source from one of the deepest lakes in Europe, Lake Pavin. On the banks of the river, you can find old water mills. Two centuries ago men built these water mills to make use of the energy of the river. The mills which are now in ruins, need to be saved. The aim of the volunteer project is restoration and preservation of the mills. This would require cleaning the sites from invading vegetation and work on dry stone walls. The restoration work will be guided by a technical supervisor. The work will be for 5 hours a day in the morning.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: Some activities will be proposed to the volunteers such as tours, excursions, hiking, swimming.

Accommodation: You will be accommodated in a small cottage in an exceptional setting. Mattresses are provided. Please, bring your sleeping bag.

Location: Besse is considered as one of the most beautiful sites of the Auvergne region. The town is a part of the Natural Regional Park of the Volcanoes of Auvergne. It is located in the Massif du Sancy born 5 millions years ago. The town benefits from a preserved environment with great landscapes of lakes and volcanoes. Besse is 1 hour away from Clermont-Ferrand.

Terminal: Issoire

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Restoration and conservation of the Hermitage of Poleymieux
Poleymieux au Mont d’Or, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes       July 22 - August 10, 2019

Volunteer project: Poleymieux-au-Mont-d’Or is a village of 1200 residents, close to Lyon, but with a very rural and peaceful atmosphere. The village will host this summer its 4th international volunteer project in order to continue the restoration and conservation work on the ancient Hermitage of Saint Antoine, and to create connections between international volunteers and local population.

The volunteers will take part in the restoration of a dry stone wall of the Hermitage. Supervised by a technical leader, you will learn how to bring up a wall using ancestral methods. You will work 4 to 5 hours a day, 5 days per week.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: Exploring the Beaujolais and the Mont d'Or region, visiting Lyon (only 10 km from Poleymieux), swimming, visiting a local farm, canoeing, meeting with other volunteer groups.

Accommodation: In tents on the petanque ground (kitchen and showers near the camp). Ground mattresses will be provided, please bring your sleeping bag.

Location: Poleymieux au Mont d’Or is a small village, with one shop only, which has preserved its rural character and peaceful atmosphere.

Terminal: Lyon

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Heritage enhancement and organizing a music festival in Chalabre
Chalabre, Occitanie       July 28 - August 17, 2019

Volunteer project: Located at the edge of the Ariege and Aude, the municipality of Chalabre is known both for its historical heritage and wonderful natural surroundings. The village was born in the 12th century in Cathar country. Chalabre developed around the castle; over the years two churches were built, as well as the Chapel of Calvary overlooking the village. The municipality takes great care to preserve its built heritage, but also the Aude river which crosses it. The village is particularly lively in the summer with plenty of activities for every taste. It welcomes its second group of international volunteers this year.

In the first two weeks, volunteers will work on the restoration of the walls of a canal: clearing and recovery of stones, building a dry stone wall in some places (1 meter high).
In the last week, the volunteers will help in the organization of Serenades - an international music festival. The group, along with local volunteers, will provide logistical assistance: installation of stands, hosting of the public, and any other help that may be needed during the event. This project is a great opportunity to meet local people, help them maintain their village and enliven it through cultural events.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: Chalabre organizes various cultural events throughout the summer. You will be invited to the Book festival which will be held in the first weekend of the project, and to a festival of art and music which will take place in the last week. During your stay, you can visit the castle of Chalabre and that of Montségur. You can also participate in the pétanque tournament and swim in the river that runs through the village.

Accommodation: You will be staying in a tent on the municipal campsite, with access to the football clubhouse with showers and a fully equipped kitchen. You'll need a sleeping bag. The place is located 5 to 15 minutes walk from the work site and only 5 minutes from the heart of the village, where you will find all the amenities (shops, post office, supermarket, bakery, etc.).

Location: Chalabre, Occitanie

Terminal: Pamiers

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Enhancement of the Fortress of the Dunes in the North of France
Leffrinckoucke, Hauts-de-France       July 30 - August 16, 2019

Volunteer project: After thirteen successful years of hosting international volunteers, the municipality of Leffrinckoucke invites a new group this year to take part in the restoration of the Fort des Dunes, a military fort built in the XIXth century. The fortress is located in the North of France, 500 meters from the beach and 500 meters from the town of Dunkirk. The goal is to develop and enhance the site so that it can be visited and used for cultural purposes by local associations and music bands, and at the same time to create intercultural dynamics by encouraging links between local people, visitors and volunteers.

In the past years, many improvements were made to welcome the public: guided visits are organised, a secured guided circuit tour is offered outside, several rooms were restored including a particular one dedicated to the history of the fortification with an interactive map of Operation Dynamo.

With a technical leader, you will work on various parts of the site of the fortress. The planned activities consist of clearing the outskirts, restoration of the external staircases, collecting old paving stones and branches, and clearing undergrowth off the ditches. This work will be carried out in small groups.
The volunteers will help prepare and participate in a meeting with associations of the town (Beach Fest) during the weekend of August 3rd-4th, and will present the international volunteer projects. The group will also participate in the World Shrimp Hulling Championship.

Language: English

Accommodation: In tents (kitchen and showers in a building nearby). Mattresses are provided. Please bring a sleeping bag.

Location: The town of Leffrinckoucke is located a few kilometers from the town of Dunkirk. Buses are available to reach neighbouring towns. The nearest train station is in Dunkirk, and many connections are available by TGV to Lille (35 min) or Paris (2 hours).

Terminal: Dunkirk

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Restoration and organizing a local festival in Midi-Pyrenees
Antichan de Frontignes, Midi-Pyrenees       August 2 - August 20, 2019

Volunteer project: International volunteer projects carried out previously in the village of Antichan de Frontignes have been a success, and the mayor wants to host a new group to implement concrete actions towards improving the living environment and to integrate international volunteers into the local life, especially during the village festival which is a very popular event every year.

The volunteers will participate in various activities in the village including restoration of an old house (former relais des Frontignes, guest house) to turn it into a center of Gascon culture, restoration of paved streets (sorting of the stones), cleaning of walking trails.
The group will also participate in the organization, conducting and closing of the local festival that enlivens the village and entertains much of the population every year.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: The site is rather isolated but offers many opportunities for hiking, exploring the beautiful local heritage sites, sports, swimming in the lake near the village... The village is very lively during the festival.

Accommodation: The volunteers will stay in tents near the village. Tents and sleeping pads are provided. Please, bring your sleeping bag.

Location: Antichan de Frontignes is a small rural village at the foot of the chain of the Pyrenees near the Spanish border, surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. Altitude: 580 m, 87 residents.

Nearest terminal: Montréjeau-Gourdan-Polignan

Nearest airport: Toulouse

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Renovating common spaces at a migrant center
Saint-Beauzire, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes       August 4 - August 24, 2019

Volunteer project: Since October 2015, Léo Lagrange Center East is involved in the reception of refugees on the site of Saint-Beauzire in Haute Loire. The mission of the Center is to welcome, guide and accompany people in their efforts to access rights. Working with a team of volunteers, they offer French language courses and various workshops: sport, discovery of the region, coffee and discussions, cooking, etc. The center also makes it possible for refugees to meet professionals for individual social monitoring, access to social rights, access to health coverage and support in integration procedures. The center for asylum-seekers administratively houses people without accommodation, which allows them to receive mail, maintain regular contacts with various organizations and have easier access to rights.

The main aim of the volunteer project is to renew and improve parts of the center that are not currently in use but have potential. The center has a fitness trail and huts for children which need to be cleaned and embellished. You will have small tasks such as clearing, sanding and painting. At the end of the project, you will create a mural on the wall of the tennis court. You will work with groups of young migrants. A technical supervisor will guide the work activities. The work takes place in the morning, for up to 5 hours a day.

Special requirements: Motivation letter is required with application.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: You can share friendly moments with the migrants by participating in activities proposed by the center (sport, swimming pool, workshops, music, movie club) or by visiting the region with local volunteers.

Accommodation: You will stay at a campsite near the center. Tents and mattresses will be provided, please bring a sleeping bag.

Location: The center for asylum-seekers is located in Saint Beauzire in Haute-Loire, just a few kilometers from Brioude. You can visit one of the most beautiful basilicas of the region or swim in the fresh waters of the river.

Terminal: Brioude

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Restoration of an ancient castle in the Pyrenees
Durban-sur-Arize, Occitanie       August 19 - August 31, 2019

Volunteer project: The Medieval Castle of Saint-Barthelemy and its chapel stand on a hill just above the gorges of Arize, in the municipality of Durban-sur-Arize. The aim of this project is to go further in the conservation of these buildings and continue the protection of the site, secure access to the castle and complete the development of a permanent visitor and volunteer center. A group of international volunteers is invited to help in this project for the fifth time.

The volunteers will take part in various maintenance and development projects on the site of the Château Saint-Barthelemy. This includes restoration of walls (masonry work), clearing of vegetation, etc. The group supervisor will tell you stories about the castle and will teach you traditional restoration techniques.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: Located in the heart of Séronnais, the site offers many hiking opportunities. Local volunteers will offer you an introduction into archeology and rock climbing.

Accommodation: You will stay in tents on the grounds of the castle. Please bring your sleeping bag. Housing conditions are simple and basic (dry toilets and solar showers). The project is for those who love peace and nature. Access to the castle is only by foot (15 minutes up a steep path from the village).

Location: Located halfway between Foix and St Girons, Durban-sur-Arize, crossed by Arize, is a charming village in the Ariège part of the Regional Natural Park of the Pyrenees. With the castle overlooking, the village has a remarkable built heritage with many preserved stone buildings. The Castle of Saint-Barthelemy is an ancient medieval fortress dating back to the 11th century.

Terminal: Foix

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Rehabilitation projects in the Pyrenees National Park
Cauterets, Occitanie       September 2 - September 14, 2019

Volunteer project: The municipality of Cauterets welcomes a group of international volunteers to participate in the enhancement of its area. Come and discover the rich natural and historic heritage of this centuries-old spa town and winter ski resort in the heart of the Pyrenees National Park!

The volunteers are invited to participate in restoration and rehabilitation projects in the Pyrenees National Park. The activities will take place on the Cambasque Plateau, located at an altitude of 1409 meters, and will include restoration of small walls and setting up fences. The work will be supervised by a technical leader. This project is for those who love hiking and the mountains.

Language: English

Accommodation: Tent accommodation at a camping with access to locker rooms. Sleeping bag is needed.

Location: Cauterets is a town with 900 residents, located in the department of Hautes-Pyrenees, in the region of Occitania. It is both a spa and a very dynamic winter sports resort, and attracts many visitors in summer and winter. The village gives access to many hiking trails that lead to several natural tourist sites, such as Peguere, Lake Gaube, Petit Vignemale (3,032 m), the Bridge of Spain, a village on the side of the mountains crossed by a waterfall or the small mountain of La Fruitiere.

Terminal: Cauterets

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Long-term projects in France