In the summer months we have a small, quiet dog that occasionally needs looking after.
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We are an American couple who are blessed to own a beautiful historic estate on 181 acres of fields and forest in Brittany, France. We are looking for a mature married couple to help us out with keeping the place maintained and well groomed anytime starting April 1 2024 through the spring and summer into winter December 2024. We like to have two couples on site at the same time, as it makes it more fun in our remote setting.
These are the types of tasks we need help with: General gardening, cleaning and maintenance; keeping the forest paths clear of fallen tree debris; mow lawn (we have a ride-able lawn mower) trim hedges with electric trimmer; weeding; occasionally chop wood as needed (we have electric and gas powered saws); Rake driveway when needed; Fertilize fruit trees.
Enjoy the majestic Brittany coast and sandy beaches, walled Medieval cities such as St.Malo, Vannes, and Dinan and the Medieval Festivals that that run in Vannes, Dinan in Josselin in the spring and summer! Explore the nearby village of Rochefort en Terre (voted most beautiful village in France!), The Medieval villages of Malestroit, Josselin and it's gorgeous Chateau, and the Artisan village of La Gacilly, home to Yves Rocher and the largest outdoor photo exhibition in France! Explore the wonders of Carnac's Standing Stones, and visit one of the most famous landmarks in France, Mont St. Michel. If you think you would enjoy visiting and working in one of the most beautiful settings in France, please get back to us soon! If you would love to wake up everyday in the beautiful peaceful countryside on a private estate of 181 acres of field and forests; meeting and interacting with charming traditional French folk; practicing French; love the Ocean; want to be in an environment steeped in Medieval History; ....then this is the place for you! Experience the 'real' French in Brittany, as it is one of the most traditional areas of France. Thanks! Ernie and Terry
Please be aware that you must, ABSOLUTELY rent/bring your own car/motorbike while you are here as our place is a bit remote. If you are coming from outside France, it is often much cheaper to rent a vehicle long term from your home country than within France. Recently, we had friends rent from the local 'SuperU' supermarket and the rental was super cheap, but you MUST have an international drivers license to rent from them.
While we have completed several housesitting assignments throughout the United States, this was an experience unlike any other. I would characterize this as more of a workaway than a housesit. The property is in the beautiful countryside only minutes from small quaint villages entrenched within the history of mediaeval France and walled cities with their unbelievably picturesque gardens. Within a couple hours drive to the beaches of Normandy and Mont St Michel in the north or to the stones of Carnac in the south. This is definitely small town country living, where there is a different famers market to visit every weekend near the small town of Carentoir. Where you can purchase everything from a fly swatter to Champagne (Cremont) at the local Super U and the Patisserie where they create some of the worlds best confectionary treats. Ernie is the whimsical one with Terry being more down to business and Tristan, the fun and energetic 10 year old grandson, all are incredibly welcoming and helpful. They truly believe in creating the "Mediaeval Experience." Tammi and I had originally signed up for a month long stay when an opening became available for 2 months we accepted. Over the months of July and August we were involved in several projects, as well as, day to day chores. We have a bit of a construction background along with several years of home improvement and maintenance experience. We repaired water damage in the ceiling and walls of the twin room in the Chateau including paint and wallpaper. We installed security cameras, landscape lighting, and lighting fixtures in the 13th century Manoir. Also worked with the other caretakers in converting an open attic space into a more usable space, with flooring, cupboards and stairs. Mowing, weeding, tree trimming, pressure washing are all daily chores we used to fill our days. The daily upkeep of the Manoir apartments/Chateau with cleaning and laundry, especially at the change of guests could be a fulltime job on its own. There seems to never be a lack of work and all/any up to the individuals own skill level and pace. We always had something to do but also made sure to take time to enjoy and explore France! The evening happy hours on the lawn with the barbecues under the Roman Arch were some of the most fun; however, the best part of this experience has to be the people we met. After months of working together, exploring the country and just spending time with the other caretakers we created friendships that will last forever.
Buried in the rural Brittany countryside is this wonderfully eclectic chateau. My wife and I spent 4 weeks working on the grounds and buildings here. Ernie and Terry, the owners were resident when we were there which worked out well as they could help set priorities and respond to questions immediately and did a lot of work themselves. Ernie and Terry are Americans who have owned this place for 20 years and it’s a home for them rather than a fancy retreat or hotel. They were warm and welcoming, imaginative and enthusiastic. They were very flexible about how and when we worked our hours. Plenty of physical work to do there; trimming hedges, cutting grass with a ride on lawn mower and weed whacked’ removing weeds and undergrowth cutting and planting, as well as cleaning and maintaining the apartments for occasional guests and other caretakers (sometimes paying guests if you are there in the summer months). We stayed in one of the “Manoir” apartments (a building which is separate from the Chateau) and right next to a working dairy farm. (We loved getting fresh milk from the farmers.) Good experience for folks who are handy, flexible, adaptable and willing to pitch in. The chateau is isolated and rural, so you absolutely want to have your own car but there are lovely villages and towns throughout the region of Morbihan and we found the local Breton people were helpful and down to earth. You don’t have to be able to speak French, although it’s always helpful if you can.
When we signed up for a mind my house assignment at a French Chateau, we had no idea what lay ahead. We had never done anything like this before and did not know whether it would be an enjoyable experience or suit us as a retired couple. We did an online interview with Ernie and Terry who put our minds at ease and agreed a five week stay to fit in with our family commitments. But even still it is only when you arrive that you really appreciate a place. We were met by an amazing American couple who introduced us to the place. We spent five weeks living in the lovely medieval Manoir with modern facilities beside the Chateau. Work involved ensuring the Chateau and various apartments were made ready for guests before they arrived and ensuring the grounds were maintained in a manner suitable for guests. The commitment was for 25 hours per week but the great teamwork and friendly environment made the time go by very fast. We preferred to work in the morning and explore the neighbourhood in the afternoon, but that is an individual choice. At no stage were we pressured or overworked. The Manoir and chateau are surrounded by beautiful countryside of farming and forests with lots of cycling and walking trails. It is very rural and quiet and although you are close to all amenities a car is essential. We used the Chateau bikes and explored the surrounding countryside and local small towns. Highly recommended for cyclists of every standard is a very easy cycle along the Nantes to Brest canal. We drove to St Martin Sur Oeust and from there cycled both directions out and back, one day towards Josselin and another day towards Redon. Ernie, Terry and Tristan are very open, friendly and relaxed and we shared great times with them. We had a really great time in Le Mur, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have made new friends and many memories that we will cherish forever. Merci et Au Revoir.
Cass and I just returned from France after our very first house sitting assignment and it couldn’t have been any more perfect. After applying for the assignment, we were able to have a virtual visit with Ernie and Terry. We immediately felt a connection and were confident that this would be a great adventure. The first few days were spent getting familiar with their beautiful property and understanding what needed to be done. We were also fortunate to share our assignment with another caretaker and make new friends along the way. Ernie and Terry were on site for the first part of our stay and were always available to answer any questions. They were so kind, thoughtful and welcoming that we immediately felt comfortable with them. They talked to us about the projects they were interested in accomplishing and then basically let us decide which ones to complete during our stay. We really loved being a part of maintaining such a beautiful and historic property. We also appreciated the written descriptions and instructions for repeat procedures like yard maintenance and room turnover. Along the way, we had time to relax, ride bikes, go for long walks and explore many of the beautiful Medieval towns in Brittany. We will never forget our time in France at the peaceful and charming Chateau Le Mur. Thanks for everything!
This year was the second year that we have been fortunate enough to complete an assignment at Chateau Le Mur. Ernie and Terry Monaco, the owners, are a fantastic couple who dearly love their beautiful French home and its amazing grounds. Sadly, Ernie and Terry were unable to travel to France this year due to the Covid epidemic, but they were always contactable via either Skype, e-mail or the WhatsApp group that Terry set up for us all. They are extremely easy to work with. Their instructions were always clear, the work interesting and not demanding, and the plus side is that – when they are in residence – they are a fun, friendly, couple who love to entertain and socialise with their caretakers. The work is interesting, varied and not onerous. We were fortunate enough to spend time with another caretaker couple, who were very good company and really easy to work with. It was nice at the end of the day to socialise with them, sharing experiences and putting the world to rights. We liaised over days off, to ensure that there was always someone on the property, which enabled all of us to explore this beautiful region. The Chateau is set in a peaceful area of Brittany, with stunning historical towns to explore, all within easy reach. Legends and folklore abound in this region, and the Broceliande forest is a good place to start. The Chateau is also in easy reach of two towns, both with supermarkets, a 10-15 min drive away. Thank you Ernie and Terry for entrusting your beloved Le Mur to us. We do hope that we will able to see you again - in person next time.
We recently had the privilege of looking after this beautiful Chateau and estate in Brittany for Terry and Ernie. Unfortunately Terry and Ernie could not be there due to COVID-19. So we had the whole magical place to ourselves. We thank them both for entrusting us to look after their home. We spent 5 fantastic weeks there and were left to run our own schedule and take on projects that we enjoyed doing. Terry and Ernie were great when we needed to contact them and the whole region was a delight to explore. Thank you for enriching our lives and we would love to back in the future. We also managed to make great new friends during our last couple of weeks.
In March 2020, whilst pet sitting in the Loire Valley France, we were caught in the COVID-19 lockdown. After a month, the host made his way home and we searched for a new safe haven. Just at this time Terry and Ernie were looking for caretakers for their Chateau Le Mur. For us this could not have been a better opportunity to isolate and still be able to stay outdoors working in the Spring sunshine. Unfortunately, because of restricted travel, we were not able to share this time with a second caretaker couple. After a month of lockdown, when restrictions eased for our remaining four weeks, we were able to explore stunning Brittany. In addition to the recommended towns on the Chateau Le Mur website, we also enjoyed (en route to Vannes), Hennebont and Auray. With the coronavirus pandemic still very much at its height, we were living in an extraordinary time, where illness and frightening headlines made us appreciate the simple pleasures of life. We were very fortunate to work in an environment surrounded by beautiful architecture, gardens and bird life. The work on this very large estate was plentiful but it was also rewarding. Reconnecting with nature during this very stressful time was absolutely the best therapy and we were grateful for this opportunity. Thank you Terry and Ernie. We hope you make it back to your much loved Chateau Le Mur soon.
After nearly 40 years of corporate life we were ready for our next big adventure and met Terry and Ernie through this platform and quickly entered into a dialogue with them about the opportunity. It was clear from our first conversation that they were the type of couple we wanted to work for. They were very easy to get ahold of and always welcomed our calls and addressed our questions and concerns. Importantly, they are honest and did not sugar coat the assignment. This is a very beautiful and large estate which requires upkeep, so if you like spending time outdoors and don't mind getting your hands dirty, you will enjoy your time here. Terry and Ernie were very reasonable about their expectations from us, we were able to self manage our time and work load. They trusted us to do as much work as we were comfortable with and capable of. We had plenty of time for enjoying ourselves and exploring Brittany. We spent many hours just exploring the grounds, finding something new and interesting around every corner. This place is absolutely stunning. They usually have two couples sharing the assignment which made our experience even better. We were fortunate to be able to share the assignment with another English speaking couple whom are now our new close friends. It was so nice to have someone to socialize, share meals, run errands, etc. It also allowed for a few weekends away from the Chateau while the other couple looked after the place. We truly enjoyed our time at the Chateau and have nothing but positive things to say about Terry and Ernie.
Peter & Janine May – July 2019 Janine and I had the wonderful six weeks experience of Care-taking for the Chateau Le Mur which is a lovely property located in an incredible part of historic and picturesque Bretagne. The work at the property was plentiful and at times very challenging though rewarding to see the gardens, orchards, buildings and rooms at their best. Terri and Ernie were very supportive and appreciated the effort put into repairs, ground keeping and cleaning. We worked closely as a team with other caretakers from other parts of the world with whom we will hopefully remain in touch. We enjoyed the local restaurants, museums, galleries, Fete de Musique (Summer Solstice) and visited the nearby villages of Malestroit, Carentoir, La Gacily...mixing it with the locals. The Chateau is in an amazing area from which to centre travels to larger and historic locations such as Josselin and further afield to Vannes, Rennes, Angers, Mont Saint Michel, St Malo. Ernie encouraged us to visit Puy de Fou, an incredible experience. Thank you to Terri and Ernie for a fantastic opportunity.
We just spent a month in the French countryside, house-sitting and working at the beautiful Chateau le Mur, owned by Terry and Ernie Monaco. The chateau is just stunning, and the manoir with the individual apartments was a perfect place to live for a month. We exchanged 25 hours of work per week and found lots of jobs to do. We really liked getting to pick and choose what jobs we thought we would be best at, and when we would do them, which allowed us to also enjoy a few out-of-area excursions. The apartment contained every convenience. With shops in the nearby town of Carentoir, we were able to stock up and do cooking "at home." The nearby town of La Gacilly was a huge treat! We also loved the social activities with other caretaker couples on site, as well as Terry and Ernie, whom we were lucky enough to get to know. They are fun and funny, and so obviously care about this historic property, and we came to really care about it too. We would go back in a heartbeat. If you have the chance to spend a month in the beautiful Brittany region of France, are willing to pitch in and do some work that best suits you, I can't think of a better place to explore than the Chateau le Mur!
Terry and Ernie are the most friendliest of all people. They welcomed us warmly, and involved us in many social events with them. Le Chateau Mur is a great place to work, the grounds are beautiful as is the Manoir. Terry and Ernie are beloved of the beautiful chateau and their enthusiasm and energy shone through and is infectious to all around. It has been a pleasure to work with them in their ideas to maintain, upkeep and improve the property. They are so approachable, an interesting and passionate couple. We would have no hesitation in returning back to the chateau to work with this wonderful couple again. We will definitely keep in contact with them. Paul and Julia
Lots of hard work preparing the grounds of Chateu Le Mur but a wonderful experience to be able to live in this beautiful part of France and enjoy being part of life in a Chateau. Ernie and Terry are an exceptional couple who made us very welcome.
We stayed here for about 6 weeks in the summer of 2016. We knew from our initial email contact that our hosts Terry and Ernie would be good fun and ‘team’ people. They are also kind and really interesting. They have tastefully renovated this gorgeous 19th century Chateau and 14th century Manoir. It is a stunning property of 181acres in the heart of the Brittany countryside, full of artistic touches, historical quirks and lots of flair. We helped in the garden, which was a pleasure to be in. We also did apartment changeovers and feeding and grooming their lovely pets (two lovely cats, a very sweet dog, miniature sheep and miniature pony). The hours were fair and flexible and they encouraged us to take time off to explore the beautiful region of Brittany. We got a great apartment to stay in, spacious, cool and comfortable with its own kitchen where we cooked for ourselves. We worked closely with the great caretakers who were here during our time, so it helps to be a team player. The atmosphere here is fun, lively and welcoming. The property is extensive, including natural woodlands and there is always lots to do, so you should have a genuine work ethic and be prepared to use your initiative. Having your own car is very useful to visit the nearby towns and many attractions eg La Gacilly, Malestroit, Josselin, Redon, Vannes, Carnac, St-Malo, Mont St-Michel etc. We would recommend helping out / housesitting for Terry and Ernie, to anyone who is happy to contribute their time and skills in return for a great base to explore Brittany, meeting very interesting hosts and the chance to stay in a beautiful historic property . Looking forward to a return visit in the future. It was a pleasure to share your property. Thank you so much! ?
John and I consider ourselves to be very lucky to have been caretakers of this fantastic property in Brittany. Our interactions with Terry and Ernie via Skype, email and phone were very professional yet super friendly. We were provided with a list of tasks to complete and a generous timetable to complete them by. Whenever a situation arose we were able to easily contact Ernie for clarification. Our timing meant that we did not actually meet Terry at the Chateau but we know this was the exception as Terry is usually present during the summer. Of course we also had a lot of time to really enjoy ourselves in this beautiful part of France. So much to see and having the Chateau as our base was a fabulous option. We thoroughly recommend anybody to take advantage of the caretaker option at Chateau Le Mur. It was a memorable experience that we will never forget.
We really enjoyed working with Ernie & Terry at Le Mur. They were very easy to 'get on with' and had realistic expectations regarding our work skills. The accommodation was fine & we enjoyed travelling about the countryside around the Chateau. Although we had committed to work 25 works a week, Ernie and Terry were very flexible about this & we were able to travel further afield for a few days at a time to visit other parts of France. A great experience that I would recommend (have recommended it to all of our friends!)
We had a thoroughly enjoyable experience at Chateau le Mur chez Monsieur et Madame Monaco! Sadly we never actually got to meet Monsieur "Ernie" as he had had to go back to the States, however we enjoyed the company of Madame "Terry" for the month of August 2017. We were able to work autonomously and pretty much chose from a list of "jobs" which needed doing around the chateau, the Manoir and the grounds in general. Nobody checked to see whether or not we had worked out our daily five hours, consequently one often did more just to finish to a point or complete the job! We were sad to leave, having very much enjoyed our time living in this rural outpost of Brittany. We have kept in touch with the Monacos to date and would hope to meet again some day.
MindMyHouse member since September 2013