Six glorious weeks housesitting in Les Jonquasses, France

Our fantastic time in France at Les Jonquasses, north of Cahors in the Midi-Pyrénées was spent housesitting. Six weeks of looking after a gorgeous 100-acre property and old stone farmhouse that is being lovingly restored by a great couple, Hannah and Will and their three kids.

Two fun dogs to look after, a great cat with attitude, a crazy rooster, and hens that kept having chickens. Byron was in heaven being a surrogate mother hen when chicks were left to fend for themselves after the mother was consumed by a fox. It was very cute observing him researching how to feed them and teach them to drink. We also constructed great new pens. It was boy heaven!!

The property has many fruit trees laden with figs, plums and peaches and a fabulous veggie garden. It is truffle country, so we just need to find ourselves a truffle pig or dog!

France Les Jonquasses housesitting family travel

We are enjoying exploring the region, amazing rustic stone houses with blue shutters and the drystone wall fences everywhere that we love. Fantastic fresh produce markets with the most amazing smelling and tasting strawberries, stinky cheese, and fabulous crusty bread.

The simple life is so good!

It is incredibly hot (the hot that makes the grass crunchy under foot) and dry, with many weeks in the high 30c which meant the boys swam nearly every afternoon around 6 pm and were still getting tanned. Lazy afternoons, wine in hand were spent by the pool eating fabulous cheese and olives. The sun was not setting until after 10 pm, so we were all in the habit of going to bed extremely late. Just loved the time to garden and watch the veggies grow and the trees bear fruit, figs, peaches, blackberries…

We visited the Pech Merle caves just up the road that were amazing. This simply stunning underground network of limestone caves sheltered Cro-Magnon man era paintings. An incredible piece of history we got to experience.

France Les Jonquasses housesitting limestone caves

Looking out from the underworld

Enjoyed fabulous lunches at one of the nearby wineries and found it fascinating to learn more about the wine industry and how they produce great wines here. We also watched a stage of the Tour de France which was fun to witness all the happenings and to see them whizzing past in the scorching heat. It is an incredibly logistical event.

This central part of France is just stunning. The old stone villages with their French blue shutters, artisan Boulangeries (bakeries) and great Brocantes (antiques/bric-a-brac). The area has picturesque forests to explore, fantastic limestone valleys, running rivers, and the most stunning iridescent blue dragonflies you have ever seen. The bees in the region know a good thing when they smell it and are all over anything sweet including scrumptious pastries in the Boulangeries.

France Les Jonquasses housesitting cheese wine olives

Enjoying the magic of the simple life in Les Jonquasses with delicious local produce

We loved our weekly trips to the local markets at Cabrerets and Figeac. We also loved the fact that we felt just a little bit local, being able to buy amazing strawberries and raspberries, great cheeses and that fabulous French crusty bread and delectable pastries from our favourite producers. Such stunning fresh and tasty produce. I cannot put into words how the simple life can be so incredibly special.

Lazy afternoons have been spent exploring roadside caves and streams, kayaking down the Cele, and fossicking for fossils in the backyard. We have enjoyed trips to Saint-Cirq Lapopie, a gorgeous old town perched high above the river, and spent a day at Padairac, the most amazing underground limestone cave system. The world is truly an inspiring place.


France Saint Cirq LaPoppie family travel

The incredible cliff face architecture of Saint Cirq LaPoppie

France Les Jonquasses Kayaking down the Cele

Kayaking down the Cele

We are so appreciative of the wonderful neighbours we met. Their generosity when fabulous electrical storms fried our Internet were greatly appreciated. Fun dinners and morning teas were had. An invitation to Wales meant we embraced Byron’s new saying “Let’s just see where the wind takes us!”

Our time at Les Jonquasses was very special indeed, and one the boys and both Orren and I will cherish. It gave us the time enjoy each other’s company to the fullest and all the simple things life has to offer. Before I had never been to many places in France outside of Paris so, we are so very grateful for the opportunity to housesit.

So onto the Eurotunnel aka time warp machine we ventured again via Mont St Michel.

The Chunnel train family travel France England

Off to the next country on the Chunnel or as the boys call it “the time warp machine”

Author: Anita Sedlak

This story is part of a series following the journey of Anita, Orren and their two boys Byron and Myles, who left Australia in November 2014 to experience life in different parts of the world. They made their way to America where they discovered incredible places, met wonderful people, and put down roots for a six-month stint working in a different job. They ventured to Costa Rica, Egypt, England, Scotland, Italy, Germany and France and made so many memories along the way. Each week we publish a new conversation. Follow their journey.

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