Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Volunteers Wanted to Restore Medieval Site

If you're thinking of visiting Provence next year, here's a way to learn new skills, give something back, leave your mark on an ancient village and meet people from all over the world.

Since 1969, the international non-profit volunteer program La Sabranenque has been devoted to the safeguarding and restoration of traditional rural architecture in Southern France. They're now accepting applications for summer 2019, to work at the medieval Provencale site and village called Saint Victor la Coste. La Sabranenque hosts 150 to 200 participants of all ages and nationalities annually. No previous restoration work is required but you must be at least 18; the oldest volunteer so far was 81.

Saint Victor la Coste is a picturesque village of roughly 1900 people in a beautiful setting 30 km northwest of Avignon. At the foot of a hill dominated by a medieval castle, the village overlooks a small vineyard-covered plain, with the Rhone Valley in the distance. The territory has been inhabited for several millennia; neolithic and Bronze Age artifacts have been found and several known Roman sites are nearby. Once part of the medieval domain of the Sabran family, vassals to the Count of Toulouse, it's known today for its historic buildings (including an 11th century church and a 13th century fort) and traditional rural village lifestyle.

The re-construction of the large structures in the hamlet is now done. This summer's projects include additional stonework tasks (uncovering and securing structural vestiges, improving dry stone terraces, etc.), establishing gardens and building a shelter for small wildlife.

Six-day volunteer sessions run Monday to Saturday, from June 3 to September 28. A fee of 300€ per week covers lodging (double occupancy, in traditional houses restored by La Sabranenque), all meals and activities. The food is Provençal family-style, featuring local vegetables and fruit, traditional cheeses, bakery-fresh breads and local wine. If you wish to stay two or more weeks, you can use your room and the kitchen over the weekend. There are ten participants maximum per session.

Volunteers work on the site in the morning and are also expected to participate in everyday activities such as kitchen work. Afternoons are free to explore and relax, with some historic tours and guided nature walks provided.

For more info, visit the Sabranenque sites here and here. Or email: info@sabranenque.com.

Photos: Scenes from summers past at La Sabranenque.


  1. Oh my heavens to murgatroid, I soooo want to do this. Thank you for posting this marvelous opportunity. I am going to clean up my cold chisel and masonry hammer (won't the TSA be interested in those!). Thank you Julie. We love Provence Post!
    Warren Ashworth

  2. Thank-you Julie for advertising this. I've been accepted at a rather advanced age.