Volunteer in France

Rehabilitation of a historic monument and paths in Billom
Billom, Auvergne       August 24 - September 7, 2022

Volunteer project: After 17 years of partnership with the Municipality of Billom, the locals welcome once again the international volunteers with a lot of enthusiasm. The project will take place in the heart of this beautiful medieval town.

The former Jesuit college in Billom is an emblematic monument located in the center of the town, near the medieval district. Unfortunately, this building has suffered the ravages of time. You will participate in the valorization and arrangement of this old college. The first week, you will do carpentry work. The second week, you will participate in the maintenance of paths. Your mission to rehabilitate this historically listed monument is part of a reconstruction effort launched in 2018. The goal is to make the place more pleasant for visitors and more attractive by creating a cultural area, reconciling the place with its primary function. You will also participate in the arrangement of different spaces of the building: furniture creation, cleaning, landscapes adjustments. A technical supervisor will oversee the project and will teach you the skills you need.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: Billom is a dynamic city that hosts many events throughout the year. Many activities are possible, like visiting the medieval city, discovering the specialty of Billom’s pink garlic cultivation, swimming pool, football, basketball, tennis, hiking in the Madet gorge, visiting the Castles of Mauzun and La Chaux Montgros. Moreover, the Medieval Fantasy Festival Charivari is scheduled during your stay - it will be an opportunity for you to participate in the town’s life along with the locals.

Accommodation: The accommodation will be at a camping site, a 20 minute walk from the Jesuit college. You will be housed in small wooden cottages for 3 to 4 persons each. The cottages are equipped with a kitchen and bathroom.

Location: Billom is a town of 4700 inhabitants located in Auvergne, about 20 km away from the capital of the region Clermont-Ferrand. Billom is also near the Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park where you’ll be able to enjoy the landscapes and the diversity of the fauna and flora. Billom is a city whose origins go back to antiquity. Originally a Gallic village and druidic center, the Romans made of it a stop on the great way connecting Lyon to Bordeaux. Its intense development enabled the village to become one of the first important towns of Auvergne in the XII century and to build its fortifications. Billom is renowned for its medieval quarter in the heart of the city and its architectural and historical heritage. You will be able to admire the stone fortifications, the St-Cerneuf collegiate, St-Loup Church, the belfry and many other historical buildings.

Nearest terminal: Clermont-Ferrand

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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Restoring the trail to the Grotte de la Madeleine
Moustiers, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence       August 28 - September 17, 2022

Volunteer project: The commune of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie wishes to welcome a team of volunteers in order to carry out the work planned for the redevelopment of the trail leading to the Grotte de la Madeleine. Starting in the heart of the village, this trail leads to the Notre-Dame de Beauvoir chapel and to the Grotte de la Madeleine, which was once a place of worship. This ancient chapel now houses an altar and two statues, that of Mary Magdalene and a wolf. This path is used every year by many visitors and allows to promote the rural heritage of Provence as well as the religious heritage of the village.

You will have to redefine the layout of a part of the trail and stabilize the surroundings while taking care to blend everything. In a second phase, you will be asked to repair the damaged steps in an identical manner. Although the path is communal, the restanques are on private land and will not be the object of any work. Through the realization of this project, the commune wishes to encourage the private owners concerned to undertake consolidation and/or repair work on the terraces along the pathway. From a technical point of view, you will be supervised by a mason who will pass on his know-how and his knowledge. You will learn the technique of dry stone during the repair or the construction of low walls, but also the stone cutting necessary for the repair of certain steps. Beyond the technical contribution, the craftsman, very familiar with the area, will help you learn about your environment and its specifics: agricultural and pastoral traditions linked to the restanques, history of the dry stone technique and its specificities.

Language: English

Possible free time activities: You can walk through the streets of this typical Provençal village full of history. You can also go up to the Chapel of Notre Dame de Beauvoir, classified as a historical monument, which overlooks and offers an exceptional view of the village and the Verdon valley. You will meet the pottery craftsmen and visit the village museum. You can also visit the Verdon Natural Regional Park and learn more about this preserved place. The local inhabitants, voluntary associations and elected officials will be happy to meet you.

Accommodation: You will be accommodated in a tent in the municipal campsite, where you will have access to common sanitary facilities and a kitchen. The campsite is not far from the village.

Location: Located in the heart of the Alpes de Hautes Provence department and the Verdon Regional Natural Park, the town of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie has a rich built and natural heritage.

Nearest terminal: Dignes-les-Bains

Nearest airport: Marseille

Age range: 18 - 30 years old

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