After spending a few weeks in September working in the Spanish Pyrenees we returned to Les Vignes Basses with fresh motivation to finish our workshop/woodshed. It was a design produced by Dan but which is is better explained via pictures. For those interested in how we built the workshop ourselves, here come the photos:   Read More

For a while we have been banding ideas between us, trying to decide upon which type of eco-building method to use. Comparing the different ways of building a sustainable, eco-house is a bit of a daunting task these days. Not that this is a bad thing; wonderful architects, designers and conservationists are finding more and more innovative ways to provide this much sought after form of housing.

So ideally the house would provide shelter off-grid with small rooms but enough space for family and friends to come and visit.

With energy prices predicted to rise and rise over the next few years, a house that is self-sustainable and perhaps even earns money by selling its energy to the grid, makes sense.

Now back to the question of which type of eco house to build?! There are merits to each and every type of sustainable build, choosing between them can feel like wading through a quagmire. We explored each option in as much depth as possible before committing to our final decision.

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Before we moved to Les Vignes Basses full time we lived and worked in South Korea teaching in the public school system. Whilst there, we had large chunks of free time to look a the internet, which we used to research, learn, read and discuss what we want from our lives in France and exactly what we want to do on the land. Through various blogs, Facebook pages, pages shared by friends and oodles of trawling on the internet we stumbled upon permaculture.
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The Good Life

Living a sustainable life has become really important to us over the last couple of years. Fueled by a desire to be self-sufficient, we gave up on trying to live in the UK and traded countries to France. We would not have thought about doing this were it not for Dan’s parents who already live in France and adore the place. The thought of getting in debt for 30 years in the UK just to own some bricks and mortar (that we probably wouldn’t like anyway), because the housing market is so inflated, felt like a decidedly incorrect choice for us.

After searching for alternatives we came back to the idea of France which had been planted by Dan’s folks and their wonderful life there. In France housing is not seen in terms of a market but as something to actually ‘house’ people. Much more sensible and the prices are reflective of this.
So we bought ourselves a patch of build-able land in the lovely Charente department in the middle of France, named Les Vignes Basses – The Low Vines.
This blog will document our journey to sustainable living at Les Vignes Basses, please help us along with comments, suggestions and ideas!
Les Vignes Basses when it all began...

Les Vignes Basses when it all began…