Online resources like Go Abroad (www.goabroad.com) and Transitions Abroad (www.transitionsabroad.com) throw up a colourful selection of volunteering opportunities in France, including, occasionally, participating in a Bordeaux grape harvest or helping out in a winery.

Interesting volunteer organisations include:

  • GeoVisions (www.geovisions.org) Volunteer 15 hours a week to teach a French family English in exchange for room and board.
  • Rempart (www.rempart.com) Brings together 170 organisations countrywide committed to preserving France's religious, military, civil, industrial and natural heritage.
  • Volunteers For Peace (www.vfp.org) US-based nonprofit organisation. Can link you up with a voluntary service project dealing with social work, the environment, education or the arts.
  • World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF; www.wwoof.org) Work on a small vineyard or other organic venture.