Hilary, 33, and Nicolas, 40, a couple of dairy farmers and hosts on Airbnb, can be found at an altitude of 1,000 metres, about 20 kilometres from Albertville.
Hilary is an American, from San Francisco, USA. “I came to Savoie in 2011 to do “woofing”, a volunteer experience on a farm. I fell in love with the region and Nicolas, a breeder and producer of milk at Plancherine. In 2012, I decided to leave California to join him and move here to become a breeder too. In 2013, we got married and had two children, Mayla, two years old and Marceau, three months.”
Hilary, a speech therapist, has been raising forty cows with Nicolas for four years now. They mainly produce milk for their company, an ice-cream business, Glaces & Cows. “We’re the only ones in the area who don’t make cheese with our milk!” says Nicolas with a smile.
DISCOVER AGRICULTURAL LIFE IN THE FRENCH MOUNTAINS
The couple decided to become hosts on Airbnb in 2013. They now rent a small, charming chapel with a splendid view of the Belle Étoile peak (1,843 m) of the Bauges massif.
In this atypical agricultural setting in the middle of the mountains, guests are often amazed and always ask to visit their farm.
“What is great is the natural and very authentic relationship that is immediately created between our guests and ourselves. People generally know rural life, but not necessarily agricultural life in the mountains. It’s a great way to show them our daily life and our farming skills.”
For Hilary, being a host in rural areas is above all about showing a unique lifestyle. “I am happy when guests leave our place with a new outlook on our profession. My best memory is that of a guest who came by herself for a week and helped us milk the cows every morning.”
AIRBNB ALLOWS US TO PAY OUR MORTGAGE
Since 2013, their small chapel has been attracting guests from all over the world. Over twenty nationalities have visited Hilary and Nicolas: Polish, Indians, Americans, Germans, Portuguese, Australians… “We get to travel around the world without ever leaving home! It’s perfect because when you’re a breeder, you don’t take a lot of holidays,” explains the father.
Today, Airbnb also allows this couple of young parents to supplement their monthly income. “We just bought a house. Without being hosts on Airbnb, we clearly could not repay our home loan and pay our everyday expenses. Airbnb was an ideal solution to supplement our breeder-producer revenues.”