Discover the delightful sweet and dry wines of the Jurançon region

The Jurançon wine region is discreetly situated in the beautiful part of South West France where we live. The stunning Atlantic coastline is to our west, we have the lush green forests of the Landes, the city of Bordeaux to the north and further south it is not too long before reaching the foothills of the Pyrénées and the gateway to Spain. And we love it.

What is there not to appreciate about Jurançon wines? They are wonderful!

They are either delectably sweet or perfectly dry – and a glass of Jurançon is fabulous with foie gras.

It’s fair to say that Jurançon wine is less well known than other appellations, however, we can claim that it is one of the oldest. The appellation dates back as far as the late 14th century when the best vineyard areas were recognised and valued by the princes of Béarn and the parliament of Navarre for taxation purposes.

Why are Jurançon wines so good? The weather certainly helps – the combination of the cool sea breeze from the ocean, the dry warm Föhn winds from the Pyrénées and the pleasantly hot summer temperatures providing a longer period of time for the delicious grapes to ripen.

Virtually all of the grapes grown in the region are white, mostly from the Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng, with a third variety being the Camaralet de Lasseube. These grape varieties have adapted well to the climatic conditions, with the fruit growing high above the ground. This benefits the grape by avoiding the worst of the spring frosts, making the grapes very resistant and hardy.

If you have never visited this fantastic region before, why not come and try Jurançon wines for yourself?


Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.


Grant & Joeline Norris

+33 (0)6 03 18 53 31         


Realise your French dream – and avoid costly mistakes 

Renovating a property in France is the dream for many of us.  We love the characterful properties, the laid back lifestyle and of course the spectacular coastline and countryside.

The Landes in South West France is a popular destination for many homebuyers who appreciate the unspoilt natural landscape, the respect for the environment, its close proximity to Spain as well as the excellent transport links to cities such as Bordeaux and Paris.

Once you find the house that you have been looking for, it can be tempting to press ahead without necessarily giving sufficient time or consideration to the finer details in planning your construction project. However, in the long run this haste could prove very costly indeed.

Recently there has been a good case in point. On the French Riviera, the owner of a €50 million château has been instructed by the court to demolish his property because he had not obtained proper planning permission.

This maybe an extreme example; it is important to note though that the construction of any building over 10 m2 requires planning permission. It always pays to ensure you have the right permits.

Also, if you carry out any renovations yourself and decide to sell on your property, you will be liable for the cost of maintaining these improvements for a period up to 10 years. That is why all professional artisans hold what is called decennial insurance.

Fortunately there is a solution: at Kiwi Construction we can do all phases of renovations for both interior and exterior projects specifically specialising in heritage properties. We have been working in the region since 2005 and therefore have more than 15 years’ local knowledge. We understand the sensitivities of local planning and have our own in-house draughtsman who has 30 years’ experience.

If you are considering any kind of renovation project please contact us and we will be happy to talk through your ideas whatever the challenges. We make the impossible, possible!

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Grant and Joeline

Making the impossible, possible

New Zealanders – or Kiwis – are well known for their can do attitude and optimistic approach to life. So when Grant and Joeline Norris and their family settled in south west France from their native land more than 25 years ago, they were determined to share this positive spirit amongst their new compatriots and French friends.

Making the impossible, possible is at the heart of what Kiwi Construction, the firm created by the couple after Grant finished playing rugby for Dax, offers to all its clients. Grant who is a qualified quantity surveyor and Joeline, a chartered accountant, have utilised their professional experience, know-how and understanding of the French culture and heritage to the benefit of their international clients.

The family have over the years successfully integrated into the community, with their children attending local schools and the whole family participating in social activities which characterise everyday life in the Landes. Their approach has been to marry their Anglophone culture with a deep appreciation and understanding of French values and approach. In particular, their experiences over the past two decades have helped shape their way of working by listening to the views of the older generations.

“There is always a way” is very much the Kiwi Construction philosophy – a determination to find a solution which works for the client and gets a job done successfully. This approach combines a focus on the customer and a respect for the traditions of their community, including the buildings and architecture which forms a key part of the region.

If you have a project which looks to be seemingly impossible – or you are seeking a fresh perspective – why not contact us? We love the challenge of all kinds of different renovation and construction projects, large or small.

✅ Please add a comment below and accept the invitation to come join us in Messenger 👇👇

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 18 53 31


#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes #paysbasque #holidayhomes #bearn

construction france

Making the best of the space in your home in France

Why is creating an effective use of space in your home so important?

We discuss that question often with our clients; we understand how crucial it is to plan the layout of their home to design the floor area as efficiently as possible. Whether the property is large or small, planning the allocation and positioning of the interior space is a key step for ensuring that your home is appropriate to your needs both now and in the future. 
Retaining the character of the property as part of a renovation project is an essential part of what we do, respecting the heritage of your home whilst also making it more comfortable for modern living. So, what are the main things you need to consider?

1. Think about the position of the plumbing for bathrooms, toilets, showers as well as for kitchen units. In the first instance, consider the practical needs of you and your family. Any significant new renovation is likely to require new plumbing pipes, so decide where you wish them to run and the position of your kitchen and bathroom areas. Termites can also be a problem, needing a water supply to exist. This could be from condensation on a water pipe or a leak in a badly maintained wall… so another reason for looking closely at the structure of your property.

2. If you are planning an extension, avoid through rooms. You need to ensure that your home is liveable and the circulation space healthy, therefore it is wise to consider the function of every room at this planning stage. Providing direct access to areas such as the kitchen, dining and living space is especially important.

If you are considering a renovation project and thinking about making the most effective use of space, contact us and we will be happy to help. We have extensive experience in undertaking renovation and constructive projects in this beautiful region, working with a range of property professionals.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 18 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes#paysbasque #basquecoast #cotebasque #planning #spaceutilisation

How heat efficient systems can reduce your energy bills

If you live in an older property in France, you may be familiar with the challenge of keeping the property warm and properly ventilated.

We advise our clients that three of the most important considerations are good insulation, installing a cost effective heating system and ensuring a good circulation of air in the building.

Insulation will help to ensure that the property is air tight and well insulated. This will keep it cooler in summer and warmer in winter and save up to 80% in heating and cooling losses. Insulation can also help to reduce condensation.

Having a well maintained, efficient heating system is also crucial. There are of course a range of options, including solar heating, geothermal heating, wood, oil, electric or non-geothermal systems such as heat pumps.

However there is a third consideration which often clients do not think about…. the importance of good ventilation and the efficient circulation of air. Mechanical ventilation systems – often referred to in France as Double Flux VMC or otherwise known as Heat Recovery Ventilation Systems – can reduce your heating bills by around 20%. They work by drawing in the fresh air from outside and take it out via a simple flux mechanism.

There are a number of benefits: you’ll experience fresh, cooler air during the summer (perfect for hot evenings and nights) and it’s cheaper compared to air conditioning. These ventilation systems are better for your health, too. You will be less likely to experience mould in the house and for those who suffer from conditions such as asthma, the cleaner, purified air will be a real advantage.

So if you are looking to retain the character of your beautiful older property in France – but introduce modern thermal efficient systems to make it more comfortable – now you can… 
Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 18 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes#paysbasque #basquecoast #cotebasque #ventilationsystems#thermalefficiency

batiment biarritz

Why you’ll love the food and drink of the Pays Basque

Food in the Pays Basque in South West France is a heavenly mix of Spanish and French cuisine: and increasingly other countries too. The region is famous for its tantalising sweet-hot peppers, an abundance of fresh seafood, hearty hams and other succulent meats, as well boasting an extensive choice of delicious cheeses. What is there not to love?

The legendary American Chef Julia Child once said, “Wine is meant to be with food – that’s the point of it.” And here in the Pays Basque, we have our fair share of superb wines from local vineyards; amongst these are the distinctive wines from Irouléguy (the smallest wine appellation in France) in the foothills of the Pyrenees, to the more widely known Madiran and Jurançon vintages.

There is so much to enjoy in Pays Basque dishes, both traditional and more modern.

On a typical Pays Basque menu you will generally find food steeped in tradition and flavour. Basque chorizo is one example; smoky and spicy, this tasty sausage has a vibrant red colour from the dried smoked Espelette peppers that are famous in the region. Let’s also not forget the celebrated Bayonne ham, a wide variety of duck dishes and cod prepared in a special Basque style sauce with peppers and flavoured with garlic.

Seafood is, without question, excellent; the superb Atlantic coastline is an ideal place to discover the best oysters in France as well as all kinds of fish and shellfish… accompanied by a chilled glass of rosé or white wine, perhaps?

As our taste buds change, the cuisine of the Pays Basque is also evolving to adapt original flavours and combinations. Many restaurants will include exciting new fusion recipes, prepared using ingredients from across the world and offering an additional dimension to French cooking; the aromatic and fragrant appeal of Thai food, elegant Japanese cuisine such as sushi and the spicier flavours of the orient, for example.
If you love good food or drink, you’ll love the Pays Basque.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 18 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes #paysbasque #basquecoast #cotebasque #jurancon #madiran #wine #food #cuisinepaysbasque



Les cercles : républicains et associatifs

Spécifiques au Sud de la Gironde et au Nord des Landes de Gascogne, les cercles font partie de l’histoire d’hier comme de la vie culturelle et sociale d’aujourd’hui.
On peut y parler gascon, écouter du rock, y voir une exposition, participer à un tournoi de belote ou de fléchettes ou simplement y boire un verre entre concitoyens… Les Cercles des villages des Landes font partie du patrimoine vivant, même si leurs statuts et leurs règlements ne sont plus ce qu’ils étaient vraiment autrefois.

De « cercles républicains » fondés en 1830 à « cafés associatifs » au 3e millénaire, ces lieux typiques remplissent une mission primordiale au sein des communes rurales. Bien moins nombreux qu’antan, ils sont au centre de toutes les attentions de la Fédération des cercles de Gascogne pour que perdure leur rôle rassembleur.

Des lieux en vie

Nés dans la première moitié du XIXe siècle à l’initiative de notables réunis autour d’idées communes (le plus souvent politiques), les cercles reflètent les affinités de leurs membres avec des appellations éloquentes : de l’Union, Républicain, des Démocrates, des Citoyens, Ouvrier, des Travailleurs, de la Concorde, de la Paix, de la Fraternité, de l’Avenir, etc. Leur existence est légalisée avec la Loi de 1901 sur les associations mais leurs principes restent pendant quelques décennies inchangées…

Pas de membres mineurs, pas de femmes (par ordre du Préfet !) et des lieux strictement réservés aux hommes qui y viennent deviser, s’informer, boire du vin… Depuis, les mutations de la société ont inscrit les Cercles dans l’ouverture. D’ailleurs, les institutions départementales et régionales travaillent même sur leur pérennisation au travers de pistes articulées autour de l’animation, de promotion des productions locales, voire d’informations touristiques.

Avec 25 ans d’expérience et de savoir-faire mis au service de ses clients, l’entreprise générale de bâtiment Kiwi Construction cultive de grandes valeurs éthiques : honnêteté, intégrité et professionnalisme. Grâce à une équipe d’experts et à l’utilisation de matériaux de qualité ainsi que des dernières technologies, Kiwi réalise tous les projets de rénovation et de construction, quel que soit leur dimension. Sa devise ? « Rendre l’impossible possible » ! Contact : Kiwi Construction – 460 chemin de Pedoucasse, 40360 Tilh. Tél. 05 58 55 35 22.

entreprise de maconnerie biarritz

Enjoying the sunshine in your swimming pool in France

The sun is shining against a bright blue sky, the temperature is lovely and hot – perfect conditions for a dip in the cool, blue water of your own swimming pool. If you are looking to build a pool for your home, or maybe you are seeking to renovate an existing one, below are a few things to think about.

We have years of experience in building pools and we will be delighted to help you consider all the different issues required to ensure that the final result will look and feel fantastic. The addition of a swimming pool will generally increase the value of a property so it can be a good long-term investment.

Firstly, what type of pool would you like? The choices are many… do you prefer an outdoor pool or an indoor pool where you can enjoy a swim whatever the weather; a pool house, spa facilities, hot tubs… not forgetting terracing, covers to reduce evaporation and security fencing. With water being a precious supply, it’s also worth thinking about recycling water for your pool, reducing the impact on the environment and your bills by installing a below the ground reservoir which will collect rainwater for use during the long summer months.
Finally it’s also important to factor in the necessary time for planning permission. For example, a swimming pool sized between 10m²- 60m² will require a Déclaration Préalable which can take around one month to be approved, plus you will need to allow some time for preparing the documentation.

We hope that this has given you some ideas on the things to consider when planning a pool project for your home in France.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Builders Landes

Applying a great finishing touch to your French home

When it comes to renovating your property in France, applying a great finishing touch will give your project a ‘wow factor’, impressing both family and friends. Once the plumbing, electrics, joinery and other work is complete, this is the time to start looking forward to completing the remaining work for your fully renovated French home. And with our 25 years’ experience in France we will ensure that the investment you make will deliver great results.

The quality of the plaster work in your home is crucial. We undertake all aspects of plastering, including the skimming of walls and ceilings to make them paint ready. We also provide plaster boarding and dry-lining on stud walls or on a metal framework. From mixing up the plaster and preparing the surface to applying a smooth coat, our experienced and skilled team will create a finished product that you will love.

Achieving a superb finish using proper techniques and the right preparation is always essential. So if your home needs a fresh lick of paint in a specific room or area, or a complete re-decoration, we can advise on the best quality paints and materials to achieve the look and feel you are seeking, and within your budget. We are also able to provide services for both commercial and residential painting and decoration for internal and external work.

We are confident that with our quality of craftsmanship, experience and skill you will be able to enjoy your home for many years to come.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 15 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans #buyingpropertyinfrance #landes#paysbasque #painting #plastering

Builders Biarritz

Making your renovation project energy efficient

Renovating an older property in France can have a number of benefits. It can restore a building that has become derelict or is in extremely poor condition; perhaps improve the overall living environment or result in a home that is more thermally efficient. Whatever the objective of your renovation project – and perhaps it is all of these – it’s important to consider a number of factors and plan accordingly, including the re-design, materials and of course your budget.

Energy efficiency is crucial in many ways. Even in south-west France, during the winter months the weather can be cold at times which means that without good levels of insulation, you could lose a considerable amount of heat. This will result in potentially higher energy bills than is necessary – and a colder house.

Ensuring that the roof structure is sound, structurally robust and water-tight should be one of your first priorities. We have 25 years’ experience in constructing, renovating and repairing all manner of different roof types and we are able to advise you on the best and most appropriate form of insulation. We use insulation called “Super 12” which has the highest energy rating and is often used in older roof structures; it’s ideal when you want to retain an older aspect of a roof truss, for example. We only use insulation and other materials that are fully compliant with French regulations.

It’s also important to think about the efficiency of any boiler, central heating system or wood burner to ensure that they are well-maintained, appropriate to the size of your property and remain fit for use.

You may also not be aware that there are some financial incentives available to permanent French residents with regard to energy efficiency. This includes being able to offset some of your income tax liability against the cost of materials and equipment and a reduced level of TVA. To find out more concerning eligibility, we recommend you discuss this with a qualified French-based accountancy firm.

Warmer weather may now be on its’ way – but springtime is the perfect time to plan ahead and ensure that your home is warm and thermally efficient for next winter.

Kiwi Construction delivers professional expertise, exceptional customer service and quality construction to all its’ clients covering the Biarritz, the Pays Basque and Landes departments.

Grant & Joeline Norris
+33 (0)5 58 55 35 22 / +33 (0)6 03 15 53 31

#renovation #France #artisans#buyingpropertyinfrance #landes #paysbasque#energyefficiency