Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Beauty is unfortunately an exception. Most houses here - like nearly everywhere else - are simply ordinary and some are downright ugly. Nevertheless, I made those photos just by cycling around, meaning there are plenty of good looking ones. And there are not necessarily hundreds of years old either.

The really ugly ones, those created by architects, poorly brained and raised in steel, glass, concrete worship do not abound over here: maybe the region is too rural , too austere.

This one here above is modern, as far as I can judge built ten or fifteen years ago in the style of the region.

This one has the bad luck to stand on a very busy road. That must be the reason why it is so frequently for sale or for rent.

Here we are in a tiny hamlet, about two kilometers from the village. It is a farmers' house.

Another farmers' house with his barn in the foreground. Do you see those columns, looking like chimneys? They belong to a hundreds of years old ruin, its stones served to restore the village church.

In bygone times the living quarters and the stable were frequently under the same roof. The round door on the ground and the stairs on its left testify for that.

This house surely belongs to some wealthy Parisians. The gate and the high well groomed hedge all say the same: do not enter, don't even look at us! The hedge must be cut with the help of a ruler.

In the foreground the round, wooden door: "I am a converted stable". In fact they sell antiquities over there, the stabble of old might be the store room for all that expensive trash they hope to sell to the grockels (UK English for tourists).

Another old style barn in another hamlet.

This house is one of my favorites. It's a converted barn, standing at the outskirts of the village. The people who made this did a great job here.

Couldn't refrain from showing this. It's the sore spot of our village. I wonder what will happen now. Keep tuned.

Another specialty of the region is the material they put on the roof. Sure, mostly you will see conventional tiles, used everywhere. But many houses still feature "lauzes" as shown on the two following photos. These "lauzes" are stones, thick and very heavy. A normal wooden roof structure would not be able to support them. Sturdy beams, generally made of chestnut trees are a must and you need a thick wallet, too, to pay for it. But living under it, no storm will be able to bother you and your family. The cosy comforts of stone age.

Rejoice, this is the last picture:Last not least, this is the town hall, though it should be said a village is not a town and a house is not a hall. In this house, the mayor has an office and he is present three times per week.

If you enlarge the photo, you'll see something strange: the wall is partly made of bricks, partly of stones. Till now, I have been unable to find out the history of this house and what happened there in the past.


  1. Hi Georg,

    Great pictures those! And the countryside is beautiful. The mayor's office intrigued me too...perhaps rebuilt after WW2?
    Here in India, we have roofs made of similar stone tiles in some parts, particularly in the hilly regions where such stones are readily available, making them affordable.

  2. Hi George,
    wow those columns "hundreds of years old ruin" and still it's serving!! nice

  3. To VINOD,

    Glad to hear you like and appreciate the housing style of the Cantal region.

    As to those stones, you are absolutely right: most of the quarries making "lauzes" having closed, they seem to come these days from India and China. Imagine, we are importing stones from your country!! Crazy world.

    To HIVA
    Well, the village church is about 750 years old whereas this ruin was a house or a castle about 250 years ago. Probably destroyed during the French Revolution.


  4. You've presented a beautiful snapshot of your village through that tour of houses Georg. Your village appears to be a nice mix of the old and the contemporary, though it's apparent that you lean toward the old world architecture :)

  5. oh i loved your collection of photos dear Georg, and i think these old (er) houses are great, at least they do look like houses... when growing up in Mexico City one got really depressed by seen at the 'new' architecture: cement boxes that resemble cages and not houses.
    thanks for sharing with us, it is great to take a virtual tour to your sunny town in France

    ah as for the satellite dishes... don't you hate the look of 'technology'? i hate how those antennas stick out of houses and buildings, like expensive "pimples" oh well, but the inhabitants are surely enjoying their TV shows, huh?

  6. Georg,
    Apparently Pierre Cardin seems to be wrecking the old world charm in another little village in France :

    I was curious to know your thoughts on this controversy...

  7. To Id,

    Just finished reading the article about Mr. Cardin and the Lacoste village in Provence.

    There are very few showbiz-Cardin in this world who manage to propel such a place into the jetset modernity.

    The department of Cantal where I live has just a few foreign residents but the nearby Dordogne region (Périgord) is swarming with emmigrants from England. There are so many that they can even edit a newspaper in English language for them.

    ll this is kind of mixed blessing. Sure, those foreigners and even French from the North buy old houses and re-beautify them. But at the same time life and outlook changes and not everybody likes it.
    There is even a village in Périgord where the Mayor (le maire) wanted to ban foreigners from UK settle in their area. Another controversy.

    What I think about it? Change means life and all those foreigners from the North are reasonably civilized (like myself). There is a totally different situation arising in France due to immigration from North and Central Africa. These people don't mix, have no civilization only habits. Fortunately they settle exclusively in towns.

    Coming back on your first comment, these houses over here don't present the brainchild of some gifted architects. It is the style of the region - nowhere else to be found - and it has been generated through the centuries. A patient optimization of housing towards beauty and usefulness.

    To Berenice
    Glad to hear you appreciate those houses. They are typical for this region and you won't find them elsewhere.

    As to satellite dishes and antennas, frankly, I never thought about them. They are certainly not in accordance with beautiful architecture but they are a lifeline to the world. They are like faucets spilling out the stuff we need.

    Fortunately, there are no dishes and antennas on our gothic cathedrals but there are some on castles.............


  8. That explanation helped me to better understand that NYT article I read! Thanks Georg.
    ...Now i wonder what you have to say about Nantes where a dear friend is going to spend the next 9 months teaching English in a high school near the university. In fact I plan to visit her there at some point.

  9. It seems such a peaceful neighborhood! is it?

    way different than California crazy neighborhoods!!! you are blessed!

  10. To Frieda,

    Yes, it is peaceful over here compared to life in town. Nevertheless, last night I couldn't find sleep because of a dog barking endlessly till about 2 o'clock in the morning. And he started again at about 5.

    I was ready to commit murder.


  11. Salut Georg!!!!!!
    je te la donne moi, ton explication!
    Si une partie du mur est en brique, c'est que cette partie là est le recto du "cantou" et que la brique supporte plus la chaleur des flammes que nos vieilles pierres volcaniques.
    j'espère avoir répondu à ta question.
    bises à Elisabeth.

  12. Hallo Vince,

    T'as sûrement raison. La voix du Cantalien pur fruit. D'ailleurs, Elisabeth supposait aussi quèk chôse komça.

    Salu, ami


  13. oh, oh, OH - how beautiful these houses are?! Nice area where you are living! I am a huge fan of these kind of stone houses!
    Hope your week has started well, how is the wheater in France? This week is hot and humid here in germany (now that I´m back at work, bääh). Wish you a nice week! sunny greetings, geisslein

  14. Hallo Geisslein,

    These stone houses are good looking and I love to see them every day.

    However, there is a however. They are poorly insulated meaning you spend a pile on heating.

    But there is this French proverb: "quand on aime on ne compte pas (when you are in love you don't count).


  15. Love that quote. It´s the way I am thinking... :o) Thanks for your lovely comment at my "girls-tea-party-post" Have a lovely weekend, Georg!