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Traditional Marsh Dwelling

The dwellings date mostly from the Second Empire, a period when the wet marshes were drained, wooded, cultivated and turned into pasture.

The farm called a “cabane”, was on a hillock, longways on and parallel to the canal (for example the house with the blue shutters and the house with the red shutters at Coulon) or was situated between the road and the waterway (examples : La Garette, la Garenne d’Arçais, la Rivière and Montfaucon at St-Hilaire-la-Palud, La Belette at Le Vanneau).

Rural architecture is linked to local geology.

Under the same low roof, the building was divided into two parts which were of roughly the same size.
The roof with two gentle slopes (15-35°) was covered with tiles called “tiges de botte” made from “bri marin” (a blueish coloured clay). Its carpentry in poplar was covered with natural insulating material made of a lattice of bunches of reeds tied to the alder rafters with wicker. The walls of the living quarters were made of calibrated cinder blocks assembled in regular layers with symmetrical openings.


The front facade was painted with a mixture of lime and sand and then whitened whilst the framework and the angle wall stones were cut from stone.


The farm house with revealed limestone was composed of a stable which could be accessed from the living quarters and which had above it a “fenil” (open space for stocking the hay and wheat and for drying the beans), then a large barn called a “balet” with its sides closed by a poplar cladding and held up by two stone pillars with a square base and a height of between 7 and 8 meters. This was a place for keeping tools.

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