Aquitaine Traditional Bastides Houses

The word bastide has dual usage. Most commonly it is the name given to a fortified town or village found throughout the south west France. For our purpose it is the name given to a specific type of building found in Aquitaine.

This type of Aquitaine house is larger and more elegant than the classic farmhouse often called a mas. The shape of the house is square or rectangular, with a tiled almost flat roof and walls made up of stone and sometimes covered with stucco or whitewashed. Like traditional maisons de maitre, bastides tend to have a really practical layout. As mentioned above, the name "bastide" itself originates from the name given to certain fortified mediaeval towns built in the 13th and 14th centuries in south west France like Villeneuve sur Lot (few more examples) in Aquitaine. A key feature of many of these towns was a practical Roman grid-layout. Although most of these bastides are located in the Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées regions of France, in terms of property, the word is used to describe a style of detached stone-built property or manor house found throughout the south of France. Some bastide houses also have archways on the ground level leading to garages or verandas (reminiscent of the archways or arcades which were common in medieval bastide towns). Bastide-style properties are found in both towns and in the countryside where they were originally occupied by wealthy farmers. During the 19th and 20th century, many bastides were in fact used as summer houses by wealthy citizens of Aquitaine.


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Bastide properties exist in other regions in France. One well-known bastide in the Southern part of France is the Bastide Neuve, located in the village of La Treille near Marseille, which was a summer house for the family of French writer and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol.



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