Half-Timbered Houses in Auvergne

Auvergne’s typical half-timbered properties are distinct and beautiful examples fo rural architecture in France. The use of wood forms the key element of this type of Auvergne property. Wood is used both inside and outside the house, for both decoration or shelter.

This style of half timbering can be categorised in the «pan de bois» (half-timbering) architectural family common in Alsace and towards Germany & Switzerland.

The popularity of half-timbering in Auvergne is due to the beauty of Colombage traditonal houses . The Swiss / German influence is particularly strong in this area of France.

The walls are filled using cob, only then are the floor and the roof structure built. The wooden framework is naturally strong and rigid once erected, the strength of the structure can be supplemented using wood plugs.

This half-timbered style is a legacy of the middle-ages. Some exquisite examples of half timbering can be found in the town of Thiers, having resisted superbly the rigours of WW2.

The dominant construction material used in the Auvergne region like many rural regions of France is stone. Like in Alsace, the half-timbered structure in Auvergne is built over a stone structure, protecting the first floor from potential fire and the humidity.

Sometimes, walls are also made up of a cob and stone mix.

Some Auvergne half timbered houses also have a corbelling structure, giving more space to the upper floors’ rooms.

A Corbel is in this case a piece of wood jutting out of a wall to carry the weight of the floor above. This is a technique used since Neolithic times – late Stone Age (around 3,500 BC) and is a traditional construction method in the region.

Half-timbered properties would typically be made of local stone, the half-timbering structure covering a part of the house only .

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