Champagne Ardenne Half-Timbered Houses

In Champagne Ardenne the half-timbering building technique is fairly common. Half-timbering can be found in area with bricks or classic cob timberframing properties. These different features can sometimes be found on a single property.

The architecture of the Champagne Ardenne region of France has been influenced by the strong Germanic architectural style. Champagne Ardenne house types and the materials used can thus be categorised in the broad «pan de bois» (half-timbering/ timberframe) architectural family common in this area of France and notably in the neighbouring Lorraine and Alsace architectural styles.

The popularity of half-timbering in Champagne Ardenne is due to the abundance of wood and forests in the area. Wood being a primary product used in the a structure of a Champagne Ardenne house. The timberframe structure is often made from poplar, ash tree, elm or chestnut trees.

Half-timbering is essentially a method of construction featuring walls built of timber frames with the the gaps between the frames filled with cob, called torchis in French. Also in the Ardennes department cob can be replaced by bricks (influence of the architecture of the neighbouring Picardy region). Roof tiles are generally brown or red and flat.

The walls are filled using cob before the floor and roof structure are built. Even if the wooden framework is naturally strong and rigid once erected the strength of the structure can be supplemented using wood plugs. The walls are traditionally painted, you may for example see purple walls on some houses in this region of France.

The traditional rural Champagne Ardenne house is almost always oriented with its narrower facade facing the street. A small garden often separates it from the road and the entrance door is located on the longest side of the home, away from the street. Many urban Champagne Ardenne timberframe houses are half-timbered with bricks, which gives a very nice appearance to the house.

Champagne Ardenne houses often come with a cellar. The garden boasts a porch that can vary in size depending on the area.

Like in other regions of France, traditional rural houses in Champagne Ardenne were often originally farm dwellings so many of these houses will be found in the Champagne Ardenne countryside even if the most stunning examples are often located in ancient town centres.

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