Architecture of France: The Grande Lande

Low-roofed houses and shepherds on stilts hark back to the Grande Lande history

The Lande that time forgot

In the centre of the Landes department in south-west France the Grande Lande had a specific rural architecture for hundreds of years until the start of the 20th century when the landscape was transformed by the compulsory introduction of pine forests. The old housing and farm buildings began to disappear.

A recreated hamlet at the Ecomusée de Marquèze, near Sabres, has 30 original buildings which were either there or were transported to the site and which faithfully reproduce the living conditions of the local inhabitants in 1890.

Curator Florence Raguénès said their features were adapted to the area’s geography and its flat and sandy land with the water table often only a metre below the surface.

It was so poor only subsistence farming was possible and ...

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