French city’s bijou ‘shop’ homes

Bordeaux’s échoppes are unusual in a city in having only one storey

Bordeaux has many grand monumental buildings - but there are other more modest structures which are also part of the city’s unique character.

These single-storey houses are unusual for a big city, where land prices mean high buildings are the norm.

They are called échoppes and there are still streets which are predominantly made up of these small homes.

Around 25,000 were constructed in the second half of the nineteenth century up until the First World War. Many of them have been renovated and can now fetch prices of well over €500,000.

When they were built, however, they were for people of modest incomes, including hospital staff and the railway workers creating the new train lines and stations.

They were destined for a new working urban population which had left the countryside for the city and were often built by employers for their new workforce.

Their design was simple but they provided decent living accommodation. The front opened straight on to ...

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