Remembrance of times past

The village of Ménéham on Brittany’s north Finistère coast has been restored to show visitors the typical lifestyle of peasant farmers and fishermen in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The 14 houses, where around 80 people used to live but which were falling into ruin, were restored from 2004 to 2009 to showcase the traditional rustic architecture of the region.

The last person to live in the village- turned-tourist attraction (meneham.bzh) moved out in 2001. Similar homes can be seen in villages and towns along the coast, though many have been knocked down and replaced by more modern housing.

The first houses were built around 1840. Peasant farmers’ houses in many other parts of France were large and shared with animals during the winter – often including a barn to stock hay, crops and provisions – but these houses are noticeable for their small size.

They were made up of one room on one storey and barns were built on either side of the dwelling place. Additional houses would be built on as the family grew.

The building stone ...

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