La Maisonnette: Le Four Banal

• 11 June 2009
























A fun recent discovery about La Maisonnette du Coteau...the house's origins lie in the "Four Banal" (pronounced foo-er bah-nahl), meaning the "Lord's Oven" in French. "La Four Banal" was the place where everyone was required to bake their bread; in return they were required to pay the lord of the castle for the service.

Records show that in 1343 the lord of the castle had set up these services, so it's possible La Maisonnette du Coteau was built at that time; but, a more probable scenario places the home's beginnings in the 1500's. Since the house is within the outer ramparts of the castle, we know it's at least a four or five hundred years old.

What you see in the right above photo is the back of La Maisonnette, where "la four banal" was located. Next to the photo of the back of our house (see above left) is an image showing what the four banal probably looked like. When some restoration work was being done 40 years ago they found remnants of the old oven in the back yard. Admittedly, we are pretty much are in awe of the home's history and the {older} townsfolk even refer to our home as the previous "four banal", which is kind of a cool way of describing one's home. House numbers mean nothing here it seems...it's all about the history of the residence that people know.

15 comments:

Brooke Rane said...

oooh, i love this story about the house. keep them coming!

Rachel said...

Amazing, and so exciting! Is the fire oven still usable? Do you think you'll be able to bake bread there? I could recommend some great books to get you started, if you need them.

noelle said...

love the cottage updates. i can hardly wait for the next one!!!

Quinn, Alexis, and Jayden Brown said...

where in france are you? if you don't want people to know, that's ok. it's just that i lived in france for over a year and absolutely loved it. have you gotten to learn french?

Georgia said...

You should write up all the history you can find about the place, and use it for guests to read if you rent the place out. That would be a nice touch...but knowing you, you've probably already thought of that ;-)

Sandi said...

Love the updates on the cottage, I can smell the bread :) yum!

Sarah said...

I love that in France, especially in the rural areas, it's the houses name that is sometimes the most important part of the address. I think that's so charming.

Stephanie said...

Ms. Brown: we are in Beynac-et-Cazenac...down in the Dordogne region. Oh it's lovely down here!

Jaren said...

Stephanie, quick question for you. How does one go about buying a cottage in Southern France? Don't you have to apply for citizenship? Do you just go for three months at a time? How do you put your kids in school over there? And where do you stay if your home is being sandblasted when you are in France. A curious reader wants to know. :)

Jen said...

You all should be on an episode of "If Walls Could Talk". Thanks for letting us tag a long on your adventure. I anticipate it every time!
♥ Jen

GEna said...

Exquisite!

USAUS said...

Such a pity that Dad couldn't get there next week to hook up with you! He sure appreciated the invite!!! Have fun while you work hard!

Stephanie said...

Jaren, those are all great questions. I think I'll include them in a post...

Megan said...

That is the coolest house history I've ever heard!

Are you going to open an imperialist bread oven for sightseers? "Pay us $150 and bake subpar bread in the vestiges of the bread oven loathed by so many 600 years ago."

Joyful Imperfection said...

Just FYI- your tags are not done correctly on this post, the words Maisonnette and renovation were not separated. Just noticed because I think this is so lovely that I put a link to your blog on my blog so others can follow this beautiful project (this post got dropped due to tagging.) Best of luck to you!

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