Monday, 20 February 2012

Auxerre - The Half Timbered Buildings

Audrey :  The old parts of Auxerre are full of wonderful Half-Timbered houses.  In England these are called Tudor style and they are usually painted black&white.  The French call them pan de bois or colombage and they use all sorts of colour-schemes though a soft apricot or creamy colour with dark brown is the most common.

Colombage building with Corbels


Lillian : Ah - notice the Corbels - nice heavy pieces of wood extending past the walls of the ground floor & supporting the slightly larger rooms upstairs.

Audrey : That's a clever way to get the most out of your real estate!
Lillian :  Apparently Corbel structures are quite traditional in the Burgogne (Burgundy) region. 

Lillian :  The combination of corbelling, sweet colour schemes and the generally higgledy piggledy nature of the buildings, often on narrow, curving lanes - it all creates really delightful streetscapes.

Half timbered shops going round a slight corner
Audrey :  You can see just how the building was made and those exposed timbers make lovely patterns - this is my favourite - kisses all over!


Audrey : And these look like knitting or perhaps fish-bones.

Lillian :  That was in the central square - and let's look more closely at the statue in front of those shops.

 Audrey :  Lovely outfit!  He is holding a bird aloft and there are cats at his feet - who is this flamboyant chap?
Lillian : He is Cadet Rousselle - you can read more about him here & here in French.   Guillaume Rousselle was an actual person who lived in Auxerre, but thanks to a very popular satirical song written in 1792 - Cadet Rousselle has become something of a story-book character.   

  Audrey : Another view from the central square - that was the cafe where we had ice-creams.

 Lillian :  Let's see more half-timbered buildings. 


Audrey :  This one looks like it is being squeezed by the somewhat more modern buildings to either side!


Lillian :  Often the ground level was made of stone and only the upper levels are the lighter construction of timber and cob. 

Audrey :  Another knitting / fish-bone patterned building but it is rather different - it has bricks between the timbers.   

 Lillian :  It also has a classic Mansard Roof.


Audrey : Here is a particularly neat looking colombage

 And at the opposite extreme - wonderfully higgledy piggledy.

Lillian :  Two styles of architecture - a newly restored half-timbered and corbelled house under the 
Cathédrale Saint-Étienne d'Auxerre.

Audrey : We'll leave this post with another wonderful street-scape from Auxerre.  In our next we'll be visiting a fabulous old church, the Église Saint-Eusèbe.

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