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Village des Bories - Stone away from  home

Village des Bories - Stone away from home

20 Aug 2013 BY Tim Wells

Ranged across the “garrigue” of the gentle first slopes of the Vaucluse just west of Gordes is a group of around thirty stone huts once known as “Les Savournins Bas”. Built without mortar, they are constructed of limestone slabs mainly gleaned from 18th century land-clearing; such huts are typical of the Luberon, often found on isolated hillsides far from the nearest village. This is the largest grouping in the area, consisting of seven clusters of huts arranged with intertwining walls in local style, with a top row of vertically-arranged slabs. They were once used as houses, barns, sheepfolds and pigsties, threshing houses, bread ovens and bakeries, wine vats and treading houses, and for just about any other local agricultural use imaginable: local mulberry trees were once cultivated for silk production, and there is ample evidence of leatherworking throughout. The huts had lain derelict and subject to degradation until the local landowner, Pierre Viala, began a 10-year period of restoration, and opened the site in 1976, under the name “Village des Bories”, as a museum of local rural life, with exhibits of traditional tools and objects, as well as a collection of photographs of similar “borie” structures from around the world.  In the beautiful light of Provence, the Village offers an arrangement of masses and shadows very pleasing to the eye.

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