In the emblematic landscape of the Vézère Valley, castles, churches, stately homes and modest rural houses can be found at every turn of the road. The work of humble and anonymous creators, these are the hallmarks of the Périgord region. Let's take a look at one architectural element common to almost all these buildings: pisé.

Black Périgord adobe

From the 17th century onwards, the scarcity of timber for construction and the cost of erecting a masonry building in regions with a shortage of building stone accelerated the development and spread of buildings made of compacted raw earth known as pisé. Because it required a low-cost raw material and a large workforce, adobe construction had to be carried out with a great deal of care. great expertise

©ALR
Pisé _ pierre du périgord_February 2023©ALR

The adobe floor is typical of the Périgord region, where peasants used to pick up small pebbles in lauze stone (pisé) which they shaped with the hammer in a slightly triangular shape (bevelled). All that had to be done to create a sturdy floor was to press the adobe pebbles into the very damp clay. The layout varied according to the desired effect. Over time, the stones became smooth with rounded edges. It's important to remember that every soil is different and that adobe techniques vary.

It took a long time to build a floor like this, and involved every able-bodied person in a village. With the advent of new materials and the disappearance of working together, this know-how has now almost entirely disappeared. In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in this earthen material in the region. exceptional ecological record because of its incomparable longevity.

In the Vézère Valley, you can see for yourself the durability of adobe construction and its aesthetic success by visiting the Commarque castle or the Losse castle

PCU_S.PISE OMBRE CHMINEE_Château de losse_Thonac_septembre 2006©Eric-Sanders

These ancient techniques are moving reminders of a time when buildings were built using whatever was available on the roadside: thatch, cob, slate and lauze - all treasures in their own right!

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