Typical houses in Auvergne


Traditional farmhouse, lauze (thick slates) and thatched roofs

Our houses come from volcanoes ! Ejected from the bowels of the earth by raging volcanoes several million years ago, these basalt and phonolyte  ‘orgues’ or prismatic rocks have been used to create our habitat.

When wandering around our villages (10 good reasons : n°5) you will always find the same architecture. Thick monumental walls solidly built out of small blocks of volcanic ‘ orgues’and on top, a thick layer of roofing, either of thatch or in more barren areas, of lauzes. These are constructions which offered protection from the elements, from the seasons, both to men and animals. Ah, how much more severe winters used to be !

What better than to recycle nature to fight against it and to seek protection from it ?  There is nothing more solid than stones which come directly from volcanoes ! Stone roofs as well – to prevent them flying away ! There are stones everywhere but also thatch when nature can supply it. Wherever possible, buildings cling to the rocks to continue to merge with the earth: a rock, a hill, a solidified spurt of lava, a hillside, a river, a lake …

Sometimes you will find all these buildings, farms, houses, castles, churches in the middle of nowhere and in villages, testimonies to our history, such as Moudeyres, Bigorre, Queyrières . At the parc du Lac Bleu, you will discover how phonolyte is used to provide these famous lauzes.

Vous êtes au pays des volcans, les volcans sont nos amis, ils ont bâti nos maisons…

« When I arrived in this region coming from Oise, with its white limestone blocks, I found all these black buildings or “blue stone” as they say around here, very curious. As the seasons have passed, I have learnt to understand them, to appreciate them, they are the strength of our ancestors, the “calm strength” with enabled them to survive, to live. In fact, they are not black the houses, they are serene …”