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How to recognize a Breton house?

How to recognize a Breton house?

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The different Breton houses

In a region with such an eventful history, there is no question of summing up architecture in one style. The Breton house is multiple, embodying the know-how and the excitement of centuries of mixed cultures… since there is no question of forgetting it, Brittany has a Celtic soul and a marine heart. Over the course of a trip to Brittany, the road therefore crosses several types of buildings, in particular farmhouses and thatched cottages in the land, fishermen's houses on the coast and the malouinières characteristic of the Saint-Malo region.

Good news, Breton houses have all the same in common, whatever their family: granite walls, slate roofs with the exception of some rare thatched roofs remaining on thatched cottages, a south-facing orientation to enjoy the sun with gable to west to protect from the wind. Without forgetting that the amateurs of renovation adore them, and track them tirelessly!

The Breton country house

The farmhouse is a typical breton house, all in length and on one level for those whose attic was not later fitted out. Generally made of granite, it has a slate roof with two slopes and in most renovations, colored shutters. It is located in rural areas, since it originally housed peasants, and oriented rear facade against the wind.

The Breton cottage, meanwhile, is shorter and higher, often with one floor. It is also typical of the rural habitat of the region, it has stone walls and a sloping roof, often forming a projection above the windows ... but if the roofs were originally thatched, where the name of thatched cottage, most of them have today been replaced by slates. Hence the scarcity of real Breton cottage ! Note that Brittany does not have the prerogative of the farmhouse or thatched cottage, since this type of rural architecture also intersects in Normandy or Aquitaine, among others ...

The Breton seaside house

The coastal Breton house is a fisherman's house. Unlike farmhouses and thatched cottages, it belongs in principle to a group of small houses glued to each other to form a village. They have a two-pitched roof with dormers, and easily recognizable, for the most typical, by their colorful woodwork.

If blue is the most common today, all colors originally coexisted, fishermen using leftover paint from boats to paint their shutters! Most of fishermen's houses are white, but some still retain their apparent granite. Many modern Breton houses also imitate the style of these small houses on larger and more luxurious buildings, in the suburban areas of the seaside.

The Breton house of Saint-Malo

Take a walk around Saint-Malo, you will find a typical breton architecture and yet relatively unique. The malouinières are real mansions built in the 17e and 18e century to accommodate wealthy owners in second homes, and therefore much more luxurious than fishermen's houses or rural longhouses.

Their characteristics? Slate roofs with four slopes, tall stone fireplaces, granite walls, a large format and at least one floor. Generally in a dream setting, with a view of the sea or in the heart of a green space. The less prestigious can sometimes have small windows and thatched roofs, the more prestigious, several chimneys and many windows with small panes!