Franche-Comté Half-Timbered Houses

Franche-Comté traditional house types and the materials used can be categorized in the German «pan de bois» (timber frame) architectural family. This family makes good use of many local symbols and decorations. These symbols appear on porches, doors and on the pieces of wood used to make the half-timbered walls.

These houses are sometimes referred to as farmhouses, what they obviously are, then describing them according to their function and not according to their appearance.

The popularity of half-timbering in Alsace can be explained by the fact that wood is abundant in the area. Roof tiles are generally brown or red, and flat. The symbols used on these half-timbered properties refer to religious beliefs, popular wisdom or ancient legends that were popular in Franche-Comté.

Timberframes on a Franche-Comté house

Walls are filled using cob, only then the floor and the roof structure are built. The wooden framework is naturally strong and rigid once erected even if the strength of the structure can easily be reinforced using wood plugs.

Top Tip! Typical Franche-Comté timberframe houses traditionally have their walls painted, you may for example see purple walls in this region of France.

Like in other regions of France, traditional rural houses in Franche-Comté were often originally farm dwellings. Once the house was built, the new owner typically organised a meal as thanks to the workers involved and the family would go to the nearest temple or church to get it blessed by a priest.

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