Friday 20 April 2007

the Lavoir, Etableau

Many villages (and a lot of towns as well) still keep their lavoirs - the communal wash-house (laundry). This one in Etableau is on the smallest stream we have so far seen used for this purpose.



Anonymous said...

there is a book, very strange and beautiful and ghostly, called Lavoirs: Washhouses of Rural France, by Mireille Roddier.
i love this pic, and all other notes on la france profonde, including the vegetable notes. for example that all the cowslips in england have been obliterated, but not in france. thanks.

Susan said...

Cowslips in Britain are uncommon, but not quite obliterated, but in France they are very common. I'll keep an eye out for the Lavoirs book - they are an interesting piece of social history. Many women actually lamented their loss of function when piped water became available, as they then had to do their washing by themselves in private. They really missed the social interchange, and I suspect that the community lost one of its major communication threads. Places like lavoirs mean you can discreetly keep an eye on the vulnerable as well as the misbehaving in a small town.
Architecturally, of course, this one is just a modern standard issue kit replacement in the name of patrimoine, but there are some splendid medieval originals still extant eg Chartres.

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