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Easy French Practice

Discover Authentic French Countryside Buildings – Bilingual Story

Pierre By Pierre on September 26, 2016
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Pierre lives in the French countryside, more precisely in the sunny Lot-et-Garonne. When he takes his French immersion students for tours of his region, they are surprised to discover old buildings such as dovecotes, watermills and windmills. Follow him for a virtual visit of these quintessential French countryside architectural constructions.

Au dĂ©but de son sĂ©jour en immersion en français chez moi, Virginia, venue de la lointaine Australie a dĂ©couvert des constructions dans la campagne qu’elle n’avait vues nulle part ailleurs.

At the beginning of her French immersion homestay with me, Virginia, coming from distant Australia, discovered buildings that she hadn’t seen anywhere else.

PassionnĂ©e par la France oĂč elle a voyagĂ© de nombreuses fois, elle dit elle-mĂȘme qu’elle connaĂźt en France plus d’endroits qu’en Australie, elle n’avait jamais vu de telles bĂątiments.

Passionate by France where she traveled several time – she even says she know more places in France than in Australia – she had never seen such buildings.

Aujourd’hui, nous allons les visiter ensemble !

Today, we’ll visit them together!

1 – French Countryside Building Vocabulary

  1. A dovecote : Un pigeonnier
  2. A windmill : Un moulin à vent
  3. A watermill : Un moulin à eau
  4. A wheel : une roue
  5. A paddle wheel : une roue à aubes
  6. A lock (on waterway) : Une écluse
  7. Une Ă©glise : a church
  8. A clock tower : un clocher

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2 – Clock Tower Churches of the Lot-et-Garonne

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Dans les villages, souvent trĂšs petits, il y a toujours une Ă©glise de style roman avec un clocher-mur.

In the villages, which are quite small, there is always a  church with a « clocher-mur » (the wall has the same function as a clock tower).

Ces Ă©glises sont trĂšs anciennes (12Ăšme-13Ăšme siĂšcle), on peut voir quelquefois des fresques datant du Moyen-Ăąge.

These churches are very old (12th / 13th century) and, sometimes, there are frescoes dating from the Middle Ages.

Les paysans de l’époque ne savaient pas lire. Des images, des illustrations Ă©taient utilisĂ©es. Des fresques et des vitraux Ă©taient utilisĂ©s comme moyen d’expression. Ici, on peut voir une reprĂ©sentation de l’enfer et de dĂ©mons transportant les damnĂ©s en enfer.

The common people could not read. Pictures and illustrations were used. The common medium used were frescoes and stained glass windows. One picture depicts demons carrying the damned to hell.

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3 – Tobacco/Plum Drying Sheds of the Lot-et-Garonne

Dans la campagne de ma rĂ©gion, il y a beaucoup de bĂątiments utilisĂ©s pour sĂ©cher le tabac, d’autres pour sĂ©cher les prunes pour faire des pruneaux.

In my region’s countryside, there are many buildings used to try tobacco, or dry plums to make prunes.

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Désormais le tabac a presque disparu, les prunes sont séchées dans des fours modernes.

Today, tobacco has nearly disappeared, and the plums are dried in modern ovens

4 – The Dovecotes of the French Countryside

Il y a aussi des pigeonniers dans notre campagne. Virginia a pris des photos en se promenant avec moi.

There are also dove cotes in our area, Virginia took pictures while she was taking a walk with moi.

french immersion in france

Ces pigeonniers Ă©taient construits pour rĂ©colter les fientes, Ă  leur tour utilisĂ©es pour fertilizer les champs. Les pigeonniers Ă©taient construits sur de hautes colonnes pour empĂȘcher les renards, rats et autres animaux d’attaquer les colombes ou pigeons.

These dove cotes were built to collect the droppings, which were then used to fertilize the fields. The dovecotes were built high on pillars to prevent foxes, rats and other animals from attacking the doves or pigeons. 

PrĂšs de lĂ , il y avait une fontaine, Joy, mon chien, avait trĂšs soif parce qu’il faisait chaud ce jour-lĂ  !

Nearby, there was a fountain: Joy, my dog, was thirsty because it was hot that day!

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5 – French Countryside Architecture: Watermills

Lors d’une autre excursion, Virginia a photographiĂ© une impressionnante roue Ă  aubes ! Le moulin Ă  eau Ă©tait principalement utilisĂ© pour moudre le grain, et produire de la farine pour le pain.

On another excursion, Virginia took photos of an impressive paddle wheel! The water mill was mainly used for grinding grain, producing flour for bread.

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Les pigeonniers, les moulins à eau, les moulins à vent ne sont plus en activité, mais nombreux sont préservés. On peut toujours les voir dans la région, et un homme local a récemment relancé la production de farine. Sur la riviÚre du Dropt, des péniches étaient utilisées pour transporter le vin et les pruneaux.

Dovecotes and mills are no longer used, however, many are well preserved. There are still many to be seen in our area and a local man has recently restarted the production of flour. On the river Dropt, barges were used to transport wine, and prunes.

Tous ces bùtiments font partie de la richesse de ce beau pays !

All these buildings are part of the heritage of this beautiful country!

If you liked this article, why not consider a stay at Pierre’s home in Lot-et-Garonne to better your French? Here is more info about the French Immersion Residential courses recommended by French Today.

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